I’ll start this review with a confession… I’m in my mid-30s and i’d never seen The Evil Dead. I know, i know, it’s a terrible thing to have to own up to, but I’ve never been massively into horror films, and it’s just a film that’s managed to evade me for the the past 30 years. Until now.
So, if (like me) you’d heard of The Evil Dead, but never actually seen it, here’s a brief synopsis. Five Michigan State University students venture into the hills to spend a weekend at an isolated cabin. There they discover an ancient Sumerian text, known as the “Morturom Demonto”; roughly translated as “The Book of the Dead.” While searching the basement of the cabin, the students find and play a tape recording of demonic incantations from the book, unwittingly resurrecting slumbering demons that thirst for revenge. The characters are then possessed – one by one – by the spirits of the Book.
In 1979 a relatively unknown chap called Sam Rami decides to make a horror movie. So with a couple of short movies under his belt, enabling him to raise some funding from investors, he head out to a small cabin in the woods near Morristown, Tennessee, with old high school buddy Bruce Campbell taking the lead role of ‘Ash’. Together, they started shooting a film that would go down in horror movie history.
Seeing the movie for the first time in 2010, it’s good to see The Evil Dead still stands up pretty well. The direction and camera work create a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, and the horror genuinely horrifying in places. Even with all the 21st century CGI effects we’re used to seeing, the visceral nature of the late 70’s physical ‘blood & gore’ props will still make you cover your eyes if your at all squeamish! The use of sound effects works brilliantly, adding another layer to the tension.
Like all good 80’s horror, it was of course, banned in numerous countries. However, despite all the gore and… well… evil, in The Evil Dead, it’s was never really taking it self too seriously. It strikes a great balance, keeping the tension and horror high, whilst having it’s tongue firmly in cheek. It’s a format that’s been copied many times over the years, but The Evil Dead was there first.
If your a fan of the movie, the blu-ray release is well worth picking up. Along with a stunning version of the film with digitally remastered high definition picture and sound, you also get an all new commentary with Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and producer Rob Tapert; Picture in Picture videos featuring interviews with various horror luminaries talking about how the film influenced them; treasures from the cutting room floor; on stage interviews and make up tests.
THE EVIL DEAD will be available on Blu-ray Disc for RRP £17.99 from 11th October, 2010.