Friday, July 2, 2010

Black & White Friday: Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn

Sam Raimi's cult sensation Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (as it's called on the DVD box here in Australia, but I can't seem to get confirmation on where the subtitle is actually used) had gone unseen by me for far too long. Having been a fan of the grungy horror of the original I had been turned off by the knowledge that it took an overtly comedic turn in the sequel. However, during my recent horror binge (still going on as far as I can tell) I decided to take a gander and... well, a look at the screening guide to the right will tell you all you need to know.

It was this shot, within the film's opening minutes, that made me take notice of the rest of the film for this series. This shot reminded me of, strangely enough, Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps with it's obviously studio reproduced mountainous terrain. I wasn't quite the bounty of possible moments to use, however. I took over 20 screencaps and had to whittle it down to a mere ten. Woe.

The main reason why Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn was such a treasure trove for this feature was the way director Sam Raimi and his cinematographer Peter Deming (he of Lost Highway, Scream 2 and Mulholland Drive) play with the classic framing devices of shlock horror with its plays on shadow and light. In black and white it looks far classier than it does in colour and could easily be mistaken for a respectable fright flick from the early days of horror.

This was a killer shot in the movie and while it lacks the punch of its bright orange colour here it is still excellent from a purely composition point of view.

I captured quite a few shots of this demon character since she reminded me so much of an old movie villain. Perhaps a bit more grotesque (especially in colour, obviously) than those, but she reminded me nonetheless. There's something quite charming and Ed Woodian about being able to see all the layers of makeup and fake grotesqueness.

For me, the film's crowning achievement was this moment so I had to capture it in its hilarious glory. I can't admit I didn't jump and then very quickly burst into laughter as the headless chainsaw-wielding body ran into the tool shed. And it only got better.

More shadows. Yes, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn is shlocky with its gore, but it could have been so much worse and I am very glad that they made a lot of it off screen and in shadow.

Well I had to include this shot, didn't I?

In black and white the whole Addams Family riff is even more obvious. This wasn't my particular favourite shot of the chopped off hand, but it's so well known and it's funny so I felt I had to include it.

I needed at least one shot of these guys (Kassie Wesley and Dan Hicks) because they are definitely entertaining (more so than Sarah Berry!) and this moment makes me chuckle. I tend to really enjoy performances of characters who have absolutely no idea what the hell they've gotten themselves into because they tend to verge of hysterical madness and I like that.

It really does look like something from Romero's Night of the Living Dead, doesn't it?

I think that was quite successful, no?

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