Countless imitators later, The Evil Dead remains a dizzying bloodbath in which gore proves both nasty and amusing. Setting the template for thousands of subsequent followers, Sam Raimi’s debut film charts the saga of two guys and three girls as they embark on a vacation in a remote forest cabin where, in a creepy dungeon decorated with a torn The Hills Have Eyes poster, they discover the Book of the Dead and an accompanying audio recording. Once played, said tape lets loose the surrounding area’s demons, who proceed to possess the hapless twenty-somethings save for Ash (Bruce Campbell), a sweet, somewhat timid guy who begins the evening giving his main squeeze a necklace and ends it by chopping her head off with a rusty shovel (severing the inflicted’s limbs being the only method of stopping them). Raimi’s rollercoaster cinematography seems no less gimmicky now than it did in 1981, creating a freewheeling vibe that contributes to the goofy comedy that underlies the film’s over-the-top gross-out scenarios, which primarily involve Campbell – in an iconic turn both sweet and terrified – having his face splattered with crimson goo. No serious subtext to be found here, just vigorous love and respect for the simultaneous horror and humor inherent to the genre, here epitomized by an infamous sexual assault carried out by animated tree branches, the chilling sight of girlfriends morphed into milky white-eyed ghouls who taunt victims with nursery rhymes, and endless POV shots that place one directly in the line of Raimi’s projectile-fluid fire.