Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Mary Valenti
When it comes to the Evil Dead franchise, I can only recall fond memories around it as I grew up to the man I am today, a horror junkie with a passion for gore and masked maniacs!
|I'm sure that's an eye hanging by the socket there...|
At least, I think so.
In a way, the franchise also helped me fill a geeky void during my high school years, introducing me to horror franchising and influences as I looked up the Necronomicon and found out it's Lovecraftian origins (thus in turn introducing me to Lovecraftian horror), as well as introduce me to comics and horror-based video games as I began reading Dynamite Entertainment's Army of Darkness comic series and at least made aware of the Evil Dead video games.
It was around that time that I also found out about Within the Woods, AKA the proto-type Evil Dead. Reading about it online made me curious but that being the time Youtube was in its baby steps or non-existing, I can only picture what the short was like...
Until, like many titles here, I got into college; by then, I probably exposed myself to over 100 slasher titles or so, hence I do have a slight idea and reason why I am covering this here short.
|Is it me, or does this cabin look bigger in the outside?|
The rest of the short runs like your standard slasher climax: girl gets chased back into the cabin, zombie boyfriend returns to start murdering them one by one, final girl remains to fight off and kill her former lover, cliffhanger ending. I guess it is pretty useless to complain about the production quality seeing Within the Woods was made with a mediocre budget ($1,600, if my sources are right) and made sometime around the late 70s before being nearly fogotten, but if one would try to forget that this was the supposed stepping stone for the first Evil Dead movie and simply look at it as a short film, it is criminally terrible.
It's hardly visible with it's terrible lighting, the script is simplistically cheesy and the plot is pretty non-existent, but I feel that this movie will cater more to fans and too probably those who have the patience of a forgiving God, as its concept is still pretty fun in its simplicity and the gore effects (those that we can see) look terrifyingly intense despite the low budget. I guess it's grindhouse-quality helps ease any dissatisfaction I had with Within the Woods, fueling me with a strong sense of nostalgia that's enough to overlook most of its flaws and just see it as a nearly forgotten piece of horror cinema, so in a way, this short did okay. Just okay.
So as a short film of its own? Within the Woods is almost terrible. But as a forerunner to The Evil Dead, one of the most epic horror franchise out there? Worthwhile baby steps, people. Worthwhile baby steps...
1 male found slaughtered
1 female stabbed on the throat with a dagger
1 male knifed on the gut, later found slaughtered