In the late 70s a group of friends got together in Morristown, TN, to create the low-budget gorefest to end all low-budget gorefests, The Evil Dead. Released in 1981, the film became a cult classic on home video and suddenly people knew the names of Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and of course Bruce Campbell. Six years later, on a budget ten times that of the original, the gang returned to the cabin in the woods and outdid themselves, crafting a half remake/half sequel that broke genre conventions and turned a one-off cult film into a now 5-decade-old franchise. The film was Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, and it was released in theaters 30 years ago this week. (It’s available now on Blu-ray.)
There is really no clear reason for me to write an article about Sam Raimi‘s 1987 comic horror blast Evil Dead II. It’s not celebrating an anniversary (though it did turn 25 in 2011) and no one involved in its making is preparing to do anything major in pop culture. I suppose I’m writing this in order to give myself license to regurgitate the insurmountable wealth of trivia regarding this film, which I share with the the guys at Championship Vinyl as my favorite of all time, that the disturbing level of admiration I have for it has compelled me to compile within the unguarded storage unit of my mind in the 18 years since I first watched it on a rental VHS I procured from a neighborhood video store.
Here now I present to you a compact yet nearly complete guide to Evil Dead II featuring some fascinating factoids and stories that you may or may not have already known, which all naturally depends on whether or not your love for the sequel to the ultimate experience in grueling terror runs as deeply in your soul as mine does. Bear with me, ladies and germs, for I am about to get even geekier than normally allowed at Geeks of Doom.
I am a fan of all things related to Evil Dead 2 (order the 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray here), Sam Raimi‘s classic 1986 sequel to the gruesome and horrifying splatterpunk epic that launched his directing career. It’s my absolute favorite movie of all time and nothing will ever, nor can ever, replace it.
There’s a video that has been floating around online for nearly three years in which the last 45 seconds of the movie’s trailer has been animated using the technology known as rotoscoping, where live-action footage is traced over frame-by-frame by animators.
Bruce Campbell. The man, the myth, the mighty chin.
In the realm of cult cinema there is no greater name than his. Bruce embodies all the great qualities we look for in our cinematic icons: talent, personality, wit, charisma, humility, grace, and honesty. He may never be accepted in the Hollywood circles like so many before him who got their start in B-movies and then forgot about where they came from, because Bruce will never betray his roots or his massive, well-deserved international fanbase. Any movie he’s part of, be it a clever cameo (the Spider-Man movies) or a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit part (the last shot of Darkman, The Demolitionist, several recent Coen Brothers flicks), is all the better for his presence alone, but Bruce has more acting talent than his extensive resume of Sci-Fi channel flicks, failed television shows, and countless convention appearances would reveal to the uninitiated.
Here’s a list of Bruce’s 10 best performances in film and television, in the humble opinion of this writer.
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn Blu-ray Edition
Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring Bruce Campbell, Kassie DePaiva, Danny Hicks, Sarah Berry, Ted Raimi
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Every once in a great while, a groundbreaking film comes along that redefines a genre and changes the way people think about film as a whole. Director Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead II is the sequel to that film.
Generally considered to be the best out of the Evil Dead trilogy, Evil Dead II follows the chainsaw-wielding anti-hero Ash Williams Bruce Campbell as he fights his way through another nightmarish evening at that deadite-infested cabin in the woods. Filled with insane amounts of gore, self-mutilation, and laugh out loud humor, it has garnered a cult following that essentially overshadows most of Campbell’s other work. Campy and exaggerated, Evil Dead II originally proved that it is in fact possible to poke fun at a genre of film while still remaining in said genre. Sure it’s an acquired taste, but I have it, as evident by my signed and personalized picture of Campbell hanging next to my bed.