THE EVIL DEAD. 1981. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY SAM RAIMI. STARRING BRUCE CAMPBELL, HAL DELRICH, ELLEN SANDWEISS, BETSY BAKER AND SARAH YORK. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I was recently the recipient of two fantastic presents that served to further my ongoing horror education in a way that was both thrilling and gory.
The first is a DVD boxset. It’s called BOX OF THE BANNED: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION OF VIDEO NASTIES. It has six films on it. These are: THE EVIL DEAD, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978), ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (1979), THE DRILLER KILLER (1979), THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and NIGHTMARES IN A DAMAGED BRAIN (1981). There’s also a full-length documentary included about the effects of the Obscene Publications Act on horror films, entitled: BAN THE SADIST VIDEOS.Cool, eh? Feel free to turn green with envy, horror fans…!
The second present is a book. It’s called IF CHINS COULD KILL: CONFESSIONS OF A B-MOVIE ACTOR BY BRUCE CAMPBELL. It’s got a gorgeous full-cover picture on the front of an open-shirted, iron-chested, grinning Bruce casually battling some hideous zombies, and just look at the size of his massive… chainsaw, haha!
The book basically tells the story of his career and has a ton of cool black-and-white pics, including snaps taken during filming of THE EVIL DEAD, one of the most iconic cult horror movies ever made. Late to the party as always, how could I not watch it after receiving two such brilliant pressies from my closest friend in the whole world?
The book-and-film combo also explained a few things and answered some of my most niggly questions, such as What the hell is ASH VS. THE EVIL DEAD, which everyone on Facebook has been enthusing about for months? Now I finally know, haha.
I also know that horror author Stephen King has spoken highly of THE EVIL DEAD and that Bruce Campbell’s character Ash Williams has battled Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in the FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH comic-book series. I’m also finding out why THE EVIL DEAD 2 (1987) and ARMY OF DARKNESS (1993) are so beloved of horror fans and why I should get hold of them and watch them as soon as it’s (in)humanly possible.
The story of THE EVIL DEAD is pretty straightforward. It’s an ‘isolated-cabin-in-the-haunted-woods’ tale to the max, heh-heh-heh. Five chums in their twenties go to the aforementioned cabin in the woods, which are as haunted and as evil as f**k, if you’ll excuse my French. Naturally, before long all hell has literally broken loose and the buddies are fighting for their very lives. And their souls…
What’s cool about the plot is that the five pals aren’t battling a load of random zombies who wander in from the haunted woods, which is what I thought would be happening. What actually happens is much better. One by one, the friends, with the exception of Bruce Campbell’s character Ash, become demonically possessed themselves by the evil they’ve unleashed by foolishly playing a haunted audiotape. They turn on each other and lash out at each other in the most gruesome ways until Ash is the last man standing but, even then, his troubles may not be over…
The fog-wreathed haunted woods are terrifying. There’s a sense of evil and nastiness about them right from the start. And the trees in there are sexual predators. The topic of arboreal rape may not have permeated the universal consciousness to any great degree but, let me tell you, it does exist. It’s out there, in all its leafy, twiggy, barky sappy awfulness and, if you want to wipe it off the face of the earth forever, then, um, you could maybe send some money to, um, me. I swear I’ll see it gets to the right, um, branch, of the, er, relevant organisation. Sounds legit? You bet your arse it’s legit…
The special effects are mind-blowing. I thought I was a big brave girl for managing to sit through George A. Romero’s TRILOGY OF THE DEAD, but Sam Raimi’s zombies make Romero’s zombies look like Teletubbies. No offence to Mr. Romero, whose oeuvres are absolutely amazing. But the zombies from THE EVIL DEAD do exactly what it says on the tin. They’re evil and nasty and they make terrifying noises and they can mimic people so that you’re lulled into a false sense of security and then BAM! Right in the eye, or the ear or the ankle or the brain or wherever. They terrified me.
There’s even what looks like stop-motion animation towards the end, which is fascinating, and of course my new hero Bruce Campbell is terrific as he battles zombies to the left of him, zombies to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you and so on.
To think I was planning to unfriend the next person on Facebook who raved about ASH VS. THE EVIL DEAD. Now that I finally know what this is, the ASH enthusiasts are safe from a possible unfriending and I have a new crush. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? And, um, don’t forget the money to, um, wipe out arboreal rape in our lifetime. Every little helps…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY