The Evil Dead (1981) Vs Evil Dead (2013)

There is just one day to go until I turn all the lights off at home and pray no children come looking for sweets!

Despite the recent success of the Halloween film, which I still haven't seen, horror remakes are much lamented. In a genre full of creativity they often stink of cynical money grabs, particularly those remade of a foreign language horror because the Yanks don't do foreign (sweeping generalisation but allow me my prejudices- more on that tomorrow). Much of the time they strip the original of, well of its originality and worse, of its edge. The remake Martyrs for example was sinfully bland. I hold no hope for Inside's English language reboot either.

English language remakes of English language horror's don't fare much better. Gus Van Sant's Psycho was a shot for shot remake of Hitchcock's classic, rendering it almost pointless. Fun fact, Psycho opens on my birthday; I was destined to love horror. The 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street was terrible, Amityville Horror was a yawn fest, Poltergeist couldn't even be saved by a 3D gimmick which done properly could have added a lot to a ghost story and the biggest crime against cinema- Nic Cage's The Wicker Man.

However, I quite enjoyed the 2013 remake of The Evil Dead, I am also a fan of the original (naturally) and the barmy sequels, and actually the TV spin-off Ash Vs Evil Dead. Being the diligent blogger I am, I decided to rewatch both the 1981 film, and the 2013, and compare them. It's a not-too-serious look at two cracking horror films, both of which I am fond of.

Gore Factor

Clearly the most important section for any horror: but what film can't be improved by lashing of fake blood and stomach churning deaths? I know I'd have sat more contented through La La Land if about twenty minutes in the whole cast was brutally murdered on screen, then it just ended.

1981 Evil Dead is still gloriously gory, I have no idea how many pints of blood were used, but it was several arms full, some legs and much more. There was creativity in the carnage, with severed heads (Day of the Dead had a very similar kill scene four years later). However, the 2013 team clearly spent a long time making sure their gore level added to the original's.

The licking the stanley knife scene still makes me recoil. There really is a lot to like about both film's commendable commitment to shocking, though, and when you consider the original is 35 years old, that's some achievement that it holds up.


Considering they are essentially siege movies, with a butt tonne of blood, both Evil Deads manage a high level of scares and oppressive dread. Although for me, the more explicit, shocking violence of the second makes it a little less of an easy watch- but I'm not sure if that counts as scary!

Practical Effects

Anyone who reads Bedsit Cinema will know how much I love practical effects, which means all four of you, and Fede Alvarez who directed the remake clearly feel the same. If he's right that there's 100% no CGI in Evil Dead, then kudos to him and the effects team. However, considering it was a small budget film made thirty four years ago nearly, The original takes some beating for creativity. 


I mean, this one is easy. The original. Done!


Yeah, because we watch horror for fine performances... Some of the acting in The Evil Dead is a bit ropey, but the same can be said of the second, and Bruce Campbell's iconic performance as Ash is what has kept the series going since. Although there is none of the flippant humour Ash develops in the subsequent films, and rather good but recently cancelled Ash vs Evil Dead series.


You know what, let's just say this now- fuck comparisons. Both films are good but there is a strong case for the 80's being the best decade for horror. In my humble opinion. Actually, fuck humble, I put a lot of man hours into watching and studying these films. Time I could have spent cooking, or getting a job, or washing myself. But no, I'm playing the long game. The Evil Dead is stand out good, even still. It has classic horror stamped all over it and as much as Evil Dead comes close, it is just footnotes to Sam Raimi's original. 

The Evil Dead 2 probably holds more of a candle to its predecessor, but that's for another day! If you haven't seen either of these horror films, then I strongly advise you to do so.


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