Archive for EVIL DEAD

EVIL DEAD (2013)

Posted in 2013, Based on Classic Films, Chainsaws!, Cinema Knife Fights, Cult Movies, Demons, Evil Spirits, Gore!, Possessed By Demons, Remakes with tags , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by knifefighter

By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares

Evil Dead poster #2

(The Scene: A cabin in the woods. L.L. SOARES is sitting at a desk, reading an ancient book. MICHAEL ARRUDA looks over his shoulder)

MA: You know you shouldn’t be doing that. It always ends badly.

LS: I know. But I feel compelled to do it.

MA: Whatever you do, don’t read aloud from it.


MA: I told you not to read from it.

(The leprechaun from LUCKY CHARMS cereal appears)

LUCKY: You’ll be after me lucky charms!

MA:  I beg your pardon?  I don’t think so!

LS: We summoned you by accident.

LUCKY: Accident? And me in the middle of me breakfast.

LS: Go play with Toucan Sam or something.

(LUCKY turns MA into a monkey and disappears)

LS: Well, that’s an improvement.

(Monkey MA starts screeching and running around the cabin)

LS: I might as well start this week’s review.

(Monkey morphs back into MA)

MA: Nice try.  What?  Is the leprechaun on your payroll?  Don’t answer that. Just get on with the review.

LS:  EVIL DEAD is a remake of Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic (the difference in titles is that the original had a “THE” in front of it).  That was the movie that put Raimi on the map—and just look how his career turned out? Now he’s directing stuff like OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL. But back then, Raimi was just some unknown kid trying to make it in the movie biz. Strangely, even though all this time has gone by, THE EVIL DEAD is still my favorite of Raimi’s movies.

MA:  Things work out that way sometimes.  Often the first thing an artist does—or at least the first hit—remains the best.

LS:  So when I heard they were giving it the remake treatment, I wasn’t surprised, but I wasn’t hopeful either. Raimi’s movie was low-budget, but incredibly resourceful. Despite the money limitations, the original EVIL DEAD introduced Raimi’s signature “stalking cam” where the camera shows the point of view of a creature running through the woods. Well, not exactly running. Sweeping through the woods at high speed is more the feel of it. And THE EVIL DEAD made a star of the very cool Bruce Campbell, who was Ash in the original and its sequels.

The trailer for the new version looked hopeful, and it started this ad campaign where it declared this to be “The most terrifying film you will ever experience!” Then the buzz started—a lot of it coming from the South By Southwest Film Festival earlier this year in Austin, Texas, where audiences loved this movie. So I started to get excited about it and really looked forward to seeing it.


But there was always the chance it could be a complete disappointment.

MA:  I don’t believe ad campaigns for one minute.  The most horrifying movie you will ever see? Yeah, right.  Anyway, like any ad, I didn’t give this one much credence, and I put it out of my mind since I didn’t want to have this movie hindered by too high expectations.

LS:  So let’s start off with the obvious question. Is this the most horrifying movie you will ever see? Nope. That’s a pretty big claim, and it’s just about guaranteed to fall short.

MA (laughing):  It sounds like an ad campaigns for a movie back in the 50s.  SEE the most terrifying monster ever to set foot on the earth!  An ungodly horror not meant for human eyes!  Too hideous!  Too horrifying!

Too much!

It’s a dumb add for a decent movie.

LS:  There was a lot of that kind of stuff in the 70s too. I remember MARK OF THE DEVIL (1970) had the ad campaign “Positively the most horrifying film ever made.” And I’m sure there were plenty of ads that copied that one.

But I’ll give the new EVIL DEAD this much credit: it sure tries hard to live up to that tag line.

MA:  It gets an A for effort.

(LS again reads from the ancient book.)


(This time CAPTAIN CRUNCH appears.)

CAPTAIN CRUNCH:  Hey kids, how about helping your captain eat a healthy breakfast by—hey, wait a minute.  You two aren’t kids.

MA:  How observant you are.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH: Are there any kids around?

LS (rubs his stomach):  Not alive, anyway.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH:  In that case, how about helping this captain fill his flask, if you know what I mean?  (Holds out an empty flask).

LS (pointing):  The bar’s that way, in the next room. Fully stocked.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH:  Mrs. Crunch is going to have a good time tonight!  (Exits with a skip in his step.)

MA:  He always seemed so innocent on those TV commercials.

LS:  Maybe, but I never did trust that Crunchberry Beast.

Do you remember back when we were kids and Captain Crunch had an enemy in those cartoon commercials named Jean LaFoot?  There was this whole storyline going on. They just don’t make commercials like that anymore.


Anyway, back to the movie.  This one begins promisingly enough. A bunch of college-age kids meet at a cabin in the woods. In the original, it was more for a fun weekend. Here, it has a more serious motivation. Mia (Jane Levy, also the star of the current ABC comedy SUBURGATORY) is trying to get off drugs for the second time in her life, after a recent overdose that almost killed her (actually, we’re told, she did technically “die” for a moment during it). Her friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), a cynical guy with long hair, and Olivia (the very stunning Jessica Lucas, who was also in CLOVERFIELD, 2008) are there, as well as the older brother Mia hasn’t seen in years, David (Shiloh Fernandez, who was also Peter in 2011’S RED RIDING HOOD) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). They’re all there to give Mia support during her attempt to kick drugs via the “cold turkey” approach. They’re there in that cabin in the middle of nowhere to see her through the rough times, keep her there, and make sure this time the “cure” takes.

MA:  I liked this premise a lot.  It really worked for me and made things more interesting in that these folks actually had a real reason not only for being there, but for staying there, in that they wanted to see things through to the end and truly help Mia kick her habit.

LS: Exactly. In these kinds of movies, there’s always a point where you say “Why the hell do they stay there? Why not leave?” It happens in this movie too—it’s inevitable in these kinds of horror movies—but for a little while there, everyone staying put actually makes sense. And that’s unusual.

Right away, Mia and David have issues. Mia is happy to see him, but also resents him for taking off on her when she was a kid, leaving her alone with their crazy mother, who died in a mental hospital a few years before this reunion. David clearly didn’t come back because he was trying to save his own sanity, but he’s trying to make up for his choices now, by giving Mia the support she needs.

So they go in the cabin, intent on seeing this through to the end. The friends make a pact to stay strong and not give in when Mia wants to leave. They’re going to make sure it works this time.

But the cabin has other plans.

MA:  I’ll say.

LS:  First off, they find a roomful of dead cats hanging from the ceiling in a secret room below the cabin (the reason the cats are there is explained in the creepy opening sequence of the film, which takes place in the past). They also find a book wrapped in barbed wire, which of course ends up upstairs with them, and of course one of them, namely Eric, has to cut the wires and open the book, and even read from it.

MA:  Gee, that sounds familiar.  (points his thumb at LS).

LS: As soon as he does that, he sets the demons in motion.

From here, EVIL DEAD takes on a relentless pace, as each member of the group takes turns being possessed by demonic forces. It begins with Mia, who has the main demon “attached” to her soul in the middle of the woods (with a special appearance by the ghost of the book’s previous victim), after trying to flee the cabin. When she goes back, Mia attacks the others, and then the fireworks begin.

I loved the pacing of this one. It doesn’t let up for a moment after the horror begins, and I really enjoyed that. There’s plenty of violence and gore and self-mutilation which is what you would expect from an EVIL DEAD movie. I am so glad they didn’t go the PG-13 route with this one. In fact, there are a couple of scenes that are downright amazing, including Mia using a razor to cut her tongue in half, the messy results of a shotgun blast, several people cutting off offending limbs in horrible ways, and an amazing “chainsaw to the head” moment that paints the entire screen red. So, if you happen to be a gorehound, this one is definitely for you.

In a lot of ways, this movie is almost perfect. It has a more serious tone than the first one —Raimi was famous for injecting funny moments to relieve tension, but this one is simply grim and vicious—which is in no way a bad thing. It’s also fairly faithful to the original, especially the key horrific/gross-out moments. Director Fede Alvarez (this is his first feature film, his previous movies were all short films) does a stunning job bringing this one to the screen. But there are a couple of minor gripes.

First off, the movie completely pushes its R-rating to the line, and past it, as far as the gore goes. This is not a movie for the squeamish. And yet it seemed to have a puritanical streak a mile long. From a character taking a shower in her clothes early on, to other key moments that would have had a lot more impact if there was some nudity involved. And I’m not talking gratuitous nudity—I’m talking logical stuff (do YOU take a shower with your clothes on?) This odd repression didn’t ruin the movie, but it did feel like it was holding back, and EVIL DEAD should be the kind of movie that is no-holds-barred. It just continues to amaze me that violence and gore is becoming more and more mainstream, but sex and nudity are still taboos that are to be avoided at all costs.

MA:  This didn’t bother me.  The movie’s pacing is so intense I didn’t have time to think about the fact that there wasn’t any nudity.  But something else bothered me about this one.

I agree with you that it pushes the envelope in the gore department, and I’ll even go so far to say that it’s nearly perfect with its handling of these horrific moments, in that in spite of the fact that it was in your face most of the time, it somehow didn’t go overboard.  Now, all this being said, for some reason, and this is the problem I had with it, it wasn’t all that scary.  I’m not sure why, because there were certainly scenes of suspense, and while I was enjoying these scenes, they really weren’t getting to me.  I think it’s because there was just a familiarity about the whole thing, as a reimagining of an old movie, that it somehow lacked freshness.

Also, and I’m not sure I can properly explain this, but it didn’t really hit me in the gut.  I was more entertained by this one than disturbed, which surprised me, because it is such a bloodbath throughout.  Another possibility I have to consider is perhaps the characters weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been, and I didn’t care as much if they had their arms lopped off.  I don’t know.  I enjoyed this one, but it didn’t really have me on the edge of my seat.

LS: I think it’s a mix of two things. First, we’re jaded old guys who have seen this kind of thing a thousand times before. Extreme gore just doesn’t shock us anymore. Secondly, because this is a remake, we’re familiar with the story for the most part, so there aren’t a lot of surprises—although, Alvarez does diverge from the original story a few times. Between these two things, it’s going to be pretty hard to scare us. But for some kid who never saw the original, this might really rock their world.

MA:  I guess that explains why the rest of the theater audience was screaming, while I wasn’t.  At least I wasn’t laughing, which says a lot for how good this one was.

(LS looks down at the Book of the Dead)

I just can’t help myself.  (Again reads from the evil book.  Toucan Sam appears.)

TOUCAN SAM:  I follow my nose.  Wherever it goes.

LS (points):  The bar’s that way.  (TOUCAN SAM exits.)

MA: What’s with all the breakfast cereal characters?  What is that you’re reading from, anyway?  The Book of Dead Breakfast Cereal Icons?

LS (his mouth full of cereal):  That’s a mouthful.

(CAPTAIN CRUNCH sticks his head back into the room.)

CAPTAIN CRUNCH:  That’s what she said!  (He burps).

MA:  He’s bad.

LS:  He’s drunk.

CAPTAIN CRUNCH:  I dare say.  That’s a Peanut Butter Elephant standing by the bar!  (Hiccups and exits).

MA: This is weird.  Let’s get on with the review.

LS:  The acting is mostly good, especially Jane Levy as Mia and Lou Taylor Pucci as Eric.

MA:  I thought Jane Levy was excellent as Mia.  She nailed this role.  She made for a very strong lead, and I liked that she has to fight to overcome her drug addiction, a fight that strangely disappears at one point when she’s fighting the main demon face-to-face.  Could this be a case where she was—scared straight?

LS:  My one acting complaint, however, is Shiloh Fernandez as Mia’s brother David. He’s ostensibly the hero of this movie, and thus the equivalent of Bruce Campbell’s Ash in the original film. But let me tell you, David is no Ash. Not even close. Campbell may have given an over-the-top performance in the original, but it was riveting, and fun as hell. In comparison, Fernandez is kind of a dud. He’s kind of one-dimensional for most of the movie, and isn’t very interesting. He just reacts to everything that is thrown at him, but doesn’t have much of a personality of his own. I just thought his performance was a letdown for such a crucial role, and that someone with more charisma could have knocked this movie out of the park.

MA:  I thought he was okay.

LS: My point exactly. Bruce Campbell wasn’t just okay in the original movie. He kicked ass!

MA: You’re right.  He’s kind of low key, but he didn’t really bother me.  However, I do agree with you that the movie would have been better with someone more charismatic, although I’m not sure if that’s simply Fernandez’ fault or a lack of good writing. The way the story plays out, the character of David doesn’t turn out to be the most effective hero, and I didn’t really like this all that much.  I would have preferred a stronger hero.

LS: I also had a few issues with the ending. There’s a kind of loophole that provided a glimmer of hope toward the end of the film, that didn’t make complete sense to me. I don’t necessarily have a problem with glimmers of hope, but this one seemed forced, and that, again, goes against the whole “no-holds-barred” ethic of an EVIL DEAD movie.

Despite these complaints, I liked this movie a lot, and thought it was pretty amazing. It may not be the scariest movie ever made, but it was one of the best horror movies I have seen in a long time, and I completely recommend it to fans of the genre. You’re going to have a lot of fun with this one, even if the basic plot (guy reads book and summons demons) still seems a little silly (and, sadly, cliché, since so many people ripped Raimi off after the first EVIL DEAD).

I give it three and a half knives.

Also, if you stay until the very end (after the end credits), you’ll see a final “surprise” scene that is strictly for fans of the original film (kids with no knowledge of the original film may completely not get it). So stick around, hardcore fans.

MA:  I didn’t stick around to the end, so I missed the final surprise.  I liked this one a lot too, although not as much as you.  And while I thought it was a very good horror movie, I wouldn’t put it above other very good horror movies of recent years. For example, I thought last year’s CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012) was about the same in quality.

LS: CABIN IN THE WOODS had a completely different agenda, and Joss Whedon’s script had a lot of fun with the tropes and clichés of the genre. It was smart and funny. The new EVIL DEAD is trying to do something completely different.

MA: But in terms of quality I thought they were about the same.  Both very good horror movies.

LS: By the way, the script here was by director Fede Alvarez, as well as Diablo Cody (who, you may remember, won an Oscar for her screenplay for 2005’s JUNO, and also wrote JENNIFER’S BODY (2009) and 2011’s YOUNG ADULT, the last one being a movie I liked a lot), and Rado Sayagues.

MA: I liked the acting, the pacing, and the intensity of the in-your-face gore, but something about this one lacked freshness, perhaps because it was a reimagining.  I also didn’t find the characters all that exciting or even likeable, with the exception of Jane Levy as Mia.  Horror fans will love it. Non-horror fans won’t.

I give it three knives.

LS: Just three? You must be smoking wacky tobacky or somethin’.

(MA looks around the cabin) I guess we’re done here.  So, just what is the connection between the book you’re reading and the breakfast cereal characters?

LS:  I dunno.  I just started reading it and the characters showed up.

MA:  Well, what’s the name of the book?


MA:  A reimagining?

(The door bursts open and CAPTAIN CRUNCH, TOUCAN SAM, THE LUCKY CHARMS LEPRECHAUN, TONY THE TIGER and SNAP, CRACKLE AND POP, and a bunch of other cereal characters stand there bloodied and crazed, holding knives, chainsaws, and various other brutal instruments.)

TOUCAN SAM:  We’ll cut off your nose!  Wherever blood flows!

MA:  I think breakfast is over.  Let’s get out of here.

LS:  I’m sticking to corn flakes from now on.

(TONY THE TIGER roars, his face full of blood,”THEEEEY”RE GREAT!”)

(MA & LS flee while the demented cereal characters pursue them through the woods.)


© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda & L.L. Soares

Michael Arruda gives EVIL DEAD ~ three knives!

LL Soares gives EVIL DEAD ~three and a half knives.



Posted in 2013, Special Columns with tags , , on April 7, 2013 by knifefighter
Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) in the original version of THE EVIL DEAD (1981).
Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) in the original version of
Mia (Jane Levy) in the new version of EVIL DEAD.
Mia (Jane Levy) in the new version of
EVIL DEAD (2013).

Cinema Knife Fight COMING ATTRACTIONS for APRIL 2013

Posted in 2013, Action Movies, Aliens, Coming Attractions, Crime Films, Demons, Horror, Possessed By Demons with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by knifefighter

APRIL 2013
by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares

(The Scene:  A cabin in the woods.  MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES are inside, looking at books.  LS is reading the Book of the Dead, while MA is reading the E-book version of the same.)

LS:  I had no idea the Book of the Dead is available as an E-book now.

MA:  It just came out.  It’s a sign of the times.  It even has this interactive menu.

LS:  Let me see that.  (MA hands the E-Reader to LS.)

MA:  I wouldn’t go clicking any icons if I were you.  It is the Book of the Dead, after all.  At least wait until after we finish this column.

LS:  You’re no fun.  And I’ll press buttons if I want to!  See, I just clicked on the “Kick my Ash” icon and nothing happened.

MA:  Will you stop!  We have a column to do!

LS:  Wimp!  But you’re right.  We do have a column to do.

Welcome to the COMING ATTRACTIONS column for April 2013, where we preview which movies we’ll be reviewing in the coming month.

Up first on April 5, it’s the remake/reimagining of THE EVIL DEAD (2013).  Most people reading this column are probably familiar with Sam Raimi’s 1981 original version. It’s the movie that put him on the map, as well as star Bruce Campbell. Based on the trailer for the new EVIL DEAD, it looks fairly faithful to the original story, but I’ll be surprised if it’s half as good. I’m a big fan of the original and I’m not expecting the remake to blow me away. But, as usual, I would love to be surprised and find out this is a really good version. So we’ll see.


MA:  Honestly, I haven’t seen the original EVIL DEAD (1981) in years, but I remember it fondly, as well as its sequels. That being said, I was never a big fan of the trilogy.  I liked them, but I didn’t love them.

I am looking forward to this remake or reimagining, or whatever the heck it is.  We just haven’t had a lot of horror movies out at the theaters of late, it seems, so it should be fun to finally have a major horror release on the big screen.


Also opening on April 5 is a new thriller 6 SOULS (2013).  I know very little about this one, other than that it stars Julianne Moore, who I like a lot.  If it opens near me, I’ll be seeing it and reviewing it.

LS:  Yeah, I don’t know much about this one. But if it does come out near us, you’ll be reviewing it solo.

MA:  On April 12, we’ll be reviewing SCARY MOVIE 5 (2013).  I had enough of this series after just the first movie.  The fact that we’re up to 5 is ludicrous.  All I can say about this one is ugh!

LS: I agree. I also saw the very similar HAUNTED HOUSE (2013), starring Marlon Wayans earlier this year (Wayans was one of the originators of the first few SCARY MOVIEs) and I enjoyed it. But SCARY MOVIE 5 seems to be covering a lot of the same territory, so the jokes may already be stale. I’m not expecting much from this one.


MA: However, there are a couple of talented writers involved here, Pat Proft and David Zucker. .

Proft has a ton of writing credits.  He worked on the screenplays for the NAKED GUN movies, as well as a bunch of other parodies, including the previous two SCARY MOVIE movies.

David Zucker, of course, is one of the men behind AIRPLANE! (1980), which he co-wrote and co-directed.  He also co-wrote the NAKED GUN movies and directed SCARY MOVIE 3 (2003) and SCARY MOVIE 4 (2004).  So, maybe there’s hope.

Then again, the film stars Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

LS:  On April 19 we’ll be reviewing OBLIVION (2013) starring Tom Cruise.  This is going to be a big science fiction blockbuster starring Cruise as a guy doing cleanup on a destroyed Earth after an alien invasion. It looks like it could have potential, and Cruise is usually okay in these kinds of things.

Oblivion (2013)

MA:  I enjoyed Cruise’s previous movie JACK REACHER (2012) a lot, so I’m kinda looking forward to this one.  The trailers don’t make it look like anything great, but it’s science fiction, so I’m intrigued and hopeful.

It’s directed by Jospeh Kosinski, the guy who directed TRON: LEGACY (2010), which wasn’t too bad.  Kosinski also co-wrote the screenplay, along with a couple of other writers, including Michael Arndt, who wrote the screenplays for LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006) and TOY STORY 3 (2010).  Arndt is also on tap to write the screenplays for the upcoming HUNGER GAMES sequel and the next STAR WARS movie.

And in addition to Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, OBLIVION also features everyone’s favorite crazy mother, Melissa Leo.  Leo of course nailed that crazy mama persona in her Oscar winning performance in THE FIGHTER (2010).


LS:  While I think OBLIVION might be fun, I am much more excited about another movie coming out that weekend, Rob Zombie’s new film THE LORDS OF SALEM (2013).  If this one comes out near me, I’ll be reviewing it solo. It concerns some DJs in modern-day Salem, Massachusetts who get a mysterious vinyl record in the mail by a new band that may be steeped in witchcraft. I’ve been waiting for Rob Z to come out with a new original film ever since he made the last two HALLOWEEN films. He’s so much better working from his own original ideas, so I’m very hopeful that this one might put him back on track as an ambitious horror filmmaker again.

MA:  And we finish the month with a review of PAIN AND GAIN (2013),  a movie billed as a— and I’ll try to say this with a straight face— crime drama comedy about weightlifters caught up in a kidnapping scheme gone wrong, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, directed by Michael Bay.

That about says it all.


LS:  PAIN AND GAIN might be fun. Both Wahlberg and Johnson have been in good movies, and bad ones, so this one could go either way. But the trailer looks pretty good. It’s the Michael Bay thing that worries me.

MA: Exactly!  And I thought the trailer was all over the place.  I couldn’t tell if it was serious or a comedy, and it turns out it’s both, which is fine, but for some reason I thought it looked goofy.

And that wraps things up for April.  Can I have the E-reader back now?  (LS hands it back to MA).  Hey, what did you do to the screen?

(A giant vine shoots out from the E-Reader screen and wraps itself around MA and pulls him to the ground, where they wrestle violently.)

LS:  Wow, the 3D function really works!  And you don’t even need glasses!


© Copyright 2013 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares



Posted in 1980s Horror, 2013, Classic Films, Crime Films, Demonic Possession, Demons, Drive-in Movies, Fun Stuff!, Horror, Indie Horror, Marvel Comics, Quick Cuts, Sam Raimi, Superheroes with tags , , , on March 15, 2013 by knifefighter

With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, Daniel Keohane, Kelly Laymon, and Paul McMahon

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  With Sam Raimi’s latest movie OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (2013) now in theaters, we’ve decided to celebrate the occasion by asking our panel of Cinema Knife Fighters to name their favorite Sam Raimi film.

Okay Cinema Knife Fighters, What’s your favorite Sam Raimi movie, and why? 


DANIEL KEOHANE:  I’d have to say SPIDER-MAN (2002), being a major web-slinger fan as a kid. Granted, ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992) was a hoot when I saw it at 2:00 am during a 24-hour film festival… but overall, his first SPIDER-MAN is on top of the list.

Spider Man poster

MICHAEL ARRUDA:  Yeah, I have to agree with you.  My favorite has to be the first SPIDER-MAN (2002), as well.  True, SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004) might be the better movie, but I remember being so blown away and impressed by the first one, for me, it remains my favorite Raimi picture.

Sure, there are his EVIL DEAD movies, and his thrillers like THE GIFT (2000), and the current OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is pretty amazing, but personally, I prefer Spidey over the Wizard and a bunch of munchkins any day of the week.

KELLY LAYMON:  I have zero interest in the new OZ flick. Partly because I thought it was released four weeks ago when they had the giant premiere by my old apartment and I had to see James Franco, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams in a true giant hot air balloon above my apartment.


But as much as I enjoy the EVIL DEAD films and the SPIDER-MAN flicks, I might have to go A SIMPLE PLAN (1998) on this one. (And I’m overlooking his baseball flick, which people know kills me!) But I just love a good crime movie where money and some dead bodies muddy the entire situation. I love stories about people who are presented with an opportunity and act drastically.

PAUL MCMAHONTHE EVIL DEAD (1981) is my favorite Raimi film. I had a co-worker hand me a VHS tape of it.

“This is the worst-looking movie you’ll ever love,” he said.

I watched it twice in a row that night and ordered my first copy the next morning. The rest of his work is pretty good (with the possible exception of SPIDER-MAN 3 (2007), but I can’t imagine living in a world where THE EVIL DEAD doesn’t exist.


L.L. SOARES: Yeah, I have to agree with Paul. I remember seeing THE EVIL DEAD the first time at a drive-in theater. It was the second feature after George A. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), which I had seen about 10 times by then. I’d heard about EVIL DEAD but hadn’t seen it, and it was a real treat. It was just gory and insane and Bruce Campbell was amazing as Ash. While I’ve enjoyed Raimi’s work since then, including his often-overlooked slapstick flick CRIME WAVE (1985) and the underrated DRAG ME TO HELL (2009), nothing comes close to the original EVIL DEAD for me.

MICHAEL ARRUDA: Well that’s it for this edition of QUICK CUTS. See you again next week with reviews of more new movies.



September MONSTROUS QUESTION – Response # 1

Posted in 2010, Horror DVDs, Monstrous Question of the Month, Remakes, Sequels with tags , , , , on September 22, 2010 by knifefighter

(Monstrous Questions provided by Michael Arruda)

As we discussed in our initial Monstrous Question back in May, remakes are all the rage these days.  Heck, in 2010 alone we’ve seen PIRANHA 3D, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, CLASH OF THE TITANS, THE CRAZIES and THE WOLFMAN, and the year’s not even done yet.

When we hear about these remakes, most of the time we moan and groan because in most cases, the originals were really good movies that we really loved!  Why mess with perfection, right?

Now, most of these original classics were so good they inspired sequels, and sometimes entire franchises.  Often, it’s the sequel that failed to measure up.

I got to thinking that the filmmakers have got it all wrong.  Why keep remaking these superior originals?  Why not remake the inferior sequel?

So, I ask you, for the SEPTEMBER MONSTROUS QUESTION OF THE MONTH: If you could remake one sequel, what would it be?  Why?  And lastly, for some added fun, what are some of the changes/improvements you’d make?




I know I’ll be ostracized for this, but here goes:

If there’s one remake I wish they could do all over, it would be EVIL DEAD 2 (1987).

Before you newbies kick me out of the horror community, hear me out:  EVIL DEAD (1983) was the first gore film that I found to be scary; the gore was off the wall, but the atmosphere and seriousness is what made it such a classic film.  I remember leaving the theater on opening night thrilled that there was finally an all-out bloodbath that those who don’t care for gore films might actually like…and many did.

So when the sequel was released, I’ll never forget sitting in the theater thinking, “MAN—why are they doing this?”  Sure, EVIL DEAD 2 has a lot of fun scenes and FX, but why they made it so humorous is beyond me—and this coming from someone who loves humorous horror.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s SILLY remakes.  EVIL DEAD 2 and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 (1986) are the biggest culprits.

If I was at the helm of EVIL DEAD 2, I would have done everything possible to keep the serious tone of the original.  For me, the humor desecrated what could have been a great, scary series.  (Sorry folks—while I enjoyed ARMY OF DARKNESS (1993) for what it was, I was still fuming over EVIL DEAD 2, and to this day haven’t been able to give it a fair viewing).

Okay—heading back to the cabin to hang with the real horror fans…