The Evil Dead is Sam Raimi’s low-budget 1981 horror film, and is one of the most iconic horror films of its time. Bruce Campbell starred in this film, and this film ultimately made his career as an actor. The story? Ash (Campbell) and his friends go to an isolated cabin in the woods so they can live out their spring break in privacy. The conflict? An aggressive, possessive, and unknown evil force lurks the woods. But why does this force come upon the woods and torment Ash and his friends? Because they found and unknowingly opened the Necronomicon – the Book of the Dead. In opening this book, they release all of the evil forces contained inside of it. Treating it as a joke, one of Ash’s friends decides to play a tape found by the previous owner of the cabin, who studied the book. The tape contained readings of some of the passages from the Necronomicon, and without even knowing it, they just released all of the evil forces out of the book and into the woods. The woods becomes possessed by these evil forces, and the woods are the first thing to block off the bridge, which is their only entrance and exit to the area in which the cabin is grounded. Some of Ashes friends become possessed, die, and come back to attempt to kill Ash and his remaining friends. The woods also try to kill Ash and his friends.
This is one of my favorite horror movies because it really is a classic independent, low-budget quality horror movie. The possessed friends of Ash seem like Regan from The Exorcist, and just the idea of the woods being possessed and out to kill you along with your possessed friends is terrifying. A big horror aspect of this movie is Ash’s survival in an environment that is completely unknown and not of human nature. Ash’s character is one of good morals, someone who is easily terrified, however he is strong and clever when it comes to survival.
During the filming process of this movie, the crew ran into some problems. They actually got lost in the woods at one point when they were looking for the cabin. Also, for the demonic eyes effect, the “possessed” crew had to put in colored glass contacts which took ten minutes to apply, and were apparently quite painful to wear. Also, Raimi introduced a “shaky-cam”, or “Raimi-cam” effect, which involved the camera operators mounting the camera to a wooden plank and sprinting across the woods to take the “possessed woods” to its full effect.