Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Ash looks up, face covered in blood, and wonders what he has to do to survive.

In the role he is most famous for, Bruce Campbell tears up the screen as Ash, a man who wanted to have a romantic weekend in the woods with his girlfriend, Linda, and is instead made to fight for his life against demon-possessed corpses. And trees.

It starts with a recording of a missing archaeologist reading mysterious words from The Book of the Dead. This summons a demon who quickly possesses Linda. When the professor’s daughter, Henrietta, arrives looking for her father, instead she finds a half-mad Ash covered in blood, and her undead mother in the cellar.

It’s showing its age and budget constraints, but this is more than made up for by the charisma of the cast, Raimi’s creativity with the camera, and a relentless pace that doesn’t let up. Ash’s transformation from awkward nerd via slapstick comedy and self-mutilation to action hero is one of the wonders of the horror genre.

All films in 2023’s #31DaysofHorror…