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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:
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...
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:

They got up on the wrong side of the grave. 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

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Release Date:

15 April 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Book of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FSK 16)

Sound Mix:

| (re-mastered version)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Raimi originally wanted to title this film "Book of the Dead," but producer Irvin Shapiro changed the title to "The Evil Dead" for fear that kids would be turned off seeing a movie with a literary reference. See more »

Goofs

At one point in the movie, Ash's feet are shown walking across a blood-covered floor. Near the end of the movie, his feet are shown walking down the steps to the cellar, and he is obviously wearing different shoes. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

The swing music from the old Victrola in the cabin's cellar plays during the closing credits, only to wind down and grind to a stop leaving the sound of the wind to accompany the rest of the credits. The final sound heard as the closing credits end is the fly buzzing - the first sound heard in the opening of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder House (2014) 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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