Friday, April 12, 2013

Why I Love The Evil Dead (1981)

When I saw trailers for the new Evil Dead remake, my first thought was "Why? Why would anyone remake that movie when the original is such a beloved classic?" Well, to make money and to recreate a cult phenomenon with modern special effects and a much bigger budget. For the record, I have not seen the remake and I don't plan to, mainly because I'm afraid it won't have any of the following qualities that I love about the original:

***Some vague spoilers are mentioned here***

'Tis but a scratch.
1. Completely Unrealistic Special Effects 
With an NC-17 rating, you expect The Evil Dead to be gore galore. What you don't expect is just how laughably bad that gore is. And by that I mean there are moments in which I literally burst into fits of laughter when I watch this film. Let's start with the fact that anytime a character gets sliced/hacked into they seem to have no bones at all; they're just skin and blood. And whenever someone loses a limb, blood spurts out of them Monty Python-style while the limbs lie on the ground jiggling like jello. (Yet notice how the characters are rarely ever covered in blood after this happens.) Then there's the shovel, which is apparently sharp enough to cut through a human neck like a battle axe even after being used to dig two (albeit shallow) graves. I'm not even going to comment on the claymation rapid decay at the end or the demonic tree (which was one of the better effects), but I will say that despite their quirks, the special effects were still way more convincing than CGI. Also, kudos to Sam Raimi for the mirror-turning-to-water-thing; it looked awesome and it added a nice surreal touch to an already suspenseful scene.

We're only being killed off by ruthless demons.
I see no need to panic.
2. Non-Annoying Characters
Think of the average horror movie. Who are the main characters? Are they pain-in-the-ass teenagers who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag that had the bottom torn out? Do you find yourself thinking, "You idiots are too stupid to live! When are y'all gonna die already?!" Okay, so maybe you don't have the Yat accent, but this is my typical horror movie viewing experience. However, I am pleased to say that it does not apply to The Evil Dead. Don't get me wrong, the dialogue is cheesy (hey, it was the '80s; I'm pretty sure everyone talked that way back then) and there are definitely moments in which you feel like shouting at the screen, "You have an axe in your hand, dude! USE IT!" Even so, the characters never come off as whiny, unlikeable morons. In fact, they are so normal and subdued that you can't help but care about them a little. But hey, that's just my view; I'm sure there are those out there who are complete robots and don't find it in the least bit endearing when a guy is relectant to saw up his girlfriend *cough*heartless bastards*cough**cough*

The '80s were good times. *sigh*
3. Bruce Campbell
Damn, he was cute... What was I talking about again? Oh, right, the movie. On to the next point.


"And now for my impression of Oscar the Grouch."
4. That I-have-no-budget-but-by-gosh-I'm-gonna-make-a-film-anyway Feel
What truly makes The Evil Dead so likeable is that it was made by a group of friends who were amateurs in the field of film-making. Their main goal wasn't to make money but to break through in an industry where renown veterans rule and newcomers are swept aside and left bankrupt. But big-name studios with multimillion-dollar budgets rarely (if ever) make cult classics; that honor is reserved for those who follow their dreams instead of marketing strategies. Sam Raimi, his family, and his friends all scrimped and saved and borrowed and begged in order to make this movie. The spirit of their hard work and dedication seeped into the film itself, giving it a certain charm that continues to capture the hearts of audiences worldwide and speak to the dreamer in each of us. (What do you mean "that's too mushy"? What did you expect me to say, that I like the movie because I enjoy watching people decay into cream corn?... Well, okay, maybe a little.)

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