Thursday, 28 November 2013

Evil Dead II (1987)

Sam Raimi already gave us one of the most iconic horror films ever devised by man so what does he do next? He gives us the sequel which is even more iconic than the previous film! 'Gimme some sugar baby'...oh wait that's the third most iconic horror film ever.

So up to a few years ago I was a little confused by this sequel. The plot appears to show Ash venturing back up to a remote cabin with another girlfriend, was this the original cabin or a completely new one? I asked myself. As things progress (very quickly) Ash discovers yet another recorder which he plays and inadvertently sets the dark demonic forces free again. It was at this point I was thinking why on earth Ash would do that? Didn't he learn from his first cabin experience? And when you think about it why the hell would he go back to a remote cabin?! Dude seriously!

Twas then I found out that this sequel is actually a reboot of the first film, yet Raimi called it Evil Dead 2 as though its a continuation of the first. The plot is exactly the same as the first film because its a remake basically, a remake with better effects, more action and less build up...essentially more game time. Ash is even wearing the same outfit he had on in the first film! So yes that is a bit confusing if you're not in the know but somehow it doesn't matter, the film is so damn fun you let it slide. Myself I think he should of avoided the 2 in the title and tried to make it follow the first but hey.

As I said there's no messing around in this film, no sooner has Ash arrived at the cabin he's released the demons and all hell is breaking loose. This is good as we know the basic outline from the first film, everybody simply wanted to see more of Ash kicking undead ass. And that is exactly what we get with much sweeter looking effects.

The effects are much the same type of thing as in the first but due to success and extra mula they are simply better. Of course by today's standards they aren't that good, a bit basic, any fresh faced kids are gonna laugh at most of it truth be told. But again its the old adage that with little money and tech you've gotta work to make your film look good. You've gotta be inventive and once again Raimi and co excel with their visuals. A nice blend of classic makeup, mask work, models, stop motion, bluescreen, miniatures, puppets etc...the full gamut of special effects to bring every creature alive in the best possible way.

Personally I loved the sequence where Linda's corpse rises from the grave and then dances around in the swirling bleak mist as Ash watches in horror from the cabin. The whole scene is using classic stop motion and even though it of course looks a bit hokey the atmosphere is just so flippin eerie. It could almost be a Tim Burton moment. There is so much to enjoy here, chock full of tasty visual kookiness, the severed hand that scrambles around, the excellent possessed makeup jobs on the survivors, Campbell especially, and then there's the huge demon head/face thing at the end. Corny as hell but so much fun.

Its also no secret that this sequel was taken down the horror comedy route. The first film was suppose to be an all out horror but this started down that surreal goofy route which has now become so legendary. Not for the most part though, most of the film is still very dark, some of the demonic sequences are clearly more slapstick but its still evil looking. Its only when the last female survivor crafts Ash's chainsaw onto his bloody stump along with his shoulder mounted shotgun do we finally cross over fully into the comic book/graphic novel genre. Its at this moment that Ash becomes a superhero of sorts and enters into the world of merchandise.

Does this mood swing cause any problems? No, no it doesn't, in fact it just makes the film even more awesome and gives it a whole new scope. We go from classic horror gore with Ash being the victim in all manner of slapstick tomfoolery, to action man gore and violence with the start of ice cool witty quips and full on hero posing.

It is strange how this franchise developed no doubt about that, plus the oddity of rebooting/remaking his first film virtually scene by scene and calling it a sequel. Like the first its not really scary but this time it was never meant to be scary, its a wild ride bordering on fantasy that happens to have a lot of blood and goo. Its one of those perfect 'sequels' where everything is just right, it all works...even the bits that kinda don't work, work. There are moments of great horror and moments that are almost childish in nature, you could even say its a satire of certain grotty horrors. End of the day Campbell can simply make these things work.

No excuses here, its a balls to the wall, hyper demonic blood n ooze frenzy with typically gritty low budget ferocity and absurd creations. A completely cheesy turbo charged B-movie of diabolically hellish proportions, you wanted it you got it...and its groovy baby.