I remember first seeing The Evil Dead so many years ago and thinking it was awesome. I recently came across a DVD for sale that touted itself as the Ultimate Edition. It has two discs, with loads of extras and all sorts of goodies.

I haven’t got around to checking out all the extras yet, but I did sit and watch the movie again yesterday. Man, what a great film. This is something that is a true cult classic; it’s even spawned a musical. The effects are pretty ordinary, but it was made in 1981. The story might seem cliched watching it now, but at the time it wasn’t.

Written and directed by Sam Raimi, it’s a fantastic effort for a first movie. It propelled Bruce Campbell to absolute stardom and spawned sequels every bit as good as the first. Interestingly, the sequels are more camp and funny than the original. It struck me while I was watching it that it’s actually a pretty scary movie. The comedy, which is very evident in the sequels, isn’t so obvious here. There are some really toe curling gore moments (such as the pencil in the ankle – not just stabbed, but really ground around in there) and some truly spooky moments with good jumps. And, as fas as I know, the only tree rape ever committed to film (which was banned in some places).

The whole thing centres around the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead. Originally this concept surfaced in H P Lovecraft stories, supposedly written by the “Mad Arab” Abdul Alhazred, and was subsequently referenced in other fiction. Lovecraft greatly approved of this development of his ideas, calling it “a background of evil verisimilitude.” In one of those fantastic examples of fiction becoming “fact”, there are people out there now that consider that there really is something called the Necronomicon, with many booksellers being asked if they stock it or can order it. Do some web searching and you’ll come across some really entertaining stuff.

The Necronomicon (one version of it anyway). Supposedly written in human blood and bound in human flesh.

And check out the imdb trivia page about the movie here. Some really funny stuff on there. If you’re a fan of this genre, check out the movie again. The claymation effects and dodgy make-up are dated, but it’s still an absolute classic.