What came before it: The Evil Dead. You know, the 1981 Sam Raimi flick about a group of kids (including a super young, super sexy Bruce Campbell!) who head to a cabin in the woods for a weekend and unwittingly unleash an ancient demonic force.
What remains: Evil Dead II could almost be considered a remake of the original. Campbell’s Ash returns to the same cabin with a very similar group of kids and kickstarts the exact same scenario, just with extended death scenes (angry molesting trees!), a few added characters and a whole lot more humour.
Why it deserves a second (or third, or fourth) chance:
- It put a very fun spin on an often overly serious genre. In doing so, it birthed a whole new subsection of horror, one of my personal favourites: splatstick (splatter gore gone slapstick).
- This one’s for the ladies/gay dudes: Bruce Campbell may look his mighty finest here, his promiscuously protruding chin on full and utterly glorious display. Also, this is where we first get to see Bruce really ham it up, turning catchphrases like “Groovy!” into instant classics.
- There is a two-minute scene of Campbell fighting with his possessed hand (see: clip below). It is brilliant and mostly likely the only way that Idle Hands was able to get made.
- You get to witness a fresh corpse do ballet to classic music in a forest. (This is the point where you’ll either fall in love, or run away screaming.)
- Even the props are hilarious. For example, after (SPOILER ALERT) Ash cuts off his hand, he places it near a copy of A Farewell to Arms.
- It sets things up for the epic conclusion of the trilogy: Army of Darkness.
- This is the flick Evil Dead: The Musical is based on. Yes, that’s a real thing and yes, it’s amazing. One of my favourite memories (ever) has to be subwaying home after sitting in the Splatter Zone during my third viewing of the show. Needless to say, buying a white chocolate macadamia cookie while covered, head to toe, in fake blood, isn’t as cut and dry as you might think.