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Never one to second guess my partner in print, in light of Matthew's one star review of Evil Dead, I have no problem contributing a few nasty thoughts of my own.

Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) and it's sequel-cum-remake, Evil Dead II (1987) are two of the most original, audacious horror films of the '80's, and both function equally as well as hysterically funny genre satires.

What's the point of playing this material straight by turning it into just another vapid excuse to showcase gore? I kept waiting for Leatherface and Jason to put in cameos. Draining all traces of humor defeats the entire purpose of a franchise that Matthew rightly praises for its "anarchic whimsy."

This time it's as formally dead as it is conceptually evil. It's not scary, it's not funny, nothing clever comes out of the characters' mouths, and it's hideous to look at. Didn't Sam Raimi take in enough money by junking up "Oz?" Does he have to be a willing and eager participant in the dismemberment of one of his offspring?

Other than running the script through a de-humorizer, the only thing new on the table is the reason they meet at the cottage in the first place. One of their friend needs a place to dry out from drugs. Really? Borrowing a cheap, politically correct plot motivator from the Lifetime Channel is the best they can do?

The most offensive aspect of the original is the scene where a woman gets raped by a tree, a moment Raimi has publicly expressed regret over, calling it "unnecessarily gratuitous and a little too brutal." (Lickona wrote a story about it last year.) If he truly felt remorse, why is the "raping tree" in the remake he sanctioned and produced? Greedy and misogynistic to boot. I'm amazed I made it through 50 minutes.

The worst thing about sitting down front in a center seat, as I am wont to do, is if you decide to make an early exit, not only can everyone see, you have to uproot a dozen or so people to make it to the aisle. I leaned over to my row mate, Fox 5's Josh Board, and whispered, "This stinks. I think I'm gonna' pull a Josh and walk out." "Just say the word," came his reply and in no time we were scaling patrons and out the door.

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Matthew Lickona April 4, 2013 @ 10:53 p.m.

Nice Shemp reference! Good piece, too. I'll note here that it got one star because I really did feel wrung out after the film ended, so I think it did what it set out to do.


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