Fright Nights: THE EVIL DEAD

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Dan Luisi has just crossed the Tennessee border...

So here we are, where it all began. Sam Raimi's truly shocking and terrifying horror movie from 1981, that used its meager $350,000 budget to the fullest extent to scare the living hell out of it's audience. Far better then the many multi-million dollar slasher/splatter films that have followed.

The Evil Dead spawned a media franchise, beginning with two sequels written and directed by Raimi, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), as well as video games and comic books. The film's protagonist Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is regarded as a cult icon. The fourth film, serving as both a reboot and a remake, was titled Evil Dead and was released in 2013, and the series Ash vs. Evil Dead will debut on Starz this Halloween.

It all began with the story of five college students taking a ride out in the heavily wooded wilds of Tennessee to spend the weekend at a cabin they had rented. Things started to go bad even before they reached their destination, when the car almost fell through the rotted woodwork of a creaky bridge and barely made it to the other side. At the cabin brother and sister Ash and Linda Williams (Besty Baker), together with friends Scotty (Richard DeManincor), Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) and Shelly (Theresa Tilly) find the place a mess. Cleaning up they unearth a book, tape recordings and a reel to reel tape recorder, the belongings of the cabin's previous owner.

All this time we get to see and feel that there's something evil in and around the cabin that's just waiting to bet unleashed. As the students read the book it seems to be a hand-written copy of the notorious Satanic Book of the Dead, Necocomicon. The students then play back the tapes, which have the owner of the cabin explain what happened to him when he deciphered the books mysteries. It must have drove him either out of his mind or in to his grave, or both.

Through the recording the former cabin owner gives out an eerie and blood-curdling Cthulhu chant that activates the evil surrounding the cabin. The forces of hell arise from their long sleep and emerge into the open taking over the bodies and minds of the unsuspecting students. One at a time it turns them on each other until the cabin, and the area immediately outside of it, turns into a mind-numbing and horrific slaughter-house.

The Evil Dead is not for those that are weak of heart. It has an unrelenting drive to it that never gives you a chance to catch your breath even once. Even the ending, when the horrible night in the cabin is finally over, it sets you and the lone survivor of this massacre up for a nasty surprise with a jump-out-of-your-seat final scene.

Even though some parts may be a bit overdone (like the taking over of the student's bodies, and the strange tree-rape scene), especially in the make-up department, they still jolt you right out of your skin. You start to get the feeling, like those in the movie, that there's nothing on earth that can stop these Forces of Evil unknowingly released by the students. That is until all those who released them have been overcome, possessed and finally consumed by them.

The sequels are genius as well, but this one, the original, is easily the best. It's probably the most gruesome movie I have ever seen, and Sam Raimi's directing style is so unique that it feels entirely different to other horror films. If you're a fan of the genre and you've not seen The Evil Dead then it's a dangerous movie to watch, because once you've seen it you might never see other horror movies in the same light again.

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