The Evil Dead: Better on VHS

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Shoestring budget following your typical five young attractive adults staying in a remote cabin in the woods when they find the book of Necronomicon: The Book of the Dead and unleash invisible evil spirits that possess the group one by one. 

Lets be honest here, the reason why Evil Dead looks better on VHS than DVD/Blur-Ray is simply because those enhancements show just how amateur the clay-like effects were. The low-budget grainy film stock helped to keep consumers happy. Recently, I had an innocent debate with fellow VHS collectors over  Evil Dead being more enjoyable on VHS because the DVD/Blu-Ray format takes away the effects. There really is no need to enhance the film to keep us horror geeks happy. However, some douchenozzle on my friends list took this to heart and told me there was no way in hell anything looks good on VHS and there’s no reason to waste any time on the format. When I further construed my rational (basis) for favoring the film on VHS, he called me a whore and unfriended me so I am guessing he is not the brightest crayola in the box. That being said, I am fully aware that the majority favor DVD and likely prefer the clearest possible version of the flick. Whatever tickles your pickle.

The film is seriously lacking in character development; (Ash)ley is the only character we are given the opportunity to know and love but the others do stand out individually, once they become demons. Cheryl is the artist of the group that gets raped by a tree before levitating and showing her dope psychic skills with a deck of cards. I remember her being locked in the basement as one of the scariest scenes in the film. Was investigating a strange noise in the woods worth it Cheryl? Linda is Ash’s girlfriend who has to have the most annoying laugh under demonic possession of ALL TIME. She repetitively chants, “We’re going to get you” in the creepiest fashion while Ash smacks her around for a bit. Before Linda meets a NO. 2 pencil in the ankle (ouch) she and Ash play a little game called, “I am going to pretend to be asleep with this boxed necklace as a token of my appreciation even though I was wide awake seconds ago.” Linda also thinks she has psychic powers as a human. Scott is your typical pretty boy who turns into what looks like clay. Nice vest. He eventually gets smacked around by Ash as well. Shelly is Scott’s woman who likes red fingernail polish and singing when she’s not too busy trying to kill her boyfriend before getting axed to pieces.

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The beauty of The Evil Dead is, that the actors went through agony within those 12 weeks of shooting. Something tells me the actors in the remake will never know what it’s like to truly appreciate the perils of low-budget film making. These actors walked away with multiple injuries, sickness, and endured days without showering due to the cold. I believe the torture they sustained helped their performances immensely. Bruce Campbell obviously went on the have the shiniest career of all.  Ellen Sandweiss, the tree rape victim, is the only other actor in the film I am familiar with and I am pretty sure she’s Jewish. She spent a lot of time in musical theater, dance, and pop music. Even though Sandweiss disappeared for two decades, she eventually came back to acting with appearances in Satan’s Playground, My Name is Bruce, and Oz the Great and Powerful.

Raimi is such an incredible talented director that knows exactly what to do to make the perfect horror film. The fast camera work in the woods stood out for many and he didn’t have the proper equipment to achieve these amazing shots. This was all capable thanks to mounted cameras on pieces of wood and a bicycle. Can you believe Raimi’s budget? $400, 000. You do not need a $40 million to make a decent horror film. It’s a shame that I see $600, 000 budget horror films that claim to be ‘Modern Grindhouse’ with absolutely no direction, style, or substance. One in particular, that shall not be named…… It’s like some people are just trying to make the worst independent horror film of all time. I strongly believe independent filmmakers should watch The Evil Dead and take notes.

Several refer the The Evil Dead franchise as a comedy horror. I do not think Raimi initially meant for the first installment to be a comedy and honestly, I remember it scaring the poop out of me. It may not be THE goriest film of all time but it’s certainly high on that list. With the perfect recipe for destruction, it comes fully equipped with decapitations, eye gouging, a sharp No. 2 pencil stabbing that still gets me to this day, levitating demons, tree raping (that’s right) and every body fluid known to man splashing all over the actors and cabin. Due to the films gruesome nature, it received an X-Rating and it was labeled as a ‘Video Nasty.’ Some even referred to the film as the number one nasty because it was a best seller and notably one of the goriest films on the list. The Evil Dead was banned on video in several countries but never banned outright. Got to love that opening banging of the porch swing.

Teenagers today will never be able to fully appreciate the original Evil Dead. They didn’t grow up with it in their lives. They never even owned a VHS nor do they have any idea what it was like going to the video store every week, scouting for horror films. Maybe the remake will surprise me. Maybe it will fail. Lets just remember that what makes the original Evil Dead so special is the low-budget and brilliant creativity of its time. You cannot just go around remaking every horror film because you think it will make up for past mistakes and flashy CGI effects will bring in bigger numbers or satisfy our younger generation…. Or maybe you can. With The Cabin in the Woods being the most original horror film I have seen in a while, I just do not see The Evil Dead remake coming in and sweeping me off my feet with its rehashed cliches and same continual bullshit story of five young adults in deep trouble while in the middle of nowhere. If there are any rednecks warning them not to go to the cabin, I am sooooo out of there.