The Evil Dead, now and then

Yesterday my husband and I went to see Evil Dead (2013) in the theater.  We also watched the original The Evil Dead with Bruce Campbell in the evening.  I hadn’t seen The Evil Dead in 20 years at least.  If you haven’t seen the new one stop reading now…..

This is the first in the evil dead series not directed by Sam Raimi but rather by Frede Alvarez, a director from Uruguay.  It is however co-written with Sam Raimi and Diablo Cody and produced by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.  While I do not want to tell the tale of both movies here I wanted to touch on some compare and contrast points between the movies.

Cast (2013)

Jane Levy – Mia
Shiloh Fernandez- David
Lou Taylor Pucci- Eric
Jessica Lucas- Olivia
Elizabeth Blackmore- Natalie
Inca – Grandpa the dog.

Cast (1981)

Bruce Campbell- Ashley (Ash) Williams
Ellen Sandweiss- Cheryl Williams
Hal Delrich- Scotty (the token asshole)
Betsy Baker- Linda
Sarah York- Shelly

Setting:  Both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2013 are set in a creepy broke down isolated cabin in the woods. While the first is in Tennessee, the second cabin is located I believe in Michigan (although filmed probably in New Zealand.) The Cabin from 2013 looks a lot more creepy on the inside than the outside and the 1981 film is the complete opposite, in my opinion.    Frede Alvarez says this about the sequel,

“Now, the way I personally like to see Evil Dead (2013), it’s as a story that takes place 30 years after The Evil Dead ended. The car is there, the cabin is there (a family bought it and did some work on it more than 20 years ago) and the book has found its way back to the cabin… New kids will encounter it and suffer its wrath.”

The Set Up:  Evil Dead 2013 opens with some back story about the Book of the Dead and a young women who is burned at the stake to “give her peace.  That was pretty grim and gruesome as it turns out it is her father who does the burning.

“Evil Dead 2013 spends much more time in character set up.  We get to know these characters beyond what you do the characters in The Evil Dead. It seems that the original cast of characters were college students from Michigan State (and some of them wear Michigan state sweat shirts to illustrate this fact.) The new cast seem a bit older in their 20’s as they are all working and Olivia is a registered nurse (important for the plot.)  Mia, our protagonist, is a heroin addicted young women who is up here with her friends at another attempt at detoxing herself. (with the help of Olivia who somehow has access to all these medications.) She is there with her estranged brother, his girlfriend,  Natalie (the token dumb blonde), their friend (the 70’s called and they want their hair back) Eric  and Olivia the RN.  There is some back story to David and Mia’s story.  Apparently their mother died in a mental hospital. This fact figures strongly into the plot later.  In The Evil Dead (1981), they arrive at the cabin and jump right into the action, not major character development.

The Catalyst:   In Evil Dead (2013) the group finds the Naturom Demonto, or Book of the Dead wrapped in a plastic bag and Barbed wire. This book which is bound in human flesh contains spells and incantations.  Eric opens the book with wire cutters and looks in it.  He takes rubbings from the book and says the incantations that you aren’t supposed to say out loud, unbeknownst to his fellow cabin mates. It is his fault that the events of the movie occur although the rest of them don’t know that until much later in the film.  Who reads something you are clearly told not to??  Obviously, 70’s guy.

The Evil Dead however, they kids find the book and a reel-to-reel tape recorder which they play and it is a professor talking about the Book of the Dead and his experiences in the cabin and he reads the incantations. So it is through no fault of their own that the events unfold as they do.

The Tree Rape: Both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead (2013) have a ‘tree rape’ contained in the story line. During her  detox, Mia saying she cannot stand the smell anymore (of the skinned animals hanging in the basement,) and seeing images of a white yellow eyed girl,  she runs into the woods and is attacked by the possessed tree vines in what can only be described as a rape.  Shortly after Mia becomes possessed herself.

In The Evil Dead, Cheryl hears demon voices and goes into the woods looking for the source of the voices.  She calls to them and ends up getting attacked and raped by the possessed tree vines in the woods. She soon becomes possessed.

The Style:  The Evil Dead was a comedy horror or a “hormedy” of sorts with it’s silly demon possessions and dialogue.  The original was funny and didn’t take itself seriously.   Evil Dead (2013) is serious business.  Nothing funny there.  I watched much of the film slackjawed with disbelief of what I was seeing.  I only laughed once and it was a nervous laugh like a I had just had a scary “jump” moment.

The Gore Factor:  The Evil Dead was a little gory. A few squished eyes, skin cuts, etc.  Nothing too bad.  The stop motion practical effects were okay and you could definitely tell the real from the fake.  Give it a break, this was 80’s stop motion special effects.  Certainly you have seen other low budget 80’s horror films, no?

Evil Dead (2013) was a complete gorefest. Arms were cut off, people were chainsawed in half, people are burned, the sky rains blood and it doesn’t end there.   Holy shit, this was graphic. Not for the squeamish for sure.

The Evil Dead still holds up after all these years as an enjoyable film which spawned two sequels, The Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness.  Evil Dead (2013) was good in it’s own right and a really good ride.   A sequel for Evil Dead (2013) is already in the works.

I can’t wait.




Redband Evil Dead Trailer.

The Evil Dead (1981)



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