Movie Review: Evil Dead (1981)

Continuing from last week, which was one of my favorite horror movies, we come to the movie that started an epic trilogy, spawned a remake and a TV series, and apparently has more life in it yet: The first Evil Dead movie, from 1981.

Ash and four of his friends, who are mostly annoying, are driving out to a cabin. It turns out there’s the one and only copy of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis in the cabin, and the demon haunting it comes for his friends. This movie is over the top. This movie is great. This movie also features a scene where vines take sexual advantage of a woman, so know what you’re signing up for: this is messed up.

Once the demon takes over people, apparently their insides turn into milk because on more than one occasion a wounded demon spews what appears to be milk. Yuck. The demon (or, I guess demons — they call themselves “us”) works through the cast one by one, turning them into a gross, zombie-like possessed entity that seems to find just about everything hilarious.

Then Ash finds the chainsaw.

The movie is a thrill ride, plagued with the hero trying to make the right decisions without all the information, and once it starts getting gross, it doesn’t stop. But that adds to the charm. It’s quirky, it’s funny, and it’s damned iconic. This is one of the movies, of all of them, I’ve been happy to re-watch for a review. The cinematography, the score, the lore — it’s all fun and right up the horror alley. And just when he gets his footing… the house itself seems to become possessed.

Report card
Runtime: Eighty-five minutes.
Acting: Exactly as one would expect from a cult classic.
Effects: They did a lot of practical effects.
Violence: Major.
Dead Townsfolk Cabinfolk: Four.
Revenge Kills: No.
Gun Use: Not too over the top.
Gore: A decent bit.
Creepy? Kind of.
Monster Type? A demon that possesses annoying cabinfolk.
Monster Ick Factor: Yes.
Funny? In places.
Nudity: Very brief topless female nudity.
Pet Death: No.
Pacing: Great.