Monday, April 20, 2020

S4E2. JOIN US: The Evil Dead (1981)

In 1983* Sam Raimi and Co. took the horror world by the neck and shook it until it begged for mercy. The Evil Dead caught the attention of Stephen King at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and his pull-quote, "The most ferociously original horror film of 1982," placed it on every genre fan's must-watch list. Coverage from Fangoria, along with great notice from a string of festival appearances, helped solidify its notoriety.

Made on a shoe-string budget in the woods of Tennessee by a bunch of friends from Michigan, the movie was an exercise not only in scares and gore, but in moxie and gumption. Before the film was even begun the trio of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert formed Renaissance Pictures and took the business side of low-budget films seriously. They produced an instant classic that has withstood the test of time and spawned a franchise that has lasted 35 years.

Ash, his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, and they're friends Scott and Shelly take a little vacation to a dilapidated backwoods cabin and accidentally summon demonic forces. By the end of the night only Ash survives. Or does he? The Evil Dead may be short on story but it's long on dread, gore, and inventive film-making. Whether you're a die-hard fan of the original, like me, or a lover of the "better in every way" requel, like my guest, or even if you prefer Army of Darkness for some reason, you'll find something to like in this episode. Heck, I even like the 2010 reboot!

For this episode I am once again joined by Mike White from The Projection Booth Podcast. As mentioned in the episode you can also listen to Mike, along with Chris Stachiw, jaw on about Barney Miller and '85 Twilight Zone. And here's a video about the "Bollywood Evil Dead" Mike mentioned in the episode. Enjoy!

*The date of The Evil Dead is a bit confusing. The copyright date, which is what I'm using, is 1981. The film wasn't officially released until 1983. It played Cannes, and other festivals, during 1982.