Shooting Down Pictures: The Evil Dead 2
A full-frontal assault on the border between comedy and horror.
Evil Dead 2, directed by Sam Raimi is ranked #442 among the 1000 Greatest Films of All Time according to They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? (It has since fallen off from the most recent update.) I made the following video as part of my blog project Shooting Down Pictures.
On my blog entry for this film, I wrote:
In his follow-up to The Evil Dead (aka the quintessential film school horror movie), Sam Raimi and his immensely resourceful crew approach basically the same premise (Bruce Campbell & co. holed up in a cabin vs. zombies and assorted supernatural bullies) with ten times the budget. As a result the shock effects are more audacious and less crudely executed, though without losing the punky, do-it-yourself spirit of the original. At the same time, the possibly unintentional campiness of the first installment is now presented outright as a point of departure for a frontal assault on the line demarcating comedy and horror.
Critical to the formula is sheer overabundance: an exhausting array of round-the-corner scare tactics shot from every angle; ample moments of explosive physical comedy eliciting hysterical reactions to death and dismemberment; gallons of blood poured, squirted and splattered across the screen; and Campbell’s exaggerated reactions to all of the above. All of this is done to whiplash pacing fueled by the prodigious ingenuity of the creators’ perversions. The film itself plays like a blenderized cocktail of Three Stooges, Tex Avery, George Romero, Dario Argento (the film’s climax references Wizard of Oz, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi), but in turn its visceral effects have left their traces in Johnnie To’s Heroic Trio to Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, and many many films in between and since.
Check out Philip Brophy’s gorefest Body Melt as a point of comparison.