The Evil Dead: A Look Back – By Aaron Macom

Yea I know everybody and their brother has an opinion of The Evil Dead. This movie has been watched more times than that Paris Hilton video. Who would have thought this low budget gore fest would become the icon of independent horror films.

The influence this movie has had on film makers still surprises me today. With today’s technology and digital video cameras this movie would still be a feat to make, let alone market. These guys did it the old fashioned way, and by these guys I mean Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.

Now if you’re a fan of The Evil Dead or any of the films in the series you, of course, have already read Bruce Campbell’s book “If Chins Could Kill : Confessions of a B Movie Actor.” This book really adds some illumination to the amount of effort these guys put into this film. The fundraising alone took more time and effort than a lot producers and directors put into some of today’s movies. This movie was Sam Raimi’s baby. With the small budget they had, they had to make every penny count and at the same time Raimi was free to create the vision he wanted without studio interference. Sam had an idea and that he followed through to the end.

I’ve seen the sequels to the movie and they are great in their own right but the original is still the best of the bunch. Evil Dead 2 was too campy for me and it really lacked the big scare factor of the original. Army of Darkness is a really great film but it was more action oriented. If you watch the original as a stand alone movie I think you realize just how different it was from the others in the series as well as realize how much more serious the mood was.

The Evil Dead has inspired me and educated me on many levels. It is an entertaining movie as well as a great way to look at how an idea can become a reality. Just looking at the extras on the DVD are a learning experience. By looking at the still shots a viewer can see how a shot was composed. Viewing any of the ‘making of’ material shows how even a simple thing like levitating an actress three feet off the floor takes careful execution.

It’s pretty obvious the influence that this movie and it’s sequels have had on people. The fans call themselves Deadites and they have the fan sites to prove their loyalty. There are video games, stickers, t-shirts and a plethora of toys devoted to The Evil Dead franchise. It has been well over twenty years since the first screening of The Evil Dead, known then as Book of the Dead and the franchise is still going strong. As of this writing Sam Raimi has green-lighted a remake of the original with a bigger budget and a different director. He has also said in an interview that he will eventually get around to Evil Dead 4 after he finishes the Spider-Man films. I will be first in line for both.

What I have learned from watching The Evil Dead:

1. Bridges are bad.
2. Don’t play around with witchcraft.
3. Old rusty chain-saws can still operate when you need them.
4. Trees are not our friends.
5. Friends don’t let friends become zombies.

Hail to the king baby.