We all know that The Evil Dead is a wonderfully inane cult series. But the resurgence of the franchise with the new Evil Dead brought me back to the originals and has had me thinking about the entire quartet (quad-ril-ogy?). I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of my thoughts are guilty of comparing Evil Dead 2013 to its predecessors, but that’s fair, right? After all, that’s a certain responsibility of a remake to expand upon, while still honoring, the source material.
After much deliberation, I find myself with 5 main thoughts on the Evil Dead series. Some of these contain SPOILERS – so be forewarned.
AND DO NOT TOUCH THE NECRONOMICON WITHOUT SAYING THE THREE WORDS!
5) The soul count in Evil Dead 2013
There are 6 available characters in the new movie: Mia, David, Natalie, Olivia, Eric, and Grandpa (the dog). The book tells of 5 souls that have to be taken in order to unleash the big bad.
Mia’s soul is taken first. Then Olivia. Followed by Natalie and Eric.
Presumably, that honor belongs to David. But did the Deadites really take his soul? For a wannabe Ash, he went out in a decidedly un-Ash-y and distinctly burned-to-ashes fashion. Does that even count as a soul grab? I figured that was counted on the stats more like an RBI or an assist…
But assuming David is the fifth soul, this leaves some disturbing implications. Namely that despite saving Mia from the grip of the Deadites, she no longer has a soul. If saving her from possession restored her soul, that make the count “four souls and an appetizer that the waiter spit in,” rather than “five souls, one cooked well.”
So if Mia has no soul, it defeats the purpose of not-Ash’s self-sacrifice. If she got her soul back, who is #5 now?!
The dog? That’s a pretty bold implication to throw at the religious type.
The girl from the otherwise completely irrelevant intro scene? That means there’s no reset button on the Necronomicon. And if that’s the case, well… MOST. SLACKER. BOOK. EVER. It’s a few thousand years old and only now collected its five souls? It took less time to gather all 150 original Pokemon!
4) Eric is actually a savant
Hire him immediately, dusty old librarian-professors looking for translators!
This 20-something kid is completely fluent in ancient Sumerian without any sort of reference material to consult. Also, he has perfect pronunciation of a completely dead language. He’s like Rosetta Stone and Rainman had a baby with a hairstyle straight out of Woodstock.
3) Most of the characters in Evil Dead 2013 deserved to die
The Evil Dead was about 5 twenty-somethings on their way to a vacation to a cabin in the woods. They were college students. They were wholesome kids. One was a dedicated S-Mart employee with a glorious chin. They just stumbled into a bad situation and were horribly murdered by fun-loving Deadites craving some soul-power. Their only major flaw was that Scotty was an asshole.
The new bunch of demon-fodder had no such distinction. In fact, they all had character flaws that serve as death sentences in horror movies.
Mia was a drug addict.
David abandoned his family in their time of need.
Olivia saw nothing questionable in her decision to actively keep Mia away from a hospital just because she wanted to play the hero and take the glory by medicating her friend. Her status as a nurse makes their even more questionable, as she should have had the foresight to realize that “hey, this failed before… maybe we should involve professionals this time around.”
Eric set the whole chain of events into motion with his damnable curiosity and built-in universal translator. When a book is wrapped in trash bags and barbed wire you leave it alone! It is not a happy book!
Natalie had a poor choice in friends. Pretty, albeit dumb, little blonde decides hanging out in an abandoned cabin with the makings of real-world Legion of Doom is a good idea?
The only one who didn’t deserve a hammer to the face on principle was the dog. And he’s the only one who got that exact treatment!
2) Speaking of barbed wire, what was with the barbed wire? And the cats?
We’re introduced to a random witch woman and her team of Fallout face-lift friends in the film’s intro. They set an elaborate trap to contain a Deadite with every bit of voodoo they could muster.
Candles. A funeral pyre that inexplicably did not burn down the entire cabin. A posse of largely unnecessary observers. A shitload of dead cats.
They proceed to use their shrine to animal cruelty to banish the Deadite and save the day.
Then they proceed to leave the book out in the open on a table where anyone can find it.
This is almost as bad as leaving a loaded shotgun in a baby’s crib. Someone’s going to find it, and it’s not going to end well. But it’s okay, the old lady wrapped the book in trash bags. And barbed wire. Surely, that wouldn’t strike anyone as peculiar. Certainly not peculiar enough to take a look.
And the cats… nowhere in Eric’s translation of the Necronomicon did it reference flaying the Humane Society’s entire supply of cats.
If you ask me, the cats had nothing to do with stopping the Deadites.
The voodoo lady was just making jerky.
1) Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness never happened.
I’m going to leave Evil Dead 2013 alone now and focus back on the original trilogy. Whenever someone first sees the series, the same question always comes up. Why did Evil Dead II play out like a remake and a sequel all at once?
The official answer is that Sam Raimi had a story in mind for all three films, but since another company owned the rights to the images from The Evil Dead, Sam had to dive in and quickly retell the story before he could move on. In fact, the “proper” order of the films is supposed to be The Evil Dead immediately followed by the 2nd half of Evil Dead II (minus the last 2-3 minutes), then Army of
This is clearly not the case. Because Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness never actually happened.
In The Evil Dead, Ash was a reluctant hero. He was a quiet, respectful kid who hesitated when destiny required him to hold his chin up and shoot his friends. In the other two films, he’s a loud-mouthed braggart who thinks little of blowing away his friends and cutting out his own hand with a chainsaw. This is clearly not the same Ash.
And the key to his character development is all found in the final shot of The Evil Dead. At the very end of the film, Ash is stumbling out of the cabin where he is attacked by a Deadite who promptly possesses him. But Ash fights back, struggling to hold onto his soul.
As such, everything that happens next all takes place in Ash’s head and shows the internal struggle for Ash’s soul. Consider how the story places out.
Ash replays the events in the cabin, but only with Linda. His sister and other friends are mysteriously gone. The Deadite is trying to isolate Ash while making him relive the painful experience of his girlfriend’s death by his hand.
The possession takes hold, represented by Ash’s evil hand. But the real Ash reasserts himself, removing the hand and fighting back.
Two new people show up at the cabin and Ash is branded as the villain. The Deadite begins to win the battle again as Ash questions himself, and now we see a Deadite Ash.
But again, Ash is grounded by his connection to life (specifically to Linda) and pushes the Deadite out again.
This goes back and forth until the end of the film until the Deadites manage to complete their goals to unleash their most powerful demon into the world. We are led to believe that Ash opens a portal to trap the Deadite, but this is actually not the case. What we are actually seeing is Ash’s final defeat.
When the portal opens, it is not the Deadite who is defeated. It’s Ash. The portal sucking Ash in is a representation of Ash being sucked into Hell.
And Army of Darkness takes place entirely in Hell.
From there, the series goes into a “choose your own adventure” mode.
Depending on which ending you prefer, you decide Ash’s ultimate fate.
In the theatrical version, Ash makes it home and goes back to his life at S-Mart. Though he is doomed to spend the rest of his life fighting off the occasional advances of the Deadites and their bid to swallow his soul, he lives. And escapes from Hell.
If you prefer the director’s cut (in which Ash “oversleeps” and wakes up in an post-apocalyptic world), then you prefer the idea that Ash is condemned to Hell, never again to escape. His soul is
That’s actually kind of sad…