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Evil Dead 2 - A Retcon Sequel

Updated on October 23, 2012
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Evil Dead 2 is the second installment in a very unique trilogy from the 80s. In this review, and overview, I'm going to go over several of the highlights of the film that help it to continue thriving after 25 years. I will also explain just why exactly it shouldn't actually be considered a standard sequel or a remake of the original.

The Evil Dead franchise was the brainchild of Sam Raimi. The films were based on a character named Ashley J. Williams or better known as just "Ash" , played by the "B" horror movie legend Bruce Campbell. The film was released in 1987 as a so-called sequel to the 1981 release Evil Dead, and followed up by the 1992 release Army Of Darkness.

The first film was only considered a minor success before the making of Evil Dead 2, which almost instantly gained an undying cult following. This notoriety did manage to send some attention to the original film, but it would never see the popularity of Evil Dead 2.

I would like to tell you that it was superior acting, great special effects and an amazing storyline that has made this movie so incredible, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it's just the opposite, it's the hilarious overacting, below standard effects and cheesy script that makes this movie so good. The addition of a self amputated, possessed hand, being replaced with a chainsaw certainly helped to.

As the story goes Ash and his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) go on a romantic getaway to an abandoned cabin in the woods. while retrieving a bottle of wine from on top of the desk, Ash mistakenly plays a tape.

The tape in question just happens to be a recording of passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis left behind by the cabins previous owner, an archaeologist professor studying the book. At that point an evil spirit is unleashed, that possesses poor Linda. After discovering his girlfriends possession, Ash then decapitates and buries Linda, and in return the unknown force sets its sights on Ash.

As the evil entity slams into Ash he goes spiraling through the woods, eventually slamming into a tree and falling into a huge mud puddle. It is at this point that the recap of Evil Dead 1 ends and Evil Dead 2 begins.

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As part 2 begins Ash overcomes his possession, but struggles with his sanity after realizing there was no way to escape. Following this, Ash's right hand then becomes possessed and he is forced to severe it, in order to save his own life. What follows these already horrific events is none the less outrageous.

Throw in a few more potential victims (the archaeologists daughter being one of them), a convenient chainsaw replacement for Ash's severed hand, bleeding walls and a demon in the cellar, and you now have the recipe for a great horror/comedy. Whereas the first movie was strictly thought to be just horror, Evil Dead 2 purposely brought in a comedic view to the film.

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Which is your favorite Evil Dead film?

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The problem with the movie being a remake is really quite simple, other than the few similarities mentioned above the stories are not even close. The original had none of the humor, a completely different plot and a mostly new cast of characters including Ash's sister.

At the end of Evil Dead 2, Ash is sucked into wormhole that transports him and his chainsaw back in time, to fight the "Deadites" (the name given to the Demons later on) to save all of mankind. Of course none of this saving actually takes place until part 3, Army Of Darkness.

As mentioned previously in the article, the beginning of part 2 is a recap of part 1, only the story has been shortened and slightly modified by the writer. The original movie scenes were unavailable to use, due to foreign rights disputes. Therefore with all of these discrepancies we should now all know that the movie is certainly not a remake of the original.

So, if we have established, that Evil Dead 2 is not a remake then what is it exactly? Well, what it is technically called is a "retcon sequel". Retcon is just short for retroactive continuity, an alteration of previously established facts in fictional work.

During the recap of part 1 the movie had been given so many subtle changes, for whatever the reasons, that the new movie could no longer be considered, just a sequel. Regardless of what it's called, it's a great "B" movie and definitely worth watching. So, if for some reason you have never seen the film, check it out, you wont regret it.

DS Duby

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      jason9599 4 years ago

      Went to see evil dead 2 in the theater with my chick at the time. Along with two other couples. We all had taken some good acid about an hour or so before the movie. During lots of scenes security threatened to boot us out because we were laughing so hard. Especially us guys. We still laugh about about it sometimes to this day. People must have thought we were insane,laughing at demonic horror like that. ALLTIME CLASSIC! Definitely FRY FLICK. But only for those that can handle it.

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      Zombozo 5 years ago

      Naw, I have to admit that I was in the Evil Dead camp then I rewatched Evil Dead and 2 one after the other. ED2 is miles better. The original is really boring.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      lol I could definitely see that happening.

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      Siri B 5 years ago

      Thanks! The first time I watched them, I actually fell asleep halfway through the first one and woke up halfway through the second one and didn't even realise I'd missed too half movies... :D

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Exorcist 3 is a retcon sequel in that it follows the story line directly from the original exorcist as if number 2 never existed. Superman Returns is also for the same reason it ignores the events of both Superman 3 and 4. As for Evil Dead 2 the first 15 minutes of the movie, up to the point where Ash goes spinning through the air and slams into a tree, is what makes it retcon. In that 15 minutes they were bringing us up to speed on Evil Dead 1 and making a few changes along the way. After that spinning scene part 2 actually begins.Thanks for reading and commenting

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      Siri B 5 years ago

      Awesome article, thanks! Then again, I love the movies... :) AND just finished reading The regulators (read Desperation last year). Do you know of any other "retcon sequels"?

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      You have great taste in books those are both really good. You're right they do have that same resemblance, I have never thought of that before.

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida

      I love the Evil Dead movies!!! You are right, it is neither a remake, nor a sequel. I compare it most to a couple of books Stephen King wrote. Desperation and The Regulators(as Richard Bachman). They contained similar characters, though in different forms, but the stories were different. They were connected but different. Almost like alternate realities.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Good comment, I actually just liked it cause it wasn't in the norm and it made me laugh with how cheesy it was purposely done. I have a soft spot for corny movies. I wanted to go into more detail but wasn't wanting to give it all away and take away from any other viewers. I totally agree that it's not really even a horror movie and it's nothing I would watch to get a scare but it does make my dark side laugh. Sometimes I just need variety. Thanks for reading and following Dominique L

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      Dominique L 5 years ago from Oregon

      Once again, I stand alone. Didn't like Evil Dead 2. And I'm pretty sure there isn't enough acid in the world for me to actually be entertained by it.

      But I agree with Arbsy. Practical effects all the way.

      Great Hub though, I just wish you'd made it a little longer, maybe going into why it ended up like it did, or a little more in depth about what you liked about it. Just my thoughts though.

    • DS Duby profile image
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      DS Duby 5 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks Arbsy I appreciate the comment, and I have to say I agree it's one of my all time favorites.

    • Arbsy profile image

      Arbsy 5 years ago from Canada

      Love Evil Dead 2, Id take practical effects over CGI any day. Great Hub!