Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tonight at Summerscreen: Evil Dead II

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 10:10 AM

2835/1247667010-evil-dead-2.jpgSummerscreen, The L's free outdoor film series at McCarren Park — now with several hundred percent more Port-o-Potties! — returns for its second week to Bedford and North 12th, in the playground opposite Turkey's Nest (and on the sidewalk, if you got a to-go cup). Doors at 6pm, with Happy Hour prices on Sixpoint beer and Wines of Australia until 7:30, at which point you'll be serenaded by Motel Motel. And then, at dusk, the movie.

Confession: I haven't seen Evil Dead II yet. (Yet.) But Ben Sutton has. His program notes follow, after the Jump! Jump!

Evil Dead II (Sam Raimi, 1987)
A sequel whose opening passage serves as a rehash of the first Evil Dead, this reference-riddled middle entry in Raimi’s Dead trilogy (decidedly campier and less allegory-driven than George Romero’s Dead franchise) follows Ash (Bruce Campbell) back to the cabin in the woods. Early scenes have a distinctly Hitchcockian feel, with smooth pans, overhead shots and a lush set — later, possessed Henrietta (played by Ted Raimi, Sam’s brother) is locked in the fruit cellar, a reference to Ms. Bates in Psycho. Once the impossibly fast tracking shots through perpetually smoldering woods and flying buckets of multi-colored goop begin, Raimi does American horror with aplomb — notice Freddy Krueger’s bladed glove hanging both in the tool shed and the fruit cellar. Keeping track of the subsequent films that make reference to this kinetic cult classic becomes daunting. Ash’s possessed hand, for instance, beats him up while still attached (evoking Ed Norton hurling himself around his boss’s office in Fight Club) and once dismembered causes greater damage, like demonic hands in Addams Family Values or, even, Idle Hands. And as much as the final scene smacks of Monty Python-style medievalism, aren’t the climax’s attacking trees a reference to Macbeth’s Birnam Wood?

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