What I love about cult classics is that it can still be new to some people. Cult classics don’t necessarily have the box office success or notoriety of big blockbuster movies, but that’s the beauty of it. Take Evil Dead for instance. This movie has been out since 1981 and has a remake due in April; I’ve met some people who didn’t know the 2013 version was a remake!
The 1981 film has a great story behind it, especially because it wasn’t originally meant to be the campy cult classic it is today. I have heard that Sam Raimi had originally intended for this cabin in the woods tale to be a serious horror film. Five twenty-somethings head up to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of debauchery, sounds like a typical weekend but instead, they invoke something far bigger than all of them (and a damper on their weekend).
While getting settled into the cabin, they wander into the basement where they find a tape recording that recites incantations from a book called “Naturum De Montum.” The recording, which chants something creepy in Latin, doesn’t sit well with Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) and leaves the room to get away from it, leaving her friends Scotty (Richard DeManincor) , Linda (Betsy Baker) and Shelly (Theresa Tilly) behind along with her brother, Ash (Bruce Campbell). Little do they know, that little recording has awaked some seriously pissed off demons looking for revenge. One thing I never get about anyone in horror films is why they feel the need to wander off on their own. After Cheryl hears something outside, she goes to investigate alone (bad move). This leads to one of the most gruesome scenes in the movie SPOILER Cheryl is then captured and raped by a tree possessed by a demon.
It’s all downhill from here because when Cheryl gets back to the house and demands that Ash takes her into town to stay at a hotel, they discover that the bridge they had to cross to get to the cabin is now down and they’re trapped in the woods. One by one, they each fall prey to the demons hold, but will there be any survivors?
My favorite thing about this movie is the demons. The make up, blood and guts are so simple but so effective in the creep out and gross out factor. It goes to show that a low budget with effective scares doesn’t require a whole lot of special effects or fancy make up. After seeing the red band trailer of the new film, scenes in the remakes are not nearly as creepy as they are in the original. I don’t mean to do a compare and contrast, but an example that stands out in my mind is when a demon is locked in the basement chanting “We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.” This line is featured in both movies, but creeps me out more in the original than the remake (of course, ask me that again in April when I’ve seen the whole film).
Some films are destined to be award winning, blockbuster hits, and some are just destined to go down in cult movie history as one of the greatest made. Evil Dead made Bruce Campbell an icon in the genre and made his character Ash one of the most beloved characters in horror. I look forward to the remake, but will always love the original. Check it out now on Netflix’s instant play.
Written by:Katie Sperduti