Video essay for 933. Evil Dead 2 (1987, Sam Raimi)

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Transcript appears after the break. Love and special thanks to Cindi for making this a fun one!

If the Evil Dead movies have contributed one thing to our appreciation of film aesthetics, it is to make us consider the boundary between what’s funny and what’s scary.

one factor influencing this project is raimi’s propensity towards film school tendencies to show off as many ain’t it cool techniques as he can, a tendency which was already present in the first evil dead, and is even more pronounced here, thanks to a substantially larger budget (though still a fraction of what horror movies cost today).

by the time we get to evil dead 2, this need for constant violent stimulation easily slips into farce, but credit sam raimi for not suppressing what comes naturally to him.

there’s a great stretch in the middle of this film where each moment seems to swing the film back and forth between laughter and terror. so we go from texas chainsaw massacre to tex avery in just a matter of moments.

And enough can’t be said of Bruce Campbell’s malleable performance, who seems to rotate between Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck and Jack Nicholson in the Shining.

This explosion of blood is so hyperbolic that it buries the horror effect two layers down in our spectatorial response, beneath being a special effects marvel and an absurdist aesthetic object.

But one thing that’s great about Evil Dead is that it can be disturbing in the most unexpected moments.

Just as it can weight the scale towards horror so much that it tips over into comedy, the opposite is true.

And so you have this sequence of sheer giddy hilarity, and the longer it plays out, the more disturbing it gets.

Raimi directed Campbell to modulate his laughter into screams of terror by the end of this tracking shot, and that’s what he does.

And with the shotgun blasts its over… and we’re given just a moment to reflect on the unease underlying our laughter.

Author: alsolikelife

This is my pet project

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  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    This is a great video essay, Kevin, very much in the spirit of its source. I especially like the seamless transition from Kev-O-Cam to Sam-O-Cam, a touch that speaks directly to the “Evil Dead” film school sensibility you mention in your narration.

  • zenbullets

    Love it. Great essay. Evil Dead II has always been one of my favourite films, just for the sheer density of invention in it. The ideas just keep slamming into you, which is part of what makes it so manic and disturbing.

    Horror and comedy have always been closely linked, and it is easy to step over the line between the two by accident creating something unintentionally funny or unintentionally horrific. But weave comedy and horror together like Raimi does and it strengthens them both.

  • alsolikelife

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. I had a lot of fun shooting this one, and it was especially good to introduce my own element of filmmaking given that the film can be seen as a gleeful celebration of the act of filmmaking.

  • Zak

    It is an imense film but the trouble me and a few of my mates are having is what is the connection between evild dead 1 and evil dead 2

  • alsolikelife

    If you're talking in terms of plot, it's not a sequel in the conventional sense that Part 2 is a continuation of the story from Part 1. It's closer to being a do-over of Part 1 with fewer characters, better special effects and more comic elements.

  • Funniest Videos

    GREAT VIDEO! really enjoyed watching it

  • Wigs

    Was this video actually shot in 1987? It looks pretty recent to me? I could be wrong let me know. Very classic and enjoyable. Too bad we don't have more films like this today.

  • freeannualcreditreport

    Such a good video among all the horror films..similiar kind of films are getting success by these techniques..

  • Flashing Novelties

    Evil dead is an awesome movie and your video essay was a thousands times more awesome. I am glad I came across it. Way to go. Keep the amazing posts coming in . They are really informative and interesting.

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    I like it, good horror clip.

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    Wow that was very interesting

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    as what you had write in this article, i find the story exciting with all those explosion action movies are great, totally awesome i must say

  • marco's inflatable dildo

    From Evil Dead to Spiderman, up to Sam Raimi's latest horror film, Drag Me to Hell, hi's talent on writing films and making them into movies never fails to surface. That's why the hordes of fans that look up to him, me including are always kept at the edge of the seat, always looking forward for more of his magnificent works!

  • Alex

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great video. I like it.

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    I found this story is really exciting as i read your post about it, well i found video essays really interesting.

  • Loan Modification leads

    A action film is always a great one.. With a love story, it makes the film a better one.. I can say that this movie is really well made..

  • Loan Modification leads

    A action film is always a great one.. With a love story, it makes the film a better one.. I can say that this movie is really well made..

  • Steam Cleaners

    Nice video.. It is a combination of horror and comedy.. It seems to me that this film is not an old one.. It it a great film I must say..!!

  • Maney

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Alex

    thanks for sharing.

  • Robert

    I had watch this movies very long long time ago, it's all time my fav movies. love it.

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    I meailing this to my friend he has got great interest in this.

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    my all time favorite movies, I use all my credit in rental store on the pass new year holiday.
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