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The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17  |   |  Horror  |  15 April 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 131,830 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 730 user | 314 critic | 10 from Metacritic.com

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.



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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard DeManincor ...
Scott (as Hal Delrich)
Shelly (as Sarah York)
Philip A. Gillis ...
Fake Shemp (as Phil Gillis)
Dorothy Tapert ...
Cheryl Guttridge ...
Barbara Carey ...
David Horton ...
Wendall Thomas ...
Don Long ...
Stu Smith ...
Kurt Rauf ...


As a vacation, five friends travel to a small cabin in a deserted jungle. When their first target has been to reach peace, they should fight restlessly as they find themselves surrounded by an evil force that turns its victims into heartless monsters. Written by J. S. Golden

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for substantial graphic horror violence and gore | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

15 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Book of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$375,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (FSK 16) | (Extended Version)

Sound Mix:

| (re-mastered version)


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of the most intricate moments during editing was the stop-motion sequence where the corpses "melted", which took hours to cut properly. See more »


When Ash is beating evil Linda with the big piece of wood, it's obvious that at some shots Linda is a stuffed dummy and not Betsy Baker. See more »


[first lines]
Scotty: Hey, Ash, where are we?
Ash: Well we just crossed the Tennessee border...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credit for The Evil Dead shimmers like a ghost. See more »


Referenced in South Park: Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow (2005) See more »


Old Baby Moses And The Thrillers Song
Written by 'Baby Moses and the Thrillers'
Performed by Theresa Tilly and Richard DeManincor
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Interestingly good...
5 February 2001 | by (Annapolis, MD) – See all my reviews

For a film that was made on a budget that would make Steven Spielberg die laughing, "Evil Dead" was one for the most interesting pieces of horror cinema I've ever seen. I watched the series backwards, so "Army of Darkness" was the film I saw first, then "Evil Dead II." While "Evil Dead II" is probably still my favorite, it was interesting to see where it all started.

The camera work is incredibly good, and the fast motion sequences showing the demon's approach was pretty well done, if not completely original. Though also interesting, and kinda funny to note is that we see the characters running away, but when the camera switches away from the demon's view, we don't see the demon, and that seems like a touch of genius...we know it's there, but we can't see it, and while it probably was a limitation of the budget, it actually proved to be a great method of suspense.

The special effects are as laughable as they were in the rest of the series, but there's something to be said for a film that takes its chances and goes to the extreme in lieu of lacking resources. People complain about this a lot, but I have to say to them "get a sense of humor." The whole point of the "Evil Dead" series was to mock horror films and show how campy they were and that they could get even worse. It's humor is in that the film tries to take itself seriously, but the lack of a big budget makes this not only impossible, but even funny in spite of the fact that it could conceivable be a serious film.

The acting is also terrible, but again in that way that it's so obviously bad that it's hard to tell were the actors just plain bad or were they doing that deliberately to serve the purpose of mocking the genre. Bruce Campbell's introduction into the world of abused heroes is interesting since his character is actually less of a chauvinist in this one than he ultimately became famous for. But it works, and the horror on his face when his friend has no reservations about chopping up his possessed girlfriend is actually believable.

Overall, this movie is a great piece of cinema. It's humorous, but serious as well, and its greatest strength is its ability to draw the line between being part of the genre and mocking it. There are plenty of moments of original horror (I don't think anybody could keep their composure during the "Tree Rape" scene, which they repeated to lesser effect in "Evil Dead II," but let's face it that movie was supposed to be a rehash and extension). Give the film a chance and don't take it too seriously. Otherwise you're missing the point.

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