Monday, March 12, 2012

Classics: The Evil Dead

I had the distinct privilege this weekend of watching the first movie in the cult-classic trilogy: The Evil Dead. Yes, this movie is 31 years-old and I am 41. That might have something to do with the fact on why I waited until I was middle-aged to see this horror flick. You see, I am a chicken when it comes to scary movies, and I was much, much worse when I was younger. What is bigger than a chicken when describing someone terrified of scary movies? I don't know, but that is what I was and it has taken me decades to add layers of protective skin in order to tolerate anything on the frightening side of life.

Also, I hate, detest, and abhor zombie stories. It all began when I was a young girl attempting to hang out with my older brother and his friends and watch Dawn of the Dead (1978). Needless to say, I saw enough that it scared me for life. (To this day I still haven't finished watching that movie.)

So, why watch a zombie movie, three decades after its release?  Well, I am trying to expand my horizons as a movie reviewer, face some of fears, and a few months ago I had a couple of friends sing to me the praises of Bruce Campbell. These guys are HUGE fans and I was reluctant to tell them that I really hadn't seen any of his work - primarily The Evil Dead series. (Also, I haven't caught any episodes of Burn Notice...yet.) However, because I wanted to impress my friends with my recent tenacity to watch zombie stories this week (I watched the first season of The Walking Dead and loved it - total fan.) that I thought, "Why not The Evil Dead movie?" Seriously, that is the truth.

While alone in my home, on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I found The Evil Dead on Netflix instant replay. I had a feeling it wouldn't have been in any list prior to my recent watching of The Walking Dead on Netflix, but Netflix has a way of tracking what you watch and then suggesting more that you might like. 

So, what did I think of the cult-classic? Let me put it this way: I see why this movie has a following but it's not for the unbelievable filmmaking skills but for what the filmmakers did to make this an audience favorite. Gore and more gore and it even had a good ending - left it wide open for Evil Dead II. I read somewhere, after I watched the movie, where the three friends involved in creating the film: Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert G. Tampert decided to make a film based on a short story Sam Raimi wrote in college. Also, none of them really wanted to advance in their current studies or jobs.

So they researched what audiences would like for a horror film by going to drive-ins and watching the audiences of the late 1970's. Bruce Campbell stated, "The message was very clear. Keep the pace fast and furious, and once the horror starts, never let up. 'The gorier the merrier' became our prime directive.'" Plus, they were told by another friend, " keep the blood coming." And they did. In fact, I felt very queasy afterwards. Yeah, I have a weak stomach for gore. I admit it.

I will not rate this movie, as I don't when it comes to classic films, even for cult-classics. You all should know by now that I feel that nearly every film (and genre) made has an audience. If I like it or don't like it doesn't really matter especially when it's had 31 years of loyal fans. In fact, some fans might not be aware that a remake (SHOCK, I know) of The Evil Dead (2013) is currently in pre-production as I type this post. Sam Raimi is directing it. I am sure fans are moaning and groaning but I am just supplying the information that I discovered. Sorry, guys, but you know how I feel about remakes so it's pointless for me to say anything else on the matter.

For a film that was created for less than $400,000, spurred on two sequels, video games and even a Broadway musical (2006) and launched the acting career of Bruce Campbell, all because friends really didn't like their day jobs is a testament to follow your dreams because you never know where it will lead you. 

Dream, people. Dream BIG!

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Daniel LaFollette said...

Now you have to watch 2 and 3 (Army of Darkness) they just keep getting better :)

Tired of Previews said...

Thanks for hounding me about Bruce Campbell and The Evil Dead. I hope he and you approve of my review. Yes, I will watch the others and possibly the remakes, although you know my thoughts on remakes ;-)


mike said...

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Tired of Previews said...

Thank you, Mike! :-)