And no, it's not "Cabin Fever" -- I liked that a lot, but it doesn't deserve to lick the cauldron of "Evil Dead 2." As Sam Raimi told me in 1990, he and his producer, Rob Tapert, couldn't raise enough money to make the sequel they had planned for their low-budget hit, "The Evil Dead." So in 1986 they decided "to put the same guy back in the same haunted cabin" and "to make a comedy versus a straight horror picture." Raimi, who stunned naysayers with his grasp of adult suspense in "A Simple Plan," had started his career with horror flicks because he thought he could get them made. After studying the effect of horror fodder on downtown Detroit audiences, he decided to use the dehumanization of the genre -- "We all know the characters stink in horror movies; they're used as pawns to frighten the audience" -- as grist for hell-bent camera work and comedy. He went all-out in "Evil Dead 2." The result is a one-time-only horror-slapstick jamboree. The plot is almost nonexistent: The hero ( Bruce Campbell) and his girlfriend enter the obligatory remote cabin in an archetypal deep forest and awake the spirits of the dead. The kick of the film lies in its cascade of outrageous gags, involving, among other things, runaway eyeballs and decapitation. Let's just say that in this movie, when the director makes an allusion to "A Farewell to Arms," he really is referring to a farewell to arms.
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