The Evil Dead title

AKA: The Book of the Dead

Tag Line : The ultimate experience in gruelling terror!

The Evil Dead5 youth's are holidaying in a remote woodland cabin up in the Tennessee mountains, when one of them finds a tape recorder and an old book labelled "Necronomicon ex-mortise" (which in English means "Book of the Dead"). Playing back the tape, they find it to be the workings of an archaeologist, who had been attempting to translate the pages in the book.

Unfortunately, the translations include dead resurrection passages and demon incantations, and playing the tape awakens a lot of evil forces that subsequently converge on the cabin. The 5 youths then find themselves fighting a battle for survival as one by one, the group are possessed by the evil forces, and have to killed by the remaining survivors. During which time we get to see eyes gouged out, heads decapitated, and bodies dismembered with axes and chainsaws, until only one survives.

The violence is somewhat on the "ludicrously over-the-top" side, though I'm sure the "woodland rape" and "Achilles heel" scenes will have most fans cringing in horror. However, as the film is so far fetched it's difficult to take even these seriously.

Extremely low budget, but extremely gory, the film actually comes across as more of a black comedy. The humour was apparently totally unintentional, but the film is so ridiculous in places you can't help but laugh. Either way, it's resounding success and huge cult status it attained (even in the UK, despite censorship restrictions on its original cinema and video releases) affirmed it's status as a classic horror film.

Overall marks : 7/10

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag line "Can They be Stopped?"

  • The film was originally going to be entitled "The Book of the Dead", but they decided to change the name after one of the producers pointed out that kids may misinterpret the title and think it's a film about a book.

  • Apparently, the film didn't take off too well in the USA at first. It was only after doing extremely well in Europe that people in the US seemed to sit up and take notice. It also marked the debut of genre star Bruce Cambell's acting career.

  • The films budget was $50,000.

  • The voice of the professor on the tape recording was actually that of American Movie Classics host Bob Dorian.

  • The UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC by 59s in order to pass it with an "18" certificate. This same version was then used for its initial video release, however it found its way onto the Government's Department of Public Prosecutions "Video Nasties" hit list, despite the fact that the film already held an "18" cinema certificate. The BBFC then insisted on making a further 1:06s cuts before agreeing to pass it for a video release. This excised the woodland rape scene, and heavily toned down every subsequent battle between Ash and with his zombified friends.

  • Channel 4 films re-submitted the uncut version in 2001, and to everyone's surprise was passed uncut by the BBFC (including the woodland rape scene). However, as Channel 4 films didn't actually own the distribution rights it wasn't until Anchor Bay opened up a UK branch later that year that we finally got the chance to see what we had been missing all these years.

  • The film was made in a real life abandoned cabin in the Tenesee woods, unfortunately it no longer exists as the building was destroyed in a fire a year later.

  • Apparently the investors where disappointed when they first saw the film, that it didn't come across as a serious horror picture, but considering to date they have received a return of 3 times the amount of money they initially paid in, I'm sure they were able to live with it!

  • The two hitchhikers at the beginning of the film were Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert.

  • The German video release, entitled "Tanz der Teufel", was originally released uncut but fell foul of German censorship laws. It was later released with the amended title "Tanz der Teufel 1" and was missing about 48 seconds of footage.

  • In order to raise funds for the film, Sam Raimi made a 32 minute short entitled "Within the Woods" to show investors, which starred Bruce Campbell and Scott Spiegel. The plot basically was about a group of friends staying in a remote cabin, who find the place is built on an Indian burial ground. One of them (Bruce Campbell) digs up a grave and becomes possessed and spends the rest of the film tracking down and killing the rest of his friends. This has never been officially released anywhere, but there are numerous bootleg tapes in circulation in the US. The "Book of the Dead" DVD by Anchor Bay, released in 2002 was to have included this short, but they were unable to secure the rights and it looks unlikely that they ever will be able to.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew

Cover Gallery

 

 

Video Clips.
MP4 format.

Theatrical trailer. (5.89MB)

Buy Online.

Buy it at Amazon.co.uk

Buy the UK DVD

Buy the UK BD.

Buy the "Evil Dead Companion" book

Buy it at Amazon.Com

Buy the US DVD.

Buy the US BD.

Notes on affiliate sites.
 

 

Other films in the series.

 

All Time Classics.

Reviews A-Z.

Reviews index. Home. Menu.