A filmmaker who infuses each of his horror movies with enough fun and garish frights to qualify them as high-intensity ghost-trains, the works of Sam Raimi perfectly toe the line between fear and fun, informing the shape of horror movies throughout the 1980s. Properly kicking off his career with the release of The Evil Dead in 1981, the filmmaker went on to seize a cult fandom in Hollywood cinema, making two horror sequels and a superhero trilogy as a result of his success.
A superhero designed for the innovations in cinema at the dawn of the new millennium, Raimi’s Spider-Man became the poster child of IMAX and the icon of spectacular cinema, swinging around the skyscrapers of New York with cinematic grace. Fun, fresh and exciting, the filmmaker’s take on the iconic hero heralded a brand new era for the superhero film in which spectacle was favoured and fallible heroes became commonplace.
Though, regardless of the success of the Spider-Man trilogy, no film would be quite as significant as his major debut, the fleshy horror flick, The Evil Dead.
Having only recently matured past his pubescent love for youthful visceral excess, Sam Raimi was only 20 when he made the supernatural horror film, The Evil Dead, a project he now considers to be one of his all-time favourites. Low-budget and gruesomely handmade, Raimi’s film focused on five college students on vacation in a remote wooden cabin, who, after finding a mysterious audiotape, accidentally release untold demons and spirits of evil.
In one of the film’s most infamous scenes, a woman is pinned down between several trees before a rogue tree vine crawls its way up her leg and into her body. Shocking audiences at the time, the scene has since become iconic, being parodied in horror movies and comedies throughout the 1990s to this very day.
It’s a nasty scene, and one that Raimi admits he regrets, as stated on The Incredibly Strange Film Show, where he stated that the sequence “was unnecessarily gratuitous and a little too brutal”. Upsetting audiences with the undoubtedly excessive moment of body horror, Raimi went on to add, “My goal is not to offend people. It is to entertain, thrill, scare…make them laugh but not to offend them”.
Clearly listening to his own advice, Raimi included no such imagery in any future films, preferring to focus on his own iconic style and sense of humour instead. Departing from the tone of the iconic original, Evil Dead II turns the horror genre into a sandbox playground, injecting a good dose of manic comedy to create one of cinema’s most innovative films.
Surviving the horrific onslaught of the previous film, Ash (Bruce Campbell) becomes the leader of another group of strangers hoping to survive against the evil dead, barricading themselves inside a cabin to fight off the flesh-eaters, whilst they each become increasingly insane. In Raimi’s inventive, slapstick approach to gory horror-comedy, he subverts the bad taste of the genre like few others had ever done before.
Click below to watch the scene that Sam Raimi regrets…if you dare.