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          Ash, the sole survivor of The Evil Dead returns to the same isolated cabin deep in the woods with his girlfriend, Linda.  The two discover a mysterious tape recorder and hear the voice of Professor Knoby reciting passages from the Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead.  Little do they know that the professor's words are powerful enough to invoke a spell that unleashes the spirit of evil alive in the remote forest surrounding them. 

"Then let's head on down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch."
                - Ash

          The eternal question surrounding Evil Dead II is whether the film is intended to be a sequel to or a remake of The Evil Dead, due to the fact that the first film’s continuity is essentially ignored in the second film. Its “recap” of the first film’s events excludes the characters Scott, his girlfriend, Shelly, and Ash’s sister, Linda. This kind of drastic storyline alteration is enough to doom a film in the eyes of its fans, yet Evil Dead II is so damn good that excuses must be made by such fans in order to justify their appreciation. Thus, the remake argument is generated.
         This argument, for all intents and purposes, is absolute crap. There is a “II” at the end of the title for a reason; it distinguishes the film as following another. Of course, since the end of the first film is left for interpretation (although it is revisited in the second film), some have argued that Ash survived the first encounter and is dim-witted enough to return for another night at the cabin with his new girlfriend, who also happens to be named Linda. By and large, this theory is also regarded as crap. This leaves us back at the beginning, with a sequel that doesn’t follow its predecessor’s continuity.
         The major alterations are as follows: Ash heads out to a cabin in the woods for a weekend with his girlfriend, Linda, and not with a group of friends, as in the first film. However, after he kills Linda when she is possessed (he still decapitates her with a shovel, thank GOD), he is attacked by a demon in an instance that mirrors the ending of the first film. The demon is forced out as dawn arises, but Ash is left unconscious until the next evening. He tries to flee in his car, but he finds that the bridge that he took to reach the cabin has since been destroyed. From this point on, the film consists of original material and is in sync with the first.
         Another major change in the film is not in regard to storyline, but to theme. The Evil Dead was pure, terrifying horror show with some humorous moments due to amateur actors and limited special effects. Evil Dead II, however, splits comedy and horror perfectly, providing not so much fright as revulsion, yet it is executed in hilariously over-the-top slapstick genius. The most-oft cited example of this is the now-classic sequence where Ash’s hand is possessed, so he chops it off with a chainsaw. Undaunted, it continues to torment Ash throughout the film, even after he seemingly eliminates it with a shotgun.
         These changes don’t make the film inferior. Instead, it gives a new perspective. Imagine if the first film was played out for laughs, not scares, and the massive amounts of gore were even greater, with multiple flood of blood making regular appearances. It would look something like Evil Dead II. The execution is so seamless and perfect that after a few minutes of confusion trying to pick up the pieces, it becomes entertaining enough to make one forget about the change in script. This sounds dubiously like a remake, but several other connections can still be made with the first film. (Like Ash’s first encounter with possession or the return of Linda’s silver pendant, for example.)
         Let’s continue with the plot: Ash doesn’t know it, but the voice on a tape that he played to awaken the demons belongs to a professor who was studying the Necronomicon there in the cabin. His daughter and her boyfriend are coming to visit him, unaware of his since untimely passing. Coming along for shits and giggles are a redneck road-crewman, Jake, and his girlfriend, Bobby-Joe, as only Jake knows of a path around the bridge that leads to the cabin. They arrive and think that Ash has murdered the professor. Of course, they are soon proven wrong, as the demons make their presence known and restart their onslaught on fresh victims.
         With the introduction of more characters, the second half of the film becomes a physical comedy goldmine. Although Ash’s struggle with his own body parts is vastly entertaining, it can’t support an entire film. With Jake and Bobby Sue, two characters who obviously exist only to be killed off in a ridiculous manner, the avenue is opened for fire hose blood floods, green blood spewed by hatchets, and a revisit of the tree rape from the first film. While in a pure horror film, the introduction of characters who are simply meant to pad the body count is frustrating, in a horror-comedy, it’s the perfect setting for a wonderful slapstick overload.
         Now admittedly, the beginning of this review reads as a haphazard study into the film and not a movie review. The purpose of this was to highlight that yes, changes have been made to the universe’s continuity, but the film is good enough that one shouldn’t be obligated to care.

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          - One of the books on the can that traps Ash's possessed hand is "A Farewell to Arms." 

          - A glove belonging to the Nightmare On Elm Street's, Freddy Krueger character can be seen hanging near the steps in one of the cellar scenes. This was in response to the use of The Evil Dead on a television screen in A Nightmare On Elm Street

          - Professor Knowby's dead wife is said to be in the "fruit cellar," a reference to Psycho

          - Ash's chainsaw appears to switch hands in one scene. This is because Sam Raimi decided Ash should walk the opposite way across the room in that scene, so he flipped the negative. 

          - Often considered to be a remake of the first Evil Dead, however this is not accurate. The rights to show scenes from the original could not be obtained to re-cap what happened, so they recreated the beginning to explain how Ash got to the cabin, a headless Linda, etc. 

          - The recap of the previous film includes a shot where the "evil force" runs through the cabin and rams into Ash. When this shot was filmed, Bruce Campbell suffered a broken jaw when Sam Raimi (who was operating the camera) crashed into him with a bicycle. 

          - Evil Dead 2 was released on March 15, 1987. 

          - The budget for Evil Dead 2 was $3 Million and pulled in $807,260 on 310 screens opening weekend. 




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