8. Evil Dead II (1987)

Bruce Campbell as Ash in Evil Dead 2

Sequel to: The Evil Dead (1981)

The Evil Dead is the film that launched the careers of childhood friends Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Made on a shoestring budget, the original movie was a straight-up horror that made use of light comedy throughout. However, Raimi, being the brilliant filmmaker he is, understood that comedy was its best quality, and he used that when approaching the sequel, Evil Dead II.

Evil Dead II was a full-on horror comedy, complete with a visual style that practically registers as slapstick. This made excellent use of Bruce Campbell’s own unique talents: the actor has a singular ability to bring comedy into what appears to be a purely serious role. This made Evil Dead II not just a brilliant sequel, but a perfect combination of director, actor, and concept that remains massively influential decades on.

To say that Evil Dead II is simply better than The Evil Dead feels a little unfair, but it’s still objectively true. Where The Evil Dead was excellent, Evil Dead II proved that Raimi knew how to access all its best qualities, highlighting the elements that audiences loved while discarding those that didn’t come off as well. Evil Dead II was where the franchise really began to find its feet, and though that shouldn’t take anything away from the original, it’s a far better film than its predecessor.