100 Days of Horror welcomes you to ... SATANFEST 2013

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"Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this bird for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Bad fish! Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycods. This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', and down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back the tourists, that'll put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant! I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

100 Days of Horror Day Seventy-One - "The Evil Dead II!"

Man, is it ever early for a fellah to be up on a Saturday!

Fact is, I have a lot to do today - much of it work related. There are clean ups and Brewfests to cover. And I, your ever vigilant reporter, shall be there for it all!

That really just means that I have to get my ass up early to do the things I actulayy WANT to do as opposed to the things I have to do. Because, you see, today is the Kennett Square Microbrew Festival and Your Humble Narrator must attend and send the requisite pictures back to the home office for immediate consumption. Which means, I don't get to drink really. But my wife? Oh, fugeddaboudit. That broad gets thrashed out.

Anyway, since I can't get wasted in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, I figured I'd get up nice and early, make some coffee and write my shit. And maybe even watch a little of today's movie, because this is one of the all-time best!

So stay in bed if yo must, curl up in defiance of the autumn chill, and check out Sam Raimi's cult film of all cult films, "The Evil Dead 2!" Thank you all for reading!

The Evil Dead 2 (1987): Directed by Sam Raimi. Starring Bruce Campbell and Sarah Berry.

The Skinny: A young couple on a trip into the mountains find themselves at the mercy of demonic forces when they find a tape recording incanting spells from an accursed book, the Necronomicon. Suddenly, the survivor finds himself battling the forces of the undead and demons from beyond the veil!

What's Good: Before Sam Raimi catapulted to the status of God with the "Spider-Man" franchise, he made gritty, hardcore indy horror films at his own whim, at his own pace. And this is the second film in his Magnum Opus, the "Evil Dead Trilogy." The movie seamlessly blends horror, action and slapstick with an ease that is almost disturbing. And the lynchpin that this entire movie revolves around is the Human Chin hisself - Bruce "The Man" Campbell. I honestly could sit here all day and blather on about the coolness of this cat - not just his character, Ashley J. Williams (Housewares), but the man himself. But since this is about the movie and not the man, I'll just say that even when he's panicking, Ash is still the coolest motherfucker in class. Hack off your own hand? Add a chainsaw. Kill your girlfriend? Hell, that's just the appetizer, buddy! And the lines this man has throughout the series ("Hey! She-Bitch! Come get some.") are delivered with that perfect deadpan cool that Arnold Schwartzenegger could never quite achieve. Let's not forget Raimi's contributions here - after all it's his vision. But all the tricks that you love about him are firmly in place - the quick zooms and cuts, the fast action fights in close quarters, and the angles that drive your eyes wild. And the gore - oh, let's not forget about the gore. But even though it's gratuitous, it's also so over the top that you can't fault him for adding it, because it blends with the movie's overall "don't take this too seriously" tone. It's a great example of 80s-era horror, and a defining moment in the genre's history that many other films seek to replicate and often fail miserably.

What's Bad: The only thing I could say bad about this film is that it isn't for every taste. Even fans of the genre might get turned off by the bizarre nature of this film - purists might dislike the humorous undertones, while the casual viewer might find the gore and violence off-putting. If you can take a fountain of blood gushing from a wall, however, you can handle this incredibly enjoyable spectacle.

Why We Like It: I think I made myself clear in the first part, but allow me to reiterate - Campbell. Is. God.

Memorable Stuff: The hag in the cellar (actually the director's brother, Ted Raimi in a heavy latex costume) screaming "DEAD BY DAWN! DEAD BY DAWN!" as she struggles against the trapdoor, while another Deadite hovers in the air screaming the same thing used to give me the fucking willies when I was a youngin. But then again, there are so many memorable tidbits in this film that I can't pick my favorite. It's just one of the best. If I had to pick one, I'd have to say the scene where the room "comes alive" and starts laughing at Ash, in an attempt to drive him insane. At first, teh angles and the images are absolutely disturbing - the evil deer's head with demonic white eyes, for example - and Campbell plays it for the fear. His eyes bug out and his mouth is a rictus of horror. But slowly, oh so slowly, the slapstick element comes into play, and Campbell laughs along with the fiends until he is dancing a jig in the center of the room, laughing maniacally. And then, just as the scene is coming to an end, Campbell lets the insanity creep in and his mad laughter is crazy enough to give The Joker nightmares.