Friday, May 20, 2011

The Evil Dead: The Horror of Graphic Terror

Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult-classic, The Evil Dead, tracks a group of five Michigan State University students, as they venture into the rural foothills of Tennessee for a supposedly relaxing weekend-getaway at an isolated cabin. However, as the group – lead by ‘Ash’ (played by Bruce Campbell) – comes across a demonic book, entitled ‘The Book of the Dead,’ and its companion cassette upon raiding the cabin’s basement, they unknowingly summon the demons that have been lying dormant in the area upon playing the tape. As the demons systematically possess four of the five undergrads, Ash is left alone to fight against the ‘evil dead.’


While the film sacrifices the legitimacy of its ‘scare factor’ through its nonsensical depiction of the ‘evil dead,’ it subsequently portrays an aspect of the horror film-genre that, up until this point, had yet to be fully actualized in cinematography. Simplistically, as this aspect involves the excessive representation of graphic terror, gore, and violence, its implementation in cinema alludes to a director’s desire to objectify the furthest depth of the horror film-genre. Therefore, through Raimi’s substantial use of excessive violence, gore, and graphic terror – specifically in the scenes showing the rape of Cheryl (played by Ellen Sandweiss) by the demonic trees and Ash’s violent annihilation of the ‘evil dead’ – he successfully manifested the nature of the horror film-genre at its grossest form.

Graphic terror examples:

Overall, while The Evil Dead is far from being one of my favorite movies, I do recommend it. Furthermore, I believe it is worth watching, as it is one of the first films that truly exemplifies this excessively violent aspect of the horror film-genre that has become so present in the films of today.

1 comment:

Vladigogo said...

You said it. It's a bloodbath.

Raimi ends up working with the Coen Bros. and then directs the Spiderman series.

He also did Darkman--his first foray into the comics.