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Parents' Guide to

The Evil Dead (1981)

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Horror masterpiece is gory but silly; violence, drugs.

Movie NC-17 1983 85 minutes
The Evil Dead (1981) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 25 parent reviews

age 15+

Nudity not necessary

It’s a good not too realistic gore or blood with some nudity that I think is not needed in the movie but it’s not too bad it’s a 5 seconds of seeing a Brest it’s not too bad
age 15+

Graphic violence and gore, but the NC-17 rating is unwarranted

Horror violence and gore: Substantial and graphic. Although substantially graphic and gory, the effects are sometimes silly, exaggerated, and even fake-looking. The film has dark comedy (although it wasn't always palpable to me, personally) and it is also unintentionally funny sometimes Zombies/possessed people pick up and lob other characters at objects or otherwise strike them violently. A possessed woman impales another woman in the ankle with a pencil, gore oozes out of the wound as she screams in agony, this was one of the most graphic scenes IMO. A man forces a woman into a cellar and strikes her in the face with the handle of an ax to knock her unconscious. A possessed woman scratches the side of a man's face with her fingernail, gore is visible. A possessed woman falls into a lit fireplace and her face is burning with gore visible when she gets out. Demonic possession makes a woman bite her hand off, you see gore while she chews it and you hear crunching of bones while a man watches in horror. When she is finished she screams in agony and gore is seen from and on the stump. A possessed woman slashes a man with a knife and licks the gore off of it. In more than one scene, a man stabs a woman in the back with a knife, we see gore. The woman then falls on her back, impaling the knife in further. When the woman is stabbed she spits out gore, which also pours out of her wounds. A man chops up a woman with an axe, you see gore each time he draws back and the ax making contact with and amputating the woman's hand and foot. You then see the woman reduced to severed gore that twitches on the ground. A possessed woman is shot in the head with a shotgun, gore is shown. A man hits a possessed woman in the head and face many times as she ridicules him. A woman grabs a man's leg and scratches it until we see bone and gore. A woman jumps into the air and a man knocks her head off with a shovel. You see the body on top of the man, still grabbing at him, and gore spews and sprays in his face while the gore-splattered head comes to life. As a man is trapped in a cellar, the walls ooze gore; a water pipe breaks and shoots gore all over the man. A lightbulb fills with gore pouring from the socket, turning the room red. It is implied that a man was attacked by the woods, we see his face gorily cut and skin peeled off of it. Gore is seen splattered on him and coming out of his mouth. A man shoots a woman in the head and neck, we see gore. A man grabs another man's leg and bites into it, we see a bit of gore. A woman hits a man in the back with the blunt side of a fire poker. In a stop-motion scene, the people possessed by demons rot with graphic gore visible. Their hair falls out and their flesh if not everything else turns to gore. One of the bodies falls on the ground face first, and the head bursts covering a man entirely in gore. Huge hands tear two people possessed by demons to pieces, throwing gore everywhere as gore explodes onto another man. A man's head bursts, gore sprays on another man and onto his surroundings like a hose. Ash gouges his thumbs into the eyes of a possessed man and graphic gore oozes out. He then pulls a piece of wood out of the man and a gore shoots out like a fountain. Many characters (namely Ash) end up completely covered in gore. The most graphic scene of violence, in my opinion, is one with no gore, rather a graphic and unnecessary scene where a woman gets attacked by a living tree.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (25 ):
Kids say (80 ):

This low-budget wonder shows a major director, Sam Raimi, emerging fully-formed, pouring imagination and energy into every frame of his feature debut. No other genre movie at the time moved quite as well as this one, with creepy, wide-angle shots, crazy movement within the frame, razor-precise editing, and an eerie, nightmare-inducing sound design. It also upped the ante on movie gore, cheerfully throwing in gallons of gushing, spewing blood, twitching, severed body parts, chainsaws, axes, shotguns; and he stopped the show with a truly horrifying sequence of a woman raped by a tree.

Aside from that sequence, The Evil Dead has a deadpan silliness that was new to the otherwise dark, foreboding horror genre. It's equal parts Three Stooges and Night of the Living Dead. It made a cult star out of Bruce Campbell, whose stoic, yet rubbery face and body seemed to follow the unique rhythms of the movie itself. It's streamlined, ageless, and undiluted, unquestionably a drive-in masterpiece. It's just not for kids!

Movie Details

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