Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Evil Dead

Well, this must be the fastest that I have watched a film and then blogged about it!

Having watched Within the Woods last week, and on the back of finishing If Chins Could Kill, I knew I had to watch Evil Dead. It was particularly interesting as I saw several ideas that were initially in Within the Woods. The wooden bench on the porch banging against the hut; the voices saying "Join us" (Bruce Campbell says this himself in Within the Woods). Apart from being a daft Horror/Splatter/Zombie movie (not sure if I got the right genre there!), there are a few points that set it apart from others in the same ilk.

The most obvious of these is the camera work. There are many shots that are obviously thought out: Scott opening the door to the cabin, him framed in the doorway in the top right of the screen, light illuminating dust in the room, and the highlighted stuffed head on the wall; several shots that start above the character or even upside-down over the character, and the use of the camera to smash through windows (Bash-cam I believe!). Oh, and of course the camera attached to a plank of wood being run through the wood.

I guess the story itself is fairly daft (evil spirit in the wood is awakened by a recording of someone reciting verse from the Book of the Dead, spirit then possesses people who can only be dispatched by bodily dismemberment). But the whole film is still very enjoyable and not completely ridiculous. Yes there has to be a shed (cabin?) load of disbelief suspension, but it's horror right? Where in the wrong hands the film could be laughable, Sam Raimi's story telling and directing not only saves it but even makes it a good film.

I guess the only let down could be the special effects, particularly at the end. Two possessed people disintegrate (in a manner very reminiscent of the climax of Raiders of the Lost Ark), but it looks like the preferred medium for these effects was plasticine. OK this wasn't a huge budget film, but considering The Thing came out the following year, the effects were far better (I guess John Carpenter did have a much bigger budget having already made Halloween, The Fog, and Escape from New York, whereas Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were making their first film). OK, having re-read that I think I'm being harsh on the special effects, but they do look a bit ropey!

Still, The Evil Dead is a classic, I guess one of the few times in cinema history though, when the second film perhaps out does the first!