The Evil Dead (1981)


Written & Directed by: Sam Raimi


Bruce Campbell ... Ash Williams
Ellen Sandweiss ... Cheryl
Hal Delrich ... Scotty
Betsy Baker ... Linda
Sarah York ... Shelly

Release Dates: Detroit, Michigan: October 15, 1981 (Premiere); Knokke-Heist Film Festival (Belgium): 1982; New York City Horror Film Festival: 1982; American Film Market: March, 1982; Cannes Film Festival: (France) May, 1982; London Film Festival: October, 1982; Sitges Film Festival: (Spain): October 2, 1982; Feastival Fantastique de Paris: November, 1982; Theatrical: December 1, 1982 (UK); January 1, 1983 (USA); January 10, 1983 (Canada); February 5, 1983 (Ireland); Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Films: March 1983 (Belgium); Filmex Festival: March, 1983 (USA); Revenge of The Bride Horror Film Festival: May 12, 1984 (UK); Fantafestival: June, 1984 (Italy); Theatrical: August 8, 1984 (Italy); ; Fantasporto Film Festival: February, 1987 (Portugal); Supposed Theatrical: January 14, 1993 (Germany); NEVERMORE Horror, Gothic & Fantasy Film Festival: January 18, 2002 (USA); Fantastic Film Festival: April 16, 2003 (Netherlands); Dead by Dawn Horror Film Festival: April 25, 2003; Gérardmer Fantasticarts Film Festival: January 31, 2004; Return to Odd International Film Festival: October 30, 2004 (Canada); Iik!! Horror Film Festival: November 5, 2004 (Finland); Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors: June 5, 2005; Chicago Flashback Weekend Horror Convention: July 29, 2005; Horrorfind Weekend: August 21, 2005









A group of five friends go up to a cabin in the woods for a vacation where there's unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. After crossing their car from a bridge the bridge nearly collapses.
Then while one of the five friends named Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) is doing some sketch art she feels a force controlling her artwork and the cellar making noises.
Next, they find a Necronomicon book and the taped translation of the text. They play the tape and Cheryl freaks out wanting the tape to be shut off.
Suddenly the evil is released and the first one who gets posessed is Cheryl as at first she is molested by a tree and then later on while she is in the cabin she turns into a demonic zombie.
Cheryl gets locked into a cellar but stabs one of the other girls in the foot with a pencil and is the next one to get posessed.
All but one named Ash (Bruce Campbell) survives from being turned into a demonic zombie and struggles to stay alive as the bridge he crossed over to go to the cabin collapsed after they all arrived there as they feared it would and is trapped there.


The film leaves off with a terrific beginning in a misty marsh with a force wandering arond and then a group of college students on their way to a cabin for a brief holiday as their discussions looked cheesy mainly due to the performances along with the corny writing.
Then they enter a bridge which is ready to collapse while they drive over it which keeps you in suspense wondering if they will make it in time which is another nice pointer to a beginning of a horror film.
There's of course the creepy dark cellar in the cabin with one of them named Scotty is going down to take a look in which he takes his time upon returning in which this definetely leaves a chill down your spine.
Then there's nifty stuff when Scotty and Ash find stuff at the cabin which looked horrifyingly unique watching this and leaving an impression that none of this you wouldn't want to play around with. Of course they listen to an old tape player which is another creepy moment knowing that hell is going to break loose.
While this happens there's neat cheesy effects with a ground rising up with mist as well as the moon changing color as all of this was impressive to watch and darkly twisted.
But then it gets even more exciting as an innocent girl named Cheryl wanders out of the cabin in which the forestry looked nicely dark with mist surrounding the area. The forestry looked like an autumn evening. Kind of a Halloweenish type of feel to everything. With all of this Raimi offers dark humor to his writing but keeps the horror at the same dark pace too when Cheryl is suddenly molested by a possessed tree. All of this was my favourite moment in the film which I though was very different than any other horror flick.
But then a little while later things seem peaceful but sudddenly before you know it Cheryl turns into a possessed type of zombie which can catch any viewer off guard since this is a nice shocking moment too. Right away you think "WHOA!". It was without a doubt a perfect drawing card that the real terror is about to happen.
Things happen very fast afterwards as one person after another starts to turn into these evil things.
It's fun to watch all that's happening and some jumping moments too when things are way too quiet.
Suddenly in the middle of the story all these people seem to be normal again. Yet this seems way too easy to believe that they are fine in which Raimi made this moment tricky and clever. Any kind of horror film you can't fall for a trick like that which is what keeps it suspenseful.
Then the lead character Ash is about to use a chainsaw to butcher his possessed girlfriend with which is a great touch to the story in which Tobe Hooper would take a nod to.
The cheesy effects and shocking madness were more great horror elements to a film like this one including Ash's possessed girlfriend crawling out of the ground in which he tries to cut off her body parts but they still attack him which is hard to watch if you have a strong stomach along with some other gruesome scene's throughout the story which will please gorehounds who love cheesy flicks.
Bottom line is the film is very original and can't be compared to anything else. But yet the story falls into a slump with Ash struggling to survive on what is happening since it seems to just go around in circles. Still for what they could afford they did a damn good job with this.

Alot of the acting in this film looked fairly amateurish which wasn't a surprise that not many of the cast members went far in life.
Bruce Campbell (Ash Williams) seemed to pull off his role quite well though as the main guy next door type. He brings on a good personality as a nice guy type as well as bringing on a ton of energy into what he did almost losing control and showing alot of intense aggressions.
Does well losing his sanity while doing his battles. It wasn't surprising that he went far now doing bigger quality TV and film and this was no doubt a nice stepping stone to a futuristic acting career.
Ellen Sandweiss (Cheryl)
did her best to carry on a character and was fairly passable at what she did by bringing on a good sensitivity to her part in it. She also was terrific with her freaked out behavior along with her screaming and scared emotions. Does well acting nervous and patiently telling everyone to shut off the player and then some nice blocking moments on her standing up and screaming hysterically which looked terrific. Does well walking outside into the woods trying to see what's out there and acting nervous which looked creepy. She also did well screaming intensely when sje is pulled down and raped by a tree. Does a great job freaking out towards her onscreen boyfriend after he discovers that she's trapped when the bridge is down. Also does well by acting menacing by trying to strike against others which was energetically done. Athough she never carried on a full time acting career she remained a cult favourite to this film.
Hal Delrich (Scotty) certainly brought on a witty charming act by being sarcastic and acting like a total goof. He for sure reminds me as one of those types who likes to tease others and not take anything too seriously. Yet at the same time he is not a terrific character actor. However, does well trying to look around a room with good concerned expressions and a nice moment on being attacked in which he does well trying to struggle. Performed wonderfully in a scene by running back to the cabin all battered up speaking hysterically towards one of his fellow actors.

Ellen Sandweiss' top is torn open while being molested by a tree with her breasts revealed.
There's a brief brest shot on Sarah York in a window of a cabin with her back turned.

A pencil is stabbed in Linda's leg
Scotty's face is mangled and torn after returning from outside
Linda's head is chopped off with blood splurting out of her body as well as her other body pieces being chopped off.
A person's eyeballs are pushed in with lots of blood gushing
Bits of brains and other body parts are splattered

There's perfect cheesy windy and groaning sounds along with nice light tapping piano music. Also there's many great screechy violin playing for many of the terrifying events revolving around the story. At times there's some good high pitched synthesizer music which was all brough together by Joseph LoDuca

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

Linda: Hey Ash! I guessed the card right!
Ash: Yeah... truly amazing.

Voice: Join us...

Voice: I know now that my wife has become host to a Candarian demon. I fear that the only way to stop those possessed by the spirits of the book is through the act of... bodily dismemberment.

[Cheryl has become possessed]
Cheryl: Why have you disturbed our sleep? Awakened us from our ancient slumber? YOU WILL DIE!

Cheryl: [possessed] Soon all of you will be like me... And then who will lock you up in a cellar?

Shelly: [Shelly's face smoking and scarred] I don't know what I would have done if I had remained on those hot coals... Burning my pretty flesh.

Linda: [singing] We're going to get you. We're going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.

Cheryl: Kill her if you can, loverboy.

[Shelly has been hacked into several pieces]
Ash: We can't bury Shelly. S-She's a friend of our's.

Ash: You bastards! Why are you torturing me like this? Why?

[last lines]
[an unseen force rips through the cabin and comes up behind the unsuspecting Ash]
Ash: Aaaaaah!