The only thing I’d seen Bruce Campbell in was an episode of Dinner for Five with Roger Corman, a couple of dudes from Elf and the guy who re-made some Halloween flicks which left a bad taste in Zombighoul’s mouth.
All that said, we the minions of iHorror decided ’twas time to have some fun with the classic horror flicks some of us had somehow or other missed out on over the years, then write all about it after the big unveiling in a series called Late to the Party.
To kick things off, it was all happenstance. I was wandering through Walmart to retrieve my vehicle following its oil change (mouthwash and lilac candle in hand) when I glanced over to see Evil Dead locked and loaded for five dollars.
Rest assured, I felt like a virgin on prom night.
I haven’t watched a movie with wide-eyed wonder often, but this qualified as one of those occasions. I didn’t know what to expect, but from the legendary status Evil Dead holds, I was prepped for amazeballs.
I’m not going to lie, though, it took a bit for me to get into it. I saw quality before my eyes, don’t get me wrong, but about a half-hour in, I still wasn’t all-in.
Until Ellen Sandweiss’ Cheryl ventured into the woods.
There may have been the cliché “Anybody out there?” but from the howl which momentarily had me optimistic it could be Reverend Lowe to the violence of the vines that followed, there was nothing trite about Evil Dead.
Sure, it’s all old hat in 2015, but in the early ’80s? As James Jay Edwards so deftly pointed out, “You’ve probably seen so many things that are derivative of (Evil Dead) that it seems unoriginal. Put on your 1981 eyes.” I took Jimmy’s advice and it was mind-blowing.
So much of what Evil Dead introduced I now recognize in some of my favorite horror flicks. From Sinister to 1408 to Ghostbusters to Shaun of the Dead and beyond, those filmmakers took Sam Raimi’s “Join us” as an invitation to homage.
Has to be said, though: Two scenes towered above all others.
Cheryl looking out the window then calling the cards as she rapidly morphed with a voice that made the hair on my neck stand up. “Why have you disturbed our sleep?”
That would be my bad and I immediately regret this decision.
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The gold medal for unsettling, however, goes to Betsy Baker. Those eyes? “Truly amazing, Linda.”
I’m sorry the actors went through hell rockin’ those uncomfortable contacts, but Jesus tittyfucking Christ did they get the job done. One glance at Baker seated in the doorway of that bedroom and I noticed that I leaned back in my chair. And that was before Linda unleashed what can only be described as the inspiration for the taunting cackle of Sheri Moon Zombie’s Baby of Firefly family fame.
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The opening shot looked like an artsy version of The Legend of Boggy Creek, there was a symphony of the eyes, the introduction of what I can only assume is the Boomstick and I could not wrap my head around the fact that it took the other characters a bit of time to catch up to Cheryl’s stance which could be loosely translated to “We need to tuck tail immediately.”
Evil Dead had it all and let there be no doubt, Ash was all that and a bag of pig snacks. Can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.
But before I do, I think a certain someone may have something to say about a bigger boat.