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The Evil Dead (1981)

NC-17 | | Horror | 15 April 1983 (USA)
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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

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 ...
...
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Storyline

Five college students take time off to spend a peaceful vacation in a remote cabin. A book and audio tape is discovered, and its evil is found to be powerful once the incantations are read out loud. The friends find themselves helpless to stop the evil as it takes them one by one, with only one survivor left with the evil dead and desperately tries to fight to live until morning. Written by Miss Murder

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Ultimate Experience In Grueling Terror See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Book of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FSK 16)

Sound Mix:

| (re-mastered version)| (5.1)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming began in 1979 with a cast and crew of 37 people. Initial shooting finished in six weeks, but it took 1.5 years to edit the picture. See more »

Goofs

During the meltdown scene, one of the zombies' head is seen falling off. But in the next shot, it's intact. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Featured in Fear of the Dark (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Charleston
(uncredited)
Music by James P. Johnson and lyrics by Cecil Mack
Performed by Traditional
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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