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The Evil Dead
Horror fan (and Bert's cousin) offers his take on The Evil Dead
By Matt Alexander
Fort Wayne Reader
Who knew that walking home from middle school one day nearly 20 years ago to find my brother Mo watching a movie would change my whole childhood? I still remember it vividly. I opened the door to our house to find a movie rental box sitting on the steps. It was like Mo left it there purposely for me to find. The side of the box read Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn. The front of the box featured a skeleton face smiling at me, but something wasn’t right about it. The skeleton had eyes. At first I was like, “Oh man, what the heck is Mo watching now?” But then I made my way to the kitchen.
Usually, Mo and I would watch movies in the basement so we wouldn't have to deal with mom and dad. This day was different, mom and dad would not be home until late so we had the house to ourselves. At the time the 32” TV in the living room was the biggest TV around, so it was always a treat to use it for whatever we wanted to watch.
By the time I made it to the living room the movie was playing and it was on a part where a man who is covered in blood is fighting with his…dismembered hand? What had I walked into?! I almost turned and ran away until I saw the hilarity of this scene. To see that man, played by Bruce Campbell, essentially beat the crap out of himself for five minutes was amazing! At the time it was the funniest horror movie scene I had ever seen. I remember laughing hard to the point where he cuts his hand off and then laughed even harder because of how silly the idea was. We finished the movie and both of us enjoyed it way more than we should have.
Now that I had watched the second movie, I had to see the first one, The Evil Dead. I’m not going to say I was disappointed because I wasn’t. The first movie is a completely different type of movie compared Evil Dead II. The Evil Dead was more of a classic horror movie where as Evil Dead II was a new breed of horror movie mixed with slapstick comedy. Where The Evil Dead scared the crap out of me at times, Evil Dead II made me laugh at the gore.
As a kid in middle school this was the turning point of my movie career. Sure, I had seen movies with horror elements like Gremlins and Robocop, but this was the point where I dove headfirst into the horror movie scene. I had to see as many horror movies as I could. Over the next couple years I watched all of the Friday the 13th movies, all of the Nightmare on Elm Street flicks and all of the Halloween slashers. (Except for the third one, I mean c’mon – evil Halloween masks?!) Nothing I watched had the same effect on me that Evil Dead II did. Sure, they were great horror films but something was missing. It took the third film of the series, Army of Darkness, to give me that feeling I had while watching Evil Dead II. Army of Darkness picked right up where Evil Dead II left off. The one-liners were better, the budget was bigger, the gore was still intact, and Bruce was still the man. I felt complete.
As I write this I am now 30 with a family of my own. Horror movies have come and gone, the old 32” tube TV has been upgraded to my own 42” HD flat screen TV. VHS is now Blu-Ray and Hollywood is cranking out a list of remakes. The Evil Dead is on that list. The trailer looks awesome and the gore is there but will it still live up to the original? After seeing the recently the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street remakes I would say no but there is hope. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert, the team behind the original series, are all involved in the Evil Dead remake to make it the best film possible. Groovy.
Matt Alexander is a pop-culture devotee who wishes Joel and the bots were still making new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. In his spare time, Matt roots for the Washington Capitals and hopes that one day his daughter will inherit his love of the horror movie genera. Matt has been contributing to Dangerous Universe since 2006.