Is the Scariest ‘Evil Dead’ Movie Still Scary?

The Big Picture

  • As a child, watching Evil Dead II was a terrifying experience with nightmares caused by the sinister demons known as deadites. However, as an adult, the horror-comedy aspect of Evil Dead II is appreciated thanks to the gory scenes being both terrifying and hilariously entertaining.
  • Evil Dead II remains a beloved classic in the horror-comedy genre, pushing the limits and inspiring up-and-coming filmmakers with genre innovation from Sam Raimi.
  • Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell demonstrated how the horror genre can be fun to mix with other genres, combining grotesque horror with slapstick humor, making it both scary and funny at the same time.

Being a child and the youngest of a big family, some have no say in what’s being broadcast on your family’s TV. You can either watch the horror movie you know will give you nightmares with your siblings, or go upstairs and join your parents in watching the same old boring telenovela that airs every night. Naturally, this 7-year-old took her chances despite all those warnings shared by her mom echoing after every fear manifested on the small screen. But as it was, to gain the respect of her cool siblings, yours truly watched Sam Raimi’s 1987 horror-comedy Evil Dead II, and safe to say, the 84-minute feature was an experience.

Starring Bruce Campbell as the fearless protagonist, Ashley “Ash” Williams, Evil Dead II is one of those unique horror comedies that remain both terrifying and outlandishly funny at the same time. While it is highly debatable that the scariest Evil Dead movie is Army of Darkness, Evil Dead II comes pretty close — especially when you ask a 7-year-old. However, looking back all these years later, the slapstick horror intended to make audiences laugh flew past my head as the sinister-looking demons, known as deadites, were already causing nightmares. Fortunately, as I got older, I learned to appreciate the horror genre and revisited this chillingly fun film that is not so scary at all.


Evil Dead 2

Release Date
March 13, 1987

Sam Raimi



Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel

Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Ted Raimi, Denise Bixler

Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Renaissance Pictures

Kiss Your Nerves Good-Bye!

What Makes ‘Evil Dead II’ So Scary for Kids?

Bruce Campbell and Sarah Berry enter the tool shed in Evil Dead II
Image via Rosebud Releasing Corporation

Evil Dead II begins with Ash traveling to a secluded cabin in the woods with his girlfriend, Linda (Betsy Baker), for a romantic vacation. Upon arrival, Ash wanders down the cabin’s basement to discover items from the previous inhabitants, an archaeologist who has left a tape recorder with tapes and the ancient Book of the Dead titled, The Necronomicon. The tape plays back a recorded incantation that unleashes an evil force from the dark woods that kills and transforms Linda into a deadite. He is then joined by four other guests: the archaeologist’s daughter Annie (Sarah Berry), her research partner Ed (Richard Domeier), repairman Jake (Dan Hicks), and his girlfriend, Bobby Joe (Kassie DePaiva). Ash must then fight against these evil forces to take over the cabin and reverse the incantation to send them all back to their dimension.

Now, as a child, the concept of a horror-comedy film means nothing despite eyeballs popping out and flying into open mouths. All that was going through my mind was the scary image of deadite Linda dancing outside in the woods with her decapitated head. But it was the moment I heard Annie’s possessed mother, played by director Sam Raimi’s brother, Ted Raimi, singing the Mockingbird song in the most hauntingly chilling tone, that I knew I needed to get out of the room. That scene alone, of this deadite singing from the chained-up basement, gave me nightmares for many nights. All that goes through your mind as a child at that time is to cover your eyes. Watching this at 7 years old was something that I always deemed brave as I assured my siblings that I could handle a horror film that was “not even scary.” They were also entrusting me not to rat on them to my parents. I honestly had no idea what I was expecting other than what I saw from the DVD case of a skeleton with eyeballs looking back at me.

How ‘Evil Dead II’ Is Horrifyingly Hilarious For Adults

Throughout my childhood, I stayed away from this film. As a now-educated horror fan who has watched plenty of other horror films throughout the years, horror films that are far scarier than Evil Dead II, one can now praise the manic beauty of this movie. Specifically, Raimi’s unique signature in his bloody gory scenes, over-the-top evil performances, and terrifying creature design that was suitable for nightmares for a kid. When I was a teenager and learned to appreciate horror films, I revisited Evil Dead II to discover that it was not scary at all. It became one of my favorite horror films of all time. Now the film still has some very frightening scenes with decapitated deadites dancing in the dark misty forest, but The Evil Dead franchise can be both terrifying and hilariously entertaining.

Going back and watching all the gory and bloody scenes, you can now fully appreciate how goofy they are. Specifically, the scene where the possessed Henrietta’s eye pops out of her socket with a loud pop sound effect that then slowly flies into Bobby Joe’s open mouth. A ridiculously funny scene that was greatly inspired by The Three Stooges according to Sam Raimi. Campbell’s Ash is also vital in what makes this film a success. He reinvents the horror protagonist in this film, with the journey his character goes through from decapitating his girlfriend to fighting for his life.

‘Evil Dead II’ Is a Staple in the Horror-Comedy Genre

One must always go back to that one horror film that scared us as a child to see if it still carries that same fearful effect. The experience can be both fun and enlightening because we’re able to look back at all those pivotal scenes that gave us nightmares. Re-visiting this film as an adult has truly changed my perspective and not only made me love this film but also the genre of horror-comedy. From the beginning of production, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell sought to make a comedy film but wanted to still add the same elements of 1981’s The Evil Dead. Raimi and Campbell delivered the comedy and horror aspects with this soft reboot of the first Evil Dead, giving it a comedic twist. They utilized classic Buster Keaton-style slapstick comedy to subvert the genre by pushing the limits.

Evil Dead II not only remains a beloved classic among the horror community but also a staple in the horror-comedy genre that remains to be elevated by up-and-coming filmmakers. Raimi and Campbell showed everyone that the horror genre can be fun to mix with other genres. They elevated this film into a successful franchise with the equally entertaining sequel, 1992’s Army of Darkness, and STARZ’s Ash vs Evil Dead series.

Watch Evil Dead II on Prime Video in the U.S.

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