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FRANCHISE RANKED: The Evil Dead

Sam Raimi's Evil Dead is easily one of the most original franchises in the horror genre. It showcases incredible practical effects, that still mostly hold up, within memorable scenes and, of course, with the brilliant slapstick antics of Bruce Campbell as Ash, who would go on to become a true horror icon.

From its humble, creative beginnings to its big budget gore-fest remake, Evil Dead has chainsawed its place amongst the top of horror, and has inspired many other films in the process. But Evil Dead has a style all its own that can't really be replicated. There just isn't anything else quite like it.

  • Evil Dead II

    1.Evil Dead II

    ★★★★★

    Evil Dead II takes everything that was great about the original film to an extreme level. With its campiness now tongue-in-cheek, and a much bigger budget, Sam Raimi creates a fun film that rides a fine line between being a sequel and a remake. Both he and Bruce Campbell really let loose here, teetering on becoming a bit looney, and thusly creating some of the most memorable moments in the franchise. This is simply the best of the best.

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  • Evil Dead

    2.Evil Dead

    ★★★★★

    The original Evil Dead trilogy has such a specific atmosphere to it, perfectly combining horror and comedy in a low-budget setting, that a big budget remake trying to capture the same tone with today's technology would surely fail. Luckily, now producer Sam Raimi and crew were smart enough to realize this and instead give us a remake that, while moving a great deal away from the comedy, manages to find a new atmosphere that is lush and moody, vibrantly gory and yet still nostalgic to the original.

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  • The Evil Dead

    3.The Evil Dead

    ★★★★

    The original Evil Dead, really unlike anything that had come before it with exception to maybe Hausu, is a creative masterpiece. This is really how you make a great film on a very limited budget. The creativity, artistry and commitment involved is palpable, which makes it easy and somewhat contagious to enjoy this film. Not everything about this film is perfect, but its actually the best that it could be at the time, and even still, is better than any of the copycats that have come after it.

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  • Army of Darkness

    4.Army of Darkness

    ★★★½

    If Evil Dead II teeters on looney, Army of Darkness goes full looney tunes. It's purposefully played less for horror and more for comedy and it somehow works not only within the film itself, but within the entire franchise. You can tell the cast and crew had a lot of fun making this movie, much of it seemingly improved, and it makes it equally as fun to watch. Plus, the film is filled with incredible stop motion animation and other special effects that are, while dated, very impressive.

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  • Within the Woods

    5.Within the Woods

    ★★½

    Within the Woods is Sam Raimi's original short film that was the groundwork for The Evil Dead. Here, you see many budding ideas that would later be fleshed out into the first feature film including specific plot points, special effects and make-up, the musical tone and the overall atmosphere. Bruce Campbell also stars here, although his character's name is Bruce and not yet Ash. It's a low budget and experimental scare, and a definite sign of the decade, but has that definite Raimi style none-the-less.