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EVIL DEAD-United States-2013


Jane Levy as MIa

Jane Levy as MIa

Jessica Lucas as Olivia

Jessica Lucas as Olivia

Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie

Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie

Directed by Fede Alvarez

Screenplay by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues

Based on the 1981 screenplay by Sam Raimi

Let’s make no mistake about it: the original 1981 The Evil Dead is still the champ. That being said, does this mean that Evil Dead is a horrible remake that should have never been given the green light? Absolutely not; Evil Dead is a ferocious, gory and jump-inducing film that, after a rather boring first quarter of the first act, more than holds its own against its predecessor. It’s one of those horror movies that I’ve bragged about in past reviews; the kind that restores my faith in the horror genre. Trust me, after the last atrocity I reviewed I needed that faith restored in a bad way.

For the most part, Evil Dead is a carbon copy of the original. Five friends arrive at a cabin in the woods (hey, wouldn’t that make a great title for a horror movie?) for a little rest and relaxation. David (Shiloh Fernandez, Red Riding Hood, Deadgirl), Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci, Carriers, Horsemen), Mia (Jane Levy, Suburgatory), Olivia (Jessica Lucas, Cloverfield) and Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore, Burning Man) are your typical twenty-something group; handsome, pretty and smart and with their own set of demons in the form of Mia’s addictions. Before Evil Dead can turn into a very special episode of Intervention the smell of burning hair, dead cats in the attic and the discovery of a certain book best left unread make life a literal living hell for our crazy kids. Blood, gore, shotguns, nail guns, carving knives, and shards of glass, premature burial and bodily dismemberment are all a part of the fun. I said Evil Dead is for the most part a carbon copy of the original. Just as Bruce Campbell carved a name for himself in the annals of bad-assery (it’s a word, honest), a character in Evil Dead makes their bid for entry in the Demon Killing Hall of Fame. I’m not going to say who; I will just say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Evil Dead may go down in cinematic history as one of the most respectful remakes of a classic horror film. In fact, if The Evil Dead had never been made then Evil Dead might very well have been that classic horror film one day. Or, maybe not; what matters is that the filmmakers behind Evil Dead can be proud of their baby.


If you take the first letters of the main characters David, Eric, Mia, Olivia and Natalie, the letters spell out DEMON.

In one scene there are cards spread out on the table. The cards are laid out in the order that Cheryl reads them in the original.

In the scene where the broken necklace is found outside of the cabin, it can be seen resting in the shape of a skull, just like in the original.

The illustration of the Abomination in the Naturom Demonto is based on the poster artwork for the original Evil Dead film.


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Wow, I’ve done ten editions of “What’s Their Best Film?” already. In that time I have received great response from some of my regular and my non-regular commentators. I’m sure that a lot of you have voiced your opinion of not what you thought a particular filmmaker’s best movie was; but listed your favorite film from said director instead. Hey, that’s cool; because in order to accurately give an opinion of a director’s best movie you would have had to have seen every film in their catalog. I love movies, but I will not and cannot watch movies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are more important things such as work, supporting a family and figuring out ways to get Honey Boo Boo off the air. Damn what an annoying kid and her equally annoying mother!

So why am I babbling on and on? I shall tell you. In the last ten editions of “WTBF?” it has been you, dear reader, who has voiced your humble opinion. Now it’s my turn to give you my opinion. I will list each director below and I will tell what I think is their best movie or my favorite movie; whatever you want to call it.

Let’s begin:


Is it any surprise that I’m going with Goodfellas for this one? In my opinion it’s the greatest gangster flick ever made.

Runner-up: Taxi Driver



Most of what Bay puts out is complete shit; but if I had to choose a movie of his to watch I’d go with Armageddon . At least it got the Criterion Collection treatment.

Runner-up: Transformers


Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho. It’s my favorite “Hitch” film and in my humble opinion it is also his best. The shower scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Runner-up: Rear Window



Schlinder’s List. Spielberg may have given us the first summer blockbuster with Jaws; but with Schindler’s List he gave us his first and finest masterpiece. Ralph Fiennes is chilling as Amon Goeth.

Runner-up: Jaws



Two words: Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2, Okay, so that’s six words. That’s because these movies rock so hard they blow up two words and turn them into six!

Runner-up: Pulp Fiction



I loved Magnolia and watch it at least three times every year. There are just so many great performances in this film from Julianne Moore to John C. Reilly. Tom Cruise was robbed of an Oscar for his role as informercial sex guru Frank ‘T.J.’ Mackey.

Runner-up: Boogie Nights



Do you honestly think I would choose anything other than The Thing?

Runner-up: Halloween



Jeff Goldblum had the role of a lifetime in Cronenberg’s vision of the George Langelaan short story The Fly. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Runner-up: The Dead Zone



Some might say Carrie, some might say Scarface; I’m going with Blow Out as De Palma’s best. Travolta’s performance is one of the key reasons Tarantino wanted him for Pulp Fiction.

Runner-up: Carrie or Scarface (tie)



I loved Short Cuts the first time I saw it and every time after that. Fantastic ensemble acting.

Runner-up: M*A*S*H



Not only is Sin City Rodriguez’ best film; but it is also the single most faithful adaptation of a graphic novel from page to screen that I have ever seen in my entire life. It’s also the movie that once again made a contender out of Mickey Rourke.

Runner-up: From Dusk ’til Dawn



Unforgiven is one of the greatest westerns ever made. It was directed by Clint Eastwood; who in turn learned a few tricks from one of the greatest filmmakers, Sergio Leone.

Runner-up: Million Dollar Baby or Mystic River (tie)



This is cheating, but I’m going with the entire Evil Dead trilogy for this one. Who needs Spider-man when you’ve got Ash? Bruce Campbell rocks!!

Runner-up: Spider-man 2



To be honest, I’ve only seen three Argento films: Suspiria, Mother of Tears and Opera. Of the three of those I suppose my choice for his best would be Suspiria. What a creepy and atmospheric film.

Runner-up: Opera



I have to go with The Wrestler on this one. I’ve been a fan of the squared circle for quite a long time and it’s the first film to take the subject matter seriously. Mickey Rourke was amazing as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.

Runner-up: Black Swan



I could be a complete asshole and go totally against the popular choice of A Nightmare on Elm Street as Craven’s best; but that would just be stupid. He gave us Freddy Fucking Krueger with this one, for crying out loud!

Runner-up: The Last House on the Left or Scream (tie)



Just as Craven brought usFreddy Krueger with his greatest film A Nightmare on Elm Street; so did Tobe Hooper bring us The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface 10 years prior. Watch this movie and you’ll think twice about picking up hitchhikers and eating Texas Bar-B-Que.

Runner-up: Poltergeist



It may seem like a strange choice, but I pick his remake of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes over High Tension (aka Haute Tension aka Switchblade Romance) as Aja’s best film. It’s close though; both movies are fucking brutal.

Runner-up: High Tension 



Some people seem to love Rob Zombie’s films and other people seem to hate his films and his fucking guts. There’s no middle ground. What’s his best film? That’s easy: The Devil’s Rejects.

Runner-up: Halloween



What have I said before? The Howling is the greatest werewolf movie ever made; so the choice here is a no-brainer.

Runner-up: Gremlins



Re-animator, of course. Those of you who disagree can get a job in a sideshow. This film brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘giving head.’

Runner-up: From Beyond



I haven’t seen everything by Del Toro, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone. It was an amazing little ghost story.

Runner-up: Hellboy



There is no question that Night of the Living Dead is Romero’s greatest film; the trouble is that Dawn of the Dead is every bit as awesome. Folks, we have a tie! Zombies everywhere have Uncle George to thank for their popularity.

Runner-up: Day of the Dead



I loved Session 9 and The Machinist on equal terms; but if I had to choose I’d have to go with the latter based simply on the strength of the performance from Christian Bale. The Machinist is a brilliant film about guilt and how it can affect us so deeply.

Runner-up: Session 9



William Friedkin

The Exorcist. Nothing else need be said.

Runner-up: The French Connection



Lucky McKee

I choose May as McKee’s best for one simple reason: the deliciously disturbing performance from Angela Bettis. She deserved an Oscar for that movie.

Runner-up: The Woman



Eduardo Sanchez

It’s going to take Sanchez a long time before he gets out from under the shadow of The Blair Witch Project. He’s been making heavy strides with films like Altered and Lovely Molly. Still, it is the witch who holds sway over all.

Runner-up: Altered



I’ve only seen one Bava film and that is Black Sunday. I do want to see more.



The same goes for Lucio Fulci and Zombie. I know, I know I need to watch more Fulci and Bava.



The man who gave us The Man with No Name. It’s hard to pick one great Leone film. A Fistful of Dollars? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Once Upon a Time in the West? Once Upon a Time in America? Nope, I just can’t do it.


There you go; my choices. Some are your choices as well and some are not. Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and they make the world go ’round.

Raimi, Argento, Aronofsky: What’s Their Best Film?

It’s a Friday afternoon and normally I would be watching a movie and blogging on it. But, with a new job comes new hours and therefore I have to work. So, before I depart for my place of employment I wanted to get a quick post in just to let everyone know that I am still alive and still blogging. Those of you who have read my previous “What’s Their Best Film?” installments know the drill. I name three directors and you tell me what their very best film is, in your opinion. Those of you who are first time readers I urge you to read the previous sentence as I do not like to repeat myself. I love to hear comments from each and every one of you and I try to reply to each and every one. So, without further ado let’s get this show on the road.




























TWO EVIL EYES (Co-Directed with George Romera. Argento directed “THE BLACK CAT“)-1990









DRACULA 3-D-2012









Don’t be strangers; I want to hear from you. Take care and stay scared!!



She was a black haired beauty with big dark eyes…Bob Seger

A longtime favorite, the beautiful Miss Weisz has starred in “Dream House” with her husband Daniel Craig, the first two installments of “The Mummy” franchise with Brendan Fraser, “Constantine” with Keanu Reeves and “The Lovely Bones“, directed by Peter Jackson. In addition she has starred in films as diverse as “Stealing Beauty“, “Runaway Jury“, her Academy Award winning turn in “The Constant Gardener” and “The Deep Blue Sea” with Tom Hiddleston. Her latest film is the Sam Raimi vehicle “Oz: The Great and Powerful“, a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz”. It is with great pleasure that I welcome the lovely Rachel Weisz as Scream Queen of the Month for September 2012.


THE DARK KNIGHT RISES-United States/United Kingdom-2012

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman

Michael Caine as Alfred

Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle

Tom Hardy as Bane

Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan

Based on characters created by Bob Kane

I had no intention of even writing about “The Dark Knight Rises.” For the most part I review horror films and I leave the reviews of the mainstream films in the hands of others who are perfectly capable of the task. Does this mean I hated the film? It most certainly does not. “The Dark Knight Rises” is a superbly written, acted and directed motion picture and it is a fitting end to a trilogy that began in 2005 with “Batman Begins” and which continued with “The Dark Knight” in 2008. It is a rare film that can be viewed as an individual effort and be enjoyed and still be regarded as part of something way bigger. From the very start, Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan had an epic story that they wanted to tell and they never lost sight of that vision.

I tried to pinpoint the theme of this film, but I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then, as luck would have it and I was glancing over the trivia for the movie I noticed that Christopher Nolan had said that the theme of “Batman Begins” was fear, “The Dark Knight” was about chaos, and finally “The Dark Knight Rises” was about pain. When I read that, I thought back over the events of the movie and realized that that was exactly what this film is about. There is pain all through this movie; the pain of loss, physical pain and finally the pain of betrayal.

But there is a pain that overshadows this film because of one man’s cowardly actions. I am of course talking about the horrific events of the shooting that occurred in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight premiere of the film. 12 people dead and 59 injured because of the rage of one idiot. I refuse to mention this piece of shit’s name for the simple fact that he does not deserve that recognition. People work hard for the right to enjoy themselves, whether it is at a baseball game, a vacation or just going to a movie with friends and family. No one should ever have to suffer the way these people and their loved ones have suffered. For that the only thing I can do is say that I am truly sorry.

Finally, as I pulled up to the theater I expected to see a crowd lined up and waiting to see the film; but that was not the case. I asked the ticket taker if the events in Colorado had put a damper on attendance and sadly he said that they had.  I also know that there have been a lot of people saying that the release of the film should have been moved to a later date. I am sorry, but I disagree. To do this would be to admit that the man responsible had won. He has won nothing and is a complete coward. Oh, and don’t try to tell me he’s crazy. His act was completely premeditated. I know there will be people who disagree with me and that is perfectly fine; but this is one moment when the show must go on.

Thank you.


Christopher Nolan is the first director to complete a full trilogy of Batman films, but the second to direct a full trilogy of films on one superhero (after Sam Raimi completed his Spider-Man films).

One of the reasons why Christopher Nolan cast Tom Hardy as Bane was because of his performance in the film RocknRolla. Hardy stated that he thought he was cast because of his role in Bronson. He arrived on set only to learn that Nolan has never even seen Bronson.

Anne Hathaway, who plays Catwoman, had been cast as Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2010, which at that time was under Sam Raimi’s direction as “Spider-Man 4″ and was going to feature the Vulture and Black Cat.


THE QUICK AND THE DEAD-United States-1995

Sharon Stone as Ellen

Gene Hackman as Herod

Directed by Sam Raimi

Written by Simon Moore

A lone woman rides into the town of Redemption and enters a quick draw competition. Her sole reason is icy cold revenge against the town’s ruthless land baron; the man responsible for the brutal murder of her father years ago. That is the entire plot of “The Quick and the Dead” in a nutshell. However, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end in reviewing a western for a horror film blog, allow me to explain. First of all, let us take note of the cast. There is a who’s who of sci-fi and horror alumni in the reels of this oat opera. There’s Lance Henriksen of “Aliens”, “The Terminator”  and “ Pumpkinhead”  fame, Keith David from John Carpenter‘s masterpiece “The Thing”, Tobin Bell from the” Saw” series, Roberts Blossom from “Deranged” and “Christine” and Mark Boone Junior from “Se7en” and “Memento”. That’s enough genre talent to make your own horror film with.

Now let’s look at  the lead cast; all of whom have either starred in great films prior to The Quick and the Dead, or have gone on to stardom since then. Sharon Stone (“Casino”, “Basic Instinct”) is great in her role as Ellen, the woman set on revenge against her father’s killer. In that duster and those leather pants, six guns by her side and a swagger in her hips she is Annie Oakley cum Jim Morrison as she blasts her way to the inevitable showdown. I will argue that next to “Casino” this is her finest hour as an actress. Equally brilliant is Gene Hackman as Herod, the town leader against whom she seeks retribution. Hackman is a master at playing villains of this caliber, and while some may argue that it’s merely a re-hash of his performance in “Unforgiven”, I say so what? No one plays a role like this quite the way Hackman does and I don’t think anyone ever will. Then of course we have Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; both of whom have gone on to major stardom with their films “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind” (Crowe); and “Titanic” and “Inception” (DiCaprio). In “The Quick and the Dead” their roles are smaller, but no less important.

Finally, we come to director Sam Raimi. Yes, that Sam Raimi. The man who made a star out of a guy named Bruce Campbell. The man who made us believe a man could swing from a web and look cool as hell doing it. The man who dragged us to hell and beat the hell out of our senses with The Evil Dead and the great sequels that followed. The Quick and the Dead has the Raimi stamp all over it. If you don’t believe me then compare the camera tricks in the film to the ones from his horror films. Especially awesome is the ‘bullet through the head’ cam. Yes sir, this is Raimi’s baby all the way.

I’ve watched “The Quick and the Dead” at least once a year since its release in 1995. Every time I watch it I come away from it with the feeling of having been entertained for the ninety or so minutes that I’ve invested my time in it. The film impresses me with the fact that it features a strong female lead in a genre that has long been dominated by men.

So there you have it; “The Quick and the Dead”. A western film with its feet dipped in the horror gene pool and all wrapped up in a neat little package with the Sam Raimi seal of authenticity. Isn’t it adorable?

Okay, scratch the ‘adorable crack’. That was a little bit too Perez Hilton.


Sharon Stone hand-picked ‘Russell Crowe (I)’ to be in this film. The studio was initially unsure about this choice because Crowe was a complete unknown to the American audience.

Sharon Stone was so insistent that Leonardo DiCaprio appear in the film that she paid his salary personally.

Bruce Campbell had a cameo appearance during a wedding scene, but the scene was cut. Campbell says Sam Raimi created that scene for the specific reason of giving Pat Hingle something more substantial to do and was never intended to be in the movie in the first place. Campbell was also visiting the set on his day off when Raimi drafted him to play a skid-row character in several background shots. Although all of Campbell’s appearances ended up on the cutting room floor, he is still listed high up in the credits.

For obvious reasons, this is the only Sam Raimi film to date (2002) where his trademark beige 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 doesn’t appear in its original form. However, according to Bruce Campbell, the car makes an appearance in the form of a wagon’s chassis. He claims the car was disassembled and the chassis was used for the wagon.



EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN-United States-84 Mins. 1987

Bruce Campbell as Ashely ‘Ash’ J. Williams

 Directed by Sam RaimiWritten by Sam Raimi and Scott SpiegelFor all intents and purposes Evil Dead II is a direct remake of the original The Evil Dead. The story is the same, the setting is the same and it even features Bruce Campbell as Ash in a repeat performance. In fact, I even considered posting the same review from the first film. So what’s the big idea about this film? Why does it stand out against the original which is a great film in the first place? Well, that is what I am here to tell you.

Do you remember I said that the first Evil Dead was like a forest fire and that if you get in its way you’ll be left trampled underfoot and burned to a crisp? Well, it’s not like that at all with Evil Dead II. It’s more like there are two forest fires, one on your left and one on your right and they are coming at you with all the speed and flame that they can muster. You run straight ahead but there’s a train coming. You turn around to run the other way and BEEP! HONK! you get SPLATTERED by a semi! Yeah, that’s why Evil Dead II is even better than the first.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. It’s got Bruce Campbell in it and he’s got a chainsaw for a hand. Groovy, hail to the king, baby. Hail to the King.


One of the books on the can that traps Ash’s possessed hand is Ernest Hemingway’sA Farewell to Arms“.

The recap of The Evil Deadincludes a shot where the “evil force” runs through the cabin and rams into Ash. When this shot was filmed, Bruce Campbell suffered a broken jaw when Sam Raimi (who was operating the camera) crashed into him with a bicycle. Or so people were led to believe. This was a story concocted by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell as a gag to see how many people would believe it actually happened.

During the scene where the severed head of Ash’s girlfriend bites his hand, and before embarking for the tool shed, Bruce Campbell says the single line “work shed”. This line was later re-dubbed in post-production do to the quality of the audio, giving it a strange, slightly “disproportionate” sound to the audio. Nine years later, while filming his cameo in Escape from L.A., the first thing Kurt Russell said to Bruce Campbell on the set was, jokingly, “say ‘work shed'”.
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THE EVIL DEAD-United States-85 Mins. 1981

European Poster for The Evil Dead

Bruce Campbell as Ashley J. Williams aka ‘Ash’

Betsy Baker as Linda

Richard DeManincor as Scott (as Hal Delrich)

Ellen Sandweiss as Cheryl

Theresa Tilly as Shelly (as Sarah York)

Written and Directed by Sam Raimi

The very first word that comes to my mind regarding Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead is masterpiece.  Stephen King described it as ‘the most ferociously original horror film of the year’ at the time of its release and nothing could be closer to the truth about this movie. There is ferocity to this film that a hundred other horror films could only have wet dreams about. It starts off slow and picks up speed like a forest fire. Get in its way and you will be burned to a crisp and trampled underfoot and left in a pool of your own boiling blood and gore.

The Evil Dead possesses one of the most threadbare plots that I have ever seen in a film. Five friends venture to a remote cabin where they find The Book of the Dead and a tape recording of demonic incantations. They read the book and play the tapes and all hell breaks loose. One by one they are all taken over by flesh possessing demons. All but Ash, that is; he’s the final girl of the film. He’s the one who has all the fun chopping off limbs, decapitating, poking his thumbs into eyeballs and listening as his now demonic girlfriend chants ‘We’re gonna get you’ over and over and over again. It seems the only way you can beat these evil dead baddies is through total bodily dismemberment. Oh, what a joy!

I watch The Evil Dead at least twice a year. It helps to remind me just what a horror film should be made up. Three parts fun, three parts fear and three parts blood and gore with a simple uncluttered plot. If you haven’t seen it, what the hell are you waiting for, a written invitation? Geez!


After completing principal photography in the winter of 1979-1980, most of the actors left the production. However, there was still much of the film to be completed. Most of the second half of the film features Bruce Campbell and various stand-ins (or “Fake Shemps”) to replace the actors who left.
Director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell were friends from high school, where they made many super-8 films together. They would often collaborate with Sam’s brother Ted Raimi. Campbell became the “actor” of the group, as “he was the one that girls wanted to look at.”
Bruce Campbell twisted his ankle on a root while running down a steep hill, and Sam Raimi and Robert G. Tapert decided to tease him by poking his injury with sticks, thus causing Campbell to have an obvious limp in some scenes.


DRAG ME TO HELL-United States-99 Mins. 2009

Alison Lohman as Christine Brown

Directed by Sam Raimi

Written by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi

It sure is a bitch getting a promotion these days. You scratch and claw and fight your way to the top of the ladder. You kiss ass and lower yourself to levels you never dreamt possible. Even after all that, there are no guarantees.    Christine Brown wants the assistant manager’s job at the bank she is employed at. The only other person in the running for it is Stu, a true Stiffly Stifferson if ever there was one. Christine merely has to deny poor old Mrs. Ganush an extension. That will show her boss she has what it takes. Oh, but be careful how you treat the elderly, Christine. Mrs. Ganush may just put a curse on you that will drag you straight to hell itself. Still want that promotion?    Sam Raimi returns to horror after a spectacular Spider-man, an amazing Spider-man 2 and an uneven and disappointing Spider-man 3. Drag Me to Hell is certainly no Evil Dead, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits. Raimi is a master at mixing humor with horror to call up an uncomfortable comedic atmosphere to his films. In other words you don’t know whether to laugh out loud or be scared shitless. A huge fan of the Three Stooges, Raimi never fails to put some element of their slapstick antics into his films and Drag Me to Hell is no exception.    So, is Drag Me to Hell Raimi’s triumphant return to horror that his fans were hoping for? Uh…well….hmm, I guess I’m a little undecided on that. It’s good to see him making a horror film once again, but after the great Evil Dead series Drag Me to Hell is a bit of a letdown. It’s not a bad film; it’s just not the Raimi film we were hoping for.



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