There are some films horror fans grow up watching, possibly catapulting life long obsessions with the genre. They’re the films you watched because of the box art (if you were lucky enough to live during the video store era) and some you watched because of word of mouth. As kids, some of us had that friend who told you about the grossest movies or something that kept them up at night. The EVIL DEAD franchise was something I would hear references to and always on all the lists of must see horror films.
I rented all three that were available at the time, not really knowing what to expect. What I got was a series of grimy looking gorefests that goes completely bonkers in every other scene. I was introduced to Bruce Campbell as Ash, our hero who has fought demons from hell for the last few decades. My personal favorite is the original due to my hunger for straight up horror fables. It plays almost as a ghost story with elements of possession and the consequences of dealing with artifacts from hell.
With that being said, my observations in the horror community seem to indicate that EVIL DEAD 2 is a fan favorite. I have no place to argue about this because I can totally understand the appeal. The sequel gives us an alternate introduction to Ash’s entry to the now infamous cabin in the woods, but now he’s a much stronger and sassier protagonist. We are also introduced to family and companions of the archaeologist who recited the writings of the Necronomicon aka the Book of the Dead. These writings unleashe a demon that loves to possess living souls, even manipulating inanimate objects in the cabin.
Anyone reading this has probably already seen these movies, especially this one as it holds some of the most iconic moments in not just the franchise, but in horror movie history. EVIL DEAD 2 is also what I would consider one of the bloodiest movies ever made. There’s literally gallons of blood and gore being thrown at everyone and even at the screen. It’s quite delightful to be honest.
Part of the appeal of the original movies is that they look dirty as hell. Their low budgets and practical effects are part of their charm, creating some great movies to watch with friends. So it should be understandable when I heard the announcement of the original being released in 4K. While I’m always down for a great restoration, I love my old school horror looking grainy and cheap. I still haven’t watched the first in 4K yet, but I have the disc handy now that I’ve witnessed EVIL DEAD 2 in this new edition. While the grain is still there, some sequences benefit from the upgrade. The issue here is that the movie now looks like it was shot with different cameras at different periods of time. We go from from clear as the sky to grindhouse looking in a matter of seconds.
For some reason, I liked the shift in quality. It added a charm to embrace for a new generation who might be turned off by “old movies.” The sound mix is still loud as ever, finding myself having to turn the volume down when certain objects start laughing like maniacs, trying to drive Ash crazy. There’s nothing new in terms of special features, but fans will be looking at the quality as there’s probably not much else to learn about the behind the scenes that previous releases haven’t delved into. Luckily, the previously released commentary from the blu-ray is ported over.
The EVIL DEAD II 4K Blu-ray is now available to own from Lionsgate.