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Evil Dead vs the Gore Zone

Evil Dead vs the Gore Zone

I was the teen who was into horror movies with a lot of gore; the “gore” the better. I’m not sure what it was that hooked me about them but whatever it was I was locked in. In the mid–1980s I used to prowl the isles of our video rental shop looking for movies with the most gore, yet one of the goriest movies out there at the time was a film called The Evil Dead (1981) that I’d seen but had no idea just what a gorefest it really was.

Evil Dead movie posterAt the time I’d already watched a version of The Evil Dead that was in a neutered “edited for content” TV version that would turn up on cable from time to time. So to me The Evil Dead was little more than a cheapie looking film about a group of teens trapped in a cabin by demonic forces outside. I remember being bored by The Evil Dead and usually turning to something else when it came on.

At that same time I was into Fangoria magazine another called Gorefest that covered these kinds of movies. And in an issue of one of them was a writeup on the The Evil Dead sequel Evil Dead II (1987). While I thought the photos for that film looked cool and the movie sounded interesting for whatever reason I didn’t end up checking out Evil Dead II either on cable or VHS.

Fast forward a few years and the movie Army of Darkness (1993), really Evil Dead III, was out and it was the film me and my brother watched over and over again on cable. I was so into that movie that I got my own copy of it for Christmas then later on bought a special widescreen version too.

But even then with my love of Army of Darkness I still didn’t go back and checkout The Evil Dead or Evil Dead II.

Now it’s the early 2000s and I’m reading about how The Evil Dead was this controversial movie that was banned in the UK as a “video nasty” and I started wondering how this lame movie I remember seeing on TV as a kid Saturday afternoons was so bad it was banned? Around that time there was a resurgence of movies by The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi when the first Spider-Man (2002) was out in theaters and The Evil Dead was being restored and re-released on DVD. Which is how I finally got to see an unadulterated version of that classic.

evil_dead_iiAnd yes, The Evil Dead is one of the goriest movies out there. Wounds spout great gouts of blood, some of it green! There are axes flying and corpses dissolving into masses of bugs and maggots and pencils stabbed into feet.

All of which is so over the top and heightened it’s more Looney Tunes in tone that straight horror.

And after having finally seen The Evil Dead I checked out Evil Dead II as well. Evil Dead II is almost as gory and over the top as The Evil Dead is, but honestly, it’s an odd movie.

I’m not sure why but Evil Dead II is a partial remake of The Evil Dead before expanding the story and telling something new. It’s almost like the filmmakers wanted to make sure that everyone seeing Evil Dead II knew the original story so decided to tell it again at the start of the sequel. Nowadays everyone would just go out and rent The Evil Dead to catch up, but back then movies had a limited, or none depending on where you lived, availability so retelling that story kind’a made sense.

And the followup Army of Darkness is a brilliant, campy, scary and, yes, gory film too and is my favorite of the bunch. (The Evil Dead was remade in 2013 but avoid that movie at all costs.)

Now comes the TV version of The Evil Dead in a series Ash vs Evil Dead with Evil Dead lead Bruce Campbell back in the Ash role. And by all accounts Ash vs Evil Dead looks to be just as gory and over the top as its predecessors which makes the little 12 year old inside me leap for joy!

The 10 episode Ash vs Evil Dead series premiers Halloween night on Starz.

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