Trade Paperback Review of The Evil Dead (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008
The Evil Dead is one on the most important and influential horror films of the past thirty years. It launched the careers of actor Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi and spawned dozens if imitators. Its miniscule budget is legendary and frankly, enough to embarrass the big studios who have been unable to match the power of the film with budgets a thousand times greater. As proof of its longevity and its death grip hold on horror fans, Dark Horse Comics presents a trade paperback adaptation of the film, collecting the four-issue mini series. Written by Mark Verheiden with art by John Bolton, the book takes fans on a journey back to that the run down cabin in the wilderness where evil awaits.
However, the book isn’t just an adaptation of the film but think of it as Evil Dead the Extended cut. Besides skillfully retelling the story of Ash and his friend’s excursion into Hell, Verheiden expands on the story, filling in gaps and providing some additional meat to the bones of the story. Specifically we see the group of friends all preparing for their trip as Scotty relates a local myth about a guy going crazy at the cabin years earlier. Verheiden also fleshes out the story of the professor whose tape recorder and notes they find in the cellar and shows us his dark fate. We also get a great glimpse into what happened to Scotty when he tried to find another way to leave the cabin.
Bolton vividly depicts the demonic voices that speak to Cheryl after her transformation and banishment to the cellar. These unholy things speaking to her in the dark gives you a greater grasp of the terror that infests the cabin. Also interesting was a bit of a twist to the ending. Not a change, mind you, but a sort of add-on that you can take in several different ways.
Verheiden captures the essence of Evil Dead in all its unimaginable horror. Yes it’s a comic but the strength of the film’s story is there. Verheiden deftly manages to even bring out the cornball dialogue and campy acting. This is all very good but John Bolton’s art makes it great. Bolton’s dark, heavy inking style is a perfect match for the subject matter. His likeness of Ash (Bruce Campbell) is uncanny. The depiction of the scene where Cheryl plunges the pencil into Linda’s ankle is almost as wince inducing as in the film itself. Bolton makes the demonically possessed friends scream off the pages in all their bloody glory.
Verheiden provides an afterword to the story and you also get several pages of Bolton’s concept sketches. You’ve seen the movie, likely dozens of times. Now experience Evil Dead in a completely new way!
Mania Grade: A
Trade Paperback: The Evil Dead (Film companion)
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Art By: John Bolton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics