Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (Widescreen Edition)

Fledgling director Sam Raimi was given one piece of advice when he began his film career: Buckets of blood sell tickets. The resulting film was 1982's classic low-budget shocker Evil Dead, a nearly non-stop Grand Guignol that introduced the world to Raimi's demented method of filmmaking. His quick cuts, odd camera angles, and, of course, wild points of view—most notably a Steadicam perversion dubbed "The Shakycam," in which two cameramen run around with the camera mounted on a board—have since become benchmarks by which many quirky films are measured. The first Evil Dead is a straight horror film; 1987's sequel, however, is something else. Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, essentially a remake of the first film, owes as much to The Three Stooges as it does to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The plot, what little there is of it, is appropriately ridiculous: Bruce Campbell unwittingly unleashes an ancient forest demon that terrorizes him and a handful of demon fodder in a secluded mountain cabin. Raimi is one of the most deliriously kinetic directors around, and this new widescreen edition amply shows off his dizzying style. He fills Evil Dead 2 with rapid-fire cartoon violence, his colorful and copious gore a hyperbolic rainbow of red, black, blue, and green splatters, as if Jackson Pollock were in charge of the special effects. Raimi also peppers the movie with treats for film buffs, like explicit references to Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel and stop-animation wizard Ray Harryhausen. The slapstick-and-carnage formula of Evil Dead 2 clearly inspired such recent horror spoofs as Dead Alive and From Dusk Till Dawn, and Raimi himself couldn't resist an even goofier second sequel (1993's hilarious Army Of Darkness, originally titled Medieval Dead). But Evil Dead 2's rampant inventiveness and manic energy have ensured that it will endure as a cult classic.


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