I think it's safe to say that I have never been so excited about an impending movie release as I was for Evil Dead 2. Fangoria was giving it a huge push. The kind of pre-release publicity generally reserved for Freddy Krueger movies. The photos had me salivating.

You have to understand how important The Evil Dead was to me. I first saw it at the grievously-missed Anchor Drive-In. I heard Stephen King's blurb about it being the most ferociously original film of 1982. That alone had me excited.

I saw The Evil Dead with two non-horror people. We were in a van, with plenty of party favors on hand. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. The other guys were freaking out, and frankly, so was I. We had never seen anything like The Evil Dead. The second feature was the so-so Sci-Fi shocker Xtro, but the movie barely registered in our brains. We were still fried by The Evil Dead.

I saw The Evil Dead at a midnight show in a hardtop theater as well.

Home video came along, and The Evil Dead was the first movie I felt I had to own. I rented the tape, and had a friend's mother dupe it for me. We didn't have two players between us in those days.

I became a father in 1987. I watched the baby being born. Then I went home and, yes, watched The Evil Dead.

That relationship was doomed from the start. I lived for horror. She didn't much like it. At one point she asked to see a really scary movie. Oh, I had just the ticket. You know it, The Evil Dead.

She was not a fan. She bailed during the scene where the woods rape the woman. It is a pretty disturbing sequence. Today I don't see the necessity of it, and if I'm not mistaken Sam Raimi expressed regret about doing the scene. I give him a break. Sam was a brash twenty-two year old trying to make an impression. I'd say he succeeded. She told me if I played the movie again she would take the baby and leave. I did not play it again while she was at home, but it was only a matter of time before she left.

A sequel to The Evil Dead was announced. I was ridiculously excited. News spread slower in those days, and I had no idea it was coming. We lived near a great little indie theater that was unafraid to run unrated movies. One Friday morning we were heading out to work, and the same woman was talking about something inconsequential. We passed the marquee, and I interrupted her, pointed to it and screamed "EVIL DEAD 2!" She was less than amused.

After work a friend came over, burst through the front door, yelling "IT'S HERE! IT'S HERE!"

We went to see Evil Dead 2 that Friday evening. It was everything I hoped for. And more. I laughed, I was shocked, I was in awe. Evil Dead 2 is the perfect crystallization of everything I loved about '80s horror. I went to see it again at a matinee that very Sunday.

Evil Dead 2 came out on videocassette and I duped a copy. VCRs were more plentiful by that point. I watched it over and over again, showing friends. I would put TV in the back yard and have a vicarious drive-in.

I eventually bought a factory VHS tape of Evil Dead 2. Then came DVD. The movie was released time and time again, with new supplements. I kept buying it. I'm sure I bought copies I never even watched. How many editions have you purchased?

Of course The Evil Dead series had a third movie. I was initially disappointed in Army of Darkness. I never hated the movie, but parts of it grated on me. I've come to enjoy it more over the years. Then there was Ash Vs Evil Dead. I watched a few episodes, but lost interest. How long can you beat a dead horse?

There was a remake, which I enjoyed. It's a sad reflection of the original in many ways, but the spirit is there.

Now here it is, a whopping thirty-five years after Evil Dead 2 roared into theaters and into my heart. I'm a little shocked to realize I have not seen it in at least two decades.

My wife Clara is interested in the movies that made me, and The Evil Dead tops the list. I strongly suggested starting with Evil Dead 2. It's, after all, essentially the same movie, with improved effects and a lot more humor.

We watched it last night. Happily, she liked it. I saw it with new eyes myself, and I marveled all over again. Raimi and company created a small miracle with Evil Dead 2, and the movie still shines.

I've heard about some people who don't like it. I'm not talking about mooks who don't know horror. Serious fans who are devotees of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Andy Milligan. The same folks who hated the wonderfully goofy and gory Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I don't get it, but then I don't get what people see in Rob Zombie movies.

I currently own the Lionsgate double feature Blu-ray of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. I won't be buying any other copies. This one is good enough for me. It looks great, it sounds great. At this point I wonder how many more times I will even watch them.

There's talk of a new Evil Dead production. If it happens, I'll probably see it. I won't have the excitement I had for the first three movies. That page has turned. I still have enthusiasm for horror movies, but it's far rarer than when I was in my twenties and I marveled over Evil Dead 2, The Monster Squad, Street Trash, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Fly, and other relics of my youth. I was stoked to see Crimes of the Future last week, so some of the old exhilaration is still here.

Written by Mark Sieber

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