The Evil Dead (1981); Evil Dead II (1987)
Director: Sam Raimi
It is a no-brainer to group these two films together. Though Evil Dead II doesn't act as a normal sequel to The Evil Dead, the two films feature Ash Williams being driven into madness by the horrors unleashed in a remote cabin the woods. While The Evil Dead is meant to have been a straight horror film, the utterly ridiculous amount of goo, and the over-the-top performances of the cast, sent the film into disgustingly enjoyable camp horror; a tone Evil Dead II takes as a starting point and exploits to great humour.
Raimi's brilliantly sick mind is on full display in both films. Only a sick mind would come up with a girl getting raped by trees, and well as brilliantly use a simple technique to create the iconic shots of the camera zooming along the forest floor, the viewpoint of some unknown terror. The use of stop-work animation is obvious, but I prefer it to modern CGI; there is something charming and also unsettling about its jerky movements. The make-up is also funny in its low-budget quality, but again feels real.
Of the two I liked The Evil Dead a tad more than its sequel, though both are great and really should be watched together. The greater amount of gore and spurting fluids may explain my preference. The sequel worked best when it is Ash by himself in the cabin, trying to overcome the evil spirits. This section strays into silent film comedy, when Ash's hand becomes possessed and starts beating him around the head.
These two films are a world away from the depressing darkness of 1970s horror, or the poetic sadness of Eyes Without a Face. Yet they are an immense amount of fun, with moments of true horror thrown in for good measure. If you are squeamish, don't watch on a full stomach.