The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror (1981)
Written and Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York
Mmm, toast-o-licious. The tea is cold and disgusting, I en't drinking it. Anyway, this would be the first part of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy and, coincidentally, part one of this year's Halloween triple feature of the macabre.
One of the monuments to terror I hadn't experienced before, so excuse my pointing out the obvious here. I'm still a noob in the grand scheme of things.
This is the one about the group of fairly decent (well, one or two are fuckin assholes) kids who go out to a cabin in the woods, open the book and get killed/possessed/molested/et cetera by evil forest spirits. And what is the only surefire way to get the demon out of your friend once they've been possessed? Dismemberment. Yeah baby.
So the premise (I won't call it a plot per se) isn't exactly bursting with originality, the acting occasionally dips below good and the whole thing is fucking retarded, but this wins by intense, over the top, extreme grueling horror. It just goes on and on unabated, axes, chainsaws, dismemberment, decapitation, geysers of blood and oatmeal for 85 minutes.
I mean, even by zombie movie standards (and it is really a zombie movie at heart) this is moderately grisly. Dawn of the Dead was pretty fucking disgusting but it wasn't ridiculously gross. This goes just that much too far, pushing past the border of bad taste, and making it that much more entertaining.
Besides that, the good camera work and... interesting make-up job cover up the low budget (it's a very good example of a low budget movie - there are only five people in it, there's very little in the way of special FX short of some make-up and, y'know, the tree thing. There's really nothing in it, and yet it works).
Also a few nods to 'the classics' (do you ever notice that when you like the movie, it 'nods' to 'the classics', but when you don't like it, it 'rips them off') as well as, I gather, the Three Stooges. I tried my best to avoid the Stooges, but from what I read, they're in there.
Anyway, there's more...