Evil Ed, 1995.
Directed by Anders Jacobsson.
Starring Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin, Camela Leierth, Anders Ek, and Bill Moseley.
A mild-mannered video editor is given the job of editing a series of brutal slasher movies for his unscrupulous boss, with disastrous results.
Sometimes it can be a bit tricky being a horror fan because try as one might, no matter how seriously you take the genre and ferociously defend it to the death against those whose only exposure to anything approaching horror is a yearly watch of Paranormal Activity, there comes along a film like Evil Ed and you know there is no defending it no matter how you feel about it.
Taking its cue from the early masterpieces of Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi along with Stuart Gordon’s sense of the theatrically absurd (or absurdly theatrical, depending on how you look at it), Evil Ed is a 1995 Swedish gore-fest that on paper looks like a love letter to all that was good about ‘80s and early ‘90s splatstick movies but with a solid idea at its core – a commentary about the influence of horror movies on more suggestible minds and the effects of constant exposure to sex and violence. However, whilst that core idea is certainly there and would go on to become a central theme in other self-aware genre movies such as Berbarian Sound Studio, in Evil Ed those ideas are buried beneath several layers of dumb, stupid fun and outrageous prosthetic effects, which may be catnip to most dyed-in-the-wool gore fans looking for their next fix of gloopy Braindead/Evil Dead II-style shenanigans – and Evil Ed certainly delivers those – but in trying to emulate the splatstick standards that we all know and love something has gotten lost in translation, making Evil Ed a lot less enjoyable to sit through than those previously mentioned classics.
It isn’t because Evil Ed is a mean-spirited movie in the same way that most Troma releases are because lot of passion has gone into making it and you get the impression that the filmmakers were pissing themselves laughing as they thought of more and more outrageous gags to include alongside the endless references to other movies (there are numerous movie posters on the walls of the film labs where the titular Ed (Johan Rudebeck) works as an editor, as well as several lines from other movies that fans will recognise and, bizarrely, a very obvious nod to Ridley Scott’s ‘80s fantasy Legend – you cannot fail to spot it) but simply throwing in a ton of things from other (read: better) movies and hoping that everyone is on board with you isn’t enough when just about every character in your movie is a scumbag and are dubbed by the kind of voice actors that make ‘70s Italian giallo sound naturalistic by comparison. It also doesn’t help that the main story is set up pretty quickly – too quickly to establish Ed as anything other than a slightly nervy film editor – and then as the films he is working on begin to affect his mind and insanity looms, it just seems to happen without any sense of escalation. Yes, in the big scheme of things it doesn’t really matter as what follows is an orgy of blood and dismembered limbs that does admittedly look pretty good (despite the Blu-ray picture looking extremely grainy) and is really what you came to the party to see but there is no escaping the fact that Evil Ed has very little of the charm or characterisation of Peter Jackson’s Braindead, the movie that it resembles the most, and despite what you may think about having proper characters and quotable lines in a movie that is essentially about blowing people’s heads off, we all remember Lionel, we all remember the brilliant dinner scene and the iconic lawnmower slaughter, and we all remember the kung-fu priest spouting “I kick ass for the Lord!”; there is none of that here, and you only remember Ed’s name because it is in the title of the movie.
There are those that absolutely love Evil Ed and embrace it wholeheartedly, clutching it to their blackened bosom and defending its right to exist alongside established classics like Evil Dead II, Re-Animator, Braindead, Bad Taste, etc and good for them because… well, why not.
There are also those that will hate this film because it is messy (both in content and execution), badly acted, annoyingly dubbed, unevenly paced and just not as consistently fun as you would like it to be. Again, good for them because they’re not wrong so it really does depend on your tolerance level as to how much enjoyment you will get from Evil Ed. If you are one of those warped individuals who adores this movie then you will be pleased to know that there is a massive three-hour making-of documentary included in the three-disc dual format set, along with the original cut of the movie, the extended version (which only includes an extra scene and a montage), bloopers, trailers and a featurette detailing how the extended special edition cut was put together, so fans can gorge themselves on as much Evil Ed nonsense as it is possible to do so but for everyone else it is probably best to say that Evil Ed is a cult film in the proper sense of the word, Arrow Video are cult film specialists and so is the best place for the film to find a home, and this definitive edition is there if you want it. So, Arrow Video, now you’ve got this one out of the way, how about a proper special edition Blu-ray of the far superior Braindead…?
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★