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Elvis meets the Evil Dead as comedy rewinds to the VHS era

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December 08, 2020 at 07:35AM

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The cult show that splices Evil Dead II with Elvis Presley hits is now on video cassette as standups hark back to retro formats

The movie was a sequel to one of the original video nasties, so what better format for a stage show that pays it tribute? Comedy distributors Go Faster Stripe have released Rob Kemp’s cult musical-comedy The Elvis Dead – based on Evil Dead II – on VHS. I’ve got a copy, its chunky rectangular case a Proustian madeleine transporting me back to the 80s. Indelible memories of, er, endlessly rewinding and fast-forwarding things, and trying to press record at just the right moment to splice episodes 1 and 2 of the latest Dr Who.

If the VHS format is remembered for little else, it’s remembered for the video nasties panic at the start of that decade, when a nation trembled before the corrupting power of Zombie Holocaust, Eaten Alive! and Bambi Goes Crazy-Ape Bonkers with His Drill and Sex. (That last one courtesy of Vyvyan from The Young Ones.) Even if the panic abated by the time of Evil Dead II’s release in 1987, it’s a nice touch by the Cardiff outfit to offer Kemp’s show in retro video format – with a digital download simultaneously available. And it’s not a bolt from the blue. Earlier this year, in a bid to offset Covid-era losses, Monkey Barrel Comedy released standup sets by John Kearns, Olga Koch and Ari Eldjárn on vinyl LP.

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