In my book – which is more Guy N. Smith than Charles Dickens, granted – there are just two types of Japanese fantasy cinema. One of them involves various brightly-coloured monsters fighting with each other, all held together by a completely ludicrous plotline. Damn good fun. The other, however, is much more sombre, much darker, with a face like a slapped arse – and just as ludicrous.
Evil Dead Trap belongs in the latter category, as you should have already guessed. The story involves a young reporter, Nami, and her team investigating the source of a mysterious snuff movie she has received in the post. It’s really nothing you haven’t seen before, right? But by the time you’ve met the weird smoothie who keeps hanging around smoking fags and the masked, hooded creepoid dressed in army surplus bumping people off – oh, I forgot, there’s a talking abortion too, using an umbilical cord as a lasso – your head will be in too many pieces for you to even care. Because in Evil Dead Trap, story takes second place and style takes the lead. It’s hard to describe the effect the crazy visuals and fucked-up editing has on you, but, along with Ikeda’s (didn’t I buy my cupboards from there?) totally straight-faced approach, it gives the viewer a genuine feeling of discomfort throughout the movie And with a soundtrack that sounds just like Goblin, you’re left susceptible to total terror that will have you running to mummy for a change of underwear– pretty hard for me as she's locked-up in the coal cellar.
But if you need a strong mind to stop your brains leaking out of your ears, then you also need a strong stomach. For many people the deciding factor in a movie like this is the gore. And gorehounds will not be disappointed. Evil Dead Trap is, essentially, the slasher movie reborn as art and, if you really need to know, there’s a gruesome multiple impaling, someone graphically hung by a piece of steel wire, and another person smashed in the head full-whack with a machete. One guy is stabbed in the back of the head with a knife – when it exits through his mouth you automatically think: House By The Cemetery. And speaking of Fulci, there’s a graphic eyeball stabbing here within five minutes of the movie starting, although this one makes Zombie Flesh Eaters look like Alvin And The Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein!
Take it from me, this is not a movie for wimps, not for the brain-dead followers of plastic, mass-market, sugar-coated mainstream cinema, but for horror’s hard-core. It would appear that whilst the rest of the world’s horror cinema was taking its long, post 1980 trip down the lovey-dovey slide into supermarket own-brand jelly and custard, Japan was half-way up its journey into the Mountains of Madness. Evil Dead Trap is a mentalist masterpiece.