Happy (early) Halloween, Drinkers!
In the first of two installments, BAAM has teamed up yet again with We Recycle Movies to bring you another holiday special review! In part one of this devilishly delightful dual review, Anne from WRM and I watched the first two films from the original Evil Dead franchise while sipping on AleSmith’s appropriately thematic Evil Dead Red. Part two will cover the conclusion to the Evil Dead trilogy and will be posted next week. So, without further ado, let’s dig up some corpses and get into it!
Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981) marks a special time in horror movie history. While it by no means created many of the stereotypes and cliches we now associate with the genre, it quite definitively solidified the tropes that are now almost laughable (as you can see from my review The Cabin in the Woods). It also walks the delicate line between true horror and classic camp. For those familiar with the franchise, The Evil Dead is now camp royalty but when apart from history, this film is more an astounding feat of independent filmmaking. Yes, the acting is poor, the writing even worse and it pretty much has no story, but I don’t really think that’s what this movie was made for. Rather, this film is much more about its visual style. The camera work, while quite jarring, is unique and perfectly captures (and enhances) the tone of the film. The same goes for the editing as well. It may not always make sense, or even be that pretty, but it services the rest of the film so well that you actually will find yourself nodding in approval, rather than shaking your head in disgust. The disgust comes from the blood, so don’t worry.
Which brings up another point: this movie (and this franchise) are not for the feint-of-heart. While all of the gore and other general creepiness is more humorous than upsetting, there is still a shocking amount of blood and guts and other mysterious body fluids. All of which end up on Bruce Campbell’s strong-chinned face. But like the film’s visuals, the movie’s shock-value also serves a purpose and services the story…sometimes. Yes, it’s all absurd, but at least it knows that about itself.
Since we’re on the topic of self-awareness (and gore), let’s talk about Evil Dead 2 (1987), which is arguably the strangest sequel ever. Okay maybe it’s tied with Mad Max 2 but that’s besides the point. Ostensibly taking place immediately after the events of the first film, Evil Dead 2 weirdly resets the franchise by boiling down the first movie into a two minute prelude that negates much of what actually happened. From there, the film takes a wild twist into campy insanity. Where the first film didn’t laugh too hard at itself, Evil Dead 2 fully embraces its own absurdity while still clinging to its recognizable visual style. What that translates to, essentially, is more blood, more guts, more demons, more possessed hands and more overall craziness (like when the entire cabin starts dancing and laughing).
As is probably quite obvious from the above clip, this movie be CRAZY.
Overall, what is important to take away from these movies, aside from their solidifying insanity and overzealous blood usage, is how visual style (and crafty production design) can really sell a movie. Without its distinctive style, it’s entirely plausible to believe that the Evil Dead franchise could have sunk into oblivion.
And what about your unusually appropriate beer, AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red? I have to say that AleSmith has unofficially become the preferred brewer of BAAM. I’ve reviewed five of their beers (including the Evil Dead Red) and not only are they all delicious, they generally pair very well with movies. And the Evil Dead Red did not disappoint. Pouring a spectacular, clear red with a thin khaki head, this brew was everything I wanted out of the style. It’s nose promised a complex mix of malt and fruit while its flavor was a striking balance of hop and malt. Most interestingly, this beer is decidedly hoppy but does not feature the kind of bitterness you find in most West Coast IPA’s. Rather, the hops are well balanced against mild-mannered malt notes with a few hints of sweet citrus. Truly a well-rounded and well-crafted beer. Looks like AleSmith has done it again.
So there you have it, Drinkers! Part one of our two-part Halloween special with our friend Anne over at We Recycle Movies. She’s a professional smart person, so be sure to check out her review of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 for a better review. Be on the lookout next week for our review of the franchise’s bizarre conclusion in Army of Darkness.
And as always keep drinking, my friends. Happy Halloween!
Tonight’s Tasting Notes:
The Evil Dead:
-Doesn’t really make sense
-Striking visuals in every department
Evil Dead 2:
-Makes even less sense
-Really goes hard on the camp
AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red:
-Striking red pour
-Hoppy but not bitter
-Remarkably balanced & complex
*Bonus: ABV clocks in at 6.66%