On occasion, the internet can be a truly amazing place. This is one small example: I’ve wanted to see Within the Woods since I was around ten years old — reading about the Evil Dead trilogy after you watch them all within a week can breed that urge — and, today, after years of waiting, it’s nothing more than a couple of clicks away. (Beforehand, the only real alternative was buying a bootleg VHS tape [the only form that actually exists] off of eBay. Someone’s gone and cut out the middle man.)
Even those who’ve yet to see the 30-minute short know that Woods was Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell‘s first attempt at the kind of supernatural horror that would only take off a few years later. (In fact, the plot is similar enough that their 1981 classic could almost be deemed an expansion.) Being a (somehow) even more independent production than The Evil Dead, this isn’t so much a film showing its rough edges as it is one comprised entirely of rough edges, but that’s exactly what lends a wholly endearing sense of authenticity. Knowing this low-quality video, made on a less-than-shoestring budget, was the gateway to a film that, over time, would open up the chance for something like the Spider-Man trilogy makes Within the Woods strangely inspiring.
While it may not be on a VHS tape or through a 16mm projector, you can view the work below:
Have you been waiting to see Raimi’s first stab at horror? What were your thoughts?
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