The Evil Dead chronicles a man’s descent into madness

By Luke Rosica || Contributing Writer

I love Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. I love it because they are such unique movies. Some people might say that The Evil Dead films are just senseless violence, but I would argue the gore serves a purpose. Aside from the spectacle of it all, the gore is there because the point of The Evil Dead is to depict a man falling into madness and to sort of make the viewer go crazy too, or at least that’s how I see it. Sam Raimi, the director, decided the best way to do this was to mix together gut-wrenching violence, hallucinations, and comedy.

At the beginning of The Evil Dead, Ash, our hero, starts off as a quiet young man who, along with his girlfriend and a few other buddies, decides to crash in a seemingly abandoned cabin for the weekend. Ash appears to be nice and it is safe to assume that he has had a pretty good life. Like Ash, you the viewer are fresh and unaware of how awful things can get. This doesn’t last long: once the evil deadites (similar to zombie things) begin attacking the cabin, all hell breaks loose and we quickly forget how normal Ash was.

One of the best scenes in Evil Dead II is when Ash has finally given up.  After a movie and a half of watching his friends die in graphic detail and all-around awful things happening, Ash looks up to see the deer trophy mounted on the wall turn at him and start to laugh. Quickly, every inanimate object in the house follows and joins in with the laughter. Books flap up and down, a bucket (which is clearly hoisted by a string) wiggles around in the background and light fixtures bob back and forth. Instead of freaking out, like earlier-movie Ash may have, he joins in with the laughter, and it’s an awesome moment because the audience understands why. We’ve seen every awful thing that Ash has seen, and it definitely feels like it’s time to give up and join the mad house. That’s just one moment of many where this movie is more than just gore.

The second major thing Sam Raimi does to turn the viewer crazy is he makes the movies funny. This works because, as the movies go on, each one gets more and more purposely funny, with the third film, Army of Darkness, pretty much just being a comedy. As Ash’s mind slips away he starts to find the horribly cruel things happening around him to be funny and you, the viewer, are also finding it funny, which is pretty disgusting when you think about it. The fact that a scene where an eyeball flies into someone’s mouth is supposed to make you laugh is kinda messed up. Of course, you might finish the movies still thinking that they were gross. But then again, you just might end up thinking the trilogy was the funniest thing ever. Either way, The Evil Dead is really unique because it uses comedy as tool to scare you.

If I wanted to, I could go on for pages about these movies and I definitely feel like I haven’t done the films enough justice. These movies are not just gore, and there are hundreds of reasons why I love them; these were just a few. If you’re sick of the modern day PG-13 horror movies, and you want something unique; I can’t recommend enough that you go back and watch these cult-classics because they are something special.

First-year Luke Rosica is a contributing writer. His email is lrosica@fandm.edu.

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