Friday, November 12, 2010

A Love Letter To B-Movies

There are a lot of movies out there that pay tribute to b-movie cinema. Many of them have gotten theatrical releases, some have been put straight to video or DVD and some are so buried in the indie world that we might never see them. For my money,the 1995 slasher film Evil Ed is probably one of the greatest tributes to b-cinema that I have ever seen and it’s not even American. Yes, these Sweden based film tributes so many classic American b-movies that it goes to show you just how much of an impact that genre has. Simply put, Evil Ed is about a film editor named Ed who, after watching so many violent movies, goes insane and begins killing people he encounters. As Horror Watch once said, “Evil Ed is a loving, campy, completely over-the-top satire of 1980s American horror flicks” and here is why:

If you can’t tell already, the title Evil Ed is sort of like an homage to Raimi’s Evil Dead, in fact, the film seems almost like a love letter to him rather than b-movies. If you look the direction of the film you can see how much of Raimi’s skills rubbed off on the director. There are a lot of experimental camera angles, POV shots, swoops and low angles. More specifically, I think Evil Ed and Evil Dead bare striking resemblance but it seems like director Anders Jacobsson was only honoring Evil Dead and none of the sequels. Raimi uses the angles to enhance the frights or for comic relief and Jacobsson does the same thing. You can also look at the gore and violence that is so over the top that it comes off as hyperbole. This was also something that Raimi was known for but wasn’t full used until Evil Dead II.

There is a scene in the film in which the producer of the films that Ed has to chop tells him that he has to keep the ‘beaver rape scene.’ Though it comes off, to the casual audience, as sort of a disgusting joke… I see it more as the director’s personal commentary towards Evil Dead. Thinking about it; in Raimi’s film a bunch of trees rape a girl so why not have a beaver rape a girl? It was jabbing at the film in a harmless way. If all this isn’t enough to prove that half of the movie was influenced by Evil Dead than consider this: the producer of these horror movies, appropriately named Loose Limbs, is named Sam Campbell… a cross between Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi.

Speaking of Loose Limbs, lets talk about those films for a minute. Right off the bat any horror fan will tell you that the title alone sounds like a cheesy b-movie from the 80s, in the same vain as Body Bags, Slumber Party Massacre or Pieces. It’s a title that describes what the gory actions will place in the film. Loose Limbs features an overly psychopathic madman that goes around with an arsenal of serrated knives and dices up women but it seems like the film follows the antagonist rather than the protagonist. Either way, the film depicts extremely graphic nudity, gore, and a lot of vulgar language. Here, the director is poking fun at the formula of a slasher movie: you have to have a deranged psychopath, breasts and lots of blood. Perhaps Loose Limbs is less of an homage and more of a parody of the genre.

In terms of tributes, there are dozens of posters all over Sam’s house and office. See, Ed is staying at Sam’s other house so that he can get some editing done and there are dozens of posters all over the place. Cape Fear, Evil Dead 2, Halloween, The Fly and Price of Darkness are just some of the posters littered throughout this film. Even the monster in the fridge is sort of similar to that of the Mogwai in Gremlins. The green skin, the tattered ears, the stripes, the antics, all in loving fun of the classic Spielberg/Dante film. All the classic horror movie archetypes are in this film as well; zombies, demons, psychopaths, monsters and even the military.

When Ed fully descends into madness at the hospital, the army is sent to try to stop him and by this point Ed has turned into loon. What’s funny is that he’s almost monstrous and when the military tries to gun him down, he somehow manages to escape and remain unharmed. That plot is lifted from any given monster movie where the military has to try to stop the thing from destroying the town. Even the general himself is your typical hardboiled, gun toting asshole.

Evil Ed plays on the myth that people become killers and crazy people because they are exposed the graphic nature of horror movies. However, if you look past it’s camp, schlock, bad ADR and hammy acting you’ll see that this film is literally a love letter to b-cinema. Written and directed sincerely in it’s dedication.


watch movies said...

Great Sound !! Seems to be interesting one. I never listened about it but now I am quite interested in this film. Hopefully, I watched it soon...

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