November 8, 2003

The beginning of a legend…

I remember the first time I heard of The Evil Dead. I was probably in 13 or so and my younger sister had just come back from a slumber party. She began describing the movie they had watched at the slumber party and how scary it was. She described, in vivid detail, the scene in which a girl had been raped by a tree. (In my mind, this was only slightly more fascinating than being raped by a curling iron, as in Sleepaway Camp, which I had also only heard about, but not seen.) I kept asking her why, but she didn’t know. I asked her over and over, so many times that she got really pissed off at me. After that she refused to talk about it any more. Then I kept asking her what it was called and she didn’t know either. I was utterly pissed. My younger sister not only got to see a movie in which a girl was raped about a tree, but she was obviously withholding information from me, so that I would be unable to track this film down! The nerve! Okay, reflecting back, she probably wasn’t withholding this information on purpose, she just didn’t remember. In any case, I was bitter for quite a while.

Fast forward to college. It doesn’t take long for me to figure out that the much fabled Evil Dead series, loved by college students everywhere, is the source of of the tree rape I’d been wondering about all these years. Of course, I get the rat bastard to show it to me. Needless to say, I was hooked.

Evil Dead has something for everyone. For those who aren’t into tree rapes, there’s not so garden variety demon possession. There’s dismemberment. There’s melting claymation zombies. There’s also achilles heel stabbing, which has been a particular phobia of mine since Pet Sematary. Also worth mentioning – blood. Gallons and gallons of Karo Syrup Blood. And best of all…there’s Ash.

You’d never guess that Ash will be the hero during the first half of the film. What kind of guy gives a girl a magnifying glass necklace? If a guy gave me something like that, he’d end up with it shoved up his ass. He is such a damn pussy. Up until the very moment that everyone else is dead, you’d assume he’s the next to get zombified. Nope. All his friends are dead, so he has no choice but to become a bad ass. Okay, not as much as a bad ass as he is in the next installments, but hey – he makes it out alive, doesn’t he?

So Sam Raimi has a nice little cottage industry going. Even if he never makes another Spider-Man movie again, he’s set up for life on Evil Dead Marketing. There are three different Evil Dead DVDs right now! I have The Book of the Dead Version, a squishy latex monstrosity made up to look like the Necronomicon. It smells really bad – like burning condoms. There are a decent amount of special features. I just watched the movie with the Bruce Campbell commentary. He does a good job of talking throughout the whole thing and not leaving too many uncomfortable silences. I’d already heard about half the anecdotes he had to share about filming, but there were still enough new ones to keep me interested. The one drawback is that the Sam Raimi/Rob Tapert commentary is separate – so I’ll have to watch the whole thing again to see what they have to say about it. Also included is Bruce Campbell’s documentary, Fanalysis. He describes the convention circuits and his relationship with his fans. He manages not to look down on his fans (even the fucking freaky A-KON types), while at the same time, keeping a safe distance. There are also some cut scenes and outtakes, which are really hazy and weird. The best part is the still gallery, which has loads of pictures from the production. The pictures give you some idea of the hell that they must have gone through making this picture.

Watch The Evil Dead and you’ll never look at a tree in the same way again.


Year – 1981
Rating – NC-17
Runtime – 85 minutes
Genre – Horror, Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell
Director(s) – Sam Raimi
Writer(s) – Sam Raimi
Actor(s) – Bruce Campbell
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – "You bastards! Why are you doing this to me?" - Ash (Bruce Campbell)