Tall, Dark, and Dead – 100 – Evil Dead II / Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
Title: Evil Dead II / Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn
Director: Sam Raimi
Leads: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks
Favorite quote: “We just cut up our girlfriend with a chainsaw. Does that sound “fine”?”
Thoughts: I took my latest viewing of Evil Dead II quite seriously, because I am aware that it is the weakest zombie-related entry in the series. I evaluated it honestly and critically, prepared to own up to it not being a zombie film and skip it. After all, Ash is the main possessed character in the second film, and he’s quite alive. While I will argue for certain living zombies until I’m blue in the face, I will not argue for demonically-possessed living people. It’s just a personal line in the sand.
However, by the end, it had hit several zombie buttons for me – and thus I decided to include it. Specifically, aside from Ash’s battles with his own personal demons – literally – the only other main exterior, principal threat faced by the characters in Evil Dead II is the deadites. They appear briefly and sporadically, but they are there, and constitute a clear continuation from the first film. So. There you go.
That said, there’s very little new information to analyze, so I just want to mention two things. First of all, this film offers compelling evidence for all the times I’ve argued that characters in horror movies (I think I was specifically talking about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films), when confronted with a chainsaw, just need to turn around and face it head-on. That’s the only way they’re going to have a fighting chance – both running and hiding leave them too vulnerable to chainsaw attack. Ash does this, and perseveres. Yay!
Secondly, I just want to mention how hugely the poster/video art figured in my childhood.
I was five when this film came out. For years afterward, whenever I would wander through the horror section of our local video rental shop (yes, I am that old) and encounter this image, I would always stop to stare at it. It’s a beautiful, beautiful image of death, and it still transfixes me to this day. It’s the clarity of the eyes. The fact that the skull is pensive, thoughtful, not grinning malevolently. It looks like the face of a zombie who’s seen so much, and has so many stories to tell. I love it. I fully consider it an artistic masterpiece.