The Evil Dead – plasticine mayhem!

24 Sep

The Evil Dead movie posterI suspect The Evil Dead was slightly before my time (given I was about 7 months old when it was released and it’s generally frowned upon for babies to be watching anything involving demons and blood) but luckily I quite like old horror films.

We open with a bunch of er…young-ish people driving through the woods.  If they’re meant to be teenagers then they’re pretty much the most geriatric teenagers ever.  Our hero is a man called Ashley.  Unfortunate girly names aside, he looks a bit like a vaguely attractive Jim Carey – minus the constant facial flappery.  The ‘young people’ are driving through the woods to a cabin.  The fact that the road leading up to said cabin is pretty much non-existent suggests that they’re miles from anything and should probably turn back.  They don’t.

They arrive to find a creepy-as-hell shack with a swing that bangs on the wall every couple of seconds.  Someone needs to have stern words with their travel agent, methinks.  Inside it’s a veritable cornucopia of dead animal bits (which are oddly, not seen at all for the rest of the film, but hey) and chains – just what you look for in a holiday home.  There’s some lovely bloody pipes in the trapdoor-ed basement (which pops open on its own).

Angry Spongebob

The singleton of the group is off doodling a clock and then her hand is possessed and she…draws a picture of what looks like an anrgy Spongebob Squarepants.  Terrifying.

The basement opens by itself and they discover that there’s a whole bunch of guns, ammo, and a weird book made with human flesh.  This holiday home just gets better and better, huh?  Douchbag friend proceeds to point the dodgy old gun at his friend’s head – jeez, these people deserve to die.  Instead of taking this opportunity to leave, they sit and listen to the tapes of the guy who found the book.  Then they go off to their rooms.  Meanwhile, Little Miss Gooseberry, the singleton hears something outside and goes off alone, in the dark, in the middle of the woods, wearing a nightdress…to investigate.  That seems like the best option, eh?  I mean, I know if I hear weird stuff I definitely don’t go for a weapon and ohhhh, I dunno, go and ask the people I’m staying with to come with me.  Nah.  That’d be stupid.

While she’s off wandering about the woods she’s raped by a possessed tree.

Yep.  Fairly certain I’ve been drugged.

I’m not sure what I thought the worst possible outcome of wandering about on your own in the woods would be, but this was certainly not on my list of potential candidates (it now will be!).  Alien abduction?  Possibly.  Being trampled to death by a possessed deer?  Hey, stranger things have happened.  Being tied down and raped by a sycamore?  Umm….what?

Understandably, she spends her time outside screaming blue murder.  Her friends in the cabin don’t hear a thing.  Maybe they’re all deaf?  Yes, that must be it.

Apparently the demons are pissed that they’ve been awakened.  “Why have you awakened us from our sleep? You will die…!”  Pfft, that’s basically how I respond to early morning calls.  The demons are about the most reasonable characters in the film so far.  Aren’t demons normally pleased to be released from imprisonment?  I guess if I were awakened to find the world overrun with people as one-dimensional as these folk, I’d be quite displeased too.

Continuing the oddities, there’s a fairly graphic fight scene with… a pencil.  Yep, it really is amazing the amount of damage you can do with an HB.  I mean, there was that episode of CSI… and apparently, they can also cause demonic possession too!  Who knew?  Maybe we should be slightly more concerned about sending our kids off to school with such dangerous weapons.  Anyway, pencil-wielding demon dies what is quite possibly the longest death ever – it rivals that scene in Bill and Ted where they have to pause their screaming to breathe.









Not a whole host of much happens.  Our dim-witted hero goes on to save the day, of course, and there’s lots of silly, dated effects in the process – in fact, they’re practically prehistoric now.  The death scenes are blatant plasticine animations, the make-up looks like it’s been bought out of Poundstrecher – there’s a scene where goo starts coming out of a melting body that looks like runny humous.  Continuing the food theme – for some reason, the demons spurt milk when they die (at least the demons will have healthy bones, eh?).  Hey, add a couple of vegetables and you’ve pretty much got a whole meal there!  To put it bluntly, in a world of hyper-realistic films and gorefests, this amount of plasticine is a bit jarring.  I understand they must’ve been working on a low budget but they didn’t necessarily need to light their plasticine so well.  Maybe it would’ve been better if I’d seen it at the time (and been a reasonable age, obviously – not a baby) and been able to appreciate it in its full glory but I’m afraid I’ve been a bit spoilt by modern effects.

Outdated effects aside, the characters are pretty non-descript (besides the guy who’s a complete asshole) – the women are about as fleshed out as cardboard cut-outs, so much so that I pretty much couldn’t tell them apart at points.  I couldn’t even tell you what their names were besides Ash and Linda.  The acting is to be expected…it’s a cheesy horror film, you can’t expect much.

Something I did like was the cinematography – the camera work really stands out.  Towards the end, the use of weird camera angles to make it seem like something is very wrong is really awesome.  I love all that stuff – slanty shots, over the head shots.  Yes!  Add in a bit of upward lighting and some jangly music?  Even better!  It makes me wonder what the sequels (where they presumably had a bigger budget) were like – this was, frankly, the highlight of the film for me.

Well, that, and Spongebob – who, alas, featured only briefly.

3 tomato-sauced covered, squashed plasticine fingers out of 5

3 Responses to “The Evil Dead – plasticine mayhem!”

  1. thomasserio September 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Definitely watch the sequels. Evil Dead 2 is a cult classic (basically a remake of the first one with the gore and camp amplified), and Army of Darkness is just camp-tastic.

    Plus, Bruce Campbell is a b-movie god…


    • phoenixx24 September 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      It was actually Army Of Darkness I was told I HAD to watch, so I started watching it and thought “Er…there’s a recap at the start? That’s a bit odd.” Hehe


  2. ciaoenrico September 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Ditto on the suggestion to see the sequels. I actually saw Evil Dead 2 first, by accident, as a child. It happened to be on, and I watched it without knowing what it was… and proceeded to have my mind blown. If you go back to Raimi’s Spiderman movies afterwards, you can see some of the same visuals applied there – if more subtly.


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