Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Evil Dead II (1987)

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <>
Date: Oct 14, 2015 4:10 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
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Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,884. Evil Dead II (1987)

Posted: 13 Oct 2015 10:18 PM PDT

Directed By: Sam Raimi

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks

Tag line: "Kiss Your Nerves Good-Bye!"

Trivia: Most of the film was shot on a set built inside the gymnasium of the JR Faison Junior High School in Wadesboro, North Carolina

Not so much a sequel as it is a reworking of 1981's The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II takes the story of Ash (Bruce Campbell) and the "Deadites" in a different direction. Instead of straight-up horror, Sam Raimi and company opted to toss a generous helping of comedy into the mix, resulting in a brilliant bit of insanity that has captured the hearts of genre fans the world over.

As our story begins, Ash and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) are heading to a remote cabin for a romantic weekend getaway. Shortly after they arrive, Ash finds a reel-to-reel tape recorder sitting on a desk, and decides to give it a listen. The voice on the tape belongs to the cabin's owner, Professor Knowby (John Peakes), who reads aloud from the Necronomicon, or "Book of the Dead", which he uncovered during one of his recent archaeological excursions. But as he recites the passages, it awakens an evil spirit that bursts into the cabin and takes control of Linda's body. Feeling he has no alternative, Ash kills Linda and buries her in the forest. But as he'll soon learn, his problems are far from over… 

As this is going on, Professor Knowby's daughter Anne (Sarah Berry), who, like her father, dabbles in archaeology, is returning from an overseas dig, where she found several more pages from the Book of the Dead. Joined by her boyfriend / research partner Ed Getley (Richard Domeier), Anne drives to the cabin to share this amazing discovery with her father. Unfortunately, the bridge that leads to the cabin has been inexplicably destroyed. Hoping to find another way in, Anne hires Jake (Dan Hicks) and his girlfriend Bobby Joe (Kassie Wesley DePaiva) to guide them through the forest. Of course, once they arrive at their destination, the four weary travelers find themselves caught in the middle of a very frightening situation.

Having already established the particulars in The Evil Dead (i.e. – malevolent spirits in the woods, demonic possession, etc), Evil Dead II doesn't waste time setting things up; mere minutes after the opening credits have ended, Ash is listening to the tape and summoning the ancient evil that possesses his girlfriend. And from there on out, the movie doesn't stop to take a breath. Most of the lunacy comes courtesy of Bruce Campbell, whose over-the-top performance as Ash is one of the film's strong suits (the entire first act consists of Campbell's Ash battling the supernatural entities that have come to destroy him), and it's to the actor's credit that he succeeds at making us laugh and jump at the same time.

Equally as flamboyant is director Sam Raimi, who, throughout the entire film, lets his imagination run wild. Along with his frequent use of the "forest cam", where we're looking through the eyes of the evil spirits as they rush through the woods towards the cabin, we're treated to some stop-motion animation (Even though Ash buried her, Linda 's headless corpse, as well as her decapitated head, spring from out of the ground and do a little dance) and more jump scares than you can shake a stick at (no matter how often I watch this movie, a few of these jump scares still manage to surprise me). Yet, despite all its bells and whistles, Evil Dead II has its moments of genuine terror, making it that rare horror / comedy that offers just as many scares as it does laughs.

Like 1986's Aliens, James Cameron's follow-up to Ridley Scott's classic 1979 masterpiece Alien, many horror fans rank Evil Dead II above the original Evil Dead, which, seeing as the sequel is as much a comedy as it is a supernatural fright pic, is something of a surprise (Likewise, Aliens was more of an action-packed shoot-'em-up than a straight-on sci-fi / horror film). In the case of both franchises, my opinion is exactly the same: I prefer the originals (Alien and The Evil Dead), but that doesn't prevent me from loving the hell out of the sequels!

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