So, I’m new to the Evil Dead fandom. I remember watching Army of Darkness with my older brother a long time ago (eons at this point), but it wasn’t until the recent news of Ash vs. the Evil Dead being canceled from STARZ that I decided to go back and watch the cult classics. And, I have to say, boy, those movies were weird (and we’ll talk about the tree scene later).
Weird, but absolutely wonderful.
I feel like I need to start by saying that: it’s hard being a millennial in a world so obnoxiously dominated by nostalgia, especially when it’s for a time way before I was born. The first Evil Dead movie came out in 1981; I wasn’t born for another 12 years after that. In that time, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness were both released. While I enjoyed the movies, I can’t ever appreciate it the way that the true fans, those who have been fans for longer than I’ve been alive, can and always will. I’m in a losing position, a “being stuck in the basement with Henrietta” kind of position, when it comes to talking about this series of films. I can’t critique it for being silly and over the top at times because fans will say, “you just don’t understand.” However, I also can’t say how amazing it is because I don’t have the proper, “movies in my day were different,” context.
Well, “why are you talking about it?” you may ask. My answer to you, dear reader, is that I just watched both of the Evil Dead movies and I need to say a few things, regardless of every reason I’ve stated for why I shouldn’t. What can I say, I don’t often take advice from millennials.
The premise of the first two Evil Dead movies is simple: a group of dumb college kids go to an abandoned cabin in the woods, listen to an old man recite an incantation that summons demons, and they all die, but one: (Bruce Campbell…oops, I mean,) Ash. He’s then joined by another group of dumb adults who all die because they fail to read the room and let the archeologist woman read the words that stop the demons.
While these movies may be masterpieces of cinematography, practical effects, (Bruce Campbell), and absolute terror, I split my time watching them fluctuating between awe at the cinematic brilliance and rolling my eyes. I mean, if you're going to translate the book of the dead, why would you read it out loud? Why would you record yourself reading it out loud? Why not just say, “Hey, if you're curious about the translation of this book, I have them on a sticky note attached to this recording,” especially if you already know what happens if you say it out loud?
I could go on about things like that, stupid little things that make no sense, but I don’t really want to, which is the genius of these movies; I loved them despite all that. I could sit here and list the “Top five dumb things in Evil Dead,” but what’s the point? These movies have so many tremendous qualities to them, like the shot at the end of the first Evil Dead, where the wind blows all the way through the house and catches Ash. Or the zany, craziness that happens when Ash is alone at the beginning of Evil Dead II, it is just too much fun to not love.
At the end of the day, these are phenomenal movies with a few problems, and I think that’s how they should be remembered. They should be remembered as the movies that launched Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell and gave us everything else these two would grace us with. Let’s just leave it be. Bruce Campbell as Ash will obviously be missed. As of Monday, April 16, Campbell has announced that he is retiring from the role of Ash Williams. As the last man to the party, chips and a six-pack in hand, I say, good luck, Bruce. Stay Groovy.
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) April 23, 2018
(About the tree thing. I just can’t.)
Editor's Note: Yeah, you might not be able to Evan, but we can (well at least tease it)! #AFJ4LIFE