The Evil Dead
Director: Sam Raimi
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York
Review by: Brian M. Sammons
Has there ever been a movie release more often to DVD than this movie? Ok, maybe the other two films in the series could give this one a run for its money as the most re-re-re-re-released movie of all time. I myself own three copies of this seminal, and insanely influential fright flick. I got the one that came in the big collector’s tin, and naturally the ubercool Book of the Dead edition, and now I have this on the new Blu-ray format. The funny (or perhaps sad) thing is that I’ll keep all three versions of this movie for various reasons that will only make sense to fellow horrorheads out there. But if you’re not a big horror nerd like I am, you just might be wondering if getting this movie on Blu-ray is worth it when chances are you already own it on DVD, perhaps two or three times over. Well let me explain what’s new and I’ll let you decide.
But first, do I really need to explain the plot of Evil Dead. I mean, come on, it is one of the must see films of the horror genre. If you haven’t see it yet, you really have no business being here reading this. Seriously, you just don’t know horror if you’ve never seen this movie, so do yourself a favor and watch it already.
So ok, what makes this Blu-ray of this movie worth getting? First off, it looks great. Yes there’s still some film grain, but honestly I kind of like that. What’s really good is how sharp things look. While watching this movie for the 1000th time I noticed details in the background that I had never seen before. Also, it’s nice to see that the square mat box around the moon used in the outdoor shots has been removed or covered up. Furthermore, there are two ways to watch this film. You can see it in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio or the new enhanced 1.85:1. As for sounds, it’s got the usual bells and whistles, but it also has an all new audio commentary track with director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, and producer Robert Tapert. While this commentary is perfectly fine, and offers a candid snapshot of the business side of how this movie came out, it was simply not as fun, or as funny, as previous commentaries by these same people. I do wish Anchor Bay, the folks behind this disc, also included those audio tracks on this BD.
Since we’re talking about commentaries, I might as well list all the other extras that can be found here. How many, you may ask? Well a whole DVD’s worth. That’s right, this Blu-ray comes with a whole extra DVD packed with goodies. And when I say packed, I mean it. So many that I’m not going to go into them all, but I will give you the Cliff Notes version. There are nine new featurettes with topics ranging from the usual making of retrospective, conventions, drive-ins, deleted scenes, the Evil Dead reunion, the ladies of the film, special effects make up, and one that a big old nerd like me thought was really cool; a quickie about the other pages in the Necronomicon that weren’t shown in the movie. There are also the obligatory trailers, TV spots, and photo galleries. The only thing missing from this edition is the infamous short “Within the Woods” that we always get promised, but never actually get. For those who don’t know, that was the short photo-version of The Evil Dead that Raimi and Co did to show investors that they could actually make a movie. Maybe someday we’ll get that Holy Grail of horror, but not today.
If you can’t tell by now, I love this movie, and I’m very happy with this Blu-ray release. If you are a fan of The Evil Dead then this is a must get for you. If you’ve never seen this complete and utter horror classic then you are way past due, and this BD is a great way to do it.