Thirteen. It seems like an appropriate number for the man who made the Deadites and that fabled Book of the Dead, The Necronomicon, a fright fan household name. Yet ever since he struck professional paydirt with an oddball Western starring a then hot Sharon Stone, Sam Raimi has wondered away from his horror roots. Over the course of the next ten years, he made two thillers, a baseball themed drama, and then literally re-invented the post-millennial popcorn comic book superhero blockbuster with his Spider-man movies. But now, after 15 years in a macabre-less cinematic stasis, Raimi is back. His latest scare statement, the amazing Drag Me to Hell, manages the next to impossible - it readily reminds us of why we fell in love with the man and his anarchic directorial style in the first place while pushing his skills forever forward. Same may call it a return to form, but from the way this movie works, it’s clear that Raimi never really left his love of dread behind.
Still, when one looks over his oeuvre, concentrating only on his feature films, it’s hard to get a handle on which Sam Raimi will be remembered. There are literally millions of fans who never knew he had a horror hound past. For them, Raimi is the man who brought Peter Parker and a myriad of web-slinger icons to life. For others, however, his career ended back when Bruce Campbell failed to properly utter the classic sci-fi mantra “Klaatu Barada Nikto” and wound up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (look it up). In light of such a drastic dichotomy, SE&L has decided to take the 13 works in Raimi’s creative canon and rate them, worst to best. Of course, by its very nature, the list will be unfair. Can you really grade the wonders of The Evil Dead against the spine-tingling chills of A Simple Plan? Does the same filmmaker really exist in both Spider-man III and Crimewave?