Evil Dead (1981 franchise)

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Promotional image for Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015 series)

The Evil Dead franchise consists of the following films and television show:

  1. "Within the Woods" (1978 short)
  2. The Evil Dead (1981 film)
  3. Evil Dead II (1987 film)
  4. Army of Darkness(1992 film)
  5. Evil Dead (2013 film)
  6. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015 series)

In addition, there have been several unofficial sequels, and licensed comic books and video games.


Evil Dead is an American horror film franchise created by Sam Raimi consisting of four feature films and a television series. The films revolve around the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian or Kandarian text which wreaks havoc upon a group of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Michigan. The protagonist, Ashley J. "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell) is the only character to appear in every installment of the original trilogy (Linda, Ash's girlfriend makes an appearance in all 3 films, but her only appearance in Army of Darkness is during the prologue), and returns to the role in the 2015 television series Ash vs. Evil Dead.


  • Release Date: 1978, 1981, 1987, 1992, 2013, 2015-
  • Country/Language: USA, English
  • Genres/Technical: Horror, Fantasy, with occasional slap-stick and black comedy
  • Starring: Bruce Campbell (et.al.); 2013 Remake/Reboot has a completely different cast; 2015 series stars Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, with Jill Marie Jones and Lucy Lawless; Ted Raimi
  • Director: Sam Raimi; 2013 Remake/Reboot directed by Fede Alvarez
  • Producer: Robert Tapert (et.al.); 2013 Remake/Reboot produced by Bruce Campbell, Robert Tapert, and Sam Raimi
  • Writer: Sam Raimi (et.al.); 2013 Remake/Reboot written by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues
  • Production Co: Renaissance Pictures, New Line Cinema, Universal (Army of Darkness); Remake/Reboot by Ghost House Pictures, FilmDistrict, TriStar
  • View "Within the Woods' at: (link)


MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: the franchise is generally rated R (Violence, and occasional Brief Nudity and Adult Content)

The over-the-top violence and Three-Stooges-style slapstick comedy typical of most of the original entries in this franchise might take the edge off the horror and make the franchise a little more "kid-friendly"; with parental guidance, youngsters will probably find The Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness particularly accessible (in spite of buckets of blood, brief claymation nudity, and occasional "adult themes" in Ash's wisecracks), but the 2013 reboot/remake will probably be a little too intense for most children.

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian)

This franchise does a little Lovecraftian name-dropping (such as for the tome Necronomicon), there are some obscure cross-overs in some comics to Lovecraft's Herbert West character, and the themes of Ash's hopeless struggle against the Weird horror of the Evil Dead, complete with downer endings, are close in spirit to Lovecraft's horror.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.


Review Links:

  • (reviews needed!)


 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

"Within the Woods" (1978 short): Teenagers picnicking in a creepy cabin in the woods disturb an ancient native-American burial ground, become possessed by evil spirits, and slaughter ensues. The Evil Dead (1981 film): Teenagers picnicking in a creepy cabin in the woods recite words from the Necronomicon, become possessed by evil spirits, and slaughter ensues. Evil Dead II (1987 film): picking up where the previous film left off, Ash battles against evil spirits as a new group of teenagers arrive at the cabin; Ash defeats the demons, but is sucked into a portal into another world. Army of Darkness(1992 film): picking up where the previous film left off, Ash battles the Deadites in a strange, medieval world of the past. Evil Dead (2013 film): a remake/reboot/sequel of the original Evil Dead film, teenagers holding an intervention in the creepy cabin from the first film read an incantation from a book found in the cabin, become possessed by evil spirits, and slaughter ensues; Ash only appears in a brief post-credit scene, and future films are meant to continue the cross-over between the original films and the reboot. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015 series): Picking up 30 years after Evil Dead II (due to a legal dispute over Army of Darkness), Ash, friendless and broken following the events of the films, accidentally releases the Kandarian demons again, and, with the help of new friends and fellow demon-hunters Pablo and Kelly, stays one step ahead of a pursuing police investigation while trying to stop the Evil Dead.

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

  • Many of the props from the original films were carefully reconstructed or reused for later sequels in the franchise, and often appear in the background of the television series.
  • Legal disputes over the rights to later films forced production for the television series to carefully write around the events from Army of Darkness and the reboot.
  • The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis was meant to appear in the original short film, but had to be omitted; it would re-appear in all the other film and television entries in the Franchise.
  • The phrase "Klaatu Barada Nikto" is a reference to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 film).
  • The short film "Within the Woods" can be considered a rough draft for The Evil Dead, and The Evil Dead II might be considered a remake of The Evil Dead.

Background and Legacy

Associated Mythos Elements

Keeper Notes

The general plot of most of the films in the series (group of friends stay at cabin and awaken evil spirits) might be adapted into the premise behind a Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario (perhaps a variation on "The Haunting (scenario)"), either with the investigators investigating the kids' disappearance, or a one-shot with doomed investigators unleashing the Kandarian Demons.

External links, See Also

Also part of the franchise:

  • Video Games:
    • The Evil Dead (1984 video game) for Commodore 64
    • Evil Dead: Hail to the King (2000 video game) for PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC
    • Evil Dead: Fistful of Boomstick (2003 video game) for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    • Evil Dead: Regeneration (2005 video game) for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC
    • Army of Darkness: Defense (2011 video game) for iOS and Android
    • Evil Dead: The Game (2011 video game) for iOS
  • Unofficial Italian film sequels:
    • La Casa 3 (1988 film) (AKA Ghosthouse)
    • La Casa 4 (1988 film) (AKA Witchery)
    • La Casa 5 (1990 film) (AKA Beyond Darkness)
  • Comic Series:
    • Army of Darkness (1992 comic) and Army of Darkness (2008 comic) from Dark Horse Comics
    • Army of Darkness: Ashes 2 Ashes (2004 comic) from Dynamite Entertainment
    • Army of Darkness: Shop till You Drop Dead (2005 comic) from Dynamite Entertainment (includes cross-overs with Re-Animator (1985 franchise))
    • Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead By Dawn (2015 comic), a three-issue mini-series from Space Goat Productions
    • Evil Dead 2: Tales of the Ex-Mortis (2015 comic), a three-issue anthology from Space Goat Productions
    • Evil Dead 2: Cradle of the Damned (2016 comic), a three-issue mini-series from Space Goat Productions
    • Evil Dead 2: Revenge of ... (2016 comic) series of one-shots from Space Goat Productions, which began with Hitler in March 2016 and will be followed by Dracula, the Martians, Jack the Ripper and Krampus
    • Evil Dead 2: Dark Ones Rising (2016 comic), a three-issue mini-series from Space Goat Productions
  • Related films:
    • My Name is Bruce (2008 film), starring Bruce Campbell as himself, forced to fight demons in a town full of people who believe he is Ash from the film series
    • Equinox (1970 film) (another independent fantasy/horror film that is similar in many ways to The Evil Dead)