dance of the Devil

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German title dance of the Devil
Original title The Evil Dead
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1981
length 85 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Sam Raimi
script Sam Raimi
production Robert G. Tapert
music Joseph LoDuca
camera Tim Philo
cut Edna Ruth Paul

Tanz der Teufel ( The Evil Dead ) is an American horror film by director Sam Raimi from 1981. It was confiscated in Germany until August 2016 and indexed until October 2016 because of its perceived violence . Two sequels appeared, Tanz der Teufel II - Now there is more dancing and Army of Darkness . In 2013 a remake was released with Evil Dead . In 2015, the plot of the first three films in the series Ash vs Evil Dead continued.


A group of teenagers go on vacation to a forest cabin in Tennessee . In the basement you will find an old, mysterious book, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (also Naturon Demonto ), as well as a tape recorder on which ancient incantations are recorded, which immediately show their effect when played: In the forest around the hut, “ that Evil ”. Demonic forces begin to decimate the group by using the bodies of the people as hosts one after the other and attacking the young people in this form. Only Ash can finally successfully fight off the attackers by destroying the book, even if his fate remains uncertain, as the end sequence suggests.


Sam Raimi in July 2012

In 1978 Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell first shot the horror short film Within the Woods (running time: 32 min), which is practically identical in content to the first two parts of Tanz der Teufel , with the intention of using it as a demonstration to get capital from investors for a real movie. However, they had problems with the copyrights of the music played in the film, so that the film has not yet been released in stores. Bruce Campbell has, however, confirmed several times (unofficially) that Raimi would consider the film to be too amateurish and therefore has no interest in publication. An inferior quality, filmed copy of the film is now in circulation.

Characteristic for the entire Tanz der Teufel series are the features of a B-movie , which is partly due to the low cost of making the film. The mask and splatter scenes are of high quality, but still have a certain comedy.

Tanz der Teufel has a very dense, atmospheric design for a B-movie. Stylistically striking are the reminiscences of the English horror classics of the 1960s that appear frequently in the second half , such as the fog that is constantly wafting around. The so-called Shakycam method invented by Raimi and used here for the first time , in which a camera was strapped to a board, which was then carried through the forest by two people at the ends, made unusual, confusingly subjective tracking shots possible. These were accompanied by eerie, weird tones at a manipulated playback speed.

The sequels of Dance of the Devils are Dance of the Devils II and Army of Darkness . In Italy, the film was shown in cinemas with the title La casa , the second part then as La Casa 2 . As a result, a total of three unofficial sequels to Tanz der Teufel II were filmed here and published between 1988 and 1990 as La Casa 3 , La Casa 4 and La Casa 5 . Consequently, Army of Darkness was not titled La Casa 3 , but L'armata delle tenebre .

Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were executive producers on Evil Dead , released in 2013 . Campbell has a short guest appearance as Ash at the end of the film, following the closing credits .


The film achieved a positive rating of 95% on the Rotten Tomatoes website based on 60 reviews. The consensus of the side is: "This classic of the low-budget horror film combines just the right amount of gore and black humor and thus generates as many thrills as laughs."

The lexicon of international films called Tanz der Teufel an "unsavory horror film issued as a cult film, which differs from similar products predominantly only in the accumulation of superficial, disgusting shock scenes". He is based "on the fatal error that the most naturalistic representation of gruesome scenes already causes horror".

Cinema highlighted "Tim Philo's unleashed camera, Tom Sullivan's hand-made effects and creative directional ideas" and said the film was "still a wild ride".

Conflict over the protection of minors

The FSK was on November 25, 1983, the film contradicts their principles, and recommended the company, him of SPIO could submit -Juristenkommission, so that the film without youth release from 18 years to run in theaters. The legal commission declared two days later that the film was harmless because the people portrayed were not people, but already demons and demons did not fall under Section 131 of the Criminal Code ( depictions of violence ).

In the spring of 1984, Tanz der Teufel was released in cinemas and at the same time came to video stores. The video version, which was similar in content to the theatrical version, came on the market at the beginning of 1984 and was indexed on April 27, 1984 by the Federal Testing Agency for Media Harmful to Young People (today: Federal Testing Agency for Media Harmful to Young People; for short: BPjM ). On July 12, 1984, at the request of the Frankfurt Youth Welfare Office, all video and cinema copies were confiscated by the public prosecutor.

Dance of the Devil was, next to Mother's Day , A Zombie Hung on the Bell Rope and Man-Eater - Der Menschenfresser , one of the films that fueled the discussion about violent films and ultimately led to a tightening of the media laws in Germany and a greater influence of the BPjS. Then a wave of seizures broke out. The video company VCL complained against it, as did the cinema company. Two days after the youth protection law was tightened, the Munich District Court ruled on February 27, 1985 that Tanz der Teufel was violent and not a work of art , which would have made exceptions possible. The film remained confiscated as a video cassette and as a cinema film. The press largely welcomed the verdict.

The Munich District Court I, as the next instance, granted the film the character of a work of art, but the violation of human dignity was so serious that the seizure was justified. The two rental companies then moved to the Federal Constitutional Court .

Negotiations with the FSK took place before it took action. A version shortened by 23 seconds was rejected by the FSK working committee on September 8, 1987, and a version shortened by 46 seconds was finally marked by the working committee as “not approved under 18 years” on September 18, 1987.

However, the public prosecutor also confiscated the cut film approved by the FSK because it still violated Section 131. Munich District Court and Regional Court confirmed this decision. Only the Federal Constitutional Court lifted the confiscation at the end of 1992. It stated that Section 131 only covers violence against people, not against zombies.

From January 14, 1993, the film was shortened by 44 seconds and re-released both in the cinema and as a video. However, the federal inspection agency immediately put Tanz der Teufel on the index, which resulted in a comprehensive advertising ban for the video cassettes. The video was therefore not allowed to be offered openly, but only under the shop counter. In 2002, the FSK sales company presented a version shortened by 14 minutes, which was approved for people aged 16 and over, as requested.

The so-called Ultimate Edition , one of the few uncensored versions of Tanz der Teufel published in Germany , was also indexed by the BPjM (BAnz. No. 185 of September 29, 2006). A confiscation order from the Berlin-Tiergarten District Court was issued on April 26, 2002.

A largely neutral summary of the events that ultimately led to the confiscation of the film in Germany, written by Norbert Stresau, can be found in The Science Fiction Year 1989 .

The film was linked to the Sondershausen murder in 1993 . It has been speculated that the film served as a template for the murder and the burying of the corpse, since those involved also wrap the corpse of a converted woman in a bed sheet and bury it in the forest near the wooden hut. According to the Mühlhausen district court, the perpetrators' inhibition threshold was lowered through "constant preoccupation with satanic ideas and depictions of killing in films, so that such an act became possible.

In the USA, the film was shown unaudited when it was first shown. For a re-release in 1994 it was rated NC-17 .

In July 2016, the seizure was lifted by the Tiergarten Berlin District Court. The indexing continued to exist, however a transfer was made from List B to List A. In October 2016, the indexing was completely lifted at the request of rights holder Sony . In January 2017, the unabridged version was given an age rating of 16 years and over after a re-examination by the FSK. The film was shown again in theaters in more than 80 cities in Germany in March 2017. It was then released uncut and remastered on Blu-ray and DVD. On September 24, 2017, the film was shown unabridged for the first time on German free TV on Tele 5 .


In 2011, producers Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell announced a fourth Tanz der Teufel film entitled Evil Dead , which is a remake, but the content is very different from the original. Ash only appears in a small scene after the credits in the remake. Directed by Fede Alvarez , the screenplay is by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, but was edited by Juno writer Diablo Cody . The main roles in the remake are played by Jane Levy , Shiloh Fernandez , Jessica Lucas , Lou Taylor Pucci and Elizabeth Blackmore . The film had its world premiere on March 9, 2013 at the SXSW Festival and was shown in German cinemas on May 16, 2013.

Television series

As it became known at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con , Sam Raimi was working on a television adaptation of the film. Ash vs. Evil Dead has been broadcast on the cable channel starz since October 31, 2015 . The main role of Ash is played again by Bruce Campbell .


  • When Ash and Scotty find and examine the Naturon Demonto in the basement , part of a poster can be seen on the wall in the background with the title The Hills Have Eyes , a reference to Wes Craven's 1977 film.
  • In Wes Craven's Nightmare , Nancy watches excerpts from Dance of the Devils on television .
  • In the film Donnie Darko , the protagonist watches the Devil's Dance in the cinema on Halloween evening .
  • In the film Fear of the Dark , the little boy watches scenes from Dance of the Devils on TV.
  • Based on the trilogy, three computer games were released: Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick , Evil Dead: Hail to the King and Evil Dead: Regeneration .
  • In 2004 in Montreal, Canada, the musical Evil Dead - The Musical , based on all three Dance of the Devil films, premiered at the Just for Laughs Festival . To date (March 2010) the Off-Broadway piece has been produced in various locations in Canada and the USA.
  • There are various approvals for the uncut version in other European countries: For example, in France from 12 years of age.
  • Stephen King praised Dance of the Devils as "the most original horror film of the year".
  • The surrealist play Horror - A Breathtaking Nightmare by the Swedish-Dutch stage director Jakop Ahlbom , which is being staged on tour in many major European cities, for example in September 2016 at the Deutsches Theater in Munich, contains some motivic quotations from the film Tanz der Teufel , for example comes in A running tape recorder as a prop in front of the play and a severed right hand crawls independently across the stage floor.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for Tanz der Teufel . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry (PDF; test number: 58515 / V). Template: FSK / maintenance / type not set and Par. 1 longer than 4 characters
  2. The Evil Dead in the Internet Movie Database (English) . Visited on November 26, 2009.
  3. a b Confiscation of Tanz der Teufel lifted. In: August 8, 2016, accessed October 8, 2016 .
  4. a b “Dance of the Devil” is no longer on the index. In: October 10, 2016, accessed October 10, 2016 .
  5. Gerald Wurm: Tanz der Teufel - A retrospective. In: Retrieved May 26, 2016 .
  6. Bruce Campbell and Jane Levy Talk Scary Evil Dead Remake , accessed February 18, 2012
  7. Jump up ↑ Rotten Tomatoes : Dance of the Devil
  8. Jump up ↑ Dance of the Devil. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  9. Tanz der Teufel - Cinema criticism
  10. Videoplus 3/93.
  11. Comparison of the cut versions of the FSK-16 version and the uncut version of the Ultimate Edition of Tanz der Teufel at .
  12. ^ AG Berlin-Tiergarten, decision of April 26, 2002, Az. 351 Gs 1749/02.
  13. Landgericht Mühlhausen, judgment in the criminal case against Andreas K., Hendrik M., Sebastian S., February 9, 1994, file number 280 Js 52177/93, p. 23; quoted from: Dornbusch / Killguss: Unholy Alliances . Unrast Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-89771-817-0 , pp. 53, 298.
  14. Hendrik Wieduwilt: “Tanz der Teufel” is no longer forbidden. In: . August 31, 2016, accessed October 8, 2016 .
  15. Manuel Weis, Sidney Schering: Devilishly beautiful quotas for finally released horror classics. In: September 30, 2017, accessed September 30, 2017 .
  16. Evil Dead Remake in the Internet Movie Database
  17. Maren Koetsier: Sam Raimi's new "Evil Dead" film gets script help from Diablo Cody. Film releases July 14, 2011, accessed August 25, 2011 .
  18. 'Evil Dead' TV show starring Bruce Campbell greenlit by Starz
  19. DVD version France on Retrieved December 25, 2011 .
  20. ^ Fiche oeuvre. The Evil Dead is a French Age Rating Certificate. Center national du cinéma et de l'image animée, accessed on July 21, 2019 (French): "Date de Visa - 13/09/1983 [...] Interdiction aux mineurs -12 ans [...] Durée - 86 min. "
  21. TV Today , 11/2013, page 204