If you are looking at the Sam Raimi classic trilogy or the 2013 remake, the Evil Dead franchise is a major franchise in horror. The original turned the genera on its head by having the main protagonist be the goofy male played by Bruce Campbell rather than the tough Jock.
One of the reasons this franchise is so beloved is because the follow up films in the Evil Dead series evolved. Star Bruce Campbell because a fountain of charisma and a jokester. The more loose he was as Ash Williams, the more we rooted for him. The films also got funnier. By the third film, it could be classified as a comedy film with horror elements.
The movies inspired comics, games, and even a short lived TV show featuring Ash taking down the dead with his handy chainsaw… pun intended. Rumor has it that even another film is in the works called Evil Dead Rise set to start filming this year.
Even after many years, this franchise is still very watchable. Here are all 4 films ranked from worst to best based on personal option.
4. Evil Dead (2013)
This remake reinvents some of the original’s ideas, but it twist them in fun and clever ways. Like the original, the lead protagonist is changed partway through the plot.
The acting is great, and the visuals a perfect for the genre. There is enough blood in this film to be ranked up as on of the most gruesome.
The most disappointing part is that Bruce Campbell does appear as Ash, but is for one word after the credits have finished running.
3. Army Of Darkness (1992)
Far and away the least horror of the series, Army of Darkness is still a classic. Bruce Campbell is at his best in this film. His machismo and witty one liners make the movie memorable. The gags are top notch with multiple references to comedic icons like the 3 Stooges. It is highly quotable, and will leave you in stitches.
“This is my BOOMSTICK!”
How else would you describe a gun to someone that doesn’t know what a gun is?
If you see it with the happy ending or sad one, this is still worth a watch.
2. The Evil Dead (1981)
Some might be upset that the original film is not the top film on the list, and they have good reason for that. It was the film that stared it all. The scares in the movie are some of the best amongst it contemporaries. The backyard special effects are charming and gritty. The visuals are disturbing enough to keep you engaged but wanting to turn away.
The main criticism is that the movie lacks polish. It is very impressive with what they were all able to achieve with actors and budget, but some sections and direction seem to be poorly improvised. That being said, it was very impressive what they were all able to do while learning movie making on the job.
1. Evil Dead II (1987)
The big thing about this sequel is that it took the character from the first film and cleverly turned him into a hero. He was a lone survivor that became a motivated fighter agains evil.
It is part sequel, part remake, and films the genre on its head. It is no longer as scary, but it is now a lot more humorous. I would even say the humor is disturbing. You laugh as a man cuts off his own hand, only to watch that hand try to kill him. The solutions to problems are just as absurd as the blood and death that coat the screen.
Director Sam Raimi has some practice in the film industry at this point, and the sequel is a love letter to the first.