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Film / Evil Dead 2

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"Legend has it that it was written by the Dark Ones. Necronomicon ex Mortis. Roughly translated: Book of the Dead."
Opening Narration

Evil Dead 2 note  is the 1987 sequel to The Evil Dead and the second film in the Evil Dead franchise. It was directed by Sam Raimi, with the screenplay by Raimi and Scott Spiegel. It was released on March 13th, 1987.

Ashley J. Williams survives the possession of his girlfriend and, along with some new arrivals, manages to fight back the evil demons possessing the house. This film leads straight into Army of Darkness.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The film's first act was a partial remake of the first film, showing the basic story (people going out to a cabin to have a good time), but boils it down to only two characters (Ash and Linda), removing Cheryl, Scotty, and Shelly from the narrative entirely.
  • Alien Blood: A lot of the deadites.
    • Linda's is black.
    • Ed's is green after he's possessed.
    • The evil given physical form at the end has blue blood.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Ash is turned into a Deadite twice during the film. The first time is when the evil corrupts him after he buries Linda (continuing from the first film left off), but the sun coming up cures him. He gets possessed again later on when he's knocked out by Jake, but eventually rids himself of the evil for good when he spots Linda's necklace, the reminder of him losing her allowing him to retake control of his body.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Professor Knowby records the first incantations on a tape recorder. Then uses it as diary for the horrifying results.
  • Asshole Victim: Jake. While he suffers a brutal, agonizing death, before then he sells information for a trail instead of just helping Annie and Ed, and then assaults and stupidly forces Ash and Annie to go out in the evil infested woods with him to seek Bobby Joe, leading to Ash being re-possessed by the evil, along with stuffing the critical Necronomicon pages needed to banish the evil down into the cellar with the Deadite Henrietta.
  • Badass Transplant: Ash is arguably the Trope Codifier with his chainsaw arm. Early in the movie he's forced to cut off his possessed hand, and attaches the chainsaw to the stump so he can use both the chainsaw and the shotgun.
  • BBC Quarry: It wasn't shot in England (though the story does take place there), but Ash's arrival in the Middle Ages at the end was filmed at a very similar-looking North Carolina rock quarry.
  • Big "NO!": Ash at the end when he's Trapped in the Past and all the Knights are bowing to him as the chosen one.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Annie said this to Jake after she accidentally stabbed him with a dagger.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Evil Dead are banished away from the present and back to where they come from. But Linda is still dead, along with Annie, and Ash has been thrown back in time to the year 1300 in Deadite occupied England.
  • Bloody Hilarious: You better believe it. The horror is somewhat offset by the movie acknowledging the sheer absurdity of what's happening.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ash rips the Band-Aid right off when it comes to Jake and his worrying over Bobby Joe's disappearance:
    "If she went into those woods, you can forget about her."
  • Butt-Monkey: Bobby Joe seems to suffer the most injuries and grievances out of the other four main characters. For instance, an eye goes flying into her screaming mouth.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The opening sequence with Linda, where Scotty, Cheryl and Shelly aren't shown is now non-canon, since Ash vs. Evil Dead has them mentioned in it. The ending of Ash in medieval times is also non-canon, as Army of Darkness has a very different depiction of his arrival.
  • Catchphrase: "Dead by dawn!" and "I'll swallow your soul!" Said by multiple Deadites.
  • Ceiling Smash: When Ed is possessed, he grabs Jake by the face and throws him vertically into the ceiling where he smashes a lightbulb.
  • Chainsaw Good: Ash uses the chainsaw he finds in the tool shed to slash through Deadites with ease. He later installs it onto his stump, giving him his iconic chainsaw hand.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Hush Little Baby" this is the lullaby Henrietta used to sing to her daughter, and Annie sings it to distracted the possessed Henrietta long enough for Ash to recover and impale her with a chainsaw.
  • Closed Circle: Ash has to spend the a second night in the cabin due to the bridge being destroyed. Later, Jake notices the trail he used to get Annie there seems to have been swallowed up by the trees.
  • Composite Character: Due to them being Adapted Out, Linda stands in for Cheryl, Scotty and Shelly who all succumb to Demonic Possession besides herself during the recap of the first film's events.
  • Continuity Snarl: If you regard the film as a perfect sequel to the first, how did the Necromicon come back from being burnt?
  • Covers Always Lie: Some of the DVD releases of the film (apparently taken from the U.K poster animation) include an animated cover that seems to show Annie Knowby (Sarah Berry) as a shrieking Deadite, but that never actually happens in the film. In the commentary, during the scene where Ash and Annie have broken the glass and are looking at the Necronomicon pages, they note that the U.K. poster's image of Annie emulates a Deadite in the pose of the creepy caretaker's wife in House On Haunted Hill. They also express their regret at not having Annie become a monster temporarily, with Bruce Campbell admitting she has the perfect facial features to have pulled off the make-up.
  • Creator Cameo: Several crew workers took on bit parts.
    • Sam Raimi appears at the very end as the knight who proclaims Ash their savior and leads a chant.
    • Rob Tapert and Tom Sullivan are the workers at the airport.
    • Scott Spiegel is credited as a Fake Shemp.
  • Creepy Basement: Ash is temporarily locked in the cellar, only for Annie to listen to her father Raymond having buried his wife in the cellar. Her corpse then rises to attack Ash.
  • Creepy Ballet: Linda's decapitated corpse dances like a creepy ballerina — the body pirouettes, the head does not move.
  • Decoy Protagonist: After Ash gets possessed again and goes on a rampage, the film follows Annie for a short time, potentially leading viewers unfamiliar with Ash's history with the franchise to believe that Ash is doomed, and it will be Ash vs. Annie in a final confrontation. However, after Ash sees the necklace he gave Linda as a gift, he's able to overcome his possession and he resumes the main protagonist role for the rest of the film.
  • Denser and Wackier: The first movie was pretty much an outright horror film, while this one is a lot more comedic, introducing several of the franchise's most iconic gags, a number of cheesy one-liners, and upping the gore from standard horror film to the level of outright farce.
  • Demonic Possession: The Evil Dead can possess people, their corpses, a particular limb, and even objects.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Ash's possessed hand reappears out of nowhere and somehow stabs Annie in the back while she's performing the incantation to banish the Evil One. It fails to stop her from doing so, but Annie can only cling to life long enough to open the portal and dies before closing it back up again, so Ash is sucked in as well.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ash's evil reflection makes a brief appearance in the mirror, then returns as a full-fledged villain in Army.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The creature that appears in the end.
  • Evil Hand: Ash's right hand is possessed, and repeatedly tries to kill him. After it is seemingly killed, it returns with a vengeance holding Bobby Joe, before disappearing again. It finally does its worst damage at the climax, mortally wounding Annie as she's reading the incantations from the book's pages.
  • Fanservice: Linda dancing in her shirt and panties in the beginning. Annie also looks pretty good in those shorts. One leg ends up getting split up the seam during all the fighting, showing off even more of Sarah Berry's shapely leg.
  • Fan Disservice: Deadite Linda's headless body has one breast exposed.
  • Flipping the Bird: By Ash's own possessed, chainsaw-severed hand, no less. His taunting must have ticked it off.
  • Forging Scene: Ash creating his chainsaw hand. He and Annie make a strap and adapt the chainsaw so that Ash can wield it and start it up without using another hand.
  • Fright Beside Them: During a lull in the action, the characters huddle together for safety.
    Bobby Joe:'re holding my hand too tight.
    Jake: ...Baby, I ain't holdin' your hand.
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • When Ash wakes up, he desperately tries to get out of the woods, but the bridge is completely destroyed. As he vents his frustrations, the sun begins setting, and he realizes his situation is about to get much worse. Then later in the film Annie, Jake, Bobby Joe, and Ed all suspect Ash of having murdered Annie's parents, knock him around and lock him in the cellar, where he soon finds out Henrietta is waiting for him.
    • And again later. After Bobby Joe disappears in the woods, Jake becomes frustrated at Ash and Annie's decision to focus on the pages instead of trying to rescue Bobby Joe, with Ash telling Jake she's done for. Jake responds by holding them at gunpoint and throwing the needed Necronomicon pages into the cellar and forcing Ash and Annie out into the woods with him to look for Bobby Joe. This not only leads to Ash once again becoming possessed by the evil, but also leads to Jake's death, and forces Ash down into the cellar, once he recovers himself, with possessed Henrietta to recover the pages. While he's successful, Henrietta gets free, and they have to take extra time killing her that they could have spent having Annie translating pages. It also may have led to Annie's death, as Ash's evil hand manages to mortally wound her during her reading the incantations. In the commentary, Bruce Campbell joked that Jake's actions added around 10 more minutes to the film.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Just as Ash is about to use the chainsaw on Deadite Linda's head, this trope is invoked - showing blood splattering on the walls and shadows rather than the actual act. The DVD commentary points out the irony of this.
      "Why are you not showing that part? You've shown everything else."
    • Played with when Ash cuts off his own possessed hand: we don't see the actual amputation, but do see Ash's face getting drenched in the spray of blood.
    • Jake's death is presented as this. He's pulled into the cellar and ripped apart by a Deadite, but we don't really see it happen. We do however see the huge wave of blood that comes gushing out of the cellar, leaving the worst to the imagination, but Annie does get heavily doused trying to save him.
    • We never see Bobby Joe's body after she's rammed into a tree at high speed.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: In some humorous irony, Ash does this unwittingly when he and Annie read the page about The Chosen One who fell from the sky and originally banished the evil in 1300.
  • Hope Spot: It looks like Annie has succeeded in banishing the evil, except she died without closing the door through time and space, so it sucks Ash in too. He then finds himself in the Middle Ages.
  • Idiot Ball: Annie, Jake, Bobby Joe and Ed grab it in their initial encounter with Ash. After knocking him out Annie sees a chainsaw with blood on it, and assumes the worst, ignoring several things. One, Ash was shooting at something and the house was boarded up, and two, Ash is missing his hand. Rationally (as in, the group did not know about the Deadites yet), it would be assumed Ash got his hand lopped off by someone else and was shooting because he thought they were coming back. Points can be made however, that Ash was covered in blood, but again, his hand was cut off, it could have came from there.
  • Immediate Sequel: Following a short, abridged recap of the first movie's events, the story picks up from the exact moment the Evil seized Ash at the end of the original film.
  • In the Back: Annie is stabbed in the back by Ash's severed hand with the Kandarian dagger as she reads from the Necronomicon.
  • Jump Scare:
    • Annie is convinced by Ash that the seemingly human Henrietta isn't, and loudly states that it's not her mother... And then out of nowhere, Ed Getley pops up right next to her, a suddenly roaring and fully-possessed Deadite.
    • A similar trick is pulled when everyone is outside looking for Bobby Joe. Jake is screaming her name, and there's a brief moment of calm right before Ash pops into frame right next to Jake, once again a fully-possessed Deadite, to Jake and Annie's immediate horror.
  • Laughing Mad: After everything in the cabin comes alive and decides to laugh at Ash. Ash joins along... and laughs at the camera, deep in insanity.
  • The Legend of Chekhov: The Necronomicon narrates the tale of a past hero coming from the sky who vanquished the demon. Ash is sucked into the rift in time and space and discovers that he's stuck in the Middle Ages as said hero. He's less than pleased.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Ash preparing his chainsaw and shotgun rig.
  • Locked into Strangeness: When Ash first sees the Eldritch Abomination at the end, he gains a white/grey stripe of hair on the side of his head from fright as a stop motion effect. However, this seems to disappear in Army of Darkness.
  • Long Neck: Deadite Henrietta sprouts these, but that just makes her easier to decapitate.
  • Madness Mantra: "WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?"
  • Mouse Hole: The possessed hand uses these to hide in the walls of the cabin.
  • Mouse Trap: Ash's demonic severed hand gets caught in a mouse trap. Ash laughs at the hand's misery.
  • Multiple Head Case: The demon at the end has the heads of all its previous victims.
  • Myth Prologue: The film starts by explaining the Necronomicon, its origins and its powers. The book supposedly disappeared in the year 1300 AD, but is rediscovered in the present and is the source of the evils that terrorize Ash in the film.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Had Deadite Ash not regained his humanity at seeing Linda's necklace at the last moment before nearly killing Annie, the Evil Dead would have triumphed against the living.
  • Never Found the Body: Professor Knowby's exact fate is never revealed. Only his soul appears in his bedroom, telling Annie to save him.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Oh Annie...First she accidentally stabs Jake, thinking he's the possessed Ash. Then she painfully pulls the knife out of his chest, which probably would have killed him anyway. Then she painfully drags him further into the cabin, finally setting him down on the floor near the trapdoor to the cellar. Predictably, it opens far enough for Deadite Henrietta to grab him by the head and basically eat Jake's head off, letting off a geyser of blood in the process. This is lampshaded in the commentary, where they laughingly admit everything Annie does hurts Jake and that she basically sent him to his death in her earnest efforts to help him. Somewhat subverted by the fact that at that point (after throwing the needed pages of the Necronomicon down into the dangerous cellar, recklessly dragging Ash and Annie to danger in the woods looking for Bobby Joe, ignoring Ash's warnings completely, beating on both of them, and putting Ash in a position to be re-possessed by the evil) Jake kinda deserved it.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ash has a major moment of this when he hears Professor Knowby on the tape mentioning he buried the Deadite Henrietta down in the cellar. Which Ash is currently locked within.
    • Annie and Jake have one too, when Ash, who up to that point has been the strongest and toughest of the survivors, suddenly becomes re-possessed by the evil.
    • Another moment for Annie is when she thinks she's stabbing the possessed Ash, but instead, finds out she's accidentally stabbed Jake.
  • Ominous Obsidian Ooze: Several people possessed by demons are seen drooling black ooze. At one point Ash is hit with a torrent of it after blowing a hole in the cabin wall with his shotgun.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Ash rebounds pretty quickly from the blood loss of chopping off his hand with a chainsaw. But in his defense, this is ASH WILLIAMS we're talking about here.
  • Possession Levitation: Ed gets possessed and floats in the cabin. He boasts about killing the humans and that the demons shall live again.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Ash: Swallow this. [Shotgun blasts Henrietta's head to bits]
  • Opening Monologue: The voice of Professor Raymond Knowby narrates the backstory and powers of the Necronomicon in the first scene.
  • The Power of Love: Ash sees the locket he'd bought for Linda lying on the floor which reminds him of the love he had for her, allowing him to break free of the Deadite possessing him.
  • Religion of Evil: Can be presumed to be what the "Dark Ones" mentioned in the opening narration followed when they first wrote the Necronomicon.
  • Retcon: This is the first time in the eventual franchise that the Book of the Dead is named as "Necronomicon Ex Mortis", which most of its appearances follow. In the previous film and its eventual 2013 reboot, the book was called "Naturom Demonto".
  • Sanity Slippage: Ash loses his mind as an entire room begins to laugh at him, followed by him uproariously laughing along.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Ash when he sees Deadite Henrietta burst out of its grave while locked in the cellar, quite understandably.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: One of Ash's two iconic weapons, Ash pillages an old double-barreled shotgun from the cabin, which he promptly saws off to use one-handed.
  • Slasher Smile: While it ends up going nowhere, based on Annie's character arc in the film, the evil grin Annie flashes at Jake after she's duped him into carrying the trunk to the cabin for her could come across as one, and may lead the audience to think that she'll end up becoming evil in the narrative, though she never does, subverting the trope.
  • Slave Mooks: The first deadites in the film.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: The movie teeters on this scale a lot.
  • The Smart Guy: Annie Knowby; the creators joke in their DVD commentary that, had she been in Ash's situation from the beginning, she would have solved the whole thing in about 30 minutes. Sam Raimi even further jokes that he'll pick up with her character in "Evil Dead IV."
  • Splatter Horror: In line with the more comedic tone, this film features gallons of bodily fluids of various colors and visual gags involving zombie parts.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Jake. Although it happens mostly off screen, and we only see his remains later.
  • Sweeping the Table: Ash sweeps a bench clear to make enough room to attach a chainsaw to the stump where his right hand used to be.
  • Taught by Experience: Annie starts to approach Deadite Henrietta when it reverts to the form of her real mother and starts singing Annie's favorite childhood lullaby. Ash, who's seen this trick before, stops her and gravely shakes his head "No."
  • Taxidermy Terror: The house is full of creepy stuffed trophy heads who laugh at Ash.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Bobby Joe for running out of the cabin and straight into the evil infested woods after being scared by Ash's disembodied hand. Jake is even worse, forcing everyone out of the cabin at gunpoint to go look for Bobby Joe, along with idiotically stuffing the vital Necronomicon pages needed to save the day down into the cellar with the Deadite Henrietta. Even Ash can't help himself with what a monumental idiot Jake is being. Lampshaded in the DVD commentary:
    Ash: "NO YOU IDIOT! You'll kill us all. She's dead by now, don't you understand? With these pages, at least we have a chance!"
    Bruce Campbell: I like trying to reason with Jake. If he'll just listen to me, everything would be great. But he's too stupid! What an idiot!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ash Williams goes from a clueless and frightened college kid to a badass, shotgun-toting, chainsaw swinging demon-hunter. Annie Knowby also has traits of this. Her initial mistrust of Ash, and her attempts to help Jake accidentally killing him notwithstanding. She keeps it together about as well as could be expected from someone in that situation, actively joins Ash in fighting the Deadites and helping him craft the device to wear the chainsaw on his stump, and notably, she's the only heroine to play opposite Ash in the original film series who ISN'T eventually possessed by the evil. Even Ash succumbs to the power of the evil twice during the film, though he recovers himself both times. This is lampshaded in the commentary, when they suggest if the original film had followed Annie instead of Ash, she'd have had the situation figured out in 30 minutes.
  • To Serve Man: Happens to Jake. He's dragged into the cellar and devoured, leading to a spectacular shower of blood.
  • Transflormation: Bobby Joe is captured by the possessed trees in the woods. Next time we see her, she is a tree herself or at least was merged with one.
  • [Verb] This!: "Swallow this." *BOOM!*
  • Visible Invisibility: When the bodiless entity in the woods chases Ash from the Broken Bridge back to the cabin, it smashes through the back window of his car rather than going around it. This demonstrates to the audience how very relentless and violent it is.
  • Visual Pun: Among the books Ash stacks atop his recently cut-off, possessed hand is A Farewell to Arms.
  • When Trees Attack: Once again, the evil possesses the trees around the cabin and uses the branches like tentacles to attack a young woman. The nudity and tree-rape from the first film aren't present, however.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: After taking constant abuse from his Evil Hand, Ash invokes this trope (even the title word-for-word!) with the help of a nearby chainsaw.
  • Winged Humanoid: The harpy-like deadite that Ash defeats at the end.


Video Example(s):


Evil Dead 2

The Evil Dead series starting with the second film, an Actionized Sequel to and loose remake of the first that combined this trope with Denser and Wackier to turn its protagonist Ash into a snarky, wiseass Action Hero.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionHorror

Media sources: