The Evil Dead (1981) ***1/2

"The Evil Dead"

“The Evil Dead”

“Evil Dead” is the film that put Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell on the map.  The story is about a group of kids who head up in to the woods to a seemingly deserted cabin.  In the basement they discover the Necronomicon, book of the dead.  They read from it, while listening to the former tenants tape recordings.  The voice on the tape tells how he read from the book, rose the dead, and became possessed by demons.  Guess what happens next?

The difference between this film and the two that followed is that Raimi and Campbell try to play it pretty much straight.  This is a pretty terrifying and gruesome horror film.  There are moments of macabre comedy but it is pretty tame compared to the hilarity of “Evil Dead 2”. 

I treasure this film.  It came at a time when horror movies were about to go very down hill.  It is a classic cult film.  What lead Sam Raimi from this to “Spider-Man” is beyond me.

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