Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Within the Woods

Before there was Evil Dead, there was Within the Woods. To prove that they could make films, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel et al. set out to make a "prototype". I had only heard about this as I have recently read "If Chins could Kill" the autobiography of Bruce Campbell (well worth a read, he writes just as I assume he talks!). Then not long after I finished the book, a guy called Phil Edwards (aka @Live_for_Films) posted four YouTube videos on his Live for Films blog which show the short 30 min prototype: Within the Woods.

But what's the film like? Well the plot is simple. Young couple go for romantic picnic on haunted ancient Indian burial ground, which is fine as long as you don't defile the graves. Ooops! Trying to dig a pit for a fire and, Oh look, there's a grave! Bruce disappears as his girl falls asleep, only to be found dead and bloodied in the wood. Of course he's not really dead, just possessed and so goes on to kill the others in the party (well not quite, but I don't want to give everything away!)

Well, it's hard to make much comment because the quality of the videos is bad (it was shot on Super8 tape in 1978! It is all very dark, and fairly difficult to see what is going on, you can't even really tell that it's Bruce Campbell in the film. About the only thing that is evident is Sam Raimi's use of camera. The "Evil Spirit" is demonstrated by a shaky camera near the ground (apparently the camera was attached to a plank of wood that the cameraman could run with, not attached to a skateboard as I thought it was). This is a technique also used a lot in the Evil Dead films, and also (maybe a bit tongue in cheek) in Spider-man 2 (I wanted to say homage, but I'm not sure that's correct given that it's the same director!)

So, that's about all I can say about Within the Woods really, at least about what I've seen of it. But rest assured, I will be wanting to watch Evil Dead soon, so there'll be a review of that in the not too distant future.

Evil Dead Trailer