I was a little kid when I saw Roy Scheider complaining about “Slow Ahead” and chumping sh!t when BOOM— a massive shark head burst out of the water scaring the hell out of a footy-pyjama’d five year old who didn’t run or hide, but kept watching with wide-eyed wonderment at what might happen next. Thrills, chills, scares born that night began a life long love of horror movies.
The three cheapest movies to make and easiest to sell are porn, action and horror because they sell worldwide. A masked psycho in a hockey mask chasing you with a machete is just as scary in North America as it is in Japan. This is why there are tons of horror movies… all of the good, the bad and a ton of ugly. Back in the days of the video store you would find me renting at least 2 or 3 horror movies a week and because of this I became the go-to guy for all questions horror movie related.
I will always remember a night back in high school when out on a moonlit night with friends a decision was made to rent a scary movie. I of course was the horror authority and the pick fell to me. Now, having a couple of girls with us I wanted to impress them with my horror knowledge… because that is always a huge attraction factor.
“Ladies, sure that guy has a Porsche, but can he walk you through the plots and continuity holes of every Friday the 13th parts 1 through 9? Ladies…ladies…where you going?”
By the way I know there are now 12 Friday the 13th movies, with number 13 on the way in 2017 (hopefully). I don’t know why I needed to make that clear—geek cred or something. Anyhow, the pressure was on.
What should I pick? A classic like 1931’s Dracula, 1931’s Frankenstein or an all time favourite The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Maybe something newer like Candyman, Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead remake or another favorite of mine The Exorcist III (so good, so underrated).
No. None of those would do. If I was going to impress, it had to be an original like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St., The Children, The Howling, Dawn of the Dead… Evil Dead!
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead scared the holy beegezus out me when I first saw it at 13 years of age to the point where I hid my face in my hands. I had never done that before or since. Quite the honor, Sam!
Also, no one in our group had seen it before. I had our movie, and I knew I had the winner. Walking towards the horror section of the video rental store I saw it… WTF? On autopilot my hand reached out and grabbed the video cassette. (Come on, VHS was not that long ago.)
Bear in mind this is all before the Internet, and the closest thing to IMDB was the Leonard Maltin Movie Guide. The only other movie release discoveries were made at the video store.
I told everyone “…This movie is going to be so scary and terrifying that you are going to hate me for picking it.”
Evil Dead 2 it was. Everyone trusted my expert advice and we headed off for an evening of terror.
Now, for anyone who has not seen the Evil Dead, it’s about a group of friends on a getaway at a cabin, who inadvertently let loose some terrifying demons and gore ensues. Evil Dead 2 is more of a 15 min recap of the first film and then deals with what happened the day after.
Over the course of the next 84 min I became the butt of a lot of jokes pertaining to my scare threshold and my horror movie expertise, and there were also no wildly impressed girls. Evil Dead 2 has some scares but it is actually more of a rock and roll gore-comedy. Still everyone enjoyed the film and I had a new cult hero.
Bruce Campbell’s Ash J. Williams with his chainsaw-topped arm, chiselled chin, and deadite-ass-kicking ways became a fast fan favourite. With 1992’s follow up, Army of Darkness —which still didn’t help me impress girls, but whatever— we all wanted more. And aside from video games and some pretty awesome comic crossovers, we didn’t get more until now.
That’s right. We waited 23 years to have more Ash and finally, we were rewarded with the Starz original series Ash vs Evil Dead.
Picking up in present day 30 years after his last fight, a now middle aged Ash and his new team have to fight freshly and carelessly unleashed Evil again. And it’s the best thing ever.
Somewhere between light hearted sitcom and hardcore gore (think Buffy meets Johnny Bravo, meets Evil Dead), the series keeps you guessing what will happen next, cheering when blood splatters, and hoping for more when an episode ends.
It also happens to make for an amazing date night. Yes. That’s right. Waiting 20 years has its perks.
I finally met a girl who likes this stuff as much as I do.