From what I’ve deduced, the first Evil Dead movie is the most serious, although it has the trademark Raimi slapstick here and there. I think I’ll like the sequel better though.
Things I liked–Despite this being a really low budget film, it was genuinely scary. Special shout out to the actress playing Linda, Ash’s girlfriend, Betsy Baker. Man, she was creepy.
I liked that the movie doesn’t reveal Bruce Campbell as the final guy until quite near the end–if a person were watching this in 1981, he or she would never have guessed that he’d be the star (although with the benefit of hindsight, it was sort of obvious!). Everyone seems to be equally in jeopardy.
With one notable exception, the misogyny is fairly subdued for early 80s horror (and horror today, if I’m honest). The exception is, of course, the tree rape scene. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it doesn’t fit into the mythology of the rest of the movie. According to IMDB, Raimi regrets its inclusion.
Some low budget films are either shot in darkness or have zero style–Raimi obviously loves film and put some thought into some really stylistically interesting shots. According to “7 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About The Evil Dead” the shot with the light bulb was inspired by the Three Stooges (by the way, I love this series, and their “What’s the Difference?” series). I just thought it looked cool!
Chainsaw cameo. I squealed with joy.
Things that I didn’t like as much–While the visuals were good, the sound quality was awful–the sound effects and screams were very loud and the dialogue was sometimes impossible to hear. With the lack of either subtitles or closed captioning, I had to keep my finger on the volume button at all times.
The aforementioned tree rape scene. Honestly, who thought that was a good idea?
That it was so straight–one of the things that I like about the new series is that it is genuinely funny and scary. This movie was mostly scary with only a little humor.
Interesting thoughts–I know why the Deadites dislike Ash so much now, but they seemed to have it in for him from the start. They dispatched the other characters quickly, but Ash was not only saved for last, they played with him like a not-so-hungry cat and a mouse.
Finally, I am NEVER going into a cabin in the woods. NEVER!