I love Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. I have seen all three films a thousand times each and I will probably watch them thousands of times more. They're funny, they're scary, they're sick and they're awesome, but most importantly they're filled with cinematic moments that I nor any other fan will ever forget.
In honor of Ash Wednesday I watched the entire trilogy again (like I needed an excuse) and picked out what I believe to be the 10 greatest and most memorable moments in the Evil Dead franchise. If you've seen the movies before, watch for nostalgia; if you haven't, watch to understand why you should. No matter what, everyone should leave this article realizing that this is a series that everyone should watch at least once.
The Evil Dead – Tree RapeThe above is easily the scariest and most controversial scene in the entire trilogy. While many of the effects in the first film have not aged well, this still a truly horrifying scene. Sam Raimi has previously said that he regrets including it, but I don't think it would be the same movie without it.
The Evil Dead – We're Going To Get YouThe trilogy went a bit silly in its final two installments, but this scene and the one above are the two that really put a chill down my spine. The formula is simple: doll-like makeup, a sweet voice and a short lullaby. The outcome? Terrifying.
The Evil Dead – Burning of The Nyturan DemontaRemember what I said above about the trilogy going a bit silly? This is the real start of it. The gore factor here is pushed to 11, but it goes on for so long that it just becomes hysterical. And just when you think they can't possibly do any more, giant claws come out and rip the bodies to shreds. It doesn't get much better.
Evil Dead II – The HandIf the tree rape scene is the most memorable horror scene in the trilogy, then this scene is probably the most memorable comedic one. Paying tribute to The Three Stooges, this scene is as great as slapstick gets. Who's laughing now? All of us, Bruce. All of us.
Evil Dead II – LaughingA lot of my love for this scene stems from the fact that it happens almost directly after Ash has chopped his own hand off with a chainsaw, and he is walking around basically pain free. On a deeper level, though, this scene is exactly what the trilogy excels at: balancing terror, obscene amounts of gore, and some great laughs.
Evil Dead II – GroovyI debated whether to use this scene or the one from Army of Darkness, but I ultimately decided that this version is a lot cooler. After all, would you rather have a chainsaw for a hand or a piece of armor that can crush goblets? The latter is certainly cool, but it doesn't hold a candle to the original.
Army of Darkness – This Is My Boomstick!In The Evil Dead, Ash is a fairly passive character, but by the time Army of Darkness rolls around he is just sick of everyone's bullshit. He's stuck in some medieval world, the locals just tried to kill him, and he escapes only by the skin of his teeth. If you were in his position you wouldn't want to be dealing with any primitive screwheads either.
Army of Darkness – Good Ash Vs. Bad AshOne Bruce Campbell is amazing, but two? You just can't go wrong. I particularly love how he totally hams it up for the Bad Ash part, from the self-important chest touching to the “Goody little two shoes” dance. Then, of course, Good Ash puts him in his place.
Army of Darkness – Retrieving The NecronomiconIt's just three simple words. Klaatu. Barada. Nikto. Hell, they're three words every single sci-fi nerd on the planet can recognize from The Day The Earth Stood Still. Ash, sadly, has never seen that movie. Then again, maybe we should be happy he couldn't remember them. If he did, the movie would have been an hour shorter.
Army of Darkness – Hail To The King, BabyThere's been talk for years about a possible Evil Dead 4, but every time I watch this scene I become conflicted. On the one hand, it solidifies Ash J. Williams as one of the coolest characters of all time, and who wouldn't want to see more of him? On the other, it's such an incredibly perfect ending that the only place to go is down.
Keep right on celebrating Ash Wednesday the Bruce Campbell way, right here on Cinema Blend. Look for more Ash Wednesday fun coming throughout the day right here.