My friends, I am here to talk to you about a movie but before I do that let me first tell you something about a man. This man has directed several successful films since the 70s and throughout the decades after. He has set the standard for the funny horror genre which paved the way for the spoof and parodies genre that started in the 90s. How did he do it? What Howard and Spielberg do with computers, this guy did with old tricks, like stop motion animation and make-up. This man is none other than Sam Raimi. A Solid Michigan man, conservative guy, and top notch movie maker! Sam Raimi is responsible for the film that I will talk to you about today. In fact, aside from the Spiderman movies which he is currently handling (yes, he is the director of our favorite wall-crawler), he is best known for directing this all-time classic.
This is a movie that has etched its own notch in the horror genre that we could all enjoy. This movie is Evil Dead.Now you might be asking yourself, “what’s so special about Evil Dead”? It starts out typically enough, just like other horror movies at that time such as Jason Voorhees’ Friday the 13th or Freddy Kreuger’s Nightmare on Elm Street. A bunch of innocent looking teenagers on a journey to an isolated cabin for some rest and relaxation, they get detoured by the discovery of tape recorder which turns out to be a key that awakens old spirits that could posses them and turn them into immortal zombies and then all the killing and dying happens just like in the other classics.
So what’s the difference? Let me tell you but first, try to close your eyes. Come one close them, don’t be shy. Now, imagine a vague foggy background, one of those cheap animations you might have also seen in Army of Darkness which is by the way another Raimi great.
You see the title in foggy wisps “Evil Dead” and then it fades away. The scene sways waywardly, showing various unrecognizable sights until it gives way to what is exposed to be a dark pond in a gloomy forest in the kind of ‘how do they do it’ tracking shot. The camera races through the woods evading trees with inches to spare, in place of some subjective point of view that is clearly not human beings. The soundtrack is a looming dissonance of hollow laughter and bizarre howling tones.
Inter-cut with these glimpses of a world seen through the eyes of some inconceivable evil, are shots of a car wandering through a forest. Inside are five innocent looking youngsters, two of them are singing happily. There is no clear connection between the two until the camera comes to the edge of the forest and takes a glimpse down on the automobile that the youngsters are traveling in. At the same time some kind of unknown force takes control of the car, almost crashing it into a meeting truck.
It is then apparent that they are not welcome into these woods.That kind of camera manipulation is a thing of beauty, done with modest effects but with brilliant results that simply takes the breath away. This abundance of energetic, flamboyant camera moves coupled with masterful video and sound editing is the Sam Raimi trademark. Some people say that such artistry is nothing but cheap effects but that’s like saying that any movement in a ballet that isn’t necessary for the characters to get from one place to another is to be ignored.
Camera moves have a distinct splendor all of their own, lending essence to people and things and making the screen seem a lot less flat. In “Evil Dead” they’ve also served to create a feeling of unknowingness and threat, especially combined with peculiar sound effects and musical scores.So what is Evil Dead all about? Some horror movie that makes a bold stand to say that horror can be a bit funny at the same time.
But what is Evil Dead and Sam Raimi all about? They are about good old-fashioned ingenuity. The old camera moves and tricks at their finest at the hands of a true master in the art.Thank you.