The Evil Dead Retrospective

Conner Garrity, Staff Writer

As another spooky season is upon us, people are getting in a festive mood. Many are looking forward to fall thanks to the spooky feel and the change of season. One of many ways people tend to get into the Halloween mood is by watching horror movies which can range from the classics like Dracula and Frankenstein to our modern-day horror movies like the Conjuring films. This year marks 40 years since the release of the famous horror film “The Evil Dead.”

The Evil Dead film was released in 1981 and it became a cult classic and even spawned a franchise in its own right with two sequels, a few games, a TV show, a remake, and a spin-off. The film was a hit, to say the least. The main question we have to ask ourselves is that after releasing 40 years ago and having this big of an impact on the horror genre, does it still hold up?

For a refresher, the film stars Bruce Cambell as the titular character Ashely “Ash” Williams and his friends who decided to take a trip up to an isolated cabin in the woods. Having planned for this to be a nice little trip, their plans turn upside down when they accidentally release an ancient evil that possesses them and takes them out one by one. While the plot seems pretty basic, many forget that this was one of the films that made a staple in the horror genre.

The film was actually the directorial debut of Sam Raimi, who would go on to later direct the Tobey Maguire Spiderman Trilogy. This film was very much a low-budget film and in some places you can tell, however Raimi had his own style that you would see in his later films. While Raimi was still finding his footing as a director, he found a way to blend both horror and slapstick in his movies, providing both scares and laughs.

The low budget might have helped the film in many ways because it forced the crew to try something new. One of the standouts of the series now is that the being that stalks Ash through the franchise is never revealed and that is because they couldn’t afford to make it, so now it has become a staple in the franchise.

Now the big question is that does the film hold up after all these years and does it deserve the love it gets from horror fans? Simple answer, yes. The Evil Dead signified an important mark in the horror genre with not only the start of the franchise but also inspiring countless films and filmmakers to make their own films. If there wasn’t an evil dead, the horror genre very well could have easily been in a different place than it is now. 

-Four out of Five