The Filmmaking Genius of ‘Evil Dead II’s Gory Slapstick

By  · Published on October 30th, 2017

Comedy and horror are the peanut butter and chocolate of genres.

Tongue-in-cheek, parody, camp, and slapstick all have homes in subgenres of horror. Evil Dead II is one of the most successful examples of the latter. The Sam Raimi sequel embraces all that connects the most body-based genres, using a cinephile’s smorgasbord of filmmaking techniques to draw lines between wacky and spooky wherever he can.

Doing so creates a film that trusts its audience to be onboard from the go. Drama needs to earn an audience’s partnership through their minds. Horror and comedy have to affect the body. Are palms sweating? Are guts busting? If there’s not laughter or tension in the theater, something is wrong.

Matt Draper looks at these conventions in context of the film, highlighting particular scenes that toe the thin line with aplomb. Even if that toeing is with a chainsaw. Dissecting this genre combination to find out what makes it tick can help us all understand how psychological films are, and how anatomical some key reactions must be in order for these films to succeed. The cognitive connections, formed through devices like editing, framing, and acting choices, reach our funny bones and sweat glands to make the moviegoing experience matter.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).