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Archive for the ‘Evil Dead II – 25th Anniversary’ Category

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn – 25th Anniversary – review

“Someone’s in my fruittttt celllarrrrrr.”  Evil Dead II is one of the greatest horror films ever made.  I also think it’s one of the greatest films ever made, as I included it as #101 on my 101 greatest films of all time list.  2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the classic film, and with it an updated Blu-Ray release with loads of extras on it.  Many of the extras are found on previous deluxe DVD releases, but none the less this is a must have for all blu-ray owners.  I found this at Best Buy for a staggering $5.99.  Yes $5.99!  I almost felt bad at purchasing it for such a price.  I greedily grabbed a copy and held it tight to my chest, looking around waiting for someone in a blue shirt to tackle me immediately and scream, ‘Price Check!!’.

The first time I saw Evil Dead II was probably around 1993 or 1994.  By then the film had official gained cult status and I felt like an outsider in the horror film genre for not seeing it.  “What do you mean you haven’t seen Evil Dead II yet?”  I went down to the local Roadrunner video store, and after numerous attempts of the film being rented out, finally found a beautiful VHS copy in a white clam shell case.  Finally!  I didn’t know what to expect.  Was I going to be scared witless?  Would my brain actual explode from what I was about to see?  I didn’t know what I was in for, just that I had to see this.

Evil Dead II is more than just a horror film.  It’s the first film I can remember that straddled the line of both horror and comedy.  I had never seen anything like it, and to this day futile attempts have been made to duplicate it.  I’m supposed to be terrified, but for some reason I feel like I’m watching a Three Stooges episode as well.  Huh, weird.  What am I supposed to do with this?

Here was the first ‘real’ anti-hero I could connect with, Ash Williams, the hero of that terrifying abandoned cabin in the woods.  Here was someone I could connect with.  This was my character.  To this day I have an Ash bobble-head doll on my desk reminding me to shop smart, shop S-Mart and be wary of his boomstick (yes I know these are quotes from Army of Darkness, fear not continuity junkies).   Long ago I swore that if I ever had a son his name would be Ash, and he would save us all from the horror of the deadites. B-movie star Bruce Campbell pours so much into Ash that he become a real life hero of mine.  He has the ability to transfer that dynamic past the screen, and make me interested in him as a human being and actor.  I mean who doesn’t like Brisco County Jr., Bubba Ho-tep, and his genius work in Waxwork II: Lost in Time?

Director Sam Raimi never intended to make the sequel to his debut The Evil Dead, instead he went on to make Crimewave and expected it to be a huge hit, but fortunately for us it wasn’t. Horror godfather Dino De Laurentis was talked in to producing the sequel from none other then Stephen King, who was a gigantic fan of the film.  De Laurentis agreed after seeing that The Evil Dead put up some pretty good box office numbers, after being made for virtually peanuts.  The film grew steam off of critics such as Roger Ebert praising it.  It eventually reached Gold status in the hearts and minds of all cult film junkies.  To this day my friend Mark and I pass back Evil Dead quotes like we are saying hello to each other.

Raimi went on to direct the hugely successful Spider-Man trilogy of course, and Bruce Campbell has stayed the course of his B-movie stardom, but Evil Dead II was that turning point for both of them.  And yes that’s correct, if you ‘haven’t seen Evil Dead II yet, you should be shot and fed to the deadites, with your remaining body parts buried in the back-yard, only to re-animate and become an evil version of yourself.  Classic in every way.

Grade: A+