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The saddest thing about this amazing, original comic book movie is that it wound up fostering a fetid pool of useless, made on the cheap sequels. These hackneyed efforts definitely downplay the visual flare Raimi realized the first time around. As a precursor to Spider-man, this was solid enough proof that the director could handle this kind of epic entertainment scope. In some ways, the Raimi-created character is far more intriguing than Peter Parker could ever be. Besides, it’s a hoot to see Liam Neeson in full bore American hero mode.
If you took a time machine back to Michigan in the mid-‘70s and told Sam Raimi and his pals that, by age 52, he’d be working for Disney on a ‘prequel’ to the timeless L. Frank Baum classic, one can image the reaction—laughs… or blank stares. Sure enough, the filmmaker known for his no holds barred gore epics is actually comfortable managing such a sprawling pre-Summer epic. With amazing F/X and an eccentric cast, Raimi realizes that modern kid’s movies have lost the element of danger. By reinserting same back into his fairy tale, he creates the perfect complement to his already unusual career.
With the leash loosened—just a bit—and the chance to build on what he had already started, Raimi delivered big with this (so far) definitive Spidey sequel. Of course, it helped that one of the best series villains—the tentacle terror Dr. Octopus—was the main focus this time around. Thanks to Alfred Molinas excellent performance, and F/X which realized the character’s clever mobility and mannerism, Raimi had the makings of a classic. This still stands as one of the genre’s best, right up there with The Dark Knight.
From the moment the iconic final shot appeared in Evil Dead II, fans of Raimi were eager to see the heroic Ash tossed back in time to battle medieval monsters. In fact, this was always part of the original Evil Dead mythos. Raimi never had the budget or support to realize his dreams until Darkman became a minor hit. As a further extension of his humor/horror ideal, Army of Darkness was a diabolic delight. Even today, it stands as an inventive, homage-laden romp.
Maybe it’s the instant recognition of an artist once again working in his preferred medium. Maybe it’s the comfortable feeling of Raimi returning to the type of movie he does best. It could be our latent love of any well made macabre. Whatever it is, few films can match the insane showboating joy of this gypsy curse gone gonzo. Raimi pulls out all the stops here, upping the ante in both laughs and ludicrous, gross out shocks. All scary movies should be as evocative—and downright enjoyable.
One of the best pure horror movies ever. A gruesome, grisly experience made all the more meaningful by the director’s sinister sleight of hand invention behind the camera. This is one gruesome, ill-tempered title, unwilling to let the audience off the hook until every last drop of blood is spilled and every last human body part dismembered. Dabbling in almost every classic fear factor—demonic possession, haunting, monsters, ample arterial spray—we are lost in a limbo where anyone can die at any moment…only to come back to life and wreck even more havoc.
For many, the argument is simple. This is the real deal Sam Raimi, packing as much horror as humor into his splatterific terror tour de force. And let’s face it, when you reinvent not only a genre but an entire school of filmmaking in the process, it’s hard to debate the result. This is indeed one of the most influential films of the ‘80s, a visionary effort that literally tore up the rulebook regarding macabre and manufactured it for a demographic spoon-fed fear via their handy dandy VCR. Raimi will never top this, and he’s been wise not to try since then.