31 Days of Wicked Watching [DAY 19]: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Today’s blog post is going to be short and sweet because this film, although seeing it a few times, isn’t one that I’ve ever had sit with me long enough to feel it. Sam Raimi’s work is certainly brutal and dark and bloody, but this franchise of films never claimed my attention as one I adore or return to consistently.

But here’s the thing: I can’t have a list of classics or “must sees” for the canon of horror and not include the “Evil Dead.”

If you are someone who loves the gore and the supernatural, then this film is for you. If you are someone who appreciates the intensity and psychology of horror, then this film is for you. If you don’t like any of those things, then don’t put this one on your list beyond its first viewing, which is required if you are going to really immerse in the canon.

For those of you who will truly venture into viewing, know that the film is very much in the context of an infection narrative. Its cult following, which emerged from a unique true combo of horror and comedy, came shortly after Stephen King gave it a rave review. The low-budget film’s initial reception wasn’t actually bad, as many horror films traditionally do see from critics, but the pick up after King’s endorsement led to what you now see as a cultural powerhouse of horror.

The 1981 film eventually led to a number of sequels, a television show and a remake, but, in my opinion, there isn’t one that is better than this one. Rumors were abound that another film will be added the Raimi franchise; it has since been confirmed that an additional film “Evil Dead Rise” will emerge with Lee Cronin at the helm for writing and directing.

Published by Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick is a Ph.D. student and graduate instructor in the SJMC. He comes from nearly a decade of teaching high school journalism and English, and an adjunct professor of journalism and media studies at Marquette University (where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees). He is a former Dow Jones Distinguished National Journalism Teacher of the Year. His research interests include the intersection of news literacy, journalism ethics, journalism studies, and professional boundary work. He also focuses his attention on issues of deviance within the media industry, particularly as it relates to issues of sex and issues resulting in paradigm repair. Patrick is also deeply passionate about teaching and the role of journalism schools in the professionalization of their students. He focuses a lot of his thinking on mass communication and journalism pedagogy and identifying ways for journalism courses to be both rewarding in content and enriching in skill. He currently teaches Journalistic Reporting and Writing in the SJMC and taught a number of courses at Marquette, including Media Ethics, Visual Communication, Magazine Design and Production, Digital Journalism 1-3, Strategic Communication Writing, and the Journalism Capstone course for the department. His work in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership includes serving as the Journalism Education Association’s Mentor Program Chair, designing curriculum to accompany Pulitzer Prize winning content for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reviewing the Praxis national journalism certification exam, and developing a number of courses at the high school and collegiate levels. Patrick served as a 2021 Public Humanities Intern through the Obermann Center where he worked specifically with University Special Collections to develop public-facing exhibits and curriculum materials related to the Tom Brokaw Collection.

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