Anchor Bay's DVD edition of Raimi's goofy, gory cult classic sports a picture trimmed to facilitate a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, catering to 16x9 television owners. Pan & scan butchery was equally ugly, but Elite's 1.33:1 release and all of the VHS editions of identical formatting that preceded it were surely more accurate presentations of this movie, which was shot in 1.37:1. That aside, this is a quality disc. It's unsightly, but that's how it was shot - on outmoded Arriflex 16mm cameras. However, I can't deny that this sounds great; the remastered soundtrack was tidied up just enough to enhance its clarity, but not so much that anything was significantly changed.
Bruce Campbell narrates one of the disc's two commentary tracks; Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert voice the other. Campbell's commentary is far more fun: implementing his prodigious memory, wit and charm, The Chin provides an impressive amount of information pertaining to the movie's cast, crew and production, and his narration is as amusing as it is informative. The Raimi/Tapert track is a bit slower; while these two longtime partners are frequently very funny and offer the viewer some curious insights, they're too often at a loss for words and lack the charisma for this sort of voice-over. Also, the production of their track is middling, at best - an ambulance or police siren can be heard in the background at one point.
10+ minutes of outtake footage serves as a blooper reel in portions. While some of the accidents and quirks of this compiled reel are hilarious, they also indicate the exhaustion of this movie's famously rigorous shoot.
While the included theatrical trailer is pleasantly kitschy, the TV spots are especially fun; the repeated tagline of "They got up on the wrong side of the grave!" always makes me giggle.
An image gallery consisting of film stills and scanned movie posters is included, as are brief bios of Campbell, Raimi and Tapert. Paired with the trailers, these are nice materials with which the viewer can wind down after watching the movie. A French audio track is also available (yes, it's fun for riffing).
Evil Dead is camp. It DEFINES camp. It also introduced people to the living god of camp, Bruce Campbell, for the first time. Look at his name: The word "camp" is right there! There is a huge cult following surrounding the Evil Dead series - which also includes two sequels, Evil Dead II and the awesome Army of Darkness - and Bruce Campbell. A "Book of the Dead" bound in human flesh? That comes to life if people recite what's written in it? Director Sam Raimi had to know people … more
**** out of **** Often considered one of the biggest cinematic bloodbaths ever, as well as one of the darkest comedies in existence, "The Evil Dead" is Sam Raimi's "big indie beast"; a stunning debut from a man who can successfully take one genre, and can still make a film about not one, but two things. That could only be the work of a true craftsman. But how can a film as violent and bloody as this one have been made with actual craft? Isn't it no … more
The Evil Dead is set in the back woods of Tennessee in an old abandoned cabin. Five young kids, all in their early twenties are all set for a weekend of camping, partying and having a good time. All is going well until they find the basement in the cabin. There had been some kind researcher living in the cabin quite some time back. It appeared that he had left in a hurray or just never came back to get his materials. Scott and Ash found a book and some audio recordings. So while having a few cocktails … more
Evil Dead was one of the last midnight movies (at least in my area). It was also the most violent, gory and cheesiest horror film I have seen in the last twenty or so years that was highly entertaining. A group of college kids go fooling around in some old cabin and discover the Necronomicon. Yes, they find the book that H.P. Lovecraft used to love to write about. A book made from human skin and contains a bizarre language and horrific images that drive people insane. Once when these silly … more
Pros: Bruce Campbell, well directed Cons: Lighting, make up, costumes Five college students head to a cabin in the woods for a little vacation. They accidentally awaken some demons by way of recorded incantations from the Necronomicron (Book of the Dead), and are forced to fight them to stay alive. One by one, the students themselves become possessed, leaving Ash (Bruce Campbell) the last man standing. All alone, Ash must fend off the Evil Dead, while … more
Director Sam Raimi's first film has achieved legendary status since its 1982 release, and for good reason. Though perhaps not as widely seen as its two sequels, EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS, THE EVIL DEAD is arguably the best of the three. It is the story of five college-age friends who travel to a cabin in rural Tennessee where the stumble upon the Book of the Dead, an ancient tome bound in human flesh and inked in blood. After unwittingly awakening the unspeakable terror told of in the book, each of the friends is transformed into the evil dead, one by one, except for Ash (Bruce Campbell). So, Ash is left with no other way to survive than to dismember the living corpses of his sister, girlfriend, and two of his friends. Shot on a shoestring budget, the film boasts some impressive camera work and extremely over-the-top gore effects as well as a sense of humor much more subtle than the tongue-in-cheek aesthetic of the two sequels.