Few movies can be considered a cornerstone for an entire genre. However, Sam Raimi’s classic film, “The Evil Dead,” is quite possibly one of the definitive movies that made modern horror. The movie-design used in “The Evil Dead” has become one of the most common layouts, and has been used more times than I can keep track of. Not only did it spawn two sequels, but it also has many remakes (If you never noticed this, throw in your dusty copy of “Creatures from the Abyss” – it is almost a scene for scene remake). Ash, his girlfriend Linda, their friends Scott and Shelly, and Ash’s sister Cheryl are driving to a secluded cabin deep in the woods for a break from the tiresome routine of college life. They are stricken with fear first when they nearly hit an oncoming truck, and again as the one bridge on to (and off of) the area with their cabin nearly falls apart while they drive over it. Even after arriving odd occurrences are continuing, but the crew doesn’t pay them much heed. However, during supper the hatch leading down into the cellar flies open, and Ash and Scotty head down to investigate. They forget what they were looking for as they find a shotgun, a cassette player, a skeletal dagger and a flesh-covered book. Once they return to the girl’s they listen to one of the tapes from in the cellar. The recorded voice of the man who lived in the cabin before speaks of demonic forces out in the forest. The two guys decide to fast-forward a bit, and come in half-way through the man’s recitation of a “demon-resurrection” chant from the flesh-covered book. Cheryl runs off to her room, and finally calms down later that night. However, she then goes outside to inspect an odd feeling, only to be attacked and raped by the trees, which are now possessed by these demons. Soon the crew learns that the bridge is torn apart, leaving them stranded in their cabin. It seems that her struggle with the demon-tree possessed Cheryl, as well. Now it is only a matter of time until everyone is possessed, unless Ash stops the demons. This movie has it all. The location is excellent (I’m a sucker for secluded locations, especially cabins), the gore effects are awesome when you remember the time (Being 1981, and having a small budget, Raimi pulled of some great tricks). The entire feel of the movie is perfectly tense – despite a small amount of character introduction, you can quickly feel for the main characters. The opening scene with them all singing in the car instantly pulls you in. The character development in the first half is done discreetly enough that it doesn’t feel like you are witnessing sudden changes in the people – it is as if you have known these people for years, and you are only seeing minor changes to their personalities. By the time the main characters are dying, you can really feel for them all. Describing the DVD will be the difficult part for me. Despite my being in love with this movie, I have never bought the “Book of the Dead” edition – in fact, I never bought more than the $10 Anchor Bay disk I have. My version’s audio is actually quite clear, but the video is pretty grainy and in full screen. Although I am sure that there are better transfers available, there is a charm to seeing this movie in such a dirty condition, since it adds to the realism by not feeling as clean-cut. The big drawback to my disk is that there are no special features except for one trailer. This alone makes the “Book of the Dead” version the best buy, which even I can see through my fond disillusionments. However, the copy that you watch doesn’t matter as much as simply that you do watch this movie, since it is one that is sure to please. Breakdown Story: 9 / 10 Audio: 4 / 5 Video: 3 / 5 DVD: 1 / 5 Total: 6.8 / 10 **Don’t let the low score fool you – the movie itself deserves a 10, it is only the DVD quality that lowered it!