October 31, 2014


When he was a teenager, Alfred Hitchcock enrolled at Goldsmiths’ College, an arts branch of London University. Already a fan of film, Hitchcock learned composition, the uses of light and shadow, and the principles of narrative construction. His imagination flared. He began writing short prose horror stories influenced by Lowndes and Barrie, and regularly attended plays. He consumed American cinema, especially the films of Griffith and Chaplin, and fully immersed himself in film culture.

In 1918, Hitchcock moved from the sales department at Henley’s Telegraph Company, an electronics manufacturer, to the advertising department where he honed his visual and communication skills. His dream of crafting art never left him. Starting in 1919, several of Hitchcock’s short thriller stories were published in magazines. By 1921, Hitchcock had left his position at Hanley’s to fully pursue his life’s ambition. He entered the film business as the head of an art department for British Famous Players-Lasky, Limited, the newly formed British offshoot of the massively successful American Paramount’s Famous Players-Lasky. Hitchcock created title illustrations for an unknown number of films before receiving his first official art director assignment on George Fitzmaurice’s 1921 comedy THREE LIVE GHOSTS. It was during this period that he met Alma Reville, a script supervisor/continuity manager. They began a relationship that would last until Reville’s death in 1982.

In 1922, British Famous Players-Lasky all but collapsed. As the studio tried to stay afloat, Hitchcock would direct his first features, the now-lost ALWAYS TELL YOUR WIFE and NUMBER THIRTEEN. Shooting on NUMBER THIRTEEN ceased when the studio finally went under. Without funds, only two reels of the film were completed. Hitchcock remarked decades later that he might have been able to complete NUMBER THIRTEEN if he would have planned better. Every film Hitchcock would shoot after that would be painstakingly storyboarded, every single shot planned out months in advance of filming.

Hitchcock would spend the next couple of years doing the occasional art directing and screenwriting job, earning meager paychecks from films like WOMAN TO WOMAN and THE PASSIONATE ADVENTURE. A break would come in 1924 when a British-German co-production company was set up by Michael Balcon, The UFA-Gainsborough Company would employ Hitchcock as an art director. Working in Germany, he experienced the creation of German expressionism first hand, witnessing Murnau directing his films and spending time with some of the greatest German camera operators of the time. He fell in love with the work of Lang and Lubitsch. Hitchcock didn’t just discover expressionism in 1924. He was swallowed by it.

Hitchcock’s next directorial opportunity would come from another British-German co-production deal. The first of a five picture deal produced under the Gainsborough-Emelka company, THE PLEASURE GARDEN was a mess of a production. His second feature, THE MOUNTAIN EAGLE fared no better, although each picture marked a significant development of Hitchcock’s burgeoning skills as a director. In 1926, Gainsborough purchased Islington, the studio Hitchcock worked at under his earlier employ. Taking full advantage of their newly acquired studio space, Gainsborough announced a spate of nine new productions. One of the projects Gainsborough announced in 1925 was a new Hitchcock film, THE LODGER: A STORY OF THE LONDON FOG, based on the stage adaptation of the Marie Belloc Lowndes novel.

THE LODGER opens on a shot of a woman’s face locked in a silent scream. A quick dissolve later, we see that she is dead. As bystanders surround her, we see a note attached to her clothing. On the note is a drawing of a triangle and a signature, “The Avenger”. Cops come and go, reporters speak with bystanders, someone mentions the killer was a “tall man” with a “scarf across his face”, reporters call their stories into their editors, bylines are typed out and a newspaper carrier remarks that the killer only strikes on Tuesday and only kills blondes. Lapse dissolves show a range of faces, all hearing the news, all in shock over yet another murder by a serial killer stalking the streets of London.

We meet Daisy, a pretty young blonde working as a fashion model. The models hear news of the murder, prompting some of the women to don brunette wigs. Daisy returns home, greeting her parents, Mrs. And Mr. Bunting. We meet her boyfriend, a police officer named Joe. As the night goes on, a man appears at their doorway. He’s tall, thin and is wearing a scarf over his face. He inquires about the room they have for rent. Taking him inside, Mrs. Bunting shows The Lodger (he is unnamed in the film) the room. It’s modest, covered in paintings of pretty blonde women. He answers no questions, asks for something to eat and then pays Mrs. Bunting a month in advance for the room. When Mrs. Bunting returns with his meal, she finds that The Lodger has turned all the portraits around, facing the wall. He asks for them to be removed and she complies, asking Daisy for help. The Lodger and Daisy meet, their gazes barely masking a shared attraction.

Daisy and The Lodger begin to grow closer, much to the chagrin of Joe. Daisy seems to enjoy his company but her mother is suspicious. When The Lodger sneaks out one Tuesday night, she goes snooping in his room, finding nothing of interest save a locked cupboard. The next morning, another victim of The Avenger is discovered and Mrs. Bunting puts two and two together. The Lodger is the killer the police are looking for. Sharing her fears with her husband, Mr. Bunting refuses to allow Daisy to see The Lodger, even if the meeting is purely platonic. Daisy ignores her father’s wishes and agrees to see The Lodger on the following Tuesday night. They meet outside in the cover of dark. Unable to contain their mutual love, they attempt a kiss only to be interrupted by Joe. Daisy breaks off her relationship with Joe and she returns home with The Lodger. Joe, in a moment of clarity, realizes that The Lodger is The Avenger.

When Joe and his fellow officers arrive to arrest The Lodger, they search his room. Discovering a bag inside the locked cupboard, they examine the contents. Inside is a gun, a map of the attacks, some newspaper clippings and a picture of a smiling blonde woman. After being handcuffed, The Lodger attacks Joe before escaping into the night. Daisy finds him lying on a bench, shivering from the cold. He confesses but not to the murders. He’s hunting the killer himself. The picture of the woman they found was a picture of his sister, a victim of The Avenger. Daisy takes The Lodger to a bar so that he may sip some brandy and warm himself. Carefully covering his handcuffed hands, they enter the bar and leave just before Joe arrives. The police ask the patrons if they have seen a tall man wearing handcuffs. As Joe makes a call to the station, the patrons quickly form a lynch mob, running after The Lodger and eventually corning him on a bridge. Joe is informed by the station that The Avenger has been apprehended, caught red handed. Realizing that he has put The Lodger’s life in jeopardy, Joe rushes off to find him before the mob can tear him to pieces.

The Lodger tries to jump from the small bridge but catches the chain of his handcuffs on the railing. As people kick and hit him, drawing blood, Joe attempts to quiet the crowd. Just as things look grim, a newspaper carrier finds the crowd, spreading the news that The Avenger has been caught. The Lodger’s life is spared and he is cradled by Daisy. A short epilogue shows the two in the home of The Lodger, her parents finally accepting him as a suitor for their daughter.

This is the first true Hitchcock film. It contains many of the elements that would inform his later sound work. The fascination with pretty, high fashion blondes, the fetishizing of feet, shoes and weapons, the use of handcuffs as symbols of repression, the innocent man accused of horrible crimes… All find their origin here. Even the famous Hitchcock cameos start here, with Hitchcock playing both a telephone operator and an angry mob member. Hitchcock’s admiration for the films of Sergei Eisenstein (in particular, his editing and composition) and adherence to the montage theories of Kuleshov and Pudovkin are also front and center. Silent films, especially those made in Britain, were usually stoic, slow paced and had very little editing. In comparison, THE LODGER looks and feels downright European. Hitchcock uses a chiaroscuro lighting scheme, a mixture of high and low level photography, and quick edits to produce a mood that feels uniquely Hitchcockian. Even at this early stage in his career, his auteur status is evident.

The European feel of THE LODGER nearly cost Hitchcock his job. Several high level Gainsborough members disliked – even hated – the film. Concerns from Graham Cutts and C.M. Woolf led producer Michael Balcon to shelve the film and cancel all screenings. Financial concerns eventually led Balcon to contact Ivor Montagu, a noted British filmmaker and critic. The two discussed how they could save THE LODGER. Though Hitchcock resented the interference, Montagu left the majority of the film intact, only recommending a few slight changes to the ending and to a couple of unimportant dramatic scenes in the second act. Hitchcock went through with the re-shoots and Balcon, satisfied with the finished product, released THE LODGER to great critical and financial success. Hitchcock would go relatively unchallenged in the production of his next few films, only ever coming into major conflict once he reached the shores of America and filmed an adaption of REBECCA for the notoriously temperamental David O. Selznick.

Even though THE LODGER is a silent film, it is as engrossing and interesting as anything Hitchcock made in the sound era. It has a pacing unusual for silent films, a real internal tempo that pushes the film forward. The overly dramatic nature of silent film acting is tossed aside for somber, natural performances from a uniformly great cast. The photography is simply astounding with the German expressionist influence shining through every single frame (the arrival of The Lodger strongly resembles Murnau’s staging of Max Schreck’s arrival in the doorway in NOSFERATU and the interior of Mrs. Bunting’s bedroom has a definite Robert Wiene look to it). The visual ingenuity of Hitchcock is already apparent. The best example is the famous moment of the family hearing the heavy pacing of The Lodger upstairs, with Hitchcock using a camera dissolve and a glass floor to show us a man pacing from the floor below. The film is littered with these kinds of Hitchcock moments.

One of the great joys in watching THE LODGER is seeing just how little Hitchcock changed over the years. His films got slicker and more thematically rich, but all the familiar elements already existed here in 1927. The French film critics of the Cahiers du CinĂ©ma (and later, Robin Wood) used to refer to Hitchcock’s films as “therapeutic” films, that is to say that they are concerned with a character or set of characters overcoming inner struggles and fears, achieving a kind of inner calm or order by the end. As a result, these films are also therapeutic for the audience. As film characters are made to be magnets for audience sympathies, audiences relate to the struggles and concerns. Their personal therapy comes vicariously. It’s interesting to see Hitchcock’s films as a catalog for his own fetishes, desires and ambitions. They’re also catalogs of his fears, regrets and nagging, almost obsessive, concerns. By the time Hitchcock reaches VERTIGO, a film that is as much of a condemnation of his own neuroses as it is a celebration of them, Hitchcock’s entire psyche has been laid bare. For someone watching his films, especially in order of release, Hitchcock’s oeuvre feels very much like a personal conversation between a therapist and a patient. THE LODGER is the start of that conversation and is an invaluable piece in the remarkable puzzle that is Alfred Hitchcock.


It inevitably happens. I sit down to watch a movie - chosen at random, of course - for the purpose of reviewing it. When the credits roll, I sit there, slack-jawed and speechless. It was awful. But not only was it awful, it was so terrible that I literally have nothing to say about it. My brain is only operating at half speed, only able to think of four letter words. I try to write about but I simply can't. The film has rendered me incapable of even completing a sentence. At that point, I have no choice but to start another movie. Yet again, it's terrible. So I start another movie. And so on and so on.

Some days this month, I watched four films, just trying to find one that I could write about. Some days, I had to put aside everything else I had to do just to meet my dead line. It was a whole day process of desperately trying to find a film to review. Sure, I could have taken the easy way out and just typed a long rant (and one of those days I did just that; see my review of ALMOST HUMAN) but I try not to write unless I really have something to say. That isn't always easy.

With one day left to go before I wrap this blogging marathon up, I have watched a total of 57 horror and science fiction movies. That means I didn't write reviews for 27 movies. Not all of those 27 movies were bad. Some were just too visual to really capture in written form. Some were just so cut and dry that I didn't think I could make an interesting review out of them. But there were some that were genuinely terrible. What I'm going to do now is post micro-reviews of 15 of those films, just so you can see what I was planning on writing about but never bothered. So let's go:

Yet another version of Stephen King’s breakthrough novel, director Kimberly Peirce’s film lacks the visual sophistication of Brian De Palma’s 1976 classic but boasts a good central performance by Chloe Grace Moretz, some nice third act fireworks and an impeccable score by Marco Baltrami. Unfortunately, if you’ve seen any of the previous adaptations, this film is just more of the same. De Palma’s film still remains the best version and the one I would recommend you watch.

Another entry in yet another pathetic franchise, HATCHET 3, at the absolute very least, ends the series with a bang. A decent enough beginning with an incredibly slow, absolutely abysmal middle gives way to a finale that includes enough blood, guts and idiocy to satisfy even the most hardcore toilet-level slasher film fan. The franchise was awful and this film does nothing to change that.

Lyrical and visually gorgeous, Chad Crawford Kinkle’s feature film debut might not have the most compelling narrative but it contains a career making lead performance by Lauren Ashley Carter and a tone that chills to the bone. Like a good murder ballad, JUG FACE has the amazing ability to set you at ease while simultaneously making the hairs on your neck stand on end.

Based on the infamous Armin Meiwes case, this story of two lost souls colliding in mutual destruction is sickening to watch and remarkably hard to shake. While nowhere near as exploitative as it could have been, Marian Dora’s shocker is not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach.

There was no way in hell Brian Yuzna was ever going to do justice to the brutal insanity of David Quinn and Tim Vigil’s comic book series. What began as a bleak, cruel and sexually explicit black and white comic series (think a pornographic, ultra-violent Batman on LSD) is here turned into a run of the mill superhero film filled with bad acting and horrible special effects. Do yourself a favor. Ignore this movie. Read the comics instead.

There’s a germ of a good idea here. Joe Berlinger, the director of the PARADISE LOST documentaries, attempts to use the Blair Witch legend as an instrument in a larger piece about media manipulation and representation, as well as the possible corrupting influence of media on consumers. Unfortunately, while some pieces work incredibly well, the final product is uneven and muddled. An interesting but failed experiment.

A sexploitation version of THE CRAFT, LITTLE WITCHES is missing the biting sense of humor of its inspiration. While THE CRAFT was an angsty teenage drama that took a swift and sudden turn into the realm of uncomfortable horror, LITTLE WITCHES starts limp and ends the same. Best viewed in screenshot form, if you know what I mean.

If Andy Milligan made 28 DAYS LATER, you would have NIGHTMARE CITY. ‘Nuff said.

This gorefest from French splatter master Alexandre Aja is visually impressive and almost unbearably hyperactive. PIRANHA 3D is absolutely chock full of impressive moments and effective gory gags. Make no mistake: this movie is as empty as they come but if you want a good, solid hour and a half of nonstop bad jokes, disembodied limbs and CGI fish chowing down on CGI cocks, you cannot go wrong with this film. Turn your brain off and enjoy.

Washed up Hollywood actors get chased around by slightly ticked off felines in this made-for-TV nature run amok atrocity. So bad it could be used as an implement of torture, STRAYS is the lowest of the low, a movie so damn awful I had to watch it in 10 minute increments over the course of a whole day.

A science lab accidentally turns a pack of dogs into blood thirsty beasts in this inept JAWS rip-off. While the film has a few really effective moments, the whole thing is so cheap and poorly made that the amateurish nature of the film robs these moments of any real shock value. Looks and feels like a made-for-TV movie. Worth watching only for David McCallum’s haircut.

A thinly disguised commercial for Tommy Hilfiger, Robert Rodriguez’s Brat Pack vs. the Body Snatchers movie is good fun for children of the 1990s but hell for anyone else. Light weight and lacking any real personality, this is science fiction escapism of the lamest kind.

Yet another pod person movie, Gene Fowler Jr’s quickie sci-fi horror film has an interesting take on 1950s sexual politics and a decent cast, but the film is ultimately let down by a weak resolution. While certainly not a shining example of 50s sci-fi, I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE is worth a look if you’ve grown tired of the more overt Commie panic b-films of the time.

My mother always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Anemic, lame and agonizingly awful, RETURN TO HORROR HIGH is only known these days for featuring a young George Clooney. Were it not for that fact, it would have disappeared shortly after its small theatrical run. It could have been a great little meta-horror movie if it had been written, directed and edited by virtually anyone else.

October 30, 2014


What happens when you mix FRIDAY THE 13th alums Sean Cunningham, Steve Miner and Harry Manfredini together with The Greatest American Hero, Norm Peterson and Nostradamus “Bull” Shannon? You get HOUSE, a POLTERGEIST-inspired comedy horror film released by a post-Roger Corman New World Pictures in 1986. I remember really liking this movie when I was a kid. It had monsters and guns and neat special effects pieces like bathroom mirrors that led into an abyss. I was seven years old when I saw HOUSE in the theaters and I absolutely loved it. Today? Yeah, not so much. Watching the film for the first time in well over a decade, I found myself really struggling to make it through the whole film.

Roger Cobb is a successful horror writer. His next book, much to the chagrin of his editor, will be an autobiography about his experiences during the Vietnam war. His life isn’t going so well at the moment. His wife, a popular actress, left him and his young son disappeared a few years back. To make matters worse, his aunt, the woman who raised him after his mother died, hanged herself in the bedroom of her large, three story house. Not wanting to sell the property, Roger moves in. He remembers that his aunt used to claim that the house was haunted. Turns out, she was right. Roger begins seeing visions of his aunt and his son (who mysteriously vanished in the swimming pool out back one afternoon).

Then things start to get really bad. A giant monster attacks him when he opens a closet door, various gardening tools fly through the air and several monsters try to kidnap a young boy left in his care. And not only is all of this weird shit happening but his neighbor thinks he’s gone crazy, the deadline for his book is quickly approaching and Roger is beginning to have vivid nightmares about Vietnam, specifically about his old buddy Big Ben, a loudmouth grunt Roger abandoned on the battlefield.

There are three major problems with this film.

Firstly, for a movie chock full of stuff happening, HOUSE sure is boring. The film starts off strong and ends satisfyingly enough, but the second act just moves at a snail’s pace. Part of the problem is that there is no one except Roger through most of the movie. The neighbor, Harold, pops in every once and awhile but really only figures into one single set piece. There’s a good looking but obnoxious woman across the street that unceremoniously dumps her child on Roger one night and a very brief scene with two cops but that’s it. It’s just Roger. All the time. And while William Catt is more than able to make Roger a likeable enough guy, there really is only so much you can do with one protagonist and a bunch of rubber suit monsters.

And that’s the second problem with HOUSE. The ghosts are simply awful. I really wish they would have at least ripped off the ghosts from POLTERGEIST instead of random plot elements that don’t even fit naturally with the narrative. When I say “rubber suit monsters”, I mean rubber suit monsters. That’s what they look like. Think of the ghostly creature in the doorway from POLTERGEIST. Nice and scary, right? Well, here you get a thing in the closet that looks like something out of a low budget THE THING knock-off, a couple of troll like monsters that inexplicably try to drag a child up a chimney and a female demon/ghost/monster thing that looks a bit like the Deadite Ed from EVIL DEAD 2 in drag (not to mention there’s a bit of disembodied hand mayhem in HOUSE as well, another nod to Raimi’s film). I understand that Miner and Co. were attempting a horror comedy but was there really a need to make every paranormal thing look so damn ridiculous?

The Vietnam subtext doesn’t quite fit either. Turns out that after Big Ben was shot by some enemy soldiers in the jungle he didn’t die. Roger, refusing to mercy kill his friend as he lay wounded, inadvertently left him to be tortured for weeks by the Vietcong, eventually dying in a POW camp. So naturally, Big Ben was the one who kidnapped Roger’s son and the final fifteen minutes of the film features a skeletal Richard Moll smacking Roger around. But then the oddest thing happens. HOUSE decides to rip off A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Roger decides that he’s no longer afraid of Big Ben (and here I thought he felt guilt, not fear) and voila! he’s able to vanquish the ghosts via hand grenade.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the final problem with HOUSE. It makes no damn sense. The internal logic of the film is busted beyond repair. All this rubber suit bullshit and hyperbolic screenwriting could have resulted in a fun movie. Yeah, HOUSE isn’t funny and it isn’t scary but who cares, right? It could have at least been entertaining. But it isn’t. Because it’s too long, the effects are shit and the whole thing makes no damn sense. HOUSE was very popular when it came out in theaters, turned into a minor cult classic when it hit VHS and then died a slow death. Today, the film is all but forgotten. It’s dead. And just like Jud Crandell said, “sometimes dead is better”. So don’t bother with HOUSE, folks. Leave it be. Just move along. Nothing to see here.

October 28, 2014



The first EVIL DEAD was a watershed moment in the history of independent horror films. A huge success on VHS (as well as one of the films targeted by the morality police in the Video Nasties witch hunt), THE EVIL DEAD helped prove the viability of small budget horror films to distributors, opening the flood gates for smaller, less high profile films that would have never seen distribution otherwise. It also birthed a new generation of DIY filmmakers in the process, each inspired by the ingenuity of first time filmmaker Sam Raimi. A high energy, high style film, THE EVIL DEAD is the perfect testament to the directorial abilities of Raimi and a great reminder that budgets sometimes really don’t matter as much as inventiveness. With less than 400k to make the film, Raimi’s homemade dollies (including the now famous ram-o-cam) and the gruesome cheap-o effects by Tom Sullivan proved that low budget doesn’t necessarily mean unwatchable. As a result of all the tricks and craft behind the scenes, THE EVIL DEAD feels much more alive than most horror films of the time.

A simple story involving a group of twenty-somethings unknowingly unleashing vicious demonic forces, THE EVIL DEAD is a graphically violent, unrelenting horror film full of nicely done shocks and more than a few gory sight gags. Unlike the other films in the franchise, THE EVIL DEAD is relatively humorless and unrelentingly bleak. Prefiguring Carpenter’s THE THING by a whole year, there’s an undercurrent of paranoia that runs through the narrative with people in an isolated environment becoming quickly and irreversibly possessed, preying upon your constant fear that at any second the shit is going to hit the fan. The finale is the only real weak piece in this otherwise glorious puzzle, coming off as a bit rushed. But that’s a minor nitpick. For 85 minutes, THE EVIL DEAD is a pitch perfect, terrifying horror film.


EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN isn’t really a direct sequel. It is basically a remake or a reboot. The first ten minutes or so retells the basic plot of the first film. After that, EVIL DEAD 2 becomes its own twisted beast. The first film ever referred to as “splatstick”, EVIL DEAD 2 is more Three Stooges than horror film. It doesn’t even try to be frightening. Every single scene here is hyperbolic and hyperactive. The sight gags come fast and furious, and Bruce Campbell, in the role that really made him a cult sensation, delivers some of the best physical comedy you’ll ever see in a movie about demonic possession. Whether it’s having a brawl with his own demon-possessed hand or flinging himself through the air, Campbell’s performance is what really kicks EVIL DEAD 2 into the stratosphere. He’s perfect here.

When people talk about the EVIL DEAD franchise, this is the film they are most likely to talk about and I understand why. The entire film is pure lunacy with iconic moments around every single corner. The film has been criticized as being too much insanity and too little mood. The precious few quiet moments the film has to offer are where the narrative happens but let's be honest, narrative isn’t top priority here. Carnage is. And EVIL DEAD 2 dishes it out with great aplomb. In fact, aside from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, I'm struggling to think of another horror film from the 1980s that delivered this much bloody bullshit. It has entered the pop culture like few other horror films have, primarily because its status as a horror comedy makes it an easier pill to swallow. In a genre that felt more and more like sadistic punishment, EVIL DEAD 2 was a strange creature, a horror film you honestly had fun watching.


If the comedy of EVIL DEAD 2 was a departure from the roots of the franchise, ARMY OF DARKNESS was a total abandonment. No longer claustrophobic splatter comedy, the EVIL DEAD franchise was now an action adventure film series set in medieval times. Our hero Ash is left stranded in the past with nothing but his trusty chainsaw and shotgun to aid him in defending a kingdom from a horde of demons and Harryhausen-inspired skeleton armies, all led by Ash’s evil doppelganger (spawned from Ash’s own body, no less). While EVIL DEAD 2 contained all of Raimi’s now signature directorial moves (whip pans, comic book style close-ups, quick moving dolly shots, etc.), ARMY OF DARKNESS is largely free of personality. It feels more like a test run for Xena:Warrior Princess and Hercules, the two television programs Raimi would go on to produce in the mid-1990s.

This is my least favorite of the original trilogy. I simply don’t find the film funny. Most of the dialogue sounds like it was written with merchandise in mind (t-shirt style slogans run amok here) and the sight gags are less original than those in the previous films. Moving to a PG-13 rating meant the now familiar splatter flourishes are all but gone and the frightening possessed inhabitants of the cabin are replaced with cackling stop-motion baddies. Watching the movie today, the entire thing feels dated and clunky. The narrative meanders all the time, the effects are just awful and the ending promises a sequel that never came and was likely not going to be good anyway. While I will give Raimi kudos for having the balls to produce such a radical departure, ARMY OF DARKNESS is just not the EVIL DEAD I know and love.


The Fede Alvarez remake of the original EVIL DEAD is more of an effects reel than it is a movie. The narrative covers many of the bases the original EVIL DEAD did and even contains some direct visual references. But it lacks the personality of the original film. It lacks the clever visual construction and originality. It also lacks the scares. What we have instead is something that looks good but is dull, sounds good but is hollow and is filled with gruesome special effects that are fun to watch but ultimately don’t add up to anything more than a few gross-out shocks. While THE EVIL DEAD was certainly not a smart film, the idiotic behavior of the characters in this film puts virtually any slasher film to shame. To make matters worse, the possessed characters all sound like characters from a Rob Zombie directed remake of THE EXORCIST. Was the line “why don't you come down here so I can suck your cock, pretty boy?” really necessary? Is this what passes for horror these days?

The whole film teeters between torture porn and unintentional comedy. There are definitely some moments that are hard to watch (self-mutilation galore in this one) and I will admit to really liking some individual moments (like the raining blood finale) but overall I came away from this film feeling majorly underwhelmed. THE EVIL DEAD is not an untouchable masterpiece. A remake could have worked just fine. But like HATCHET and the films that tout their “old school horror” roots, the people making this film only seem to remember the blood and guts. They don’t seem to remember anything else and I’m here to tell you, the violence is NOT what made THE EVIL DEAD great. It wasn’t what made the second film great either. No, what made those films great were Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, two men with huge amounts of energy and personality. This film has neither. It’s just a routine, by-the-numbers horror film that doesn’t deserve to call itself EVIL DEAD.