When Evil Dead first premiered in theaters in 1981, it terrified (and delighted) audiences. The horror film, which follows a group of college students vacationing in a strange cottage in the woods, gained a cult following and sparked the development of a series of sequels.
The most recent film was released in 2013, although a fifth installment appears to be in the works. Ash versus Evil Dead was a television series that aired on Starz from 2015 to 2018.
The Evil Dead series is renowned for having some of the scariest moments combined with a fantastic plot, and therefore, in this article, I will give you the complete guide on watching the Evil Dead film franchise in order, including the TV shows.
Evil Dead Movies in Order by Release Date
If you’re going to watch the Evil Dead franchise in order, there is only one way to do so — in the release order. There are no time jumps, which means you may watch them all simultaneously. Here is the list of All Evil Dead movies in order of release, including the short film and TV show:
- Within the Woods (1978) – Short film
- The Evil Dead (1981)
- Evil Dead II (1987)
- Army of Darkness (1992)
- Evil Dead (2013)
- Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015 – 2018) – TV Show
Evil Dead Movies in Chronological Order
1. Within the Woods (1978) – Short film
Within the Woods is a short film that serves as the franchise’s first installment. A group of friends spends the weekend at a rural cabin, Two romantic couples, consisting of four teenagers, decide to spend a weekend together located in a remote cabin found in the woods.
An unseen force stalks and watches the group without their knowledge. Ellen and her boyfriend Bruce enter the woods to have a picnic lunch.
The other couple, Scotty and Shelly, remain at the cabin playing Monopoly to pass time. During their lunch, Bruce announces to Ellen that they’re camping on an Indian burial ground. Ellen is concerned, but Bruce assures her that they will be fine as long as they don’t disturb the graves of the dead. Bruce then explores the area and discovers an ancient dagger belonging to the Indians.
Ignoring his own advice, he takes the dagger with him. As a result, he transforms into a zombie and begins murdering his buddies. They must unite together to avoid being slaughtered.
2. The Evil Dead (1981)
This is the series’s first official film, having been released in 1981. It introduces Ash, the series’ protagonist, and the Book of the Dead, as well as the dangers that accompany it. The Evil Dead is a horror film with black humor elements.
Five buddies decide to spend their holiday at a cottage in the woods. They come to find a book titled “The Book of the Dead” and a tape recorder that belongs to a professor who also owns the cottage. One of them replays what was captured on the cassette, which happens to be Candarian resurrection passages transcribed from the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) by the professor, unleashing a terrible power from the woods.
The individuals begin transforming into wicked deadites, and the others quickly learn from the video that the only way to kill a deadite is by complete bodily dissection. People are being murdered regularly; one girl loses control early in the video and goes out into the woods, only to be raped by the trees.
3. Evil Dead II (1987)
This 1987 film established the series’ signature comedy while building on the horror elements around Ash’s encounters with the Necronomicon and demons. “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” is a blood-soaked comedy disguised as a shock-a-rama. It appears on the surface to be a standard horror film, a vomitorium meant to separate debauched teens from their meal.
However, upon closer examination, the film reveals itself to be a very clever parody. Level One viewers will declare that it is in poor taste. Individuals on Level Two, such as myself, will see it as a matter of bad taste.
Visitors to a cabin in the woods of Michigan unintentionally call malevolent spirits after discovering a rare copy of the Book of the Dead. The ghosts wreak havoc on their victims, disemboweling and vivisecting them.
The hero fights valiantly against the terrifying supernatural powers, but he is no match for the unspeakably evil creatures that lurk in the basement, the woods, and behind every door.
This narrative is told entirely via the use of special effects. In the moonlight, skeletons dance. On top of bodies, heads whirl. Hands become ferocious and begin assaulting their owners. They take on a life of their own after being severed.
Heads are clamped and smashed in vises. Blood splatters everywhere. Guts oozing. Slime erupts. If sickening visuals of horrible gore are not your cup of tea, chances are you will not enjoy this film.
While The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II have a lot in common in terms of narrative, the tone of the films is markedly different. While both films include satirical aspects, the first is a far more basic horror film than its sequel.
The Evil Dead contains little overt comedy; rather, it relies on traditional elements of the thriller/horror genre, such as drenching the screen in copious amounts of fake blood, allowing the actors to deliver over-the-top performances, and purposefully placing characters in situations where they do stupid things.
4. Army of Darkness (1992)
A discount-store clerk (“Name’s Ash. Housewares.”) gets time-warped to a medieval castle plagued by terrible powers in this sequel to the Evil Dead flicks.
Ash is transported to 1,300 A.D. via his automobile, where he is kidnapped by Lord Arthur and sold into slavery with Duke Henry the Red and a few of his troops. When Ash is thrown into a pit, he fights two monsters and earns Arthur’s troops and vassals’ esteem.
The Wiseman identifies Ash as The Chosen One tasked with reclaiming the Necronomicon, but Ash is more concerned about going home. Ash chooses to journey to the evil country of the Deadites after learning that the only way to return to his time is to use the Necronomicon.
The Wiseman tells him to speak the words “Klaatu Barada Nikto” to obtain the evil book securely. However, Ash forgets the final phrase, and an army of the dead rises to attack Arthur’s stronghold and reclaim the Necronomicon.
The fight between the living and the dead is about to begin, and Ash and Arthur will need Henry the Red’s assistance to vanquish the army of darkness.
5. Evil Dead (2013)
Mia is a heroin addict whose most recent overdose came dangerously close to being her final. Recognizing that she will not survive another attempt, Mia’s lifelong friends Olivia and Eric accompany her to her family’s ancient cottage in the woods to stop cold turkey.
This is not their first try, but they are hopeful that with Mia’s brother David nearby, she will have the support she requires to weather the impending storm.
Strange things begin to happen as soon as David and Natalie arrive at the cabin; Mia complains of a bad stench that none of her friends can detect, and when David and Eric descend into the fruit cellar, they uncover what looks to be the scene of a sinister ritual.
An ancient book has been locked shut with heavy-duty plastic and barbed wire among the animal remains and strange items. Intrigued, Eric manages to rip the book free and discovers something disturbing: the book is wrapped in human flesh and contains an incantation that will release a great force of evil.
Eric disregards the cautions not to say or even hear the incantation and reads the lines aloud, ensuring his own and his closest friends’ doom. They will be possessed one by one until no soul remains unclaimed. The fortunate few will perish first, their souls damned to agony as their bodies are twisted into hideous aberrations of flesh.
Will the last person standing have the guts to send these cruel demons back to hell, even if it means murdering their friends and loved ones in the most heinous manner possible, or will the powers released by this evil book prove too strong for any mortal to overcome?
6. Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015 – 2018) – TV Show
Ash versus Evil Dead is a comedy-horror television series set in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead universe, starring Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams from the original Evil Dead trilogy.
The series takes place about 30 years after the events of the original three Evil Dead films and acts as a continuation of that trilogy. Ash Williams works as a stock boy at the “Value Stop.” Additionally, his buddy Pablo and the object of Pablo’s love, Kelly, work at the business.
Ash appears to have accomplished little in his life since his return from 1300 AD after Army of Darkness, as the series begins with him living in a trailer and drinking alone in bars.
However, Ash must quickly abandon his mundane existence and reclaim his heroism by taking up guns and confronting the titular Evil Dead. Pablo and Kelly join him in his crusade to preserve mankind.