Steve Villeneuve’s “Hail to the Deadites” is a documentary about “Evil Dead” that touts itself as not featuring any kind of footage from the original films at any point. You’d think that would hinder the experience, but that only benefits the feature in the end. “Hail to the Deadites” is an unabashed love letter to the fans and the fans only. It explores the various facets of “Evil Dead” fandom, how all three movies have affected their lives, and how Bruce Campbell has become a source of inspiration to many.
You have to love Bruce Campbell’s attitude toward “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” He’s like that angry dad who you keep asking for bike for your birthday and he keeps telling you that he has no money, and to shut your trap, or he’s locking you in the basement with the other bad kids. Then on your birthday, he shows up with a brand new bike and says “Well I got it because… you know… you’re a good kid, and you wouldn’t shut up about it. Now go get me a pack of smokes.” Bruce is that kind of man who loves his fans despite the gruff exterior and rewarded us with “Ash vs. Evil Dead” because we wouldn’t shut up about it. And because, you know, you can’t have Ash without Campbell. Just in time for Halloween, “Ash vs. Evil Dead” gets everything right about the “Evil Dead” movie series.
Here were are many years later, and Ash is finally finding a life for himself that he’s happy with. Granted he lives in a trailer, picks up sleazy women at bars, and works at a store where he’s despised by his boss Mr. Roper, but it’s a life he’s comfortable with at least. After hiding out for many years from the deadites, they’ve finally found him and are hell bent on destroying him and the world. And it all happened because of Ash and a pot fueled bender with a gorgeous woman one night that caused him to irresponsibly read from the Necronomicon in an effort to impress her. All roads begin to converge as Ash begins getting horrifying signs from Deadites, causing him to pick up and move his trailer once again.
I admittedly had little to no faith for the prospects of an “Evil Dead” remake. As many horror fans like myself originally perceived it to be nothing but a cash grab, I expected really nothing but a faint half assed reconditioning much like Platinum Dunes is want to do. Thankfully the 2013 version of “Evil Dead” is not only an excellent horror film, but a rather brilliant character study to boot. It works as a remake, a sequel, and a companion piece. However fans want to think of it, the movie works in that function, thus resolving any aggravation hardcore Sam Raimi buffs will have toward this new version.
Matt Cordell is back and it was only a matter of time before he continued to seek pure vengeance on those who wronged him in his past life. Going back to the events of the first film, “Maniac Cop 2” traces its steps from the original film to continue off where Cordell started his journey for revenge against the people who framed and jailed him, leaving him to die at the hands of inmates he’d busted years before. “Maniac Cop 2” is a film intent on not only continuing the narrative but finishing off the loose ends of the original film. Continue reading
William Lustig is no stranger to films that dabble in the anarchic and try to play with our conceptions of paranoia and fear. The director is responsible for one of the most infamous slashers to ever come out in theaters “Maniac,” so delving in to the opposite spectrum of the premise is not surprising. “Maniac Cop” is almost an unofficial spin off of “Maniac” in where the former title was about a maniacal psycho on the loose in the city, the latter is about a maniacal authority figure on the loose in the city. Lustig doesn’t detract from the same tone and atmosphere that “Maniac” succeeded in and injects much of the same chaos and paranoia in this slasher film.
In the climax of this horror comedy Bruce Campbell who is playing Bruce Campbell is staring down two executives after the screening of his latest horror film and proclaims “The Fans Deserve Better.” I honestly don’t think he believes that anymore. Because for what I’ve seen over the last few years, Campbell is very aware that he is now riding on his cult reputation more than anything and is strictly winging it in terms of entertainment and original horror films. Campbell who has become somewhat of an icon over the decades by making bad movies and appearing in conventions eventually became a joke. Then there’s this 2007 monstrosity that further emphasizes Campbell the joke while also acting as an obvious vanity project that pretends to be for the fans but really feels like it’s for Bruce.
For a film so set on camp, and only camp, Coscarelli dials the campy atmosphere down to about a four most of the time. He even manages to paint his character who thinks he’s Elvis as a rather dignified person. The entire concept of “Bubba Ho-Tep” is rather original. There’s a soul sucking monster at an old folks home, and to discreetly suck life, and not be noticed, it’s taking the remaining life from the residents there, and no one is drawing much of a stir. But Elvis and the black JFK decide it’s about time to stop this monster before they’re next in the war path of the undead mummy. “Bubba Ho-Tep” is a lot less a horror film, and much more of a film about the horrors of getting old.