By Steve D. Stones
On the evening of Tuesday October 23rd, 2012, the Weber County Main Branch Library in Ogden screened Sam Raimi’s 1983 gorefest classic – The Evil Dead. It was a great time to see this film up on the big screen for the first time. The turnout was small, but that did not spoil the fun experienced by those in attendance. Local independent filmmaker Thom Rockwell was in attendance to show two of his short seven minute films – Terror Island and Zombie Prom.
A group of college students heads to the Tennessee Mountains to spend some time in an abandoned cabin. Along the way, the group nearly collides with a truck on the mountain road, and break through a crumbling bridge en route to the cabin. A strong sense of doom is suggested by the eerie music and sounds coming from the woods as the group drives up to the cabin.
Young Ash, played by Bruce Campbell, discovers a book –The Book of The Dead, inked in human blood and bound in human flesh in the basement of the cabin. He also discovers a tape recording of an ancient Sumerian incantation. While playing the incantation tape to the cabin group, the woods unleash their evil and begin to possess each member of the group one by one. What follows are over-the-top gore effects of dismemberment, stabbings, head bashing, chainsaw hacking, and premature burial. These effects are so extreme that they actually become comical and fun to view, which is intentional.
The first time I viewed this film was in the winter of 1988 at 2 a.m. in a friend’s dark living room while sipping soda and eating Saltine crackers. Seeing it at 2 a.m. in the middle of cold winter further enhanced the horror experience I felt as I watched the film. I actually felt like I was a character in the film with the cold outside and the dark seclusion of the room I was viewing the film in.
Director Sam Raimi had approximately $379,000 to work with in the budget. Many accounts suggest that some of that money came from a group of Tennessee dentists. The film has gone on to gross over 29 million dollars worldwide, which is a big return on the investment. The film was also listed on many “Video Nasty” lists in a number of countries for years, but is now widely embraced by horror fans and film critics alike. The 2007 three-disc box set release of The Evil Dead distributed by Anchor Bay contains a poster and plenty of extras, such as round table discussions by the actors and fans. If you are an Evil Dead fan, this is a must for your collection. Happy Viewing!!