Saturday, April 20, 2013


Despite the mixed bag of emotions Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead remake has brought to the table and its piss-poor misleading marketing campaign, Evil Dead has brought to light an incredible amount of conversations ranging from feminism, gratuitous violence, and rape culture. An incredibly intelligent and poignant article was written in the wake of the film's release over at Bad Ass Digest titled "Evil Dead 2013 and the Politics of Tree Rape" written by the remarkably talented Devin Faraci.  I highly encourage everyone to take the time and read this article at some point, because he makes some ridiculously strong arguments.  While I agree with a large part of what Faraci is saying, I am very, VERY glad that Alvarez included the tree-rape sequence in his remake of Sam Raimi's classic flick.When Sam Raimi made The Evil Dead, his tree-rape sequence was one of the most terrifying things in the entire film.  Watching Cheryl helplessly be controlled by the forces of nature and unable to escape, there are shots of her sheer terror as the world around her completely shut down and betrayed her in one of the most intimate ways humanly possible. According to Sam Raimi, looking back on his original film, he regrets making the sequence. As Bad Ass Digest pointed out, seen in this video interview, Raimi says, “I think it was unnecessarily gratuitous and a little too brutal. And finally because people were offended in a way that I didn' goal is not to offend people. It is to entertain, thrill, scare...make them laugh but not to offend them.” It is easy to see why this particular scenario could be seen as gratuitous, brutal, and offensive.  Rape is an incredibly sensitive subject, and a very real one at that.  Putting such a dark and identifiable situation in a film, something meant to entertain, is often frowned upon; which is why we don't have a vast collection of films of mother's drowning their children due to postpartum depression or the actions of humans that result in the dogs seen in the Sarah McLaughlin commercials.Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 women will be victims of rape or sexual assault at some point in their lives; meaning there are a good amount of women who have seen The Evil Dead or Evil Dead that have been raped themselves.  There are those that believe Fede Alvarez's decision to keep the "tree-rape" sequence into the remake was one that was unwise, and his attempt to soften the brutality by using the tree solely to "hold Mia down" instead of performing the act of sexual assault made the scene particularly confusing and unnecessary...but I disagree.In the thirty plus years that have passed since Raimi's original flick, rape culture in America is developing an extremely strong and powerful voice.  After events like the Steubenville rape trials and the constant 'war on women' within the GOP's attempts to police the bodies of women, now more than ever is a time where rape shouldn't be pushed aside and downplayed.  I'm sorry, but what defines what is and isn't acceptable in terms of rape on screen?Mind you, all of this is coming from a girl who named her blog after the unreleased original title for a film that holds one of the most notoriously gratuitous rape scenes in cinematic history.  The thing is, whether or not someone is being raped by a person, a tree branch, or some weird tongue worm from the mouth of a deadite, rape is still rape. Don't you dare tell me that it wasn't really rape because it came from a deadite mouth, don't you dare tell me it didn't have a purpose because it was girl on girl, don't you dare tell me it doesn't count because it was supernatural forces rather than a real person, and don't you dare tell me that this scene has no place in this film. I'm sorry, but in this less than stellar remake, this particular scene is one that was just as relevant thirty years ago as it is today. Some have argued that the scene felt misplaced and was only included because of the original and you know something, so what? I don't know of a single moment in the history of existence where a rape had a purpose and was anything more than a misplaced terror in the timeline of life. You want to tell me one instance where rape is anything but a misplaced event in life and I'll bite my tongue. Was the tree-rape scene uncomfortable to look at? Absolutely. Was the tree-rape scene unnecessary? Perhaps. Did the tree-rape scene spark conversations about what is and isn't acceptable in terms of rape? You better believe it. In a society that is constantly debating the differences between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" rape, I am appalled that anyone would be questioning whether or not this scene has a purpose.


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