Evil Dead II (Collector's Edition)
Director: Sam Raimi
Despite some obvious shortcomings, this gets the official DMR 12-pack rating. I scoff (Scoff! Scoff!) at Entertainment Weekly's latest publication on their top 50 cult movie list. How the FUCK can they qualify The Shawshank Redemption as a "cult" movie?!? (it's good, just not what I would classify in that status, and especially not rated higher [#10] than ED2 [#19]). Apparently this confirms my continued lack of subscription to such publication. But back to the movie. This is truly the best of the b-movie horror flicks, with some great shots, gore, and humor so black it makes you simultaneously laugh and be ashamed of yourself. While it is a "part 2" film, it really is a remake of the original (which was straight-up horror), with a larger budget and a heavy dose of sick humor. Technically this is what the follow-up movie Army of Darkness was supposed to be, but there just wasn't enough $cratch.
Ash and his girlfriend Karen are visiting a remote cabin in the mountains for a romantic weekend. But a tape recorder of the owners is discovered, and upon listening to the initial findings about the Necronomicon (a nice nod to H.P. Lovecraft, BTW), shit hits the fan and an ominous presence in the woods becomes a physical terror. Ash steps it up and battles the freakish anomalies attacking him while trying to maintain some sense of sanity.
You can go on about the glorifications of violence in the cinema and blah blah blah, but c'mon! It's not supposed to be taken seriously. If you think the countless number of times horrible acts of violence are enacted upon Ash in this film are sick and wrong, well, this ain't the film for you (fun drinking game: drink every time Ash takes a hit. You will be shitfaced by the end of the movie if you drink twice on the headshots). What really makes this movie rise above the rest is some very inventive cinematography and a story that has a killer ending. I can only hope director Sam Raimi uses his clout after the completion of Spider-Man 2 to make another movie as original and, er, spellbinding as this.
Great Scene: There's a plethora of great shots in this movie, but the best overall scene has some great physical comedy by Bruce Campbell , involving a possessed hand. That and a scene that would even bring a tear to MacGyver's eye. (Groovy!) And the eyeball shot. Can't dis the eyeball shot.
DVD Notes: Anchor Bay gets my applause for taking the time and effort to put out some great DVDs of some more lesser-known movies. This sports a great 30-minute documentary called "The Gore The Merrier," a large number of production stills, trailer, extensive bio on Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, a video game preview for Evil Dead: Hail to the King, and last but not least commentary with Raimi, Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and make-up dude Greg Nicotero. The movie itself can be watched in either Standard or Widescreen format.