"Evil Dead," directed by Sam Raimi and released in 1981, is a seminal film in the horror genre. Conceived on a shoestring budget, it tells the story of five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in the woods who unwittingly unleash demonic forces when they play a tape containing incantations from the Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead. The film is known for its over-the-top gore, creative camera work, and the introduction of Bruce Campbell's character, Ash Williams, who would become an iconic figure in horror cinema. Despite initial mixed reviews, "Evil Dead" has since been hailed as a classic, with its blend of terror and dark comedy influencing a generation of horror filmmakers.
The legacy of "Evil Dead" extends far beyond the original film. It spawned two sequels, "Evil Dead II" and "Army of Darkness," both of which leaned more into the dark comedy aspect while maintaining the bloody horror that defined the first movie. The character of Ash Williams, with his chainsaw hand and memorable one-liners, became a beloved horror hero. The franchise also includes a 2013 reboot, "Evil Dead," which returned to the darker, more serious tone of the original film, and a TV series, "Ash vs Evil Dead," which ran from 2015 to 2018 and saw Bruce Campbell reprising his role as Ash. These subsequent entries have kept the "Evil Dead" franchise alive and kicking in the cultural consciousness, demonstrating its enduring appeal and its ability to reinvent itself while staying true to its roots.