Favorite film scene
The movie that I am about to share is Evil Dead II (1987). It is a 1987 American comedy horror film directed by Sam Raimi as well as a parody sequel to the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead. The film was written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel, produced by Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams aka the main protagonist.
Filming primarily takes place in Michigan and North Carolina in 1986 and was released in the United States on March 13, 1987. However, the movie was able to only obtain minor box office success as it only manages to achieve just under $6 million USD. Despite the petty success, it manages to garnered positive reviews in which the critics praised Raimi’s directing and Campbell’s performance. The film itself although wasn’t much of a box office success but it was an influential one. The movie Evil Dead II is able to amass a cult following and was followed by a third sequel, Army of Darkness, in 1992 as well as a television series, Ash vs Evil Dead, 2015.
Although genres like comedy and horror may seem like conflicting genres but are actually consider as two sides of the same coin. In laymen terms, they have an vital element in common which is the element of shocking the audience with the unforeseen in order to elicit a raw emotion like fear. However, comedy often seeks to focus the silliness of an idea while horror did something similar but works to terrific with all too fears presented in a intensified reality. It takes a skilful and delicate balancing act to successfully blend these two genres within a single film. This is because this combination aka the ideas of horror and comedy is a particularly difficult challenge for filmmakers as if one focus too much on each separate genre will destroy its delicate balance. Despite this, there are many different tactics that are possible each with their own necessary blend of ingredients to play the audience’s emotion just right. For film like Evil Dead II, the editing for it is a lot better than the first instalment as it becomes a major point where it’s used for comedic effect and some of its horror scenes.
In the beginning, It is often felt that the introduction to Evil Dead II is so cheap and imitative. No offense to it but that was exactly what the film was going for as it by showing recaps of the previous movie. This time around Kaye Davis and Sam Raimi smartly switches up with quick cuts and smart transitioning from one shot to another. One example is during the opening title of the film, the camera zooms into the middle of the titles and proceeds to zoom further into a tunnel where we follow the car. This creates a seamless introduction to the world we’re going to be thrown around in. Another good example of this would be when Bobby Joe’s death scene. In that scene, Bobby gets attacked and dragged into the demonic tree. The camera zooms in with her as she gets dragged before sending her into the dark abyss, after which jumps into the the frame containing the Necronomicon pages comes crashing down onto the table.
In addition like the POV shots of the evil spirits are one of its major point. We as an audience stoop and weave in and out of the camera shots. It’s sort of like providing us with almost a rollercoaster of a film. This gives each scene and camera shot this almost lucid and fluid connection. We’re not like watching one scene, then another scene and another. But instead we’re watching the events take place simultaneously as one event. For the comedic effect, there are times where Raimi skillfully uses some quick-cut editing on some of the scene like giving it some spice to it. Near the beginning, the scene shows Ash glances over his car as he plans out his escape, and we’re shown to a quick-cut of him runining off into the dark woods. Watching this scene sort of confuse me but for some reason I found this particular scene seems rather energetic and funny about this kind of quick-cut editing.
On top of that, it is a decent example of storytelling through showing rather than telling as well as showing a state of mind through the editing. In that scene, Ash is implied to be trying to think of the fastest route out of the ordeal as his mind is all over the place. It isn’t necessary for us to see him rushing towards his car as the editing was able to perfectly implied as well as reflecting how instant and snappy his decision making. The example would be when Ash need not hesitate, so neither does the camera (camera movement can help to show hesitation in character or situation).
The usage of a certain type of quick cut editing like montage is also being use in portraying an iconic badass scene. The sequence aka ‘Groovy’ is the best example of montage. In this sequence, Ash obtains help from Annie to make the chainsaw hand and shotgun holster to fight the deadite. It first kick off with a scene where he opens the shed lock and quick cut to the scene where he opens the door (showing both him and Annie). After that, he opens the light bulb and then jump to many scenes showing the contruction of the weapons. As soon as the weapons are done, the montages stop and the camera slowly pans towards him as he starts off his chainsaw hand (badass music kickstart)by cutting off the shotgun barrel (to make a sawed-off shotgun). The Camera then proceed to slow panning towards him and stops as he says his most iconic quote. The Sequence is pretty marvellous at that time and akin to Edgar Wright’s quick cut of spreading jam on toast as well as putting a tie on in Shaun of the Dead. The scene is really snappy and vibrant as it sort of embodies the hysterical tone of the film as well as its methodical technicalities.
Another example of this type of quick cut editing can be seen in the cabin run scene. In this scene, it is shown that Ash has crashed his car and flew out of it. The scene that cuts to him running and then cut to show the monster point of view chasing him as he runs into the cabin. The camera proceeds to follow him as if the monster is chasing him into the cabin until it reaches a point where he disappears. The scene is also backed up by some horrifying sound as the monster chases him. The cuts for the scene were fast paced as to disorient the audience. The quick cutting with fast moving clips creates a pace in which the audience starts to believe that everything on screen is in haste. It gives the feeling like the sense of urgency. The mid close up of Ash face in the running scene and the hand held camera (aka the monster) that follow him seems to lend to the urgency in the scene.
During this scene the camera is mostly left uncut as it shown the monster follows him and was held on screen for longer than expected. This in turns cause the audience to start feeling discomfort and anticipates a change to come. Holding on a shot can be difficult as this was done to grab onto the audience attention and avoid losing it. Hence, if an editor chooses to extend a shot, it should be part of a sequence that have build up the dramatic tension to have a grip on the audience.
The film despite its low budget, the crew is also quite resourceful when implementing some special effect into the film for its wacky horror feel. One such example took place when Ash’ possessed deadite girlfriend Linda returns from the grave with her severed noggin and creepiness. In the scene, her head falls into his lap and a long and slimy tongue head towards his mouth. In those days, there weren’t much advanced special effect to be applicable. To obtain the tongue effect, the team had use the process of reverse motion, where the tongue actually begins in Campbell’s and is retracted into the fake Linda head where action is called.
Although the film is known for having low budget, it helps to usher a new era of independent genre filmmaking where aspiring young writers and directors were moved to create their own inspired vision. Inspiring them to create their own ‘cinematic lunacy’ with little going for them but their active imaginations and willingness to tell their stories on film by any means necessary. Future Lord of the Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson started his career making inexpensive splatter flicks like Bad Taste and Braindead (released in the U.S as Dead Alive) whose go-for-broke style and gooey gore effects are influenced by Raimi’s own work. Famous filmmakers around the globe like Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) made features bearing a notable stylistic or dramatic influence from the Evil Dead films.