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Evil Dead, The (1981)

Cool horror flick starring B-movie king Bruce Campbell, and one of the first “video nasties” of the 80s.

Adapting their own short called Within the Woods, childhood friends Sam Raimi, producer Robert Tapert and star Campbell secured funding from local businesses and traipsed off to the forest to make one of the most ferocious, original and unrelenting horror movies of all time.

evildead1981The saga kicks off when a group of friends take a sojourn to an isolated cabin in the woods where they discover – and make the questionable decision to read aloud from – the Necronomicon, or Book of The Dead.

The movie was originally going to be called The Book Of The Dead, but the title was changed for fear of turning kids off by using a literary reference.

Opening the gates to the underworld all manner of nastiness and gory mutilation thus ensues.

Not since Friday The 13th (1980) had teen slumber parties taken on such a new dimension.

It looks a little rough around the edges these days (and the still censored tree-rape scene is just unnecessarily vicious), but The Evil Dead remains an inspiration for first-time filmmakers, and a testament to the power of plasticine, glue, a few garden tools and gumption.

evildead94The film spawned a superior sequel, Dead By Dawn (1987), which exchanged much of the stomach-churning horror for spot-on humour.

An infinitely quotable second sequel (and final instalment) – Army of Darkness (1993) – abandoned its gore-laden roots almost entirely in favour of some truly unforgettable comic scenes as Campbell’s hero Ash is catapulted back to fight the undead menace in medieval times.

Bruce Campbell
Ellen Sandweiss
Betsy Baker
Hal Delrich
Sarah York

Sam Raimi