What is I LOVE That Scene? It is a regular feature on our website in which we detail one single film scene we adore. Typically, the scenes we discuss are those that force us to involuntarily exclaim “I LOVE That Scene!” when they are brought up in conversation, thus the name. It is our intention to turn readers onto films through exposure to single scenes. Spoilers will be clearly indicated.
THE FILM: Evil Dead II (1987) (In honor of the release of the Evil Dead remake-see it now in theatres)
THE PLOT: Before Sam Raimi was perfecting (and then destroying) the Spiderman trilogy, he cut his cinematic teeth on the Evil Dead series. The first two films center around Ash, played by the impossibly awesome Bruce Campbell, taking his girlfriend to a cabin in the woods, reading an ancient text, and finding himself having to dispatch his now-zombiefied friends. The thirds film in the trilogy, 1992’s Army of Darkness, finds Campbell’s character transported back in time and forced to fight the same zombie forces in the Middle Ages.
Evil Dead II is basically a slightly higher-budgeted remake of 1981’s Evil Dead, which was made under the brutal, hellish circumstances that accompany a freakiskly low-budgeted film’s production. Either you accept the film is a remake, or you have to accept that Ash is moronic enough to bring his new girlfriend back to the cabin in which he was forced to murder an entire camping party. In addition, he decides not to mention the fact that he’d ever been to this cabin before and that perhaps they shouldn’t play the record with the strange Latin phrases, because that didn’t work out too well for him the last time. Evil Dead is fun, despite a plot that is practically nonexistent and special effects that rival Ed Wood’s in credibility. Evil Dead II incoprporates more slap stick (the term “splat stick” has been coined for movies like this and Peter Jackson’s early, repulsive horror/ comedy masterpiece Dead Alive (aka Brain Death)
- (SPOILERS BELOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)
THE CONTEXT OF THE SCENE: By this point in the film, Ash has had to both hack his possessed girlfriend to bits with a chainsaw and sever his own possessed hand.
However, his hand lives on as a severed, malicious pest. In other words, he’s had days that have gone better. He enters the living room and begins to see the objects in the room come to life, cruely mocking him for his misfortunes.
At first, we think Ash’s tether may have finally snapped, as he begins to join in, but his manic laughter turns to grief-filled sobs, making the scene all the more disturbing.
WHY I LOVE IT: Do you really have to ask?! First of all, it’s insane. It’s funny and weird and completely bonkers. Sam Raimi, for better for worse, loves to stuff his films to the gills with odd, vaguely unsettling humor and bizarre imagery.
Sometimes, like here, it pays off. Other times (Ahem- Spiderman 3- Ahem), it makes his films feel almost unbearably incoherent and pointless. Narrative is rarely Raimi’s strong suit, but he can strike surreal gold when he finds himself with the right material. Here, he may have found horror-comedy perfection.
Evil Dead is available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as through Vudu and Amazon’s Instant Streaming service, which is free to Prime members.
Do you have a favorite scene from Evil Dead II, similar or different than the one I highlighted? Do you wish I’d highlighted the first Evil Dead or Army of Darkness ? Let us know in the comments.