Oh boy, I love this film. An unbeatable combination of scares, apocalyptic violence and black comedy, it's one of my all-time favourites. But Horror Movie Sequel Theatre isn't about the quality of a film - it's about how closely they adhere to the template of the horror movie sequel.

ED2 introduces one of the most popular characters in the world of horror - Ash, played by Bruce 'The Chin' Campbell. Not to be confused with the Ashes from Alien, Crow 2: City of Angels and Pokemon, Ash was the instantly likeable reluctant hero with a wealth of one-liners, most or all of which were later pinched by Duke Nukem. Interestingly enough, although everyone likes Ash, whoever wrote this film didn't seem to like him at all. Let's go through the plot and take a look.

We open with Ash being a perfectly normal, sane, lantern-jawed rugged sensitive guy, taking a break with his girlfriend in a cute little house in the woods. He's obviously the hero. He plays the piano, for God's sake. Then he finds a tape recorder and turns it on. It's a bloke reading from the Necronomicon, which (as we learnt from a fun stop-motion animation at the beginning) is an ancient book of evil.

Don't go bothering your local library for the Necronomicon, kids, 'cos this ain't no bathtime reading. Next we get the point of view of ... something ... as it rushes towards the house. Then it bursts through a window and engulfs Ash's lovely girlfriend. She expresses her discomfort at being groped by an ancient evil, and in springs Ash, who finds his girl missing and the window smashes. Apparently feeling there's not enough broken glass on the floor, he theatrically drops the wine bottle he was holding.

Venturing outside he discovers that his girl has become a zombie. Hey, it happens to he best of us. Any normal person would try to appeal to the human side of the beast. But not this boy, oh dear me no. Ash hasn't got time for such pleasantries. He finds a convenient shovel and pops her head off.

Any normal horror film at this point would have Ashy-boy leaving the body and sealing himself in the house. But no! Apparently our Ash has seen a few horror flicks. He knows exactly what he's doing. First he buries the corpse, then he jams a huge wooden cross into it. Nice one. Now we're back with the point-of-view shot of something nasty as it homes in on our hero. It collides with him, and in the first truly hilarious slapstick moments he gets hurled right across the forest, being deposited face-first into what looks like a puddle of wee-wee.

Now it's his turn to get possessed. Conveniently, the sun rises the exact second he does, and he's back to normal. Further evidence that Ash has experience with horror films - he then does what we're always shouting at characters in these flicks to do: hop into his car and drive off into the sunset.

But apparently not. The bridge back to civilization seems to have coiled itself up. This is the first of many moments where Ash does a bit of anguished yelling. In this case, "NO! OH NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!". So apparently continuing on foot is not even worth considering. Maybe he's trying for the no-claims bonus on the car insurance and doesn't want to leave it behind. Days apparently pass pretty quickly in this neck of the woods, as the sun suddenly sets and the invisible thing that gets a lot of POV shots is back in action. Ash gets in his car again and drives away from whatever it is as it pursues him at high speed.

But terror has reduced Ash's ability to drive, and he hits something and hurtles through the windscreen. Unperturbed, he legs it away from the chasey thing at high speed and hides in the house until it goes away.

The crosses are a nice touch.
I couldn't find any pictures from the film on Google
Image Search, but get a load of this cake!

Resigned to the fact that he's going to have to stay in this bastard haunted house to get away from the bastard chasey thing in the woods, Ash has his second encounter with zombie wife. The disembodied head sinks its teeth into his hand and won't let go. Now begins ED2's open season on 'people receiving blows to the head' as he whacks the head against walls, trees and anything remotely solid.

Gathering his wits for a second he nips to the toolshed and, with the help of a vice, gets the possessed bitch off. Next step is to wrestle a chainsaw from the rest of the body and use it to finally bring his wife's undeath to an end. It pretends to be his wife for a second, but there's no fooling Ash! Especially not by a disembodied head in a vice. In goes the chainsaw and the toolshed is redecorated in an interesing new shade called 'hint of brain'. Joke stolen from Blackadder Goes Forth.

This chainsaw will soon become Ash's greatest ally. Especially in the next scene where his hand becomes possessed (Inducing more anguished yelling: "YOU DIRTY BASTARDS! GIVE ME BACK MY HAND!!") and smashes plate after plate onto Ash's poor head. With the help of his new best friend, his evil hand is sawn off. I'm not sure if Ash could feel the pain, but he certainly was grinning a lot as blood sprayed all over his face.

But the hand's not finished! First it flips him off, and you really don't do that to a man who has just been forced to saw off an important appendage, and now seems to be wielding a shotgun. Boom! Holes in the wall. The furniture finds this incredibly amusing and starts laughing at him. But Ash doesn't let it get to him, he starts laughing too. In no time at all he's laughing his face off with the house, like they're the best of chums. Then I started laughing and everyone - villain, hero and viewer - are enjoying the joke. What a jolly day. I think it would have been cool if Ash had then told a few jokes and struck a deal with the house while it was in a good mood, then maybe have a few games of Charades with the armchair and have a party. but no, his laughter becomes more anguished yelling - he's gonna get a sore throat at this rate - and there comes a knock at the door.

Pointing the shotgun at the door and blowing a hole in it may not have been a smart social move, as it wasn't the Evil, it was the daughter of the house's owner and a few mates. Here's more evidence that the writer of this film didn't like Ash - the new arrivals beat him up and, assuming by the presence of a bloody chainsaw that he's been dismembering the landlord, chuck him down the stairs into the cellar and, just to add insult to injury, spit on him. Now that wasn't called for.

I don't wanna write too much, so I'll just speed through the rest. Daughter turns tape recorder on and discovers the truth, some zombie appears in the cellar, Ash is let out and he explains the nature of the Evil to his new chums. Everyone except Ash and daughter get killed by the Evil or possessed by it, in which case Ash kills them. Ash has to go down to the cellar to get some pages from the Necronomicon and end the Evil, but the zombie's down there, so first he gets kitted out as ... SUPER ASH! The chainsaw is modified and attached to his arm stump, he makes a shoulder holster for his shotgun, and he comments on how groovy this all is.

To cut a long story short, daughter reads a few spells, Super Ash battles the zombies and a big tree monster, then daughter gets killed and both Super Ash and Evil are sucked into a rift in space-time, ending up in 1300 AD. Some knights are about to kill Ash, thinking he's a demon (due to the chainsaw), when a winged monster swoops down. By this time Ash has had enough. He stares down monster, draws his shotgun, aims, and spills some gooey monster blood. Then the medieval folk accept Super Ash as their saviour from the sky, and get down on there knees and hail him. Does he accept their praise gracefully? Does he bollocks. The end.

Ratings time!

Fingers in ears rating - 8/10
There're so many 'jump and scream like a girl' moments it's almost silly. Like much of the rest of the film.

Similarity to last film rating - N/A
I've never seen Evil Dead 1, but from what I've gathered, there's no Ash in it, so I don't think I'll bother.

Get nekkid and DIE! rating - 1/10
The 'get nekkid and DIE' principle doesn't really apply to ED2, as no-one gets nekkid. The one point is 'cos a few zombies were nekkid, but being zombiefied you don't see anything.

Blood and guts rating - 8/10
The quantities of blood get biologically unsound here and there - and that's A-OK with me.

Hateful heroes rating - 7/10
There is no way anyone could ever conceivably dislike Ash. But the other goodies were tossers to a man.

Overall horror movie sequel rating - 5/10
An ace film, straying greatly from the cliche of the horror movie sequel.

Quality Rating: 85%

One-Word Summary: "Laughter"

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