April 7, 2013

Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn (1987)

(aka Dead by Dawn)
Release Date: 1987; available now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Country: USA.
Written by: Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel.
Directed by: Sam Raimi.
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Ted Raimi, and again, a bunch of Fake Shemps.

I've always viewed Evil Dead 2 as a quasi-remake of The Evil Dead. I know that it's not, it's just always felt that way to me; it's as if Sam Raimi said "We have more money and know-how now, so let's do this thing like we originally wanted to."

Of course it can't truly be a remake, because aside from the first 10 minutes of the movie, in which The Evil Dead is loosely recapped, everything else that follows after is absolute sequel material. I'm just saying, it has always felt kinda half and half to me. What do you want from me, I have issues.

However you look at it, Evil Dead 2 is a slicker, better made, and a way more self aware follow-up to its predecessor, and it's also a hair shy of being an outright comedy.

The beginning of Evil Dead 2 is basically a recap of the first Evil Dead flick, except that this time it's just Ash and his girlfriend who visit the old cabin in the woods and awaken the demons of the Necronomicon... but it's just about the same as the first flick, sans other characters. All we really needed was Ash though, right?

My personal favorite shot in the movie.

Once the recap portion of the movie is over with, Evil Dead 2 swings into full sequel gear, as Ash's hand gets possessed by those menacing Deadites that we've all come to know and love so much. After enduring a hellish barrage of Three Stooges-esque slapstick gags, Ash can take no more and finally ends up cutting off his own hand.

To complicate matters, the daughter of the guy who owns the cabin shows up with her boyfriend and two local yokels, and immediately assumes that Ash killed her parents. that's mainly  because they're missing and the place is covered in blood and viscera, as is Ash, and his hand is missing, and... it just doesn't look good for our would-be hero.

Him turning into a Deadite doesn't help either...

Once the Demonic shenanigans begin though, she quickly changes her tune, and realizes that her dad was an asshole who should have never read the Necronomicon aloud. She and Ash team up to battle the onslaught of Deadite's, and banish their sorry asses back to hell. As you can imagine, this one doesn't really end well for anyone, this time, including Ash.

Notice how everyone is looking in different directions... coincidence? I think not! (I have no idea what I'm getting at here...)
Evil Dead 2 is a definite step up in quality over its predecessor, as Raimi and crew had a bigger budget to work with, and the experience of making the first movie under their belts, to help them on their second outing. The sequel also ramps up the bit of dark humor from the first movie to flat out Horror Comedy territory, sometimes even delving into slapstick or farce territory.

That's a good thing though, because Bruce Campbell is a naturally funny guy, and watching the comic troubles that Ash gets himself into is a thing of beauty. ED2 is also where the character of Ash was truly elevated to cult icon level, as was the Evil Dead franchise as a whole. ED2 also gave us the classic Ash Lines: "Groovy", "Swallow this", and "Let's go." Such good, good stuff.

How does one shoot a double barreled shotgun more than two times without the shooter having to reload? I know, I know, it's a movie that plays things for fun, but every time I watch this one (and its sequel), I can't help but notice!

The level of blood and gore in this movie is just about equal to what can be found in the first one, it just feels a bit more refined here, if you will. Eyeballs in mouths, blood spraying and gushing all over the place, exploding heads, severed limbs... Evil Dead 2 is every bit the gore-fest that its predecessor was, and definitely delivers the goods.

The Deadites look even better this time out, too.
Not this time.

To us, Evil Dead 2 will always be the "grown-up version" of The Evil Dead; you know, the movie where Sam Raimi took the strong foundations he laid with his first ED movie, and built upon them in a technically better, funnier way. It's bloody and gory, and full of all sorts of funny bits, and it stands as many Horror fans favorite of the franchise.

Again, this movie earns itself a solid A

It's not easy finding hot pictures of the chicks from the first two ED movies, but we lucked out with ED2, because Bobbie Jo grew up to be quite the looker...

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