Monday, September 20, 2010

Evil Dead II: Bruce Campbell and I Were Sadly Never Meant to Be.

As much as I would love to say that I'm Bruce Campbell's biggest fan and that The Evil Dead series is the reason for my being a horror fan--I just can't. Why? Because it isn't true man. Sure I like The Evil Dead and I appreciate it and all that good stuff, but I find that I'm world's away from the majority of Evil Dead fans. What's more, I'm about a bazillion light years away from the girls and women that would love nothing more than landing Bruce Campbell in their beds. His face is too boxy okay? He reminds me too much of Gaston and his eyes are too wonky. Leave me in peace!

For some strange reason The Evil Dead has never spoken to me quite as clearly as I would like it to. Something doesn't quite click with me like it does for others and I'm not entirely sure why. For this reason, I haven't been in any kind of rush to see Evil Dead II since I figured it would probably not be one of my new favorite movies. What I gather from others is that Evil Dead II is genius, a cult classic defining film of horror comedies everywhere, and also that Bruce Campbell is God. Today I decided to find out for myself just what kind of film Evil Dead II is and if it deserves all the credit it constantly gets.

Many would say that Evil Dead II seems more like a remake than it does a sequel. I can see where that idea comes from as there are traces of what happens in the first coming back in this. Yet, I can't really say that it is a remake's definitely a sequel. I think people tend to get all confused with the first few minutes where Ash pulls up to the cabin with a different looking Linda. Instinctively my mind was going haywire and shouting out phrases like "Huh?" "What?" "Why doesn't he remember?". But then I quickly realized that these first few minutes are a recap. The actual sequel part begins with the demon swoops upon Brucey. Due to some legal matters, Raimi was unable to use footage from the first film, hence why Linda is different and why no one else from the first film is in the car. Sure, we get repeat scenarios from the first film (inklings of tree rape, locking a demon in the fruit cellar, etc) but things repeat in sequels all the time. It's not like when we hear Wayne say "Exqueese me, baking powder?" we are shouting from the hills. WAYNES WORLD 2 NOT A SEQUEL IT'S A REMAKE. I mean come on. Yeah, maybe Evil Dead II achieves more of what Raimi wanted out of the first, but I still don't believe that it is a remake.

So what's to say about Evil Dead II? Well for starters it IS an awesome movie, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love it. I think my unwillingness to accept Bruce Campbell as sexy and/or a God plays a big part in how I perceive the film. I realize one of the biggest draws of the film is how over the top it is, but Bruce just kind of annoys me. He's almost too corny for me. I much preferred him in his original Ash role which I know is a sentiment barely anyone can agree with me on. It's just that the film is so over the top without Ash acting all bug eyed and hilarious and spouting one liners, that when he does it puts the film way way over the top.

Which unfortunately is not something I love. Call me a wet blanket whatever, but my favorite thing about horror films is feeling scared. That is why I have a harder time accepting these types of movies. Entertaining definitely, but after awhile I just start getting kind of bored. It's the same technique after the same technique. Where did the demon go? Oh no he's right behind you. Oh no he's spitting out blood and green stuff. It tends to lose its appeal before long.

That isn't to say I don't find parts of Evil Dead II thrilling or even scary. I'm sure not many would disagree with the sentiment that the demons are some of the scariest, ugliest, creepiest looking creatures ever imagined.

Something about how each one's face is unique, yet they all have that dead look in the eyes is just bleck. Hands down the most disgusting is of course the mother in the fruit cellar. I have never wanted to barf more than when I saw her fat and veiny legs or stomach. Yikes. What makes them super scary however is their maniacal laughter. Actually I forgot one of the creepiest parts of the whole movie is when Linda does that freaky dance!

That really unnerved me for some reason. I think it has to do with how much I hate when things look unnatural when they move.

Like I said, I can definitely appreciate Evil Dead II. The camera work is pretty fascinating to watch, with all those inventive POV shots from the demon, and that little chase sequence through the cabin. The gore as usual, is remarkably gross with my personal favorite being the blood geyser shooting out from the fruit cellar when redneck guy gets eaten.

I also enjoyed being brought back into the professor guy's life as I always felt listening to the tapes was one of the eeriest parts about the first film. Seeing some of the aftermath of that situation was oddly refreshing.

What else is there to say? People love Evil Dead II and they have a right to. It is one of the most important films in horror comedy history and for many-- the most important. I think I just find it a little too slapstick without warning. Without warning means, Sam Raimi's humor always throws me off. I get that many believe he has a great balance of comedy and horror but I usually always end up leaning a lot more towards one side. In this instance, the comedy is a little too kooky for me to handle to take the film seriously as a horror film. I like kooky but only when it makes perfect in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or perhaps, Showgirls. Still, Evil Dead II does deserves its status, don't get me wrong. I just wish I was a bigger fan so that I could be in the cool kids club. But I won't pretend don't worry. I'll just be over here waiting for when everyone wants to talk about Suspiria again.


kelly said...

This was a fun read! I agree the demons were well-done, very memorable but then I watched this film while younger.

Raimi puts me off too, although there are great moments in a few of his films. Still, ED I & II were high school favorites of my friends and I and they'll always hold a special place in my heart.

Anonymous said...

I'll hang out with you in the non-cool kids corner then, Andre. I've never seen the big deal with Campbell or the series either.

I'm glad to see there are more of us out there. I was beginning to get pretty lonely over here.


The Mike said...


I can see your points, despite my love for The Bruce. Both of the first ED movies are style over substance horrors, and it just doesn't work for some. And you're right on in pointing out how repetive the sequel is. I love 'em, but I'll admit that there are days when I prefer the cheesier and polished Army of Darkness to them.

I'd be interested to see what you think of Bubba Ho-Tep, in which Bruce is far more human and awesome than in all of the Evil Dead films combined. Seems more up your alley than Evil Dead Bruce.

Andre Dumas said...

I mean I LIKE IT The Mike, I just don't love it. Think of when Pee Wee says to Dottie, "I like you Dottie. LIKE. I LIKE YOU DOTTIE!"

The Mike said...

LOL. Fair enough. I'm defensive of my Bruce.

Matt-suzaka said...

You're such a wet blanket, Andre. I am of the school that Dead by Dawn is one of horror's best and that Bruce is God (I met him too, and we talked about the beauty of Mass foliage!). I did grow up with it and when I first watched it as a kid, I thought it was wicked scary, scary enough to where I turned it off three times, no joke.

I can't hate on your neglect to fully embrace it, mostly because you are older and have had to live for sometime hearing people just talk about the evil Dead films. That can be a turn off for me too with certain shit. I do think that with Campbell, you would appreciate him more if you see him in more films. He has a strange charisma that is not like anything any other actor has really ever had on screen, and that isn't always shown in the first two Evil Dead films.

Interesting read, and even if it is hard for me to comprehend, I do. I do think you may warm up to the films if you watch them down the road without all the bullshit hype behind them...just enjoy them for what they are.

deadlydolls said...

Great writeup and I totally get what you're saying. I think I actually felt the same way about Drag Me to Hell. It's fine. It's good. But every time someone puts it on their best of the year/decade list, it loses one more point in my book.

I haven't watched Evil Dead 1 or 2 in probably about 10 years, so I have no idea where I'd stand now. I recall enjoying the first one and having a great time with part 2, but that was definitely before I realized Campbell was considered a god to man. I love the man and think he's incredibe in the whole series, but I can see how he doesn't work for everyone. Army of Darkness is a blast, but it's also just a comedy. The Evil Dead II takes on that odd mix and works for me, though I of course also wish it were a little more...well...scary.

The Fiji Mermaid said...

I'm a big fan of Evil Dead 2, I think the slapstick type of comedy/over the top stuff and one liners feel good in this flick. However I can't watch Army of Darkness it's so bad in my opinion, the whole things feels forced like they are trying to recapture the ED2 magic.

Franco Macabro said...

I love this one, I can re-watch it over and over again, never get tired of it. I enjoy it because it has so many different visual gags every five minutes, it's never a boring film for me.

The dead dancing girlfriend, the decapitated head, evil ash coming out of the mirror, the old hag in the fruit cellar, Ash's possesed hand...bleeding walls...possesed just goes on and on.

My favorite demon is the blond guy with all those rows upon rows of teeth! He looks really freaking demonic!

I wish Raimi could do a remake of these movies, or a straight forward sequel. There was talk of sequel/remake for a while, but nothing came of it sadly. Instead, Raimi did that pussy horror film Drag me to Hell, which dissapointed me when compared to these first horror films he did.

Bill Dan Courtney said...

I never get tired of these movies. I just saw The Hudsucker Proxy and Bruce Campbell had a supporting role in it. Maybe becasue I noticed SAm Rami help script the movie.