The Evil Dead (1981)

USA, 1980
81m (Germany), 83m (Norway), 85m (USA; Australia)
16mm, colour, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American film, the debut feature from Sam Raimi. Horror writer Stephen King famously hailed it “The most ferociously original horror film of the year!” and it was the most high profile title to make the British “” list having played UK cinemas only months before being briefly banned on video.

Plot Summary

A group of college students on a trip into the discover an ancient book and a tape recording from an archaeologist in a remote cabin. Playing back Summerian incantations on the tape raises evil spirits that possess the group until only one is left to fight against the . But will he make it to sunrise alive?


Directed by: Sam Raimi
© MCMLXXXII Renaissance Pictures Ltd.
Renaissance Pictures presents
Executive Producers: Bruce Campbell, Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi
Produced by: Robert Tapert
Written by: Sam Raimi
Photography and Lighting: Tim Philo
Film Editor: Edna Ruth Paul
Music Composed and Conducted by: Joseph LoDuca
Location Sound Recording: John Mason
Special Make Up Effects: Tom Sullivan
Photographic Effects Supervisor: Bart Pierce
Locations: The Evil Dead, the ultimate experience in gruelling horror, was filmed in Morristown, Tennessee and in Detroit.

Bruce Campbell (Ash)
Ellen Sandweiss (Cheryl)
Hal Delrich (Scotty)
Betsy Baker (Linda)
Sarah York (Shelly)
Phil Gillis, Dorothy Tapert, Cheryl Guttridge, Barbara Carey, David Horton, Wendall Thomas, Don Long, Stu Smith, Kurt Rauf, Ted Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Bill Vincent, Mary Beth Tapert, Scott Spiegel, John Cameron, Joanne Kruse, Gwen Cochanski, Debie Jarczewski (fake shemps)
Bob Dorian [voice on tape recorder – uncredited]
Sam Raimi [fisherman on side of road/voice of evil spirits – uncredited]
Robert Tapert [local yokel – uncredited]

Alternative Titles

– early title
La casa – Italy
El despertar del diablo – Mexican title
Evil dead – kauhun riivaamat – Finnish television title
Evil Dead – Swedish, Finnish, French title
The Evil Dead, the Ultimate Experience in Grueling Horror – closing credits title
Yo katarameno asma – Greek video title
Kauhun riivaamat – Finland
A Morte do Demônio – Brazilian title
A Noite dos Mortos-Vivos – Portuguese title
L'Opéra de la terreur – French Canadian title
Posesión infernal – Spain
Seytanin ölüsü – Turkish title
Tanz der Teufel – German title
Tanz der Teufel 1 – West Germany
The Evil Dead – A Morte do Demônio – Brazilian DVD title
Uma Noite Alucinante – A Morte do Demônio – Brazilian television title
Uma Noite Alucinante I – A Morte do Demônio – Brazilian video title

Evil Dead II (1987)
Army of Darkness (1992)
Ash vs Evil Dead (2015-2018)
Evil Dead Rise (2023)

Evil Dead (2013)

Remake of
Within the Woods (1978)

See also
Alien (1979)
Barbacoa sangrienta (1997)
Blastfighter (1985)
Braindead (1992)
Cast a Deadly Spell (1991)
The Convent (2000)
The Dead Hate the Living! (1999)
Dèmoni (1985)
Equinox (1970)
The Exorcist (1973)
Forever Evil (1987)
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)
The Gift (2000)
The Hills Have Eyes (1978)
Intruder (1988)
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Mørkeræd (1998)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Scream (1996)
Seddok “l'erede di Satana” (1960)
Shiryo no wana (1988)
Sinnui yauman (1987)
Splash (1984)
Stryker's War (1985)
Tetsuo (1988)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
There's Nothing Out There (1990)
The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988)
Yokai Hanta – Hiruko (1990)

Extracts included in
Donnie Darko (2001)

Production Notes

The film has suffered numerous censorship issues around the world. In Germany there were two video releases: the first was uncut but subsequently banned while the second was very heavily cut. In Sweden the original video version was heavily cut, the tree- being removed in its entirety, but a 1997 release was uncut. In the UK the film was initially cut by 49 seconds for its original 18 certificate for both theatrical and video distribution. Following a number of high profile court cases, the video was withdrawn in 1984 and didn't re-appear until May 1990 when 65 seconds were removed by the BBFC. All cuts were restored in 2001 for the film's first ever legitimate uncut UK release.



  • Broadcast 1 June 1984 p.6
  • Broadcast 3 February 1984 p.51
  • Cinefantastique vol.14 no.2 (December/January 1983/1984 pp.51-52 – credits, illustrated review (by Joseph Francavilla)
  • Cinefantastique vol.23 no.1 (August 1992) pp.24-53 – illustrated article (Army of darkness by Steve Biodrowski, Sue Uram and Les Paul Robley)
  • Cinefantastique vol.34 no.6 (October/November 2002) pp.22-31 – illustrated article (The reigning masters of the macabre by Bryan L. Cairns)
  • Continental Film and Video Review vol.30 no.4 (February 1983) p.46
  • L'Écran Fantastique no.25 (1982) pp.54-57 – illustrated interview with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell
  • L'Écran Fantastique no.30 (January 1983) pp.8-13; 10-11; 11-13; illustrated article; illustrated interview with Sam Raimi; illustrated interview with Robert Tapert
  • L'Écran Fantastique no.40 (December 1983) pp.78-79
  • Empire no.12 (June 1990) p.84 – illustrated review (Video directory by Kim Newman)
  • Empire no.150 (December 2001) pp.95-99 – illustrated article (When you witch upon a star… by Chris Hewitt)
  • Empire no.196 (October 2005) p.149 – illustrated DVD review (At Home/Movies: The Evil Dead by Adam Smith)
  • Empire no.201 (March 2006) pp.77-88, 90-101 – illustrated article (201 greatest movies of all time)
  • Empire no.203 (May 2006) pp.124-128 – illustrated article (Attack of the killer B's!)
  • Empire no.208 (October 2006) pp.124-128 – illustrated article (Unknown icons: “I was Frank the Bunny!” by Nick De Semlyen)
  • Empire no.216 (June 2007) pp.30-31 – illustrated interview with Edgar Wright (News etc.: An audience with Edgar Wright)
  • Empire no.220 (October 2007) pp.118-119 – illustrated article (Show me the money! by Gordon Coates)
  • Empire no.237 (March 2009) pp.100-104 – illustrated interview with Bruce Campbell (My name is Ash by Chris Hewitt)
  • Empire no.239 (May 2009) pp.111-116 – illustrated interview with Sam Raimi (In conversation with Sam Raimi by Chris Hewitt)
  • Fangoria no.212 (May 2002) p.54 – DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Evil Dead by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Fangoria no.234 (July 2004) p.24 – illustrated article (Fango's top 25: 1983 by Ramsey Campbell)
  • Fangoria no.270 (February 2008) p.65 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: DVD of the month by Michael Gingold)
  • Film Directions vol.6 no.23 (1984) p.42
  • Film International vol.4 no.1 (2006) pp.75-76 – DVD review (Short Takes: Box of the Banned by Michael Tapper)
  • Film Review no.661 (September 2005) p.115 – DVD review (The Evil Dead: Special Edition by Grant Kempster)
  • Filmcritica no.350 (December 1984) p.561
  • Filmfaust no.38 (March/April 1984) p.16
  • Films and Filming no.339 (December 1982) pp.29-30
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.276 no.2 (14 March 1983) p.3 – credits, review (by Gerry Putzer)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.49 no.586 (November 1982) p.264
  • Screen International no.382 (19 February 1983) p.22 – review
  • Screen International no.383 (26 February 1983) p.14 – illustrated article (A celebration of horror by Alex Sutherland)
  • Screen International no.430 (28 January 1984) pp.2, 31
  • Screen International no.437 (17 March 1984) p.28
  • Screen International no.474 (1 December 1984) p.78
  • Screen International no.482 (2 February 1985) p.25
  • Screen International no.508 (3 August 1985) pp.4, 22
  • Shivers no.79 (July 2000) pp.8-11
  • Sight & Sound vol.12 no.5 (May 2002) p.59 – DVD review (Home movies: reviews: best DVD pack by Ben Walters)
  • Sight & Sound vol.15 no.11 (November 2005) p.88 – DVD review (The Evil Dead – Limited Edition by James Bell)
  • Sight & Sound vol.15 no.12 (December 2005) pp.86-87 – DVD review (Box of the Banned by Matthew Leyland)
  • Starburst no.53 (1982) pp.10-11 – illustrated review (Evil Dead by Phil Edwards)
  • Starburst no.57 (1983) pp.24-29 – illustrated interview with Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert (The Evil Dead Speak by Phil Edwards and Alan Jones)
  • Starburst no.278 (October 2001) p.65 – illustrated DVD review (DVD file by Ian Atkins)
  • Time Out no.653 (25 February 1983) pp.26; 33 – interview with Sam Raimi (In a jugular vein by Giovanni Dadomo); illustrated review (by Steve Grant)
  • Time Out no.700 (19 January 1984) p.6
  • Time Out no.719 (31 May 1984) pp.8-9
  • Time Out no.1056 (14 Nov 1990) pp.14-15 – illustrated article (Flay it again Sam)
  • Trade Guide vol.41 no.15 (14 January 1995) p.24 – illustrated interview with Indian distributor Tulsidas Chhabria (by Meena Goculdas)
  • TV Zone Special Yearbook 1994 pp.30-32 – illustrated interview with Bruce Campbell (The adventures of Bruce Campbell by Joe Nazzaro)
  • Variety 5 May 1982
  • Variety 9 February 1983 pp.19, 23
  • Video Business vol.5 no.23 (5 August 1985) p.4
  • Video Business vol.5 no.26 (26 August 1985) pp.34-39


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.376, 377 – illustrated credits, review
  • The Best 80s Movies by Helen O'Hara pp.60-61 – illustrated review
  • Educational Institutions in Horror Film: A History of Mad Professors, Student Bodies, and Final Exams by Andrew L. Grunzke p.96
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.274, 291, 300, 362
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.150
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A.Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.173 – credits, synopsis
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films III by Donald C. Willis p.91-93 – credits
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay pp.28-29 – credits, review
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.318-322 – credits, synopsis, review
  • The Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H.P. Lovecraft by Andrew Migliore and John Strysik p.48 – illustrated credits, review
  • Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright pp.293-294
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester p.159-160 – credits, review
  • The Stop-motion Filmography by Neil Pettigrew pp.222-224 – credits, review
  • Top 100 Horror Movies by Gary Gerani p.49 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • We Belong Dead no.29 (Autumn 2021) pp.18-29 – illustrated article (Killer plants: A potted history by Jules Boyle)
  • Zombie by Allan Bryce (ed) pp.76-87 – illustrated article (Evil Dead trilogy by Allan Bryce)

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide October/November 2018 p.62 – illustrated listing