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Erich
12-03-2003, 04:23 PM
Few movies can be considered a cornerstone for an entire genre. However, Sam Raimi’s classic film, “The Evil Dead,” is quite possibly one of the definitive movies that made modern horror. The movie-design used in “The Evil Dead” has become one of the most common layouts, and has been used more times than I can keep track of. Not only did it spawn two sequels, but it also has many remakes (If you never noticed this, throw in your dusty copy of “Creatures from the Abyss” – it is almost a scene for scene remake).

Ash, his girlfriend Linda, their friends Scott and Shelly, and Ash’s sister Cheryl are driving to a secluded cabin deep in the woods for a break from the tiresome routine of college life. They are stricken with fear first when they nearly hit an oncoming truck, and again as the one bridge on to (and off of) the area with their cabin nearly falls apart while they drive over it. Even after arriving odd occurrences are continuing, but the crew doesn’t pay them much heed. However, during supper the hatch leading down into the cellar flies open, and Ash and Scotty head down to investigate. They forget what they were looking for as they find a shotgun, a cassette player, a skeletal dagger and a flesh-covered book. Once they return to the girl’s they listen to one of the tapes from in the cellar. The recorded voice of the man who lived in the cabin before speaks of demonic forces out in the forest. The two guys decide to fast-forward a bit, and come in half-way through the man’s recitation of a “demon-resurrection” chant from the flesh-covered book. Cheryl runs off to her room, and finally calms down later that night. However, she then goes outside to inspect an odd feeling, only to be attacked and raped by the trees, which are now possessed by these demons. Soon the crew learns that the bridge is torn apart, leaving them stranded in their cabin. It seems that her struggle with the demon-tree possessed Cheryl, as well. Now it is only a matter of time until everyone is possessed, unless Ash stops the demons.

This movie has it all. The location is excellent (I’m a sucker for secluded locations, especially cabins), the gore effects are awesome when you remember the time (Being 1981, and having a small budget, Raimi pulled of some great tricks). The entire feel of the movie is perfectly tense – despite a small amount of character introduction, you can quickly feel for the main characters. The opening scene with them all singing in the car instantly pulls you in. The character development in the first half is done discreetly enough that it doesn’t feel like you are witnessing sudden changes in the people – it is as if you have known these people for years, and you are only seeing minor changes to their personalities. By the time the main characters are dying, you can really feel for them all.

Describing the DVD will be the difficult part for me. Despite my being in love with this movie, I have never bought the “Book of the Dead” edition – in fact, I never bought more than the $10 Anchor Bay disk I have. My version’s audio is actually quite clear, but the video is pretty grainy and in full screen. Although I am sure that there are better transfers available, there is a charm to seeing this movie in such a dirty condition, since it adds to the realism by not feeling as clean-cut. The big drawback to my disk is that there are no special features except for one trailer. This alone makes the “Book of the Dead” version the best buy, which even I can see through my fond disillusionments. However, the copy that you watch doesn’t matter as much as simply that you do watch this movie, since it is one that is sure to please.


Breakdown
Story: 9 / 10
Audio: 4 / 5
Video: 3 / 5
DVD: 1 / 5
Total: 6.8 / 10
**Don’t let the low score fool you – the movie itself deserves
a 10, it is only the DVD quality that lowered it!

speanroc
12-03-2003, 04:38 PM
nicely done erich, i love the evil dead ,my top 10 films of all time.......................

Ash28M
12-03-2003, 05:20 PM
Nice review Erich the film is truly a classic. If i were to nit pick my only criticism would be with Rami's decision to go with the claymation scene at the end. Although that is a small gripe when taken in the scope of everything this film had going for it.

It definitely has permanent position in my top 10 list.

Tom Servo
12-03-2003, 06:49 PM
Nice review.

I also have a permanent spot for Evil Dead on my top 10 horror movies.

Erich
12-03-2003, 08:06 PM
What can I say? The movie is just so awesome - glad you liked the review - check out the site if you want more of them.

Grim
12-03-2003, 08:56 PM
I highly suggest picking up one of the newer releases of Evil Dead. If you can find the Elite disc, it should be pretty cheap (saw it at my Suncoast for only $15, so if its still available at say Best Buy it would only be about $10) It has the basic Evil Dead essentials: The film in a beautiful open-matte transfer (although Anchor Bays newer print might be better, but thats debatable and for another thread) about 20 minutes of behind the scenes footage, two commentaries, trailers, and stills.

You probably already new all that but I'm always willing to help a fellow horror fan out.

Nemesis
12-03-2003, 09:47 PM
Breakdown
Story: 9 / 10
Audio: 4 / 5
Video: 3 / 5
DVD: 1 / 5
Total: 6.8 / 10
**Don’t let the low score fool you – the movie itself deserves
a 10, it is only the DVD quality that lowered it!


nice review. although i have to point out that you gave the movie a 9/10 then said it deserves a 10 ;)

Erich
12-04-2003, 03:00 AM
I gave the *story* a 9 - the *movie* should be a 10, but it isn't since our reviewing format can quickly bias a score if one single section is low. The movie as a whole deserves a 10, but the story only gets a 9 (hehe - i Know, very little difference).

Nemesis
12-04-2003, 09:38 AM
i was just messin around anyway :) you really should watch a decent release of the movie though, i have the Elite version and its very good

Katatonia
12-07-2003, 08:27 PM
I highly suggest picking up one of the newer releases of Evil Dead. If you can find the Elite disc, it should be pretty cheap (saw it at my Suncoast for only $15, so if its still available at say Best Buy it would only be about $10) It has the basic Evil Dead essentials: The film in a beautiful open-matte transfer (although Anchor Bays newer print might be better, but thats debatable and for another thread) about 20 minutes of behind the scenes footage, two commentaries, trailers, and stills.

You probably already new all that but I'm always willing to help a fellow horror fan out.

I have both the Elite DVD and Anchor Bay's "Book Of The Dead" DVD. I'd have to say that if you're just looking for the movie itself and not the extras then grab the Elite edition. The AB widescreen "matte" print is missing too much information in some scenes. I forget which scene in particular, but it is very noticeable if you know the film well. Many of the extra features are exactly the same in both editions however.

One more thing...the AB "Book" reeks of rubber model glue stench.

Erich
12-08-2003, 07:32 AM
I know what you mean about the rubber smell - that was one (small) factor for why I didn't buy that one yet. I think I may get the Elite copy sooner than later.

Tom Servo
12-08-2003, 03:46 PM
I have the The Book of the Dead edition. The rubber smell does go away after a few days. The extras on The Book of the Dead are are great and deserve a look if want to buy Evil Dead or are looking to update an old release.

Grim
12-08-2003, 08:25 PM
If you can score one of the older copies of the "Ladies of the Evil Dead" Edition DVD it has all the features of the book of the dead, you just have to find the title.

Disco Stu
12-08-2003, 10:06 PM
i was just messin around anyway :) you really should watch a decent release of the movie though, i have the Elite version and its very good
To be perfectly honest, I think it's a little odd to criticize a disc for a lack of extra material, when there are low priced options that were available when you reviewed the disc. It isn't as if either the Elite disc, nor the non "Book of the Dead" but still SE Anchor Bay disc are $50 a piece. They both can be found for $15 almost anywhere and the Elite disc probably features the same or better transfer and sound as the one Erich has (and Erich it's supposed to be full frame). If this was a review when it was the only thing you could get, that would be different. But similarly, it would be like if I reviewed the Universal version of AOD now, complained about the lack of extras and the non-anamorphic transfer and thin sound, when there are 19 other superior DVDs that I could get for very little money.

Mortis
12-11-2003, 09:54 PM
I like my copy of the Book of the Dead. :D

http://users.zoominternet.net/~sgazi/horrorfind/ed_book.jpg

Erich
12-12-2003, 05:12 AM
To be perfectly honest, I think it's a little odd to criticize a disc for a lack of extra material, when there are low priced options that were available when you reviewed the disc. It isn't as if either the Elite disc, nor the non "Book of the Dead" but still SE Anchor Bay disc are $50 a piece. They both can be found for $15 almost anywhere and the Elite disc probably features the same or better transfer and sound as the one Erich has (and Erich it's supposed to be full frame). If this was a review when it was the only thing you could get, that would be different. But similarly, it would be like if I reviewed the Universal version of AOD now, complained about the lack of extras and the non-anamorphic transfer and thin sound, when there are 19 other superior DVDs that I could get for very little money.

True - but keep in mind, at my site we are reviewing the dvds - not just the movies. Therefore, I don't see how it is odd to criticize this particular disk's features - I am not saying "oh, woe is me - I have the inferior disk" - I was just stating the facts about this version.