Friday, April 11, 2008

Review - Evil Dead #4 (Dark Horse)

This is the final installment in the Dark Horse adaptationof the Sam Raimi low-budget horror classic from 1981. The film is notorious for its extreme violence and gore, and it is also a very effective scary movie. The video release in the United Kingdom became infamous as it was one of the first films to be labelled a 'video nasty'. You can find out more about that controversy here. The comic adaptation is pretty faithful to the source material, but updates the story to the present day (I assume) judging by the clothes the characters wear. Either that or this comic got a bigger clothing budget than the original film....

This last part of the series sees Ash battle his former friends, now possesed by the reawakened spirits, becoming the 'evil dead'. The art, by John Bolton, is top notch and really captures the flavour of the film, even if it does lack the low-budget scuzziness of Sam Raimis work. The script, which zips along, has a nice vein of humour running through it.

I only have 2 niggles;

1) the 'ending' in the comic is not the ending in the movie, and seems to ruin a lot of the suspense and scares that the creative team have worked over 4 issues to create. I find it a puzzling way to end the series.

2) The comic cannot generate the same scares or rattling tension of the film. The final battle between Ash and the dead, as he desperatley tries to grab the book of the dead, lacks the visual and aural impact on a printed page. This has been true throughout the series - a horror movie has the devices (audio and video/visual) to give the audience shocks. Seeing a horror movie laid out like a storyboard doesnt create that same atmosphere.

This series has had a lot to recommend it though, especially the art and some of the writing has enabled some of the story to flesh out (we know a bit more about what Ash is about). Shame about the ending.

Verdict. The end ruins it for me. The art is fantastic, the script funny and lively. If you like the film though, the 4 issues are probably worth your time. 6 out of 10.