Evil Dead II (1987)

evildead2I remember being really pissed, sometime in the late nineties, when a friend of mine brought the VHS copy of Evil Dead II for us to watch. I wasn’t pissed about him bringing it (hallowed are the times of long summers in which it was possible to ‘waste time’ by watching movies all day long), I was pissed about it ending on cliffhanger and my rage was only fueled by next day realization that sequel couldn’t be found anywhere in our vicinity (internet you say? on dial-up? pffft). As it happened, I saw that sequel (Army of Darkness) five or six years later, when I moved into a bigger town, with greater selection of old VHS titles, but in a way it was too late. As time went by I grew up and the moment of first contact with Army of Darkness (together with a state of mind) wasn’t quite the same as the moment of first contact with Dead by Dawn. There’s a particular quality to long summer afternoons when you’re fifteen, many a novel has been written about it. Well, however I rationalize it, Evil Dead II was, and probably will always remain (together with Clerks by Kevin Smith), one of the most important movies of my teenage years in a sense that it fueled my imagination, showing me what can be done even without such things as production.

vlcsnap-2014-07-22-07h39m45s119Don’t get me wrong, as far as “B-movies” go, Evil Dead II was produced. It had an enormous budget (in comparison to some other similar movies from the eighties), it had special-effects guy, it had planning, it had rationalizing, it had relatively experienced people at the helm – basically, it had everything “big movies” had, only in a somewhat smaller scale. Yet, it looked and felt as no-budget horror-flick, so over-the-top that it was quite possible that overexposure would lead to brain aneurism (haven’t had one… yet). I couldn’t quite understand it back then (and I’m not sure that I understand it properly even now) but somewhere in the back of my mind crept this nagging feeling which was kinda hinting that what I was seeing was worth watching over and over again. So I did, watched it over and over again (funny what can you do when another friend has two VCR’s and spare time in abundance) until I became one of those zombies that keep bothering people with their interests no matter the occasion. I guess that it was a part of growing up. This ability to become “over attached” to the particular imagery. Ability to be ‘a fan’. It seems that lately I have forgotten how to do that. But that’s the story for another time.

vlcsnap-2014-07-22-07h39m53s217See, I’m still battling the urge to unleash the torrent of trivia related to Evil Dead II, and the only thing that’s “helping” me is this understanding that in three years this movie will be thirty years old. During that time, more or less everything has been said about it which means that there’s no any use in repeating it. I still didn’t have a chance to look at the modern-day remake of Raimi’s cult classic but I can already see that it “failed”. Seeing the ripples of modern-day pop-culture all over the internet I can safely assume that newest Evil Dead didn’t leave much, if any, trail behind itself. Which is, in the context of Dead by Dawn, a bigger flop than the one that could be possibly measured by a Box Office. Dead by dawn managed to become something like a cultural artifact of the American civilization of the ‘80s. Pretty much in retrospect, once can say that it was obvious that Sam Raimi was attuned to the era. I don’t see this happening with the Evil Dead of 2013, though I haven’t got a slightest idea about abilities of either Fede Alvarez or Rodo Sayagues. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I doubt it, though. It would require one of those summers from the beginning of the text, and we all know how often they return.

Directed by Sam Raimi
Produced by Robert Tapert
Alex De Benedetti
Irvin Shapiro
Written by Sam Raimi
Scott Spiegel
Starring Bruce Campbell
Sarah Berry
Dan Hicks
Kassie DePaiva
Richard Domeier
Music by Joseph LoDuca
Cinematography Peter Deming
Edited by Kaye Davis
Production
company
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Renaissance Pictures

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