The Evil Dead (1981, USA)

In the United Kingdom, The Evil Dead was added to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) list of 72 video nasties. The Evil Dead was one of 33 films not prosecuted.

The Evil Dead (1981)
Directed by Sam Raimi.

Available from

AKA Book of the Dead
Written by Sam Raimi.
Starring Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss and Richard DeManincor.
Followed by Evil Dead II (1987)

The Evil Dead (1984) Theatrical PosterIn 1981, Sam Raimi’s ultimate low-budget experience in grueling terror was released onto the unsuspecting public.

Controversial for it’s extremely graphic violence Raimi’s feature length debut was initially turned down by almost all U.S. Film distributors. When the movie was finally picked up by Irvin Shapiro in 1982 and given a foreign release, followed by a domestic release shortly afterwards, it was savaged by the hands of the censors and was even banned outright in certain countries…

But nothing could stop the talent of the small cast and crew from creating such an ambitious movie that, despite it’s ‘shoe-sting’ budget, would capture the imagination of its audience and grow to become the cult phenomenon that is THE EVIL DEAD.

When a group of five Michigan State students decide to spend the weekend at an isolated cabin, hidden deep within the woods of the Tennessee mountains, they discover ‘Morturom Demonto’ an ancient Sumerian text, otherwise known as ‘The Book of the Dead’.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Curiously the book is also accompanied by a tape recording believed to be a translation of the demonic incantations featured within the text. Ash (Bruce Campbell) and Scotty (Hal Delrich) decide to playback the recording, unknowingly and unwittingly unleashing a hoard of Kandarian demonic spirits unto the world of the living.

It is not long until Ash’s younger sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) becomes host to a Kandarian demon and attacks Linda (Betsy Baker), Ash’s girlfriend, before being beaten, thrown down, and locked into the cellar by Scotty. Distraught and visibly upset Shelly (Theresa Tilly), a friend of the group, takes refuge in her room only to become the second host to a Kandarian demon. Now possessed Shelly becomes psychotic and attacks Scotty…

Fearing now that the only way to stop those possessed by the spirits of the book is through the act of bodily dismemberment Scotty grabs an axe whilst Ash looks on in terror… But what about Linda?

The Evil Dead (1981)

I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt that Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is my all time favourite horror movie, not only because it has all the elements it needs to keep it’s audience at the edge of their seat, but because it has a great sense of humour rarely seen in this genre.

The Evil Dead is a relentless, grotesque masterpiece that succeeds because of it’s unique and imaginative slapstick style that can be credited to Sam Raimi’s directional technique, Tom Sullivan’s outlandish make up, props and special effects and the superb cast and crew that put everything into making this film something truly special.

THE EVIL DEAD, the ultimate experience in grueling horror, was filmed in Morristown, Tennessee, and in Detroit, U.S.A.

Ken Wynne

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