Evil Dead: Loving the Unnatural

Why do we cherish films that are visibly flawed? Why do we find comfort in the campily imperfect, wherein lie the “virtues of failure”? This smart and well-argued video essay investigates the lasting appeal of the technically inferior special effects in films such as Evil Dead.


Grace Lee builds her case using a variety of voices and citations (Susan Sontag, Brian Eno, Kyoko Mori…) from academia to the arts. But it is her own voice, her own eloquent reasoning that makes the video stand out. She convincingly argues for the existence and allure of an “aesthetic of failure”. To illustrate that this aesthetic is not limited to eighties B-movies, Grace Lee draws on examples as diverse as contemporary vertical video and Spotify’s algorithms.


Lee defends the authenticity that can be found in bad fakes and in shabby special effects. But this admirably articulate and neatly produced video essay proves that there is a lot of joy and truth to be found in polished perfection as well.