Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Evil Dead 2" - Vestron Video of the Week: November 24, 2010


After all the numerous special edition VHS and DVD and Blu-Ray versions of not only Evil Dead 2, but the other two films in the series, it some times gets forgotten that all we had for the longest time were no-frills editions of all three films on VHS. Thank God the internet loves to document everything.


There it is in all its glory. As much as I love the first film to death and I saw Army of Darkness in the theater 3 times, Evil Dead 2 still holds a special place in my heart. I feel like it's the one that gets talked about even less now, though. for a long time it seemed like ED2 was the shit and others were heavily debated. Now, though that may be the case to some, I see it coming down to two camps.

On one side, you have the general nerd population, the bros, the frat guys, casual film nerds, etc., who just think that Army of Darkness is the bee's knees. They quote it religiously, wear the clothes, read the comics, play the games. In general, Army of Darkness is a cult movie on the level of Lebowski or Office Space. Everybody can get into its zany, over the top schtick.

On the other side are the die-hards, the people who really love ED1 and think that it is a matserpiece of horror. These guys may like the other films, but they hold tree rape up to a very high regard. It isn't enough to find AOD funny. They live for defending this film as truly terrifying experience. These are the diggin' in the crates types, the kinds who want to make everything an us vs. them argument, looking for authenticity in everything from their horror mmovies and rock music to their hamburgers and beers.

Somewhere in the midst of all that ED2 gets kind of forgotten about. Maybe it's because both sides pretty much agree that ED2 is killer. Part of it may be that, to many, the film just feels like a bridge between the horror of the first film and the slapstick of the third. ED2 really is splatstick. The first film has its gory moments, but those aren't really played for laughs, mostly for dread, terror, disgust, what have you. The third film's gore is all a big joke. Anybody who may have been scared by AOD were probably still in diapers.

ED2 is where you get to have your cake and eat it too. As I really like my cake and the ability to scarf it down guilt-free, ED2 is my favorite of the series. Raimi still has the power to shock and scare, but he now has the power to elicit laugh-out-loud moments. These moments come not only from the splatter but from the evolution of Ash (or Ashley in the first film HAHAHAHA) into the swinging dick hero of the film, as well as Bruce Campbell's stellar deadpan and excellent physical comedy.

I'm hoping I get a chance to use Vestron as an excuse to review more sequels, but they don't have as many as you'd think. My next case is actually an interesting one. The film I'll be reviewing was a low-budget adaptation of a relatively unknown novel. I saw it when it first hit video in 1987. It didn't make a lot of waves and I never really met anybody else who saw it. Then Denzel Washington made a big-budget remake of it. Do you know what it is???


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