Connect with us
Evil Dead II annivesrsary review
Courtesy of Rosebud Releasing Corporation.

Culture

Evil Dead II at 35: The Dead Get Knocked Down, (But They Get Up Again)

Kiss Your Nerves Good-Bye!

Revisiting Evil Dead II

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise has spawned a TV series, an upcoming survival horror game, and a cult following, gaining much attention due to its pioneering brand of gory slapstick. While the first film started it all, it is Evil Dead II which managed to mix horror and comedy into glorious B-Movie gold.

Evil Dead II begins with Ash Williams, played by Bruce Campbell, breaking into a cabin in the woods with his girlfriend Linda for a romantic trip. We quickly discover that the cabin belonged to an archaeologist who had found the Necronomicon: The Book of the Dead. A mishap involving a tape recording of a summoning incantation releases demonic forces. Things quickly go south. The demon possesses Linda, forcing Ash to decapitate her with a shovel. This is only the prologue to the blood-drenched chaos to come.

After discovering that the bridge leading away from the cabin is destroyed, Ash has to fight to survive the night. A visiting group, including the archaeologist’s daughter and a trail guide, do little to help the situation. If anything, most of the group serve as fodder for the demonic onslaught. ‘Dead by Dawn’ is the subtitle to the film, and the persecuting demons (coined as ‘deadites’) certainly try their best. A solid A+ for effort. However, the manic energy and sheer determination of the hero makes him a foe to be reckoned with.

Evil Dead II annivesrsary review
Courtesy of Rosebud Releasing Corporation.

Bruce Campbell’s performance is a key part of the film’s success. With each new horror, he becomes increasingly unhinged, fully committing to the absurdity of the role. In the face of evil he screams, he laughs, he quips, and he maintains an air of constant unpredictability that makes him an absolute delight to watch. His antics often turn to full-blown slapstick. He becomes a Buster Keaton of the horror flick as his character is subjected to a catalogue of comic threats. A brilliant scene of physical comedy sees his possessed hand smashing plates onto his own head, a scene which is often echoed in the 2018 sci-fi film Upgrade – another gory genre film with stupendous physical acting.

Raimi demonstrates that horror directors and actors can learn a lot from the slapstick genre, as its exaggerated physicality lends so much weight to every blow. Slapstick really gets at the corporality of the body, an essential aspect in effective body horror.

Evil Dead II annivesrsary review
Courtesy of Rosebud Releasing Corporation.

Raimi’s interest in experimental camera techniques also pushed the genre further. The camera is as unpredictable as Campbell himself, sometimes morphing into frantic perspective shots, sometimes panning around slowly, sometimes even being dragged over the floorboards. There is a real creative energy behind this film, one which is often lacking in other horror flicks. Raimi’s interest in the camera and perspective elevates this film above many others in its genre.

While the practical effects are over-the-top in their absurdity, this simply adds to the fun. Evil Dead II takes no half-measures, and is destined to remain a cult classic for many years to come.

Watch Evil Dead 2

Now Streaming

Written By

Ryan is a culture writer, aspiring academic, and film enthusiast, with a particular interest in all things horror. He also can often be found, notepad to hand, puzzling over the latest detective games. He tweets at @RyanOShea42.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Facebook

Trending

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

Wrestling

Don West Don West

Remembering Wrestling Sports Broadcaster Don West

Culture

The Last of Us Infected The Last of Us Infected

The Last of Us Looks for Love in a Hopeless Place with “Infected”

TV

Hear Me Out Hear Me Out

Hear Me Out Never Finds Its Own Voice

Film

Kaleidoscope Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope (2023): How the Newest Hypnotic Netflix Toy Stumbles with its Unique Format

TV

Bill Nighy is a Living Marvel in This Kurosawa Remake

Culture

The Last of Us When You're Lost in the Darkness The Last of Us When You're Lost in the Darkness

The Last of Us Begins with the Bleak, Familiar “When You’re Lost in the Darkness”

TV

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time Greatest Royal Rumble Matches of All time

Top 5 WWE Wrestlers To Win The 2023 Royal Rumble

Wrestling

Sundance 2023: The Eight Must-See Films at the Festival

Culture

WWE Royal Rumble 1992 WWE Royal Rumble 1992

Why the 1992 WWE Royal Rumble Match is Still The Best

Culture

maxwell jacob friedman maxwell jacob friedman

MJF and Three Potential First-Time Feuds for 2023 

Culture

When It Melts movie review When It Melts movie review

When It Melts Continues an Important Conversation with Unflinching Pathos

Culture

Magazine Dreams Review Magazine Dreams Review

Magazine Dreams is a Volcanic Study of A Self-consuming Bodybuilder

Culture

Ranking The Chicago Bulls Dynasty Opponents In The ’90s

Culture

WWE sale - Vince McMahon WWE sale - Vince McMahon

The Available Options For A Potential Sale Of WWE

Culture

They’re All Alright: Ranking the Ten Best That ’70s Show Characters They’re All Alright: Ranking the Ten Best That ’70s Show Characters

They’re All Alright: Ranking the Best Characters fromThat ’70s Show

Culture

Connect