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Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker
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I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Opinion — Michigan in Movies: “The Evil Dead” Series

Joleigh Martinez/NW
IN THE WOODS — “The Evil Dead” series, with their deep woods settings and offbeat humor, make excellent horror movies to watch in the U.P. With October just starting, there isn’t a better time to check them out.

My home state of Michigan is a place that is represented few times in film, and rarely in a faithful manner. Sure, we have the campy political commentary of “RoboCop,” the serious political commentary of “Blue Collar” and weird little “nerd culture” indie movies like “Relaxer,” all of which I feel honored to call Michigan films. But then we get pinned with movies like “Escanaba in da Moonlight” which I feel tries too hard to fit the mold and lacks true Michigan energy.

That is why I thought it would be nice to take a look at “The Evil Dead” series. Besides, with it being October, I don’t see a better time of year. 

Now, there are a few things to be addressed here. The first movie is set in Tennessee, the second was filmed in North Carolina and “Army of Darkness” is set in Medieval Europe. None of these are in Michigan.

However, the first film follows a group of Michigan State University students on vacation, making our protagonist, Ash Williams, a Michigander. On top of that, both director Sam Raimi and star Bruce Campbell were born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan. Raimi and the film’s crew even tried to shoot the first film in Royal Oak but moved to Tennessee due to weather difficulties.

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A Michigan director behind the wheel makes the movie Michigan enough for me. Besides, the movies are so fun because they feel like Michigan, especially in the fall. The setting of the first two reminds me of visiting my grandparents out in the Trenary woods, where you are surrounded by nothing but trees for miles, with the occasional cabin dropped into the mix.

It sounds almost like a joke, but the way these movies, especially the first two, use their settings gets major points from me. Alongside the “lost in the woods” horror of “The Blair Witch Project,” “The Evil Dead” series nails the subtle creepiness of an autumn hike perfectly.

That being said, despite some aesthetic creepiness, “The Evil Dead” is never particularly scary, especially when Raimi begins to lean into the overall campiness of the films in the second installment. Starting with “Evil Dead II,” it takes on a different form, with sequences of stop-motion animation, one-liners and a protagonist with a chainsaw for a hand (really, trust me). It’s like the Three Stooges from hell.

This is also why the series gets Michigan points for me. I once saw a tweet describing Michigan as the Florida of the Midwest, due to features like the semi-absurd region of the Upper Peninsula. As a Yooper, I really felt that. The humor in “The Evil Dead” sequels has the same charm as places around town such as the Rice Paddy or Phil’s 550 Store, with people that have an unexpected wackiness to them that adds so much charm and character to those places.

Just like Michigan, there are gorgeous deep woods, there is natural beauty all around, but there is plenty of oddball Midwest energy to be found. That is why I heavily recommend watching the original “Evil Dead” trilogy this October as the perfect Halloween watch.

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About the Contributor
Harry Stine
Harry Stine, Opinion Editor
In 2021, after one year of college and a semester of studying as a Public Relations major, I realized I wanted to be a journalist and not much else. After eagerly applying to be a Copy Editor, without even knowing AP style at that point, I started doing the occasional contributing writer piece for The North Wind. My frequent topic was satire. When I heard The North Wind was going through another round of hires, and a spot was open for an Assistant Features Editor, I applied in a heartbeat. I still do the occasional satire piece, but I take great pride in exploring NMU and Marquette for my topics, and finally having my head wrapped around AP style.