The Evil Dead – Ultimate Edition
Anchor Bay Entertainment – 2007
Written & Directed by Sam Raimi
“…The most ferociously original horror film of the year…” – Stephen King
Has there ever been a quote more appropriate about a film?
“The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror”
Can you think of a more grabbing tagline?
Sam Raimi’s low budget masterpiece of creative ingenuity and ambition has been given the royal treatment from Anchor Bay Entertainment. This 3-DVD box set is a true festival of the little movie that could. Now over 25 years old, THE EVIL DEAD still delivers on its promise and is an inspiration for anyone who hopes to make a movie with little to no money.
A group of twentysomethings visit a cabin in the woods. While in the cabin, they accidentally call forth demonic spirits that rise from the ground to turn their lives into a living hell. Made with very little money, Sam Raimi exceeds his budgetary limitations to create a film that is super high in visual trickery and special effects. Actor Bruce Campbell goes for it not holding back, he performs some remarkable physical acting that defies normal Hollywood physicality.
Shot in the backwoods of Tennessee, the story of how THE EVIL DEAD was made is possibly more interesting than the storyline of the film. This is all chronicled in One By One We Will Take you: The Untold Saga OF THE EVIL DEAD. It took four years to put the film together and you have to watch this documentary to hear how the cast and crew accomplished it.
Disc 1 Has the Widescreen version of THE EVIL DEAD, Audio Commentary from Sam Raimi and Producer Robert Tapert and the fantastic documentary One By One We Will Take you: The Untold Saga Of THE EVIL DEAD. In this doc, Eli Roth states that you clearly see that THE EVIL DEAD was made by someone who loves horror, something not common in today’s films. SHAUN OF THE DEAD Director Edgar Wright says, “Most horror films are about people being picked off, while THE EVIL DEAD is essentially about one actor being picked on.” Robert Tapert says there were a numerous reasons why THE EVIL DEAD worked; first was Sam, and then it was ignorance on their part because they just kept making that movie. If something didn’t work they went back and did it again and again and again. Joe Bob Briggs says when you watched some of the great drive-in movies in the 70s, the best ones after you watched them, had something about them unsettling to the point that made you ask yourself, “was the person who made this entirely sane.” Ellen Sandwiess said not only was shooting at the cabin cold (no electricity) & sticky (from blood) but it was also boring, which came from all the waiting they had to do between setups.
Disc 2 has the full frame version of THE EVIL DEAD, Commentary from Bruce Campbell and THE EVIL DEAD: Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor which runs 59 minutes. These Treasures include some alternate tracking shots from the beginning of the movie. Like any deleted scenes, you can see why stuff was not used. Some of the shots did look like they were used in the movie, like the tracking shot following the car driving up the dirt road to the cabin, I’m not sure if they used the same take in this section. It’s kind of funny looking at the clapboard (slate) which alternates between listing Director Sam Raimi/DP Tim Philo/Producer Robert Tapert, to Director Raimi/DP Philo/Producer Tapert, to Director Sammy Raimi/DP Timmy Philo/Producer Bobby Tapert to S.Raimi,T. Philo/R.Tapert. I was impressed at seeing the physical stunts the cast performs (of course without the use of stuntmen, stuntwomen) as they jump into walls, smashing against furniture and other set decoration without hesitation. It’s absolutely almost stomach churning to see Hal Delrich get covered by hand in green gook on the floor. Crew keeps slopping the green stuff (which looks like throw up) all over his face and body.
Disc 3 has a lot of fun goodies. It’s really great to see the Life After Dead: The Ladies of THE EVIL DEAD. I think it’s awesome and cool that Ellen Sandwiess, Betsy Baker and Sarah York get together and take their experience to the convention circuit. It’s only right and just that they get the attention and adulation that they rightly deserve for working as hard as they did on the movie and feeling the “love” from fans worldwide. The Ladies of THE EVIL DEAD Meet Bruce Campbell is as funny as you might guess. Unconventional is really interesting as the cast talks about their experience with meeting fans at conventions. Bruce Cambpell states he usually has to draw the words out of the fans because they are too shy and afraid to speak up. Ted Raimi tells the story that his parents sent him down to Tennessee to see his brother shoot the movie. Shortly after he arrived, his brother Sam asked if he had any money. He said, “eighty bucks” and Sam said, “Hand it over.” At The Drive-In is a 13 minute little piece with the cast & crew handing out copies of THE EVIL DEAD DVD to some folks at an outside showing of the movie. Reunion Panel runs just over 30 minutes and gives the cast & Tom Sullivan the chance to answer an audience’s questions about making the movie. Discovering THE EVIL DEAD uses 13-minutes to explain how Palace Pictures picked up the rights for THE EVIL DEAD. Both partners Nik Powell and Stephen Woolley speak out about how impressed they were when they first saw the film. Woolley states that he was only 24 at the time they wanted to buy the film and that Sam Raimi was younger than him. They also discuss how the film became one of Britain’s “Video Nasties,” which Woolley states was most certainly the major studios taking control over the little independent film arena. Since the big studios couldn’t put out films that went as far as THE EVIL DEAD, they had to stop someone else from doing it. Tom Sullivan’s Make-Up Test is pretty cool seeing what he did. TV Spots, Still Gallery, Poster & Memorabilia Gallery are also included on the third disc.
Anchor Bay has included a poster of the movie to go inside the beautiful box set packaging holding all three DVDs. The box sports choice stills from the movie on all three flaps of the box and different posters of the movie on each corresponding inside fold.
THE EVIL DEAD is certainly a classic. It’s not surprising the director has gone onto bigger things because you could see his talent right from the get go. The cast enthusiastically does their best in almost every situation and Tim Philo’s photography combined with Joe Loduca’s music and Edna Ruth Paul’s editing makes it all work.
THE EVIL DEAD -Ultimate Edition a must have for any fan of horror.