Friday, October 16, 2015

Top 20 Horror Movies - #13) Evil Dead 2 (1985)

One of the things that I'm doing this month as I celebrate Halloween here in the Land of Way is taking the time to rank my Top 20 Horror Movies and my Top 20 Horror Novels.

I want to be clear that I'm basing these choices on my own humble opinion.  I'm not trying to rank these movies in accordance with their place in pop culture, but I'm offering up my take on the best horror films that I have ever watched and enjoyed.  There are some familiar candidates that I consider to be great pictures that didn't make the cut because there wasn't room, and there are some films that are widely regarded as great pictures that didn't make the cut because I feel that they are overrated.  There are also a few instances where it was difficult to determine whether or not a movie belonged to the horror genre (I said "no" to Aliens but "yes" to Jaws), and it may also be worth noting that this is largely a modern list (as long as you're okay with my classification of modern as anything after 1960) that only features one lonely creature from the so-called "Classic Monsters" films produced by Universal Studios.

Thus far, the list includes:

#20) The Fly (1986) 
#19) The Howling (1981)
#18) Night of the Living Dead (1968)
#17) Alien (1979) 
#16) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
#15) Suspiria (1977) 
#14) Phantasm (1979)

I'm going to put our late 70s theme on hold so we can turn our attention to the only true sequel to make my list, Sam Raimi's maniacal return to the the cabin in the worlds where Ash and his friends unwittingly unleashed deadites on the world.

Top 20 Horror Movies - #13) Evil Dead 2 (1985)

When Sam Raimi made a name for himself in the horror genre, he did so with The Evil Dead, a grim affair that was dark, dreadful, and brimming with bodily dismemberment.  It was a bit of a shock when he followed that picture up with this sequel, a delirious effort that mixes demonic possession and severed limbs with heavy doses of slapstick humor that would have garnered applause from The Three Stooges.  Yet Raimi's high-energy direction and Bruce Campbell's immaculate chin made this mash-up an astounding success.  Three decades later, fans are eagerly awaiting the latest from this franchise, the Showtime series Ash Vs. Evil Dead, which is set to debut on October 31, 2015.  If that show is half as good as Evil Dead 2 (and based on what I've seen, I'm pretty damn optimistic), we're in for a real treat this Halloween.  Fast-paced, funny, and utterly ridiculous, this is surely one of the most purely entertaining movies to be featured on my list.  Everything about this cult classic is aimed at being so over-the-top that it makes William Shatner's work seem like method acting.  The effects, the performances, the score, and Raimi's wild camera work are all designed to wring every drop of fun out of a kooky script that allows for an abundance of gore and some of the silliest bits you'll ever see in a horror flick.  In short, Evil Dead 2 is a zany descent into horror and comedy that works to sheer perfection.  While I'm not at all surprised that it made the cut, I am a little surprised that I didn't wind up ranking it much higher on my list.

The first Evil Dead is grim and disgusting, but the sequel is gleefully absurd--and 100% awesome!

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