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  Evil Ed He Lost It At The MoviesBuy this film here.
Year: 1995
Director: Anders Jacobsson
Stars: Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin, Camela Leierth, Gert Fylking, Cecilia Ljung, Michael Kallaanvaara, Hans Wilhelmsson, Anders Ek, Memory Garp, Christer Fant, Odile Nunes, Ulf Landergren, Jenny Forslund, Therese Malmer
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: There has been an incident at this film company where the editor who was cutting out the more extreme violence of the productions to abide by government censorship guidelines has simply had enough: he was driven insane by this diet of extreme gore and eventually locked himself into the cutting room. When his boss Sam Campbell (Olof Rhodin) broke down the door, the editor placed a grenade in his mouth and pulled out the pin, blowing his own head off, so a replacement must be found. Campbell settles on Edward Tor Swenson (Johan Rudebeck), a mild mannered fellow who should not be any trouble - but the boss has reckoned without the terrible influence exposure to so many horror movies can have!

Using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, director Anders Jacobsson and his team of talented amateurs set out to take on what they regarded as a hypocritical and outdated Swedish censorship system that would routinely see horror movies cut to shreds when it came to those effects sequences, a frustrating state of affairs for horror fans. Likewise, in the United Kingdom there was a similar moral crusade, first in the nineteen-eighties and then it resurfaced in the nineties, seeing movies labelled as video nasties and the BBFC head James Ferman seeking celebrity as the high profile censor in chief (if Brits have trouble naming the head of the board now, it's thanks to cooler heads prevailing).

Therefore Evil Ed, which funnily enough was passed uncut in the UK, had a receptive audience across the more stringently censored nations, as the climate was just right for tackling the issue of those who wanted to see artistic freedom permitted even in the tawdriest of works, and this was where Jacobsson and his pals entered the fray. It's doubtful whether they had a strong influence on the political machinations, but for those fans it was nice to know someone out there actually making the movies would be sympathetic to their favourite form of entertainnment, and for the director it provided a steady basis for further work in the industry, most often as a cinematographer (his Sam Raimi-style camera movies here demonstrate his abilities).

With all that in mind, it would be cheering to say Evil Ed was a triumph of low budget horror in the way that Raimi's early efforts were, and this was straining to emulate; Peter Jackson must have been an influence at the same time, as he was producing similar material on the other side of the world. Alas, the filmmakers were so enthusiastic about presenting those gore effects that it quickly became clear any keen-edged satire they could have implemented against their target was more a blunt and rusty saw, taking the common accusation that watching horror was definitely going to warp your mind and turn you into a psychopath with murderous intent and portraying a character for whom that was entirely true. Only, hey, it was meant to be a comedy, so how could anyone take such a prediction seriously?

As Ed begins so meekly (we see his preferred material are sensitive Swedish dramas in black and white) and winds up such a raving madman the movie assuredly made its point that to blame horror for damaging impressionable and innocent minds was misguided as best and insultingly simplistic at worst, but what it was not was funny. There was little humour in the acts of violence we saw, it was more deadening than that, for there was no wit or grasp of the cartoonish that Raimi embraced, when we watched a victim getting punched bloody, that was the extent of the joke, and it was not particularly funny. If it had not been intended as a comedy, then the point made about the absurdity of censoring non-illegal films (i.e. films that did not take part in anything genuinely harmful in their manufacture) would have been lost, yet as it was supposed to be gag after gag the tone was an irksomely self-satisfied one that yes, they were in the right, but no, they were not presenting their message too well. For a film one step up from home movies, Evil Ed impressed, but as anything more than that, forget it. Music by Henriksson and Lindh.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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