4. Evil Dead II (1987)
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva
The old horror philosophy of “give ’em more insanity in the sequel” must have been a daunting assignment for Sam Raimi and his Evil Dead colleagues. The Evil Dead, released independently in 1981, shocked and awed the film community with low-budget ingenuity, going way overboard with geysers of blood, freaky ghouls, and tongue-in-cheek humor. So when it came time to send the anti-heroic Ash (Bruce Campbell) back to the demon-infested cabin in the woods, Raimi did the only logical thing: He crapped on good taste and delivered a flick that bashes subtlety with a spiked hammer.
Played more for gory slapstick laughs than its predecessor, the batshit Evil Dead II continuously one-ups itself, starting off with Ash lopping off his possessed girlfriend’s head and then cutting off his own hand, and that all happens before the second act. Once the action tips into joyous absurdity, Raimi has a field day with experimental camerawork and loony ideas, such as Ash jamming a chainsaw into his handless stump of an arm and going to demon-slaying work. If that’s not awesome to you, you’re reading the wrong list.