James Rolfe: It's Cinemassacre's "Monster Madness". In our history of horror films we made our way to the 80's, touched upon the slasher genre, zombie genre and introduced some of the most famous horror icons ever. But one of the most outrageous of all the horror franchises is the "Evil Dead"-trilogy. To this day there are few there are able to balance humor, horror, atmosphere and creative camerawork.
The plot of the "Evil Dead" movies is not about zombies or a killer, but a book. The Book of the Dead; centuries old, inked in blood, bound in human flesh and with the power to summon all kinds of crazy monsters.
Possessed Henrietta: I'll swallow your soul-- Aargh!
Ash (aiming his shotgun at Henrietta's face before blowing it up): Swallow this!
James: There are no rules to these movies; anything can happen.
(A deer-trophy comes to life and starts to laugh)
James: The first "Evil Dead" was made independently, low budget, filmed in an abandoned cabin. It relied on atmosphere and chills, suspense and shocking scenes of grotesque dismemberment, creature-effects and bloodshed. The stop-motion sequence at the end is definitely a highlight. And how many movies have you seen where somebody gets raped by a tree?
But "Evil Dead 2"; this is where things really start to pick up. Director Sam Raimi comes up with a lot of really interesting camera-moves; a trademark of his which he'd employ on his "Spiderman" movies. There is one great scene where it breaks the window of a car and comes through the front. There's also times when it goes through the entire cabin from the front door to the back. We assume that it's a point of view shot, but we never find out what the hell it is that's chasing him.
Bruce Campbell returns in his role as Ash, taking more than double the abuse and bringing more personality to the role. His character alternates between good and evil and in a schizophrenic frenzy he just puts up one hell of a battle. Don't you just hate it when your hand starts acting up? What you gotta do is show it who's boss; cut that bastard off! Damn… Of course the rest of the movie he's got a chainsaw attached to his arm. You don't fuck with somebody with a gun and a chainsaw – that's badass! "Evil Dead 2" is a fine mix of action, horror and comedy. The ending leaves Ash in a time-warp to the 13th century.
"Evil Dead 3" or "The Medieval Dead" would end up being called "Army of Darkness" because the producers wanted to appeal to a wider audience. Unfortunately most people didn't appreciate its slapstick humor, but fans like me consider it to be one of the funniest movies ever made. By now there's not a whole lot of horror, it's more like an action comedy but it's great. There's too many memorable lines to count.
Ash (during a romantic moment with Sheila): Give me some sugar, baby…
Ash (to Duke Henry): I got news for you, pal. You ain't leading but two things right now; Jack and shit… and Jack left town.
James: The character of Ash is now fully developed. He's one of the few heroes to balance the line of being badass and being an asshole at the same time. All he wants to do is get back to his own time period.
Ash: Just send me back to my own time, pronto, today!
James: But he's stuck having to save the kingdom from the Deadites. The wiseman tells Ash that he has to retrieve the book from a sacred place, but he has to say the correct magic words.
Ash: Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Ash: I got it, I got it! I know your damn words, alright!?
James: The words were actually taken from the 1951 classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still".
Klaatu: You must say these words; Klaatu Barada Nikto.
James: So Ash has to say these words or else all Hell is gonna break loose. But when he gets there he forgets…
Ash: Klaatu… Barada… N--(coughs)!
James: The whole joke is that we're stuck with this incompetent hero.
Ash: Look, maybe I didn't say every single little tiny syllable, no. But basically I said them, yeah.
James: The last scene involves a huge epic battle with the dead. And since the days of Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion skeletons are always awesome.
"The Evil Dead"-trilogy is a huge fan-favorite of the whole genre. Fans have been eagerly awaiting an "Evil Dead 4". There has been video games, a musical and countless merchandise proving that the fanbase is there and ready. But unfortunately a remake is planned and not yet another installment in the series. Describing the appeal of these movies can't be done, unless you see them. But there's one word that can sum it up…
James: That's right. 'Groovy'.