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Face-Off: Evil Dead II vs. Shaun of the Dead

10.20.2015by: Brian Bitner
All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up! Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres next weekend (Halloween night, to be precise), marking the return of Bruce Campbell as the titular Ash Williams. I was already curiously anticipating the show, but when I found out one of the wonderful servers at my local bar, the beautiful and talented Dana DeLorenzo, had been cast in a lead role, you'd better believe I was on board.

Horror comedy films have been around almost as long as the horror genre itself (which is no surprise given how absurd horror movies can get). Since its release in 1987, EVIL DEAD II has been considered one of the best horror comedies of all time, alongside cult classics like DEAD ALIVE and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. In 2004, though, a small British film called SHAUN OF THE DEAD hit the scene and has been making its way to the top of those lists ever since...but which is the better farce of the dead? Let's go.
LEAD
Bruce Campbell as Ashley "Ash" Williams, one of if not the main reason EVIL DEAD franchise is so beloved. No one can say "groovy" quite like Bruce.
Simon Pegg as Shaun, the lovable, irresponsible everyman in the role that put Pegg on the map in the States. Shaun is also a fantastic character, to be sure, but Ash is Ash.
SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
Sarah Berry as Annie
Dan Hicks as Jake
Kassie Wesley DePaiva as Bobby Joe
Denise Bixler as Linda
Richard Domeier as Ed
Ted Raimi as Possessed Henrietta


While the acting in this film is certainly better than its predecessor, it's still Campbell's show.
Nick Frost as Ed
Kate Ashfield as Liz
Lucy Davis as Diane
Dylan Moran as David
Penelope Wilton as Barbara
Bill Nighy as Philip
Peter Serafinowicz as Pete

A lot of great British comedic talent in this film, but really Nick Frost wins this category on his own.
SETTING
A cabin set deep in the Tennessee woods. The perfect setting for a story of demons attacking in the night with no way to escape.
North London. Suburban enough for houses and backyards with enough of an urban feel to allow for bars, city streets, and plenty of undead citizens.
COMEDY
EVIL DEAD II has some hilarious moments, but the focus here is more on making a fun movie than a funny movie.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD is full of laugh out loud moments and subtler jokes that hit you the second and third time around. The Pegg/Frost combo is hard to beat.
THE DEAD
The evil dead. The things that were and shall be again. Demons from another dimension who can take the form of humans, appliances, trees, and unholy monsters- and can't be killed simply by removing the head or destroying the brain.
Zombies. Just regular zombies.

(Whoops; don't use the Z word!)
WEAPONS
Sawed-off Remington shotgun, axe, shovel, Kandarian dagger, CHAINSAW ATTACHED AT THE WRIST.
Cricket bat, shovel, Shaun's record collection, ash tray, playset chair, tetherball pole, darts, pool cues, fire extinguisher, putter, Winchester rifle, David's leg.

Okay, okay, I'm not saying anything above is equivalent to the almighty chainsaw, BUT it's a consistent usage of found objects throughout, while the chainsaw-for-a-hand/boomstick combo only makes an appearance in the final fifteen minutes of EVIL DEAD II. If we were talking ARMY OF DARKNESS, it'd be a totally different story.
QUOTES
"There's something out there. That... that witch in the cellar is only part of it. It lives... out in those woods, in the dark... something... something that's come back from the dead."

"Groovy."

"We are the things that were and shall be again! Spirits of the book! We want what is yours! Life! Dead by dawn! Dead by dawn!"

"Let's head on down into that cellar and carve ourselves a witch."

"Let's go."

"You bastards... you dirty bastards!"

"Swallow this."

"You did it, kid."
"As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no I in team, but there is an I in pie. And there's an I in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team... I don't know what he's talking about."

"Ooh, he's got an arm off!" "Get him!"

"We're coming to get you, Barbara!"

"I'm sorry, Shaun."

"Your mum rang about you going around tomorrow night, and then Liz rang about the two of you eating out tonight, and then your mum rang back to see if I wanted to eat her out tonight."

"Don't forget to kill Philip!"

"F*CK-A-DOODLE-DO!"

"You've got red on you."
ACCOLADES
IMDB: 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% (Audience Score: 89%)
Metacritic: 69 (User Score: 8.6)
IMDB: 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (Audience Score: 93%)
Metacritic: 76 (User Score: 8.6)
TIEBREAKER
EVIL DEAD II is considered a sequel to THE EVIL DEAD by some and a spoof of its predecessor by others. It seems like, if the film was a sequel, it shouldn't have rehashed so much from the first film, and if it was a spoof, it should have felt, well, spoofier. Some people call it a remake, too, but that's just silly.
For being a comedy, SHAUN OF THE DEAD is actually better than most zombie films out there. The slow build of the outbreak, the relationships, and the scene where Shaun has to shoot his own mother are more gripping and real than plenty of run of the mill zombie films full of two dimensional characters and ridiculous logic.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD
Certainly, these are very different films, and the two can coexist without too much butting of heads, but SHAUN OF THE DEAD works more as a well-rounded film, where EVIL DEAD II plays more like one long, gory, insanely entertaining scene. I will say the EVIL DEAD trilogy improved along the way, where the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy got a little less satisfying with each film (still plenty of love for HOT FUZZ and THE WORLD'S END, though). Hopefully, Ash vs. Evil Dead brings the same laughs as the EVIL DEAD franchise along with some present day special effects and a bit more story to sink our teeth into. Are you excited for the new show? What's your favorite horror comedy? Oh, and in case you haven't seen EVIL DEAD II yet:



Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

If you have a suggestion for a future Face-Off, let us know below or send me an email at brianbitner@joblo.com.

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+0
7:44PM on 04/03/2016
Definitely a tough matchup but Shaun of the Dead has so much more rewatchability... The Evil Dead trilogy is fun but the tiebreaker is key. It's such a weird mix of remake/spoof/sequel. My ratings: Evil Dead II: 7/10; Shaun of the Dead 10/10
Definitely a tough matchup but Shaun of the Dead has so much more rewatchability... The Evil Dead trilogy is fun but the tiebreaker is key. It's such a weird mix of remake/spoof/sequel. My ratings: Evil Dead II: 7/10; Shaun of the Dead 10/10
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11:22AM on 10/26/2015
Evil Dead 2 did more for the horror comedy genre than Sean Of The Dead did, isn't sean of the dead basically a spoof of Dawn Of The Dead. So it basically copies the ingredients of another popular film.

Those in support should hold your heads in shame.
Evil Dead 2 did more for the horror comedy genre than Sean Of The Dead did, isn't sean of the dead basically a spoof of Dawn Of The Dead. So it basically copies the ingredients of another popular film.

Those in support should hold your heads in shame.
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11:24AM on 10/26/2015
Plus the iconic hand saw! should win on its own.
Plus the iconic hand saw! should win on its own.
11:14AM on 10/26/2015
Evil Dead 2 without a doubt!
Evil Dead 2 without a doubt!
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3:17AM on 10/21/2015

Hell no.

The writer of this article needs to be fired ASAP.
The writer of this article needs to be fired ASAP.
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2:25PM on 10/21/2015
Harsh! Can I at least stay on to clean toilets and go on coffee runs? I promise I'll wash my hands in between.
Harsh! Can I at least stay on to clean toilets and go on coffee runs? I promise I'll wash my hands in between.
3:50PM on 10/20/2015

GTFO

To each his own, but I disagree man. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies but come on...... beating out "The Chin" in Evil Dead II, one of the MOST INFLUENTIAL CULT CLASSICS OF ALL TIME?! This can't be right.

To each his own, but I disagree man. Shaun of the Dead is one of my favorite movies but come on...... beating out "The Chin" in Evil Dead II, one of the MOST INFLUENTIAL CULT CLASSICS OF ALL TIME?! This can't be right.

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3:12PM on 10/20/2015

No.

Evil Dead 2 wins hands down. Hahaha pun intended.
Evil Dead 2 wins hands down. Hahaha pun intended.
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3:03PM on 10/20/2015
This is a REALLY tough one, but for me, I have to go with Evil Dead 2. I just love that cheesy B-movie feel. No disrespect to Shaun of the Dead though, which is a truly excellent movie.
This is a REALLY tough one, but for me, I have to go with Evil Dead 2. I just love that cheesy B-movie feel. No disrespect to Shaun of the Dead though, which is a truly excellent movie.
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+2
2:59PM on 10/20/2015
Evil Dead 2 all the way. Boo on this.
Evil Dead 2 all the way. Boo on this.
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+0
1:35PM on 10/20/2015
double post
double post
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1:35PM on 10/20/2015
You guys are all nuts!! Evil Dead 2 in a heart beat even thought Shaun of the Dead deserves to stand tall along side it as well. Sam Raimi over Edgar Wright any day.
You guys are all nuts!! Evil Dead 2 in a heart beat even thought Shaun of the Dead deserves to stand tall along side it as well. Sam Raimi over Edgar Wright any day.
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1:16PM on 10/20/2015
I think it's totally fair to compare movies 17yrs apart from each other where special effects have not only made gore splatters easier and many other things.
Evil Dead: 1981
Evil Dead 2: 1987
Army of Darkness: 1992
Shaun of the Dead: 2004
Personally, I would go with a Tie as I love both series and look forward to Ash vs the Evil Dead series, but I think a closer in age battle would be Shaun of the Dead vs Zombieland. (2009) (which as much as I enjoy Zombieland, I still would vote Shaun of
I think it's totally fair to compare movies 17yrs apart from each other where special effects have not only made gore splatters easier and many other things.
Evil Dead: 1981
Evil Dead 2: 1987
Army of Darkness: 1992
Shaun of the Dead: 2004
Personally, I would go with a Tie as I love both series and look forward to Ash vs the Evil Dead series, but I think a closer in age battle would be Shaun of the Dead vs Zombieland. (2009) (which as much as I enjoy Zombieland, I still would vote Shaun of the Dead)

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1:23PM on 10/20/2015
Yeah, I didn't touch on effects because of the time gap. Shaun vs. Zombieland would be great, but we wanted to use the Evil Dead franchise in some way, and we've already done Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead 2, and Arrow in the Head did Evil Dead 2 vs. Army of Darkness... so it was time for something new!
Yeah, I didn't touch on effects because of the time gap. Shaun vs. Zombieland would be great, but we wanted to use the Evil Dead franchise in some way, and we've already done Evil Dead vs. Evil Dead 2, and Arrow in the Head did Evil Dead 2 vs. Army of Darkness... so it was time for something new!
12:43PM on 10/20/2015

get out of town!

there would be no 'Shaun of the Dead' without ED2 in the first place, both are great but you have to give credit where its due - to the originator, the ultimate splatter comedy, Evil Dead 2.
there would be no 'Shaun of the Dead' without ED2 in the first place, both are great but you have to give credit where its due - to the originator, the ultimate splatter comedy, Evil Dead 2.
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12:39PM on 10/20/2015

What about Army of Darkness Vs Shaun Of The Dead?

What say you?
What say you?
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1:00PM on 10/20/2015
Yeah, I thought about that, but I went with ED2 because many consider it to be the best of the three- and because AoD takes place in the Middle Ages, which makes it a bit harder to compare to a film that takes place in present day London. I personally prefer Shaun, but it would have been another close call.
Yeah, I thought about that, but I went with ED2 because many consider it to be the best of the three- and because AoD takes place in the Middle Ages, which makes it a bit harder to compare to a film that takes place in present day London. I personally prefer Shaun, but it would have been another close call.
-4
9:58AM on 10/20/2015
EVIL DEAD II: 4/10
SHAUN OF THE DEAD: 8/10
EVIL DEAD II: 4/10
SHAUN OF THE DEAD: 8/10
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4:31PM on 10/20/2015
I hope the quotations marks indicate sarcasm. What's there to get about 2 horror comedies? To answer your question, I didn't like it because, except for Bruce Campbell who's over-the-top in a good way, the actors are over-the-top in a bad way. Also, the first 30 minutes are pointless and suspense-free. It feels like the demons are messing with ASH. It doesn't feel like they're really trying to kill him until the other group shows up.
I hope the quotations marks indicate sarcasm. What's there to get about 2 horror comedies? To answer your question, I didn't like it because, except for Bruce Campbell who's over-the-top in a good way, the actors are over-the-top in a bad way. Also, the first 30 minutes are pointless and suspense-free. It feels like the demons are messing with ASH. It doesn't feel like they're really trying to kill him until the other group shows up.
3:53PM on 10/20/2015
How can you "get" Shaun of the Dead enough to rate it 8/10, and at the same time not "get" Evil Dead II enough to rate it 4/10?

Really? 4/10? To each his own man, but damn. Can't even see it good enough to give it a 5/10?
How can you "get" Shaun of the Dead enough to rate it 8/10, and at the same time not "get" Evil Dead II enough to rate it 4/10?

Really? 4/10? To each his own man, but damn. Can't even see it good enough to give it a 5/10?
8:19AM on 10/20/2015
As much as I love the Evil Dead series, Shaun of the Dead is infinitely more quotable. It's not even that close.
As for which is the better film - I love both - really depends what sort of mood I'm in.
As much as I love the Evil Dead series, Shaun of the Dead is infinitely more quotable. It's not even that close.
As for which is the better film - I love both - really depends what sort of mood I'm in.
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8:12AM on 10/20/2015

I think this should be a tie

Evil Dead gets the quotes section, I mean come on! That is what it's most known for. I'm not saying Shaun doesn't have good quotes, but just about every bit of Ash's dialog are rememberable lines.
Evil Dead gets the quotes section, I mean come on! That is what it's most known for. I'm not saying Shaun doesn't have good quotes, but just about every bit of Ash's dialog are rememberable lines.
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8:11AM on 10/20/2015

My feelings exactly

While I love EVIL DEAD 2, SHAUN OF THE DEAD just works better both as a horror movie and as a comedy. And yes, the scene where Shaun has to kill his own mother is brilliant.
While I love EVIL DEAD 2, SHAUN OF THE DEAD just works better both as a horror movie and as a comedy. And yes, the scene where Shaun has to kill his own mother is brilliant.
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7:39AM on 10/20/2015
Man, this really is a tough call. I'd call it a tie. Evil Dead 2 is, for me, a screwball comedy with the undead and chainsaw thrown in. As for Shaun of the Dead, it's very British humor with vibrant style and great comedy. I really like both movies so it's a tie for me.
Man, this really is a tough call. I'd call it a tie. Evil Dead 2 is, for me, a screwball comedy with the undead and chainsaw thrown in. As for Shaun of the Dead, it's very British humor with vibrant style and great comedy. I really like both movies so it's a tie for me.
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7:15AM on 10/20/2015

Shaun of the Dead

One of my favorite comedies, ever.
One of my favorite comedies, ever.
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7:14AM on 10/20/2015

Ooh, a tough one.

I love them both but I am probably more likely to watch Sean of the Dead on a casual whim than Evil Dead II.

Oh and I'm a Brit so gonna support my own.
I love them both but I am probably more likely to watch Sean of the Dead on a casual whim than Evil Dead II.

Oh and I'm a Brit so gonna support my own.
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