A Nite to Dismember
Friday, October 31; Midnite – 8am | Buy Tickets
A Nite to Dismember is Nitehawk’s annual Halloween movie marathon, five back to back horror films played until the crack of dawn. For its second year, N2D features five of the best horror sequels ever made: Evil Dead II, Bride of Frankenstein, Friday the 13th Part 2, and Return of the Living Dead.
Below, Hatched editor Kris King discusses the night’s first film, Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi’s untouchable splatterhouse classic.
Halloween and Horror go hand-in-hand, but, really, only a certain kind of horror film fits the bill on the day for devilish revelry. Halloween, ultimately, is about having a good time; and if a horror film lacks a certain lightness in touch, it can really harsh your hallowed buzz. In the pantheon of fun horror, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a more perfect Halloween horror film than Evil Dead II.
The film plays out as if written by a sleep-deprived kid, high on Snickers and candy corn: “There are monsters! And all of the furniture can laugh! And blood comes out the walls! And the good guy has a chainsaw for a hand!” Evil Dead II is a perfectly executed load of nonsense, a film that insists upon a reaction — a laugh, a shriek, it really doesn’t matter just so long as you feel something.
A kind of remake/sequel hybrid, Evil Dead II doesn’t follow up the first film so much as start over with a new set of rules and tricks and then pushes the story along. Director Sam Raimi’s original Evil Dead is a classic in its own right, but it’s heavy on mood and no-budget gore effects and has a clear intent to rattle the viewer senseless. From its onset, it’s clear that Evil Dead II plays with a different deck of cards.
The first act of Evil Dead II quickly touches on the story beats of the first film: college student Ash takes his girlfriend out to a secluded cabin for a romantic getaway where he accidentally awakens an ancient evil that’s intent on ruining everyone’s day. After going a few rounds with his possessed girlfriend, Ash is left a crazed, blood-soaked mess (where the first film ends). When the unwitting relatives of the cabin’s owner turn up, they peg Ash as a murderer and lock him in the cellar while the evil in the house starts taking stabs at its new guests.
Evil Dead II somehow shows up the original in wackadoo special effects and gushing blood while maintaining a light, funny touch. Blood doesn’t just flow, it sprays out with the force of a fire hose. On the film’s commentary track, star Bruce Campbell jokes that he almost drowned while filming one gag where he was practically water boarded with 100 gallons of fake blood.
Watching Ash evolve from a shrieking coward into a silver-tongued tough is the real joy of Evil Dead II. Baptized in the blood of his undead friends, Ash becomes one of the few horror icons who uses his prowess for slicing and dicing for good rather than evil.