Evil Dead (Special Edition)
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In the fall of 1979, Sam Raimi and his merry band headed into the woods of rural Tennessee to make a movie. They emerged with a roller coaster of a film packed with shocks, gore, and wild humor, a film that remains a benchmark for the genre. Ash (cult fav
In the fall of 1979, Sam Raimi and his merry band headed into the woods of rural Tennessee to make a movie. They emerged with a roller coaster of a film packed with shocks, gore, and wild humor, a film that remains a benchmark for the genre. Ash (cult favorite Bruce Campbell) and four friends arrive at a backwoods cabin for a vacation, where they find a tape recorder containing incantations from an ancient book of the dead. When they play the tape, evil forces are unleashed, and one by one the friends are possessed. Wouldn't you know it, the only way to kill a "deadite" is by total bodily dismemberment, and soon the blood starts to fly. Raimi injects tremendous energy into this simple plot, using the claustrophobic set, disorienting camera angles, and even the graininess of the film stock itself to create an atmosphere of dread, punctuated by a relentless series of jump-out-of-your-seat shocks. The Evil Dead lacks the more highly developed sense of the absurd that distinguish later entries in the series--Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness--but it is still much more than a gore movie. It marks the appearance of one of the most original and visually exciting directors of his generation, and it stands as a monument to the triumph of imagination over budget. --Simon Leake
- Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1
- Still photo gallery including 150 pictures
- Approx. 20 minutes of alternate takes and behind-the-scenes footage
- Full color insert with liner notes by Bruce Campbell
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Top customer reviews
Case in point: "The Evil Dead," the classic cult film that turned writer/director Sam Raimi into a big name. Produced on a shoestring budget in less-than-ideal surroundings, this movie proves that you don't need amazing special effects or big-name stars to produce an excellent movie -- just a simple tale of five clueless people going off to a cabin in the woods, only to encounter demonic horrors, possession, and some trees that don't understand what "no" means.
Five college students are venturing to a remote cabin in the woods, including Ash (Bruce Campbell), his sister Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss) and his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker). And with the words "remote cabin in the woods," anyone who has seen horror movies in the last few decades knows roughly what's going to happen. Either eldritch horrors or brutal murders are afoot.
It turns out to be the former -- when the guys venture into the cabin's basement, they find a book called the Naturom Demonto ("roughly translated: Book of the Dead") bound in human flesh and inked with blood, and a tape recorder whose incantations release the book's evil. And the evil wastes no time in attacking the group... although it seems most interested in Cheryl. She hears voices calling "Join us," her walk in the woods leads to an encounter with some very rapey trees, and she ends up possessed by a rotten-faced demon.
Unfortunately, the only bridge back to civilization has completely collapsed, leaving them stranded miles from any kind of help. And though they are able to trap the possessed Cheryl in the basement, more of the group are being targeted by the demons lurking in the woods outside -- either to possess them, or to brutally murder them. Or both. Will Ash be able to survive the night in this horrifyingly haunted house, or will he succumb to the "evil dead"?
Sam Raimi managed to make "The Evil Dead" on a budget of under a million dollars, with a real cabin, minimal crew and inexperienced actors (including his childhood friend, future cult icon Bruce Campbell. In other words, this gory little cult movie is only a little more polished than the kind of homemade horror movies that some people put up on Youtube. And honestly... its rough, low-budget style is a large part of its charm, both in how cheesy it can become and in how inventive Raimi had to be.
And about half the time, the results are pretty atmospheric and creepy... and the rest of the time, the movie is pretty hilarious. In the first half, when we have a slow-building, eerie build to the horrors waiting in the woods, with moments of almost Lovecraftian creepiness when the flesh-bound book is uncovered. Raimi uses odd camera angles (and the odd zoom-through-the-swamp-from-the-demon's-point-of-view) to emphasize the unnerving aspects of the story, which is quite impressive considering the limited budget. Actually, it's even creepier because of the gritty, realistic look of the movie.
But once the demon possessions start, the movie bounces into the kind of excess that is utterly hilarious -- fountains of gore, guts, a chainsaw and zombie makeup, mingled with cackling demon girlfriends and a wild-eyed Bruce Campbell lurching around having weird experiences. It stops being scary, but it achieves a delightful cheesiness that is almost irresistible. Where else can you see blood streaming from wall sockets?
The actors all do a pretty good job here, although most of them are generally not noticed in favor of Campbell -- Ellen Sandweiss is quite good as the tormented Cheryl, who is raped by branches and driven into hysteria by the knowledge of the demonic presence, while Richard DeManincor/Hal Delrich is pretty convincing as the insensitive jerk of the group. And of course, we have Campbell. He doesn't yet have that over-the-top, larger-than-life masculine presence he's known for, and utters a few woodenly-delivered lines, but he definitely has a scene-stealing presence and intensity. And most importantly, he can throw himself into seemingly silly scenes (attacking his possessed girlfriend with a wooden beam as large as he is) with utter conviction.
It's cheap, it's cheesy, and its shoestring budget is apparent. But "The Evil Dead" ends up a delight through a combination of working well within its limited means, and in graduating from creepy suspense to an orgy of possession and dismemberment. And the demonic fun has only just started.
Blu Ray Review (1 disc)
No features in this edition. The blu ray does come with the original theatrical version and an enhanced version in widescreen which is slightly zoomed in with the frames being clipped and a drop in resolution. For the best quality watch the theatrical version.
This Edition contains two cuts of the film, one in widescreen and one in fulllscreen, each on their own disk with a plethora of extras, including commentary tracks with Sam Rami and Bruce Campbell, as well as a third disk of all extras titled "Women of the Evil Dead," which includes a making of documentary, original promotional material, and a whole bunch of other stuff. The package is all presented very well in an aesthetically pleasing, although slightly over-sized, box set full of very nice artwork, as well as a medium sized double sided poster with the original movie poster art on one side (the one on the cover), and a re-shot and colourized version of the image on the reverse side.
Overall, this is an amazing package for the price, and if you are among the few who have never experienced the original brilliance of The Evil Dead then this set is a great opportunity to do so.
Great movie in my opinion, must be seen at least once if you're a horror fan I think....
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