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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Evil Dead 2: It Is What It Is…

It’s time again for monster movies in October. To be honest, I watch monster and horror movies all year, but in October I try to write a little bit about them.

Usually when I write these articles about horror movies in October I try to make it an intellectual exercise, almost as if I’m trying to justify my fondness for the horror genre.  Pastors aren’t supposed to like movies with monsters, and demons, and blood, and gore, and violence (especially pastors who claim to be pacifists, as I do.)  We’re supposed to encourage people to have nothing to do with the kind of darkness and depravity usually seen in horror flicks.  And yet, I do like them. 

When they’re done well, horror films allow us an opportunity to confront all the things that we fear – especially those things that we fear most about ourselves.  And so I write about these movies in an abstract sort of way, looking beyond the movies themselves to the horror that is inside me, or inside us all.  I use horror movies to help me think about myself, the world around me, and my relationships with others and with God. 

But sometimes a movie is just a movie.  Sometimes there’s nothing beyond the gore and mayhem.  And that’s what I like about Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987).  It doesn’t take itself seriously; it has no delusions of grandeur, no pretensions to literary greatness.  Director Sam Raimi fills the movie with surreal stylized camera work, and slapstick violence. Bruce Campbell brings his own particular campy brand of overacting.  Every aspect of the film is exaggerated almost into the realms of parody.  When someone (or something) bleeds, it’s not a mere trickle of blood, but a geyser of blood.  The musical cues and sound effects are obtrusive and corny.  The violence is wild and cartoonish.  There are numerous visual gags and puns (even though I’ve seen it over a dozen times, the use of Farewell to Arms cracks me up every time.) It’s just not meant to be taken seriously – just enjoyed.

I’ve seen all of the films in the Evil Dead Franchise excepting the 2013 remake/reboot (I’ll get to it eventually) and Dead by Dawn remains my favorite.  I’ve seen the Evil Dead musical, and even auditioned for a part when it was being performed by a local theater company (I got a callback for a second audition, but didn’t get a part. Bummer!). 

I’ll make no attempt to defend the movie; it is corny, violent, and often in bad taste. It is what it is.  And neither will I try to justify how much I like it.

Other Monster Movies in October this year:

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