Because this movie is old and popular, I’m sure I’m not the only one to come to this conclusion. But as someone who had never seen The Evil Dead and really didn’t know a ton about it, I was amazed at how incredibly anti-feminist this movie is. It’s kind of unbelievable. The horror movie genre isn’t exactly known for being kind to women, so it’s not like I was super shocked. But still. So here are some points to think over:
- The first victim of the whole possession stuff that takes the characters over is Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss). Her character is that of a typical “hag,” as Ash (Bruce Campbell)’s sister, she’s the only one without a man at her side and she is constantly being the voice of reason and therefore the killjoy. So how does she turn evil? She gets raped. Now, she’s raped by a tree, but she’s still raped. So the only way to bring down this character is by violating her in the worst way possible, in a way that is primarily only targeted at women and perpetrated by men. Once she gets raped, she is damaged goods, which the movie takes literally by turning her into a zombie thing.
- Eventually, everyone but Ash is also turned into the zombie things, including Linda (Betsy Baker), Ash’s girlfriend, Shelly (Sarah York), Scotty’s girlfriend, and Scotty (Hal Delrich). Although Scotty does turn into a zombie, he doesn’t fall victim as easily as the women and he only tries to attack Ash once. The women zombies, however, attack Ash over and over again, even after being decapitated. So women are the evil dead. Shorten that a little and you just get women are evil. They never attack each other; instead they band together and go after the one man who has shown any kind of sensitivity (Ash is nice, Scotty is a dick). So the only way to win is for Ash to triumph over the women in his life is by violence against them.
- This is a stretch, but Ash’s name is actually Ashley. Coincidence that the one character who is constantly getting attacked has a female name while the other male has a distinctly male name? In any other movie I would say yes, but maybe not in this case.
So, no, I wasn’t very impressed with The Evil Dead.
SO FUCKING BADASS!!! Watching this as an adult though there are definitely a lot of things wrong with it other than production value but it just has such a great cheap 80’s horror movie feel. The Changeling is still my favorite horror movie but the Evil Dead series is probably pretty close.