Groovy – 1981 VS 2013

I am not particularly fond of remakes. I’m not saying that each and everyone should be condemned but I don’t always see the need for them. Or at least I didn’t until last year.

My final year of university (2011-2012) I had to write a dissertation. As I am such a fan of the horror film – and many people will say it is my area of expertise – I decided to write it on the horror remake. I’ll just briefly fill you in, as I would like to get to the point soon, I focused on three remakes, and attempted to determine the purpose behind them. Some people think that a remake is just a remake. But if you scratch the surface of some of them, you see its more than just someone being lazy, or trying to be douche.

In brief, some remakes are their to update a film for a new audience. Some are meant to play homage to the original. Some are meant to translate a film from one country to another. These three here are just some of the many examples of a remake.

Now without any further delay, I would like to move onto the main purpose of this post. I just wanted to first clarify that I at least had some small idea of what I was talking about.

I recently went to see Evil Dead (2013, Fede Alvarez) at the cinema. If you haven’t seen the film and are just wondering what I thought of it – if I think you should go and see it, then I will tell you. This is a good horror film. Its one of few modern horror films that is actually scary and even though it features a group of friends somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the characters don’t follow the typical stereotype. If you like horror films, I recommend this one. Even if you haven’t seen the original – and if you haven’t I wouldn’t watch it after because its something you really need to appreciate. I’d give this 4 stars.

Oh, and there is a scene at the end of the credits, but its really just for the cultists out there!


So, dear readers, let’s begin.

I’d like to start off by saying that I love the original film. The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981) is a film I remember seeing at quite a young age and being terrified. I loved it from that point on. I realize that it’s dated, and that a lot of people outside of the horror cult world think its a pretty ridiculous film, but quite frankly I don’t care. Its inspired many, many horror films since its time, one of the most recent being the wonderful Cabin In The Woods (Drew Goddard, 2011) a film that the 2013 Evil Dead plays a tiny homage to! 

Any, I’m getting carried away. Due to my love of this film, I was greatly annoyed by the idea of the remake. But then on finding out that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were involved I came around to the idea a little more. Still, I went in with a slightly biased mind.

This film is not a remake in the simplest of terms. It is more of an update than anything else, with the hint of homage. Lets look at the facts shall we…

First of all, its not been made the same, there are some very clear changes not just because the technology is different. Here’s why.

The Title

Simply, one word has been removed from the title. It has gone from being THE Evil Dead to just Evil Dead. Its a change that is hardly even noticeable, yet says quite a lot about the new film. Its something that tells the viewer before they have even seen anything that it is a different film. Whilst it is The Evil Dead, it is its own version.

The Story

The changes to the story give it more of a purpose. Instead of the friends just being there for a holiday/vacation in a cabin in the woods, they are at a family cabin as part of an intervention for a friend who has become addicted to drugs.This also makes the transformation from human to Deadite a little less believable for the friends. When Mia starts to act strangely they assume its because she suffering from withdrawal.

The Tree Rape Scene

A scene that is horrendous to watch in either film. I had a debate with my boyfriend as to whether or not it would be kept in, as Sam Raimi has expressed regrets about doing it. However, it was still included. The changes to it – in the original it is quite clear that she is being assaulted by tree, and it is assumed it is because the evil in the woods are trying to torment and hurt her. But in the 2013 version, it is more like the demon that wants to possess them is placing her evil inside Mia. Although still gruesome, she isn’t being raped by an actual tree this time, and it gives the scene a greater purpose. (Although, the scene in the original is also what causes Cheryl to become possessed.)

The Awakening

So, in the 1981 version, the kids think it’ll be fun to play an old tape recorder that was found with book that pretty much has “DO NOT TOUCH” plastered all over it! This causes the evil to awaken. In the 2013 version they have gotten rid of the tape player, and instead one of the characters just reads from the book. I suppose the idea of using an old tape player was a little outdated. The chances are – even though this group of friends would remember a tape player in their more recent memories – it would seem less likely that they would want to actually play it.

The opening and close

Unlike the beginning of the original, the 2013 film shows a previous instance of possession. I don’t feel that this was necessary, but it did add something to the cabin. Instead of it just being a basement below it was a room used to de-possess someone. The room is creepy and gives off a funny smell. This drives Mia crazy when  she is coming off her drugs. In the original film none of this is seen. As a result the film is a little simpler – no one really questions the whys and ware-fores.

The endings are completely different. I find this most interesting as I always wondered what would have happened if Ash had turned sooner, instead of it just being suggested that something happened to him at the end. In 2013s Book of the Dead, a lot more detail can be seen on the demons, including the different stages of the possession, how to de-possess someone, and what the final stage of the prophecy is. This comes to light when David is attacked and blows up the cabin. The end is near, and the skies rain blood. It is at this moment that I started to think of Cabin In The Woods where the world actually does come to an end. However Mia manages to prevent this from actually happening, and to our knowledge she survives. 

If the films are looked at as two separate films, you can see that they are both very good. If I saw the recent Evil Dead, and I had never seen the original, I would be thoroughly impressed to see such a good, modern horror film. Saying that, I do think the 1981 version is the better one.

Both are excellent films though, that I would love to study in further detail. I feel I have only scratched the surface here.

Thanks for reading 🙂



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