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Evil Dead 2



Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: December 31, 1999

Released by: Elite Entertainment
Release date: 1/27/1999
MSRP: $??.??
NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1



Ash (Bruce Campbell) is back to kick some evil dead ass! Evil Dead 2 picks up where the first Evil Dead film left off (yes it did, it's not a remake - more on this later). Thanks to the fine folks at Elite Entertainment there is finally a special edition laserdisc for this classic movie. Lets take a closer look at the LD.

The Story

Ash (Bruce Campbell) remains stuck at the cabin surrounded by evil forces. His attempt to escape leads him to a bridge that has been torn up and is uncrossable. Soon the "evil force" is chasing him once again and Ash flees the bridge with the evil force hot on his tail. Fortunately, Ash is quite the tricky little guy and manages to win out the hide-and-go-seek game between him and the evil force, at least for the present time!

Just when Ash thinks he's safe for the night a zombie crawls out of the ground and begins dancing around outside of the cabin for Ash. Soon Ash is attacked and bitten in the hand by the zombie's decapitated head. This causes Ash's hand to "go bad" and soon, after a hilarious fight scene with the possessed hand, Ash has to lob off his own hand. Once the hand is off things get even more hilarious as the hand begins running around on its own, flipping Ash the middle finger.

At a nearby airport a woman by the name of Annie (Annie Knowby) arrives to meet her parents at the doomed cabin. She meets a friend by the name of Jake (Dan Hicks) who warns her that he has no heard from her parents on over a week. At the cabin her parents were translating the "Book of the Dead", which Annie had found a missing piece to and was going to bring it to her parents. On their trip to the cabin they are stopped by the torn up bridge. They meet up with a local mechanic named Ed (Richard Domeier) and his girlfriend Bobbie Joe (Kassie DePaiva) who offer to take them on a trail that leads to the cabin for one hundred dollars. Who or what will they find at the cabin?


Upon arrival at the cabin the four travelers are greeted by the now quite looney Ash. They're able to lock Ash in the basement but soon they realize that Ash is no the one they need to be worried of. Now the five must work together to destroy this deadly force and send it back into its own dimension before it "swallows their souls".

CLASSIC MOVIE! This is one hilarious movie. It's sort of a spoof I suppose but I know some people still find it generally scary. It's hard to take the movie too seriously, but you have to admire the fine acting job done by Bruce Campbell here. The possessed hand scene is simply incredible; Bruce does an excellent job convincing the audience that his hand is truly possessed and is its own entity. Not only is he effective in this illusion, but it comes across extremely funny with all the added grunt-like noises that come from the hand to help give it its own personality (on a site note, those hand voices were done by director Sam Raimi).


Quickly, lets discuss this long drawn out Internet rumor that Evil Dead 2 is a remake of the first film. Let me say this - that's total BS. There was an article in Video Watchdog . Now I could probably get permission from them to post the exact text into this review, but I really don't want to go through all that hassle. Instead what I'm going to do is post a message that I posted recently on another web site explaining the difference. I think it'll help to clarify things at bit and it's basically a summary of what was in Video Watchdog. Here is the post:

I'll explain how the stringing together of the The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 happens.

The Evil Dead - film ends with evil force charging at Ash. One might assume he's killed but that's only an assumption.

Evil Dead II - first 10-15 minutes of the film are a recap of the first film, minus the college buddies. The continuation comes in where the evil force AGAIN comes through the cabin and charges out at Ash outside. When the force hits Ash he goes flying through the air spinning rapidly - THIS IS WHERE THE SEQUEL KICKS IN PEOPLE. This is where you could string together Evil Dead I and Evil Dead II almost seamlessly.

I hope that clears things up for everyone.

I prefer The Evil Dead over Evil Dead 2, but I still think Part 2 is a terrific film and does well standing on its own. Director Sam Raimi did an excellent job creating a horror/comedy film here, and as always there lots of Bruce Campbell torturing going on throughout the film, which has definitely become norm for all Evil Dead films. I know a lot of people prefer Part 2 over the original, but I think any die hard horror fan would easily choose the original as it is strictly a horror film, and not a mix of horror and comedy like Part 2. For any of you who haven't seen any of The Evil Dead films - get your asses out to the store and buy them now. They're all worth owning.

Image Quality

inline Image
Evil Dead 2 is presented in it's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer does suffer from excessive white speckles appearing, which may just be the result of a poor LD pressing. The Evil Dead 2 laserdisc that I own is the blood red disc, which was limited to the first 1,000 discs produced. I'm not sure if this red laserdisc is causing excessive speckles, but I must say I think there was far too many. It wasn't constant, but I don't think there was 10 minute stretch that went by without speckles appearing on the screen. Because laserdiscs is analog it's key for the pressing to be as clean and accurate as possible, otherwise things like this happen.

The colors and flesh tones appeared well balanced throughout the film. The image itself was crisp and clear, though I did feel some scenes were a bit on the dark side. Overall the image quality was quite acceptable, however, as one comes to expect from any Elite release. I'm a bit disappointed at the excessive speckles that appeared but that may be limited to the blood red discs, or perhaps just my particular disc. I have taken a look at the Anchor Bay DVD (Update: these references are to the movie only DVD Anchor Bay released, not the special edition DVD) and while there were some speckles, I have to say there weren't nearly as many as the LD had. There were some compression artifacts that were apparent on the DVD, however, so I still think the LD wins in terms of overall image quality.

Sound

The sound is presented in Dolby Digital Mono. The sound is clear throughout the film with no distortion detected. It's a shame there was no Dolby Digital 5.1 remix for this film, like Elite did for the first Evil Dead DVD/LD release. Hearing the "evil force" music on 5.1 was terrific, and I'm sure it would be even better in Part 2. Most of you may know that Anchor Bay is currently working on a Special Edition DVD release for Evil Dead 2 which will contain an anamoprhic transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

Supplemental Material

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The commentary track on this laserdisc is absolutely incredible. It is definitely my all-time favorite commentary track from a movie. It features commentary from director Sam Raimi, co-writer Scott Spiegel, special makeup effects artist Greg Nicotero and star Bruce Campbell. They keep you laughing through the track and you feel like your eavesdropping on the guys night out. It's obvious they're all good friends as you hear them goof on each other and other people involved with the film. They also give lots of facts and technical information on the film too, so don't think it's all fun and games!

There's also a behind-the-scenes featurette that runs about 30 minutes long. It was shot on a camcorder by one of the crew, and now it has been added onto this special edition laserdisc. It seems to be effects oriented - there's lots of scenes of makeup being applied to the various actors, and you get a look behind-the-scenes while they're shooting various effects shots in the film. It's quite interesting and though the quality is fairly poor (due to being recorded on a camera), I certainly prefer to have it over nothing at all.

Last but not least would be the theatrical trailer. Though this isn't supplement packed I'm still going to give it a high score because of the terrific commentary.

Final Thoughts

Great movie! Superb special edition! Image quality could've been a little better but still a pretty damn good laserdisc. Lets hope Anchor Bay decides to include these same extras on their special edition DVD, and perhaps even more if we're lucky.

Rating

Movie - A-
Image Quality - B
Sound - B
Supplements - A


Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Running time - 1 hour 24 minutes
  • Not Rated
  • 1 Disc
  • Chapter Stops
  • Dolby Mono

Supplements
  • Commentary by director Sam Raimi, co-writer Scott Spiegel, special makeup effects arist Greg Nicotero and star Bruce Campbell
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage

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