Evil Dead: The Musical offers rip-roaring, blood-soaked humor

Evil Dead: The Musical’s first weekend packed seats for their comical and bloody production of the horror musical, based on the movie franchise of the same name.


Tate Hildyard

Actors perform in Evil Dead: The Musical at the Iowa City community Theater on Thursday, October 24th, 2019. The musical is baed on the 1981 cult film, The Evil Dead.

Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

With an ending that left the stage bloody and the crowd roaring with thunderous applause, Iowa City Community Theater’s Evil Dead: The Musical premiered Oct. 25.

As both a longtime fan of musical theater and Sam Raimi’s horror comedy series, Evil Dead, I knew I was set to have a wild experience at this show. However, I never expected to be so blown away by the level of professionalism put into the production by a small community theater.

Filled with fog machines, elaborate zombie masks, and copious amounts of both blood and laugher, it was safe to say I enjoyed the production.

The story of the musical is a blend of everything that makes Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy great: its B-list movie production style and its tongue-and-cheek humor.

The plot follows five teenagers as they attempt to have a party weekend at an abandoned cabin in the woods. The catch: there is only one bridge they can use to enter and leave. What could go wrong in this scenario? Well, a lot does.

Once the gang find a tape recorder and the ancient Book of the Dead, hell breaks loose, literally. After evil possesses friends, lovers, and right hands, Evil Dead: The Musical destroys these cheesy archetypes characters, with an eager and laughing audience bearing witness to it all.

Songs such as “Cabin in the Woods,” “Housewares Employee,” and “Good Old Reliable Jake,” will hit you with both barrels of funny and parody. These songs creatively play with different music genres and spoof iconic musical theater tunes including “Mama Mia” and “Grease.”

Related: Chainsaws, demons, and blood: A look into Iowa City theater’s upcoming musical

Evil Dead: The Musical also pays homage to its cinematic counterparts, with many of the film’s iconic lines, props, and deaths making an appearance. The show is sure to please any pre-existing fan. But past knowledge of these films are not needed for the enjoyment of this production.

Evil Dead: The Musical is not just entertaining, it plays with the audience in a way not typically seen in theater. This amount of fun is a direct result from the cast. Every character has such a memorable scene that each of them will stick with you long after the final bow.

The bloodshed isn’t reserved only to the cast. Tickets are available for the immersive “Splatter Zone” as well. The reserved section offers plastic tarped seating, where fake blood is sprayed and splattered on the designated theater goers during the performance.

The section offers attendees white shirts imprinted with, “I survived the Evil Dead. The Iowa City Community Theater also offers ponchos for those looking to be better protected from the bloodshed.

The show’s heart is found within its fans and crew, said actor Mia Huxely in a previous interview with The Daily Iowan.

“I think it’s all the better it’s on this low budget, because that’s what make Evil Dead,” Huxely, said. “Evil Dead is about a bunch of nerds coming together and creating some super gross, awesome stuff, that’s what it is at its core — to create all this.”

After the two hours of the production are up, there will be enough blood, laughs, and catchy show tunes to guarantee a fun and memorable way to spend the last few days of October. Evil Dead: The Musical is a cleverly absurd and fully developed show that will please both horror and musical theater fans alike.