Evil Dead Timeline explored: How to watch the slasher movies in order

Kim Schewitz January 5, 2023
Evil Dead Timeline explored: How to watch the slasher movies in order
Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

Ahead of the release of Evil Dead Rise later this year, here is a recap of the timeline of all the demonic horror films in the series.

The Evil Dead franchise first hit screens in 1981 and despite its low budget, it became a commercial success and cult classic, with a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movies were created and directed by Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell played the iconic Ash Williams in the earlier installments of the franchise.

The trailer for the first new release in the Evil Dead series in ten years, Evil Dead Rise, was publicized yesterday, January 4, 2023, and it promises to be the scariest yet!

Let’s take a look at the timeline of the Evil Dead movies and how to watch them in order.

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ

How many Evil Dead Movies are there? 

There are currently four Evil Dead movies, with Evil Dead Rise, the fifth, to be released later this year. As well as the movies, there was a TV series called Ash vs Evil Dead which ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2018.

In the show, Campbell reprises his role as Ash, the ‘aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter’ who has “spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity, and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons – personal and literal.“

In terms of the movies’ order, it is simplest to think of them as the original trilogy, and the later remake which follows a similar plot but with entirely new characters.

The first three movies star Bruce Campbell and came out in 1981, 1987, and 1992. The first remake, also titled Evil Dead, came out in 2013.

The original Evil Dead trilogy 

The Evil Dead (1981) follows five college students on a trip to an isolated cabin in the woods. In the cellar of the cabin, they find the Naturon Demonto, a Sumerian version of the Book of the Dead, which summons an evil force and possesses most of the characters.

Evil Dead II, the sequel to Evil Dead, came out in 1987. The movie begins with a recap of the events of the previous film and continues to center around Ash Williams fighting against demonic forces and possessed characters. The slasher’s tone is scary but peppered with satire and many comedic moments.

Evil Dead III or Army Of Darkness is a comedic, dark fantasy-adventure film from 1992. As per Evil Dead Fandom: “Despite being a sequel to the two Evil Dead films, it is not as violent or gory, relying more on slapstick and Black Comedy.”

In Army of Darkness, Ash Williams gets stuck back in time, somewhere around 1300 AD, and must find a way back to the present, also while fighting off demons of course.

Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The Evil Dead 2013 remake 

The Evil Dead 2013 is a soft reboot of the first film in the horror franchise, acting loosely as a sequel to the original series, making it the fourth installment in the series overall. It is directed by Fede Alvarez and was produced by Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert.

The Evil Dead Fandom describes the tone of the 2013 remake “as more serious than in previous installments, reflecting more of the deliberately gruesome and provocative nature of the 1981 original than the progressively lighter sequels.”

The film stars Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Lou Taylor Pucci.

Evil Dead Rise will be released in April 2023 

Evil Dead Rise is a sequel to the 2013 Evil Rise, more or less, and is due to be released on April 21, 2023.

Moving the action out of the woods and into the city, the new film tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, played by Alyssa Sutherland and Lily Sullivan, whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.

The film’s director Lee Cronin told Empire that Evil Rise is “undoubtedly an Evil Dead movie, but it takes the lore and pulls it in a new direction”.

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Kim Schewitz is a London-based staff writer at The Focus and HITC. She is a gold-standard NCTJ-qualified journalist with a passion for pop culture, politics, feminism, and trends. She has previously written for publications including The i paper and Glamour UK and previously worked in local news. Kim graduated from the University of Bristol in 2020 with a first-class degree in French and Spanish. She is passionate about modern languages and has spent time living in Paris and Barcelona.