Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn is my favorite Evil Dead film (a ranking I’m open to changing after I see the remake on Friday). It’s almost strange that it works so well for me. I love great dialogue, but there’s relatively little of it to be found in the movie (aside from its iconic one-liners). I love rich characters, and the film doesn’t seem particularly interested in defining those specifics. I love a tight narrative, and Evil Dead 2 isn’t so much a story as it is a series of moments that work exceedingly well together.
I really mean that last part as a compliment, both about the moments and about the film working. Evil Dead 2 breaks so many rules, yet it sings remarkably in spite of that. It’s cinematic and jokey in all the right ways, an epic and gory “Three Stooges” homage.
Head inside for my 5 Favorite Moments From Evil Dead 2!!!
I think I love this scene because it’s so aware of its function and it accomplishes its goal with such economy. Going to the woods to bang is a staple of this kind of genre, and knowing Ash was about to get a little bit of sugar only ups the ante on his loss moments later. “After all, I’m a man and you’re a woman… at least last time I checked.”
THE ARRIVAL OF THE GUESTS
Ash has been having a bad night, and he certainly wasn’t expecting company – so it makes sense that he would fire a shot or two through the door Pistorious style. Not only does he end up hurting one of the only decent people (Bobby Joe) – but he meets Richard Domeier and Sarah Berry’s characters, who have no hope but to come across as hilariously stuffy when contrasted with Ash’s exploits that evening.
DEAD LINDA DANCE / CHAINSAW VICE EXECUTION
Not only is it a blast to see Linda [Denise Bixler] rise from the grave, dance around and whimsically roll her head down her arm, it’s great to see her head upright in that vice. I love how the effect obviously switches from prop to sight gag once the head is properly aligned. Even more than that, I love Ash’s emotionality as he decides he heeds to dismantle her once and for all.
EYEBALL IN THE MOUTH
No explanation needed really, except for when I saw a clip of this on MTV late one night on a horror themed program as a kid I assumed it was from some obscure mean-spirited movie that I’d never see. How wrong I was. The moment I realized I was watching that movie actually counts as one of my life’s tangible thrills.
Bruce Campbell, and his hand, deserve an Oscar for pulling off what might be the film’s most central conflict. From smashing plates over his head and dragging him across the floor, to giving him the finger after he says a farewell to arms – Ash’s hand proves to be among the film’s most elusive quarry.
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