This Episode’s Unearthings: Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness
Since the recent Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness got me in the mood….
Deadite Numero Uno
The Evil Dead follows five young, attractive college students driving up to a secluded forest cabin for a weekend of fun. Although none of them have ever been to the cabin before, they got it for cheap and are excited to get their party on. After crossing an dilapidated old bridge, they finally arrive, and discover the cabin has some strange stuff. Ash (our protagonist, played by a young and hot Bruce Campbell) and Scotty explore the cabin cellar, and find a freaky looking book and a recorder. Thinking it’s a cool gag, they bring both upstairs and decide to play the tape recording, which actually is a recitation of one of the passages in the scary looking book. As it turns out, this is no ordinary book, but actually is the Morturom Demonto…the Book of the Dead. This, unfortunately for the college kids, causes the awakening of vicious demonic forces–the titled Evil Dead. The rickety bridge they crossed to get to the cabin has been destroyed, and there is no escape. Starting with Cheryl, then Shelley, then Linda and Scotty, each of the friends is possessed by the Evil. And Ash is in a buttload of trouble, trying to fight each of them off.
The Evil Dead was filmed on a shoestring budget, but was incredibly successful in terms of critical review and in terms of profitability. Even with the lower production value (i.e. you can see the pole holding up possessed!Cheryl when she is levitating), this is still one awesome scary flick. From this 1983 success, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made names for themselves…and were able to continue, by popular demand, Ash’s story in…
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
Legend has it that it was written by the Dark Ones. Necronomicon ex Mortis, roughly translated, “Book of the Dead”. The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago. When the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 AD, the book disappeared.
Ash goes a little crazy
Tired of all the crap he has been through, Ash demands to go home. The wisemen wizards of the time tell Ash that he is their savior and that his job will be to rid the world of the Evil deadites, but Ash isn’t having any of it. When the wisemen tell him that the only way to get Ash back to his rightful time is a spell in the Necronomicon, Ash agrees to go get the book on the condition that as soon as he returns, they send him back. The wisemen tell Ash that in order to retrieve the book, he MUST say the three magic words in the right order, else he will unleash the greatest evil the world has ever known…and naturally, Ash can’t quite remember the three words when it comes time. Unwittingly, for the third damn time, Ash unleashes the Evil that is the Army of Darkness.
Once the evil has been unleashed, Ash isn’t THAT big of a douche…and he stays to help fight the Evil Army (which is being headed by FreddyKrueger!EvilAsh), with the help of some 20th century chemistry.
This last installment has it’s share of gore and horrific elements, but it is less of a straight horror film. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this one, I still laugh my ass off, every time. This is the movie that gives Bruce Campbell his golden glow–as wisecracking, cheesy one-liner, boomstick and chainsaw weilding Ash. The wonderful humor, the Three Stooges shoutouts, and the homage to Jason and the Argonauts with the Ray Harryhausen skeleton battle sequence at the end make this movie one that is close to my heart.
Recently, I bought Army of Darkness on USA dvd–and was completely taken aback as the version that I had grown up with has a completely different ending! As I grew up and watched this movie in Japan for the first time, I assumed that what I had seen was what the US version would entail–well, nope. The endings are drastically different, and I have to say I much prefer the one I grew up with (naturally).
Evil Dead: The Musical
Recently, The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn have been brought to the stage in form of a musical. The play features song and dance numbers (complete and utter cheeseball), and for the diehard fans the first three rows are the “splatter zone”. Where the audience gets–you guessed it–splattered by the onstage blood and body parts.
Originally it played in New York in an off-Broadway production, and has since moved to Toronto (where, if you are lucky enough to live close by, it will be running until June 14 at the Diesel Playhouse).
AND starting Friday the 13th of June, Evil Dead: The Musical will be at the Willows Theater in Martinez, California (San Francisco Bay area). Since I live in Los Angeles, I have already bought my tickets and I cannot wait to take a trip up north to watch the play! Naturally, I will be in the splatter zone. Wearing a completely white outfit.
So, as a parting gift, I leave you one of the wonderfully cheeseball songs from the musical, titled… “What the F*ck Was That?”