The Evil Dead

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Gator MacReady

Read Gator MacReady's film review of The Evil Dead
The Evil Dead

Filmed in full Academy Ratio of 1.37:1 on 16mm film, the DVD has been reframed by Sam Raimi to 1.85:1 anamorphic. The top and bottom of the screen have been cropped. In most scenes this is fine, but sometimes a few shots appear "not right" and a little tight. The picture quality is about the best you're ever going to get. The focus is not deep and anything not in the immediate foreground appears slightly blurred. Grain is heavy, blacks are not deep enough and it is constantly a touch to soft. This is obviously due to the technical limitations of the film. None of these problems are likely to bother you, or lessen your enjoyment of the movie.

The original mono track has been given a full Dolby Digital and DTS remastering. Anchor Bay have gone all the way and created 6.1 tracks for Evil Dead. Both are quite forceful, but sometimes can be a bit strident and tinny. Obviously the mono soundtrack cannot be remixed to sound like Black Hawk Down.

Copy picture

The first commentary by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert is much like their commentary on Evil Dead 2. They let us in on the tricks of the trade and how the film was put together on a minuscule budget. Stuff you'd never realise, like the basement scenes, were filmed two years after the rest of the movie in Raimi's garage. Worth a listen.

The second commentary by Bruce Campbell is much better. I love this guy's voice and he does nothing but make fun of Raimi and Tapert. He even has his own introduction to the movie, in which he states that they are both senile and have no accurate memory of the production. Listen to this one first.

Campbell has also produced and directed his own fascinating documentary on adulation and obsession of fans and fandom. He still gets tons of letters and regularly makes appearances at horror conventions and is very easy going with his fans. There are even brief interviews with some of them, including a woman of about 60, who had legally changed her name to Xena: Warrior Princess. She is dressed in the outfit of that very same superheroine. What if she were a fan of Ghostbusters? Would she change her name to Peter Venkman and go around wearing a proton pack?

Talent bios are included, with some TV spots and trailers. There are also two Easter eggs on this DVD. The first is hidden in the extras menu - press the left arrow to highlight the sketch on the left, select this to view a special effects test.

The second is on the second page of the extras menu. Push 'left' until the skull is highlighted, and select to view a panel discussion of a Halloween night screening of the film.

The DVD comes packaged in the ACTUAL book of the dead. Although I am certain the authentic Necronomicon does not have liner notes by Tom Sullivan, who designed the book. The disc itself is stored at the back in a plasticy slip along with a book on the history of the Evil Dead and web addresses of Evil Dead sites. The whole package smells a bit like a B&Q store, also.

This is DEFINITELY the best presentation that will ever be. Buy it for keeps, despite how many incarnations of this movie you have owned.

Reviewed on: 28 Apr 2002
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The Evil Dead packshot
Five students unwittingly unleash flesh-possessing demons in a cabin, in the woods.
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Product Code: ABOD2002

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital 6.1 EX, DTS 6.1 ES

Extras: Commentary with Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert; Commentary with Bruce Campbell; Fanalysis-26 minute Documentary by Bruce Campbell; Trailer; TV spots; Talent biographies; Easter eggs

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