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Tag: Betsy Baker

The Evil Dead

by on Oct.25, 2010, under Daily Review

It’s easy to forget just how stunningly good this film is, just how much of an amazing genius Raimi can be and here is the original evidence, and one of the finest debut movies to grace the genre. Raimi has always been top of my list as a inventive director, but with super stardom with the Spiderman franchise he’s kinda taken for granted. Let me also mention, his sequels have always been on the glossier side; brilliant yes, but not of the same standard as far as I’m concerned. The original has innocence and untamed, unchartered creativity.

The plot, simple and perfect. Friends head off for a weekend in a log cabin in the woods. They discover some research notes, an old tome and a recording which tells of demons, resurrection and haunting in the woods. Old things which should be left untouched, but it’s all a bit too late and soon the spirits are upon the youths. The woods come alive with possession and death their goal.

In it’s essence, this is Lovecraft down to the last frame. Things out there which we just don’t know about. We don’t know how to battle against them, we don’t know what they want, but they are there and they are after souls. In cinematic style, this is unlike anything else. It’s close to chainsaw in it’s artistic cinematography and contemporary horror for a new generation, but the things Raimi does with a camera is totally out there.

We have gore, plenty of gore, great makeup and fantastical imagination during possessions. The pencil in the ankle is one shocking moment which still gets me even by today’s standards. I absolutely adore the possessed look, especially Linda (Betsy Baker) with that spooky beautiful smile and babydoll voice. Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) locked in the cellar is also one of the greatest cinematic visuals of the 21st century, a great transformation and brutally fast in it’s attack. Earlier, we see her abducted by trees and vines I the woods, disrobed and raped by a branch. This is a vicious moment and something terrifying, nature turning on youth.

This one will always be one of my favourites. It’s original to the point of crazyness. I’ve probably never seen anything quite so sharp, horrific, clever and inspiring as Evil Dead. Not only does it stand up today alongside huge budget horror flicks, but it lives out its reputation during the 80’s as one of the Nasties, this is one of the definitive, one which has stepped beyond the shadows, through popular culture and beyond a cult classic, propelling Raimi into a god of a director.  I should mention Bruce too, but does he need a mention? We all know how stunning he is here.

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