The return of the Chin
Well, it seems I’ve been digging through the garbage lately. Sure, there were exceptions here and there, but I do feel it’s about time we review not only a movie I truly love, but also one of the most acclaimed and celebrated B-movie of all times, ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Sam Raimi’s opus magnum: Evil Dead 2, Dead by dawn.
Yes, I too used to be a child, and like most children, I didn’t know what made a good movie good and vice versa. My experience was based on what little I’ve heard in the broken down village in the Alps where I lived, where good color TV’s were rare and good movies were even harder to find. Mind you, it was the late nineties back then, and even though there was gold to be found out there, my life was held back by the great technological gap that filled the world I lived in. every once in a while my cousin would tell me of a movie she heard of about a man with claws that came in the dreams of children, and sometime I would see a poster of the new Jaws hanging on the side of a building. My taste in music, movies, and even people came from what was expected of me, of what other people saw as fitting. It was an innocent time perhaps, where we would sit in my aunt’s living room every Friday night and watch a weekly episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, back when it was still airing.
So it was to my delight when my cousin came in laughing and saying “You have to see this” as she held a VHS that looked so amazing my little brain almost exploded. We sat down and watched as she laughed and commented on how bad it was, the poor little thing didn’t know that in my corner, I was completely and utterly ignoring her, gazing in front of me at the screen that was flashing before my eyes. I hadn’t seen anything like it ever, she laughed and joked as my perception changed and I finally developed an opinion. Once it was all over and she finally stopped laughing, I looked at her and said “I liked it”. She tried to reason with me, telling me the effects were pure crap, the acting wasn’t even on par with the play her little brother had done at her school two weeks ago, but I couldn’t care less, I had found something I liked and I didn’t care what anyone had to say. And from that day on, I learned to see the world from a different view, from the view of a man who wasn’t afraid of the monsters under his bed because he had a chainsaw in the one hand, and campy one liners in the other.
There are very few works that have influenced my view on things the way this movie has,
Watchmen,Mozart’s Kyrie Eleison, the second Silent Hill, the work of Francis Bacon, and Sam Raimi’s masterpiece is no different. It came to me when it was most needed and left its mark on me as a reason not to be afraid of who I am and to be proud of my opinion.
You might say that Evil dead 2 gave way to my passion for B-horror movies, but it would be closer to the truth to say it gave way to my passion to films altogether.
But enough stalling, let’s get to reviewing:
Evil dead 2, subtitled Dead by dawn, produced in 1987 as a sequel to the first Evil dead, that by now, had made a reputation for itself in the underworld of the cult classics. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell knew that they wouldn’t top the eerie atmosphere that they had set up in the first, and that trying to recreate it would only end in another disappointing sequel that would fade from the memories. So they tried something else, one of the most dangerous moves to pull off in any horror movie, focusing on the humor.
At that time it was either do or break, the fans would be in an outrage that the legacy of their first real scare would be turned into a cheap laugh, but they took the dive anyway.
Saying it paid off is one way of saying it, another would be that at first it didn’t, but eventually, the crowd went wild and the movie became the flag carrier for all upcoming B-movies to come, and with psychotic Ash ‘The chin’ as it’s captain, the movie carried on with a fanbase like no other.
It’s rare to find a movie that draws the line so thin between hilarious out of place slapstick comedy and brutal violence and horror. But Evil Dead 2 is one of those few that not only pulls it off, but master it to the point of being an example to all campy B-horrors movies that came after it.
The confusing thing about the evil dead saga’s storyline, is that Evil dead 2 can either be seen as a sequel, a remake or both. The first seven minutes of the movie recreate the events of the original Evil dead from 1981, but with only Ash and his girlfriend Linda, who becomes possessed and is killed by Ash in a desperate moment. From then on Ash gets attacked by an unseen force and then the movie concludes the events of the original. After that, Ash tries desperately to fend off the demons waiting to nom on his soul, and his own growing insanity and guilt from killing Linda, who doesn’t seem to want to stay dead. This is however quickly solved by a very touching scene, and by touching I mean chainsaw induced madness that literally overflows the screen.
But as Ash slowly loses his fight and his body slowly but certainly becomes possessed, the daughter of the original owner of the cabin waltz in with her boyfriend sized ken doll, a set of bad teeth and tree rape victim #2.
And together they fight off the demons of the night as Ash undergoes a moral metamorphosis from scared everyday best buy employee to sawed off shotgun wielding chainsaw hand first class badass.
Do I need to say more? Why are you still reading this? go watch it, now, and if you already seen it, go watch it again dammit.
This movie is one of the great, the Michelangelo of B-movies, the Darwin of its time, misunderstood by most, but only because they didn’t understand what stood before them.
On the technical side, it was made on the budget of a wheel of cheese and two cents. So of course you can see the cable holding Sam Raimi’s brother hanging in the air dressed as an old demonic granny. And you can see most of the crew running in the background, and you know they rewinded the footage of the fog coming out of the ground, and that the make up on demonic Ash is as believable as your uncle pretending to be Santa, and asking you to sit on his lap, when you’re 21…
Yes, yes I know it’s not top notch but dammit, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The cabin isn’t just a set, it’s a place where legends were born, and the one liners will be used in distant civilization as words of prophets when they uncover our broken cities, bombed to hell by our own stupidity and frustration that we probably never will recreate the feeling we feel deep inside our hearths when watching Evil Dead 2.
Go watch this movie.
Personal Rating: 9.9/10
Critical Rating: 8/10
What I’ve learned from Evil Dead 2:
- Pretty much everything I know
- How to man up to my fears
- How losing a hand isn’t always a bad thing
- The meaning of “When the wall will start bleeding”
- Bruce Campbell is made for 70 percent testosterones, the other 30 percent are pure, raw and unlimited badass