Evil Ed: A Journey Through Censorship and Horror
“I’m just another chunk of meat lost in brain land.” This is one of the first lines the viewer hears after they put on a copy of “Evil Ed”. The 1995 film immediately starts with action, humor, and gore; it grabs your interests and lets you know what kind of a ride you’re in for during the rest of the film. “Evil Ed” is the work of Swedish director Anders Jacobsson. The film was originally shot without sound as his intention was that the film would be dubbed over at a later date.
“Evil Ed” follows Edward Svensson, a film editor who appears to be the embodiment of your “average” guy. He edits classic black and white foreign films, has a lovely wife and daughter, along with being easily walked on by everyone around him. Our story begins when Ed’s boss, Sam Campbell, takes him away from the quiet editing of his artistic foreign films and assigns him to the “Blood and Gore” department to edit the Loose Limbs series. Ed is forced to reside in Sam’s second house while he tirelessly works on editing the depraved splatter films that depict mutilations, dismemberment, and sexualized horror. The constant exposure to such “trash” leaves Ed to believe he must rid the world of the evil and sin that resides in others around him. In addition to this, he starts to see terrifying visions. He very quickly slips into madness as he has visions of the people around him becoming demons. Meanwhile, imaginary creatures around him explain that he must commit murder in order to cleanse the world.
The most enjoyable thing about “Evil Ed” is the fact that horror movie references can be found everywhere. In this film, Evil Dead 2 posters are everywhere, our head boss goes by the name of Sam Campbell (which is a nod to both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, the respective director and lead actor of the Evil Dead films), and other 80s horror posters can be found in the background throughout the movie. In addition, there is a pretty solid special effects nod to the film Legend via one of the demons Ed faces in the first part of the film. One of my favorite “Evil Dead” references is in this movie – towards the end, we are introduced to a character only known as “Crackhead”. During his shining moment, he takes out a double barrel shotgun, passes it to his friend, grabs a crowbar, and says a single word: “Groovy”. The thing that I loved about this scene is the way the camerawork was done to imitate the work of Evil Dead and Army of Darkness.
“Evil Ed” is a love letter to the slapstick horror movies we all love, like “Braindead”, “Reanimator”, “Evil Dead 2”, and countless Troma films. Its over the top style makes it fun to watch, but the story itself leaves a lot to be desired. The plot speeds forward quickly, not giving the audience a lot of time to become emotionally invested in what is happening on the screen. We don’t learn much about Ed and he is not someone that the audience can really relate to. Although the fact that he is so forgettable is part of his charm, it also unfortunately means that we don’t exactly sympathize with him once things start to go awry.
The idea that horror films and other movies with a lot of violence can cause someone to go off the deep end is a great thing to try to dive into for a film. However, the idea that “Evil Ed” wants to explore isn’t the focus of the film. The ball gets dropped in that area and it is hard to take the message that it wants to convey seriously despite the fact that horror is definitely something the director is passionate about. The entire film is ridiculous with outrageous scenarios that will either make you laugh and fall in love with the film or turn it off. Let’s talk about the message the director tries to include in this film for a moment. During the early scenes of “Evil Ed”, our main character can be seen watching one specific scene of “Loose Limbs” repeatedly. In this scene, the villain can be heard screaming “DON’T YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME” as he murders his victim. This seems to be a trigger for Ed and reminds me of some of the excuses that were used during the days of Video Nasties. During this era, one of the main concerns mentioned was the ability to be able to take home violent films and watch scenes habitually as opposed to being able to see it only once during a theatrical release. It was said constant exposure to violence in films could cause instability and real violence against others.
Although “Evil Ed” does not dwell on this subject or adds real commentary and suspense, credit must be given where it is due. It is clear that the film mocks censorship boards and makes a joke out of those who believe that horror movies can cause violence. This film, while featuring fantastic special effects and quite a bit of blood, is still pretty lighthearted for a horror movie. The characters are more like a caricature than anything else and the surroundings are quite colorful with red and blue backdrops that are reminiscent of older horror films that many fans watched as a child. Although the voice acting is for most of the characters is quite terrible, there is one small fact that adds to the charm of the film. Bill Moseley, known for his role as Chop Top in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”, does the voice acting for the killer in the “Loose Limbs” franchise. The editing, camerawork, practical effects, one liners, and homages to cult horror films definitely make this movie worth checking out. However, fans will have to look past the lack of story progression and bad voice acting to enjoy this gem. Additionally, some of the jokes in the film may seem a little too cheesy, but with horror movies like this, is that really a bad thing?
Leave a Reply