The Evil Dead Ultimate Edition Review
Written by: Goon
The Evil Dead is the film that put Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi on the map. Both of them have went on to become quite successful at what they do. Despite the fact that Bruce has never really gone mainstream he is still very well off. Now Sam Raimi has went Hollywood and directed the Spiderman films but has also gone back to his roots and created Ghost House Pictures. So he is still very much in touch with horror but I think every single horror fan would love to see these two guys get back together again.
Of course this is the first film in the Evil Dead trilogy in which Ash brings a couple of his friends down to a little cabin in the woods. Once they are there they discover the Necromonicon or "The Book of the Dead" things begin to go crazy. Trees rape a woman, people get their eyes gouged out and lots and lots of dismemberment occurs. Basically you got yourself a rip roaring and gory good time.
Now to do a review of this film would simply be ridiculous because if you haven't seen this film and you are on this site... Just leave now. Seriously though this is one of the most popular horror films ever. Honestly I don't know anyone who doesn't like this movie. Usually I know people who dislike Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween but The Evil Dead seems to be an unstoppable force that each generation has embraced. Which is why this Ultimate Edition from Anchor Bay is LONG over due.
First I will start off with the packaging. I was very surprised at how well put together this set really is. Its like a hardcover book and when you open it up there is a foldout with all three DVDs inside. The good thing is you don't have to worry about ordering it online because those suckers are locked in tight so the chances of you getting a loose disc are slim to none. Located in a little pocket within is a double sided poster for the film one which is from the cover of the set and the other side is just a slightly altered version of the same image. A very nice presentation all together.
Among fans there has always been a huge argument over which edition of the movie is correct. The full frame or wide screen. Anchor Bay had up until this point only released the wide screen version and Image had previously released the full screen edition. Well in this collection you get both discs. So you no longer have to worry about which one is the legit edition because with this set you already have both. Disc One contains the widescreen version with Audio commentary by Sam Raimi and Producer Robert Tapert. Disc Two contains the full screen version with the Bruce Campbell commentary. Both commentary tracks are from previous releases so there is nothing new yet.
Now lets talk special features, disc one contains what I would call the best special feature in the whole set. One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead is a great look back at the film with other filmmakers and people close to the production. Eli Roth, Edgar Wright, Gregory Nicotero, Joe Bob Briggs and several others all weigh in on the fantastic little indie film that could. It's great to hear from all these sources outside the film that were inspired by The Evil Dead talk about what they loved about the film and their first experience watching it. Disc two contains Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor. I would suggest not watching this until you have seen everything on all of the discs. This is mainly an hours worth of footage they didn't use for the film. Honestly some pretty boring stuff that they just threw on the disc for the hardcore Evil Dead fans to watch.
Disc Three is full of a bunch of special features that is mainly all about the Ladies of the Evil Dead. Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly do all the talking in the first feature on the disc, Life After Death. Basically they just talk about their double lives of taking care of kids every day and then going on the road to do conventions. They talk about how they met, things that went on during shooting, pretty much the whole gamut. The Ladies of the Evil Dead Meet Bruce Campbell featurette is exactly what it sounds like. They are in the same room only now Bruce has joined in on the conversation. They talk about fans and ask him questions about conventions and whatnot. Its interesting but kind of redundant. Unconventional is also very similar but it takes place after a convention with all the ladies, Bruce and Hal Delrich. During this feature it is all about conventions. Weird experiences with fans, where had Hal been hiding, and so on. They sit around and swap interesting stories about being on set and once they all got together it got pretty lively. Unfortunately Hal is not exactly a guy that can talk over people. So a lot of his input is talked over quite a bit of the time. Some other features include At the Drive-In which took place at Flashback Weekend. It not really worth watching them hand out prize copies of Evil Dead. There is a reunion panel that is also held during Flashback Weekend which is alright, your basic Q&A.
That about does it for all the original features you will find on the third disc. They also carry over some older stuff such as the Discovering the Evil Dead feature, Make Up Test, trailer, TV spots, still, poster and memorabilia galleries as well. Overall I gotta say they really went all out on this disc and my only wish is that Sam Raimi would come down out of his Ivory Tower and do something for the Evil Dead fans. I'm not sure if he is trying to distance himself from the franchise or what he is doing but quite frankly I would think this would have been the best time for him to come out and contribute something to the "Ultimate Edition"!
So the boiling question is, "Should I double dip?". I know Anchor Bay has been re-releasing Evil Dead like mad but honestly I don't think it can be any better than this. The presentation is fantastic and on top of all that you get both versions of the movie. This is THE version to own.
- Luke Franklin