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 bench... more »mark 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« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 1/26/2012...
This film is essential viewing for all horror fans. A low budget (approx $420,000) independent movie that still holds up. The basic premise of people wandering into the woods and encountering something that they should have left alone is classic. Bruce Campbell delivers as Ash.
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Not Yet a Fan of This Cult Flick? "Join Us!"
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even though it's been more than 20 years since its original release, 1982's THE EVIL DEAD is still an impressive marvel of low-budget filmmaking. It does have its palpable flaws, but this first feature-length directorial effort from SPIDERMAN's (2002) Sam Raimi, produced on a shoestring budget of circa $350,000, offers clever special FX, interesting make-up work, relentless shocks, and brilliant direction and camera work. And of considerable note to genre fans, it highlights Raimi's knack for pushing violence and gore to such an extreme that it becomes comic or farcical, a characteristic that is enhanced by the slapstick talents of actor Bruce Campbell (who would himself become a cult hero due to his work in this and other Raimi films).
The story involves a group of college students who, during a weekend getaway, find a Sumerian Book of the Dead in an old wilderness cabin they've rented. When they unwittingly unleash evil spirits and demons while reading incantations from the book, that's when the real havoc--and the real fun for the audience--begins. As each of the kids, one by one, are possessed by the demons they've loosed, body parts and bodily fluids go a-flying until only one young man is left to face down the Evil Dead. A simple plot with a simple set up, but Raimi and Campbell effectively milk it for all the scares and all the laughs they can get.
There are several editions of THE EVIL DEAD available on DVD, most of which come from the wonderful folks at Anchor Bay. Most are of great quality and offer beautifully restored digital transfers of this cult classic. The best discs also include feature commentaries from Raimi and Campbell."
Widescreen & Full-screen
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the greatest horror films ever made. Some people may find the special effects work primitive by todays standards, but for a low-budget film as this is they are excellent and charged with a weirdly supernatural energy; something one never sees today in the big production horror films.However, this review is mainly going to be about the picture format. Evil Dead was filmed in 16mm, which is a full-screen format, not widescreen.
BEWARE of the so called "widescreen" versions: Book of the Dead Limited Edition, and the other editions from Anchor Bay. Nothing has been added to sides of the picture to make it wider; instead the top and bottom of the film have been cut away to make it look like a modern theatre film. Instead of more, you actually gett less. In some parts of the movie this makes an important differance; in the close-ups of faces, parts like the chins are now gone (...); other important details also disappear, like when the trap-door in the floor opens and we look down into the cellar, the lower edge of the opening is gone, so we don't see the entrance in its whole.The full-screen version is still available, with excellent picture quality, in the Elite Entertainment edition."
A classic horror film. A must for collectors!
aaron wittenberg | 07/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I spent some time trying to find this edition. You can find the Anchor Bay copy all over, but it is VERY lacking in features.This DVD cost me as much as the collectors edition of The Thing, but it is SO worth it.The bonus features include roughly 20 minutes of RAW behind the scenes footage. You can see the markings on the film go past the projector, no music, very basic. But it's very interesting to watch. In fact, many of the actors comments are left in.Also, they include dozens and dozens of pictures. Some are just ok, others are pretty interesting. The theatrical trailer is a little different too. I've never seen that one before.First, my biggest complaint is there is no wide screen version. Maybe wide screen versions didn't exist in 1982, I have no idea.You can select two types of commentary. Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, or Bruce Campbell. Let me just say that I was very, very disappointed with Sam and Robert. They might as well have not even bothered. During the ENTIRE movie, you could just about fit BOTH of their feedback on a single sheet of paper. Worthless. At times they would go over 5 minutes with no comments. Doesn't that totally defeat the purpose? Both men are very quiet. I wish Elite would have just scrapped them altogether. I am very glad I didn't buy it for their commentary.Bruce, on the other hand, gave EXCELLENT commentary. Just about every single scene he gives detail. He shows you mistakes, tells you how scenes were filmed, how far apart they were, and so much more information. In fact, I learned more about Evil Dead from his commentary than from ALL the fan sites combined. He did an outstanding job telling us how they filmed it.On with the DVD, I can't imagine someone reading these reviews who hasn't seen it. My guess is that most readers will just want to know what the DVD has to offer. If you want selection, get the Elite version. The Anchor Bay version has virtually nothing on it.The special effects look a little more fake on DVD, but I think just about everyone knows they were very low budget. Still, the blood and guts hit home. This is an excellent late night, weekend or whatever horror flick. Not for the weak, even with the low budget special effects.As most readers will know, Evil Dead set a standard for its extreme use of blood and guts, bodily dismemberment, acts of killing, and demonic disfigurement.The Elite version costs more than the Anchor Bay version, but if you are a TRUE Evil Dead fan, get the Elite copy. It is far superior. You will be VERY glad you did.Did you know they shot in at least 3 different locations? Hal and Sarah (actors) were not their real names? Betsy Bakers character had several stand ins? That there was no cellar in the actual cabin? That many of the back to back scenes were actually filmed 6 month (or years) apart? Well, you'll find out."
Evil Dead: The Ultimate Experience in Cult Horror
Robert Graff | USA | 10/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of, if not the, biggest cult horror film of all time makes it's long awaited debut on DVD...and fans will not be disappointed. Elite Entertianment has brought Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD to us in an impessive collector's edition with enough extras to make any deadite fan happy. First off, let's talk about the quality of the presentation. In a word: excellent. I've seen Evil Dead a number of times on video and I can safely say that i have never seen Evil Dead look this good. The film is presented in it's original full-frame aspect ratio and the print is extremely clean. The audio has been remixed in both a 2.0 stereo and 5.1 dolby surround soundtrack and I doubt that this film has looked or sounded this good...well, ever. The DVD also contains a number of exciting extras including the films trailer, a still gallery, and about 20 minutes of raw behind the scenes footage. The most exciting features, however, have to be the disks two audio commentary tracks. One is a very insightful track featuring director Sam Raimi and Producer Rob Tapert. The other track is the real gem of the disk. A seperate audio track featuring star Bruce Campbell. This is one of the most entertaining and funny tracks you will ever come across, as Cambell takes great liberties to make fun of the film, the director, and himself. I don't know what Anchor Bay's future release of Evil Dead will hold, but for my money, this is the best version of the film that any fan could ever hope to own."
The Ulimate Release In Grueling Terror!
Ivan K. Samuelson | OH USA | 01/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After so many reincarnations (Book of the Dead, THX release, etc), this is the Ultimate Experience in what is known as the Evil Dead.
My review is not about the movie. There are plenty of those already. This is a review on the latest release called The Ultimate Edition. With this edition, you get three DVDs chock full of movies and special features that should whet the appetite of any possessing demon that should come your way.
DVD 1: This DVD contains the widescreen version of the movie in Dolby Surround 2.0, Digital EX and 6.1 DTS-ES. It contains audio commentary from Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert. Also included is a 50+ minute documentary called "One By One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of THE EVIL DEAD". This new special from Anchor Bay interviews the cast and crew of the movie and goes into such in-depth detail of how this movie was made. Do you think you know everything that happened? You may and you may not, but you'll definitely learn more with interviews with Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker and Theresa Tilly and others from behind the scenes. The picture itself of the movie is as pristine as you can get it to be.
DVD 2: This contains the full screen version in Dolby 2.0 and contains the commentary from Bruce Campbell. Again, wonderful, pristine picture and it also contains a 59 minute feature of deleted scenes and outtakes entitled "THE EVIL DEAD: Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor". There is no commentary with it, but still, it's a wonderful introspective into the making of this film.
DVD 3: Wow. What can be said. This is just chock full of Evil Dead treasures that should keep you possessed. You have numerous features concerning the "Ladies of the Evil Dead". There are plenty of videos from conferences with the cast and crew, including a reunion panel, make-up test, trailers, TV spots, still gallery and more. Also included is a two-side poster containing the original "touched up" Evil Dead poster and on the other side is the original photograph before it was touched up. There is also an Easter Egg on the 3rd DVD that has a panel discussion after the movie was released in 2001 by Anchor Bay to a capacity crowd at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood.
Overall, this tops them all as far as what it contains. It is well worth the price to own this Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror. It has swallowed my soul!"