The first “Evil Dead” movie was in in 1981. The cult classic was written and directed by Sam Raimi and produced by Robert Tapert. Actor Bruce Campbell played the goofy anti-hero Ashley J. Williams, better known and loved by fans as “Ash”. Ash and his modified chainsaw were a force to be reckoned with. Evil did not have a chance. “The Evil Dead” trilogy was violent and bloody, but humorously snarky.
“The Evil Dead” was a change from the terrifying “A Nightmare on Elm Street”, “Halloween”, and “Friday the 13th”. These horror movies left room for only one emotion, fear. Things were different with “The Evil Dead” trilogy. There was fear, but also comedic relief. Even Shakespeare would have been proud of the comedic timing.
The 1980s was a different era. Culture and entertainment were over the top. MTV was all about music videos, and nothing more. Technology and global media were in their infancies. No one knew what to do with them or what to expect. Home computers were a novelty sought after by nerds. Nerds wanted to test out codes for games like “Pong” and “Joust”, which led to “Pac-Man”, “Frogger” and “Donkey Kong”. The sub-culture of the video gamers was born.
The world was different, still innocent of the reality of mass evil.
Nowadays, over thirty years later, the world is too familiar with evil. It is in a constant dormant state of “fight or flight” readiness. Violence against anyone isn’t funny, no matter how snarky the quips are. People being killed by evil forces are a global reality. There isn’t anything amusing about it. Almost every breaking news story is a reminder that “Ash vs. The Evil Dead” is of a bygone era and mindset.
Bruce Campbell is a talented actor. There is nothing B-rated about his acting ability. He is still a pleasure to watch, but not as Ash Williams anymore. A man’s head cut off with a broken, ragged-edge glass bottle and women shot in their faces do not make for good, campy fun. Forget about being politically correct, which is overrated. Senseless, brutal violence is not a laughing matter. “Ash vs. The Evil Dead” is doomed, not even “Xena: The Warrior Princess” (Lucy Lawless) can save it.