The Evil Dead (1981) Review

Sam Raimi's cabin in the woods film par excellence The Evil Dead stands as the paragon of independent, cult, and horror films since it's release in 1981. It's influence is felt in the films of the Coen brothers, Peter Jackson, and Edgar Wright. It's dynamic direction and camera work declared a new and bold style for the 80s and 90s, but it's real influence for independent filmmakers is in it's success story as a bootstrapped production. (0:26) - Intro(5:32) - Trailer(8:19) - Synopsis(14:13) - Review(20:35) - Score(34:48) - Spoilers(1:20:10) - The Evil Dead Trivia Challenge(1:29:10) - Outro Art by Dustin Goebel (@dgoebel00 on Insta) Childhood Friends The Evil Dead launched the careers of childhood friends director Sam Raimi, and lead actor Bruce Campbell, which you probably recognize as Brisco County Jr. from Fox's 90s television hit The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. During and after high school they collaborated shooting short films on super 8 film. This film began shooting right after Sam Raimi turned 20, and he considers it a right of passage in his life. As first time filmmakers, Raimi, Campbell and producer Robert Tapert sought financing by shooting a "proof of concept" short film titled Within the Woods. The strategy worked, and as the result of many rounds of private investment, they were able to cobble together a budget of $375,000. Even Bruce Campbell's family's property in Northern Michigan was leveraged to finish the film and blow it up to the industry standard of 35 mm to be shown in theaters. Sam Raimi Talking about the budget of The Evil Dead Production Initial photography was shot over the course of 12 weeks from the end of 1979 to the beginning of 1980. It was a grueling experience for all involved. The production was shot on location in an actual cabin in the remote woods of Morristown Tennessee. The cabin had no running water, and actors would go days without showering. Campbell described being doused with fake blood so much that he could only ride in the back of a truck to get home. While filming, the cast and crew of 13 actually slept in the cabin. The conditions were so cold that Campbell said that after drying a blood soaked shirt outside, it cracked in half when he tried to put it on again. The ironic part is that Raimi and crew decided to shoot in Tennessee instead of their home state of Michigan to avoid extreme conditions in the winter. As it turned out, Michigan has an unusually tame winter, and Tennessee had one of the coldest winters in 1979. Ingenuity with a small budget The makeup and effects were accomplished by Tom Sullivan completely without CGI, relying on foam latex, corn syrup blood, and stop motion photography. The low budget production was creative in its use of makeshift camera riggings such as the "vas-o-cam" which slid the camera down wooden ramps. One of the most influential techniques was the "shaky-cam" which was accomplished by mounting the camera to a 2x4 and having two operators at each end to roughly simulate a steady-cam. This technique was used for the POV shots of the demons running through the woods, along with the final shot that was accomplished with a tripod mounted to a motorcycle driven by Raimi. The Coen brothers used the shaky-cam technique in Blood Simple after Ethan Coen was inspired as an assistant editor for The Evil Dead. Reception of The Evil Dead The film is so gory that it was unrated, and banned in many countries upon its release. The grueling and plucky production resulted in a unique and shocking film that has since become a cult icon in the horror community. Synopsis It tells the story of five Michigan State students vacationing to a remote cabin in the Tennessee country. During their playful and drug fueled exploration of the cabin, they stumble upon an ancient Samarian tome that is a translation of the Egyptian Book of the De...

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