Tuesday, 10 August 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 328

49 - Evil Dead 2 - 5 stars
I love this film, but never expected it to rank so highly on the list. That's right, the horror film that features a laughing deer head and a man fighting his own hand, is rated higher than classics like The Thing, The Shining, Halloween, etc.
Is it scarier than any of these films? Hell no. Is it the funniest and most deliciously OTT horror film ever made? Hell yes.
It is a film overflowing with invention and creativity that is sorely lacking in the horror remakes of today. You have fast moving ghostly tracking shots, ram-o-cam (using a hammer to break down the door), eyeballs flying across the room, tree rape, gallons of blood and goo, creepy and hilarious sound effects and all done on a tiny budget.
I bet that when you first saw this film you didn't think "One day Sam Raimi would go on to direct the Spider-Man trilogy".
Much of the success of the film lies in the relationship between Raimi and his lead actor and friend Bruce Campbell.
Bruce Campbell is one of the all-time cult actors and it is due to this film. Hand on heart, this is one of the definitive performances in a horror film, comparable to Jack Nicholson in The Shining and Anthony Perkins in Psycho. Ash goes from cowardly jerk to convincing action hero over the course of the film, culminating with one of the greatest moments in film history, after all what can be cooler than replacing your hand with a chainsaw? Groovy!
Raimi's ability to torture Campbell during the production is matched by his skill as a physical comedian and his performance in this film can be compared to the work of Jim Carrey in the early nineties. In fact, if Campbell had only managed to catch a proper break, he might have had a similar career. Don't believe me? Then just watch the scene where Ash fights his own hand and then try and tell me that it didn't have an influence over this scene in Liar Liar where Carrey beats himself up.
Finally, what's not to love about a film that features a man cutting of his own hand with a chainsaw then putting it in a bin and putting the book Farewell To Arms on top of it?!

Days remaining - 37 Films remaining - 37

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