Evil Dead, The (1981)

The Evil Dead (1981), written and directed by Sam Raimi.

The Blu-ray edition is much more splatteriffic than the videotape cut I saw ages ago. I don't know if I'll be seeing it again.

I was of two minds when watching this: first, how well does it work as a low-budget horror film? As per tradition, some comical interludes lure us into a false sense of security and the actual fear factor creeps up on us while we aren't expecting it. The swooping camera shots are particularly fine.

But that's only the first 20 minutes or so and when the demon transformations start we stop being part of the audience and are more like part of the crew, arranging blood splatter and dismemberment gimmicks, applying makeup and heaving the demon guts and ichor about. Hey, lady, do you have to use that dumb witchy giggle while possessed?

Which takes us to the second angle, watching it as an example of shoestring filmmaking by Super 8 students making their first 16mm project. The Blu-ray commentary track with Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert (producer) is a happy and enthusiastic reminiscence of the production, all about kids learning practically everything on the job. They tell a lot of funny stories about the weird characters they had to deal with, but are appreciative of everyone who helped them out and showed them the ropes. They knew absolutely nothing about the industry when they started.