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STUDIO: Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 84 Minutes
• Commentary with Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero
• The Gore The Merrier
• Evil Dead 2 – Behind the Screams
it. To the people who read CHUD (most of them, at least) Evil Dead 2 is what Citizen
Kane is to those folks over at the AFI. With this flick, Sam Raimi
invented splatstick and Bruce Campbell created such a stupid hero that he’s
haunted by the specter of Ash to this day. While Ash and the basic storyline had
been introduced in Evil Dead, here both were reinvented and became icons.
icons added to Raimi’s intuitive, seat of the pants filmmaking contributed to
the film’s outrageously influential reach. Twenty years later we’re still
seeing films crib from Raimi’s work. Evil
Dead 2 has become a part of the Cinema Building Blocks set given to
every young director.
Here’s hoping that Bruce is ready for the adulation of the teen set, now that his long-buried Nine Inch Nails video has been released.
and more explains why Anchor Bay and other companies have milked the film like
a gimpy cow. Forget solstices — you can measure the seasons by new releases of
the film on DVD. The latest is this companion volume to the Evil
Dead: Book of the Dead edition. It offers a new transfer, appropriately
goofy packaging, and a screaming eyeball. Is that worth your cash?
best of all possible worlds, any reader who didn’t know what this movie was
about would be automatically hit with a browser redirect to backtoschool.com
and I could use this paragraph for something else. In fact, I’m not even going
to summarize the film or offer any grand analytic insight. (Not that such a
thing is even within my powers to offer.) For the readers who don’t know
anything about the greatness of swallowed eyeballs and Ted Raimi in full-body
latex drag, this link might be of
9.5 out of 10
we’ve all seen the movie a dozen times and one in three readers already has at
least one copy of the film on DVD, the best reason to pay any attention to this
edition is the new high definition, Sam Raimi approved transfer. I don’t know
what Divimax is, but it looked pretty good on Dawn of the Dead, and
looks great on Evil Dead 2.
making a big deal out of the film’s visual quality is like talking about how
good the mastering is on a Misfits CD. It’s a low-budget flick with some terribly
obvious optical effects, and in the best possible transfer will never look ‘good’.
Kicked to the curb while auditioning for the Foo Fighters, Bruce edges closer to the woodpile…
Divimax thing evens out the contrast and lightens a lot of areas that were
murky and just plain ugly in past transfers. As a result, you can see a lot
more of those cheap effects and obvious matte paintings. Those are a big part
of the film’s charm, so what’s not to like?
8.5 out of 10
new to report here. Again with the low-budget thing, which required a lot of
post-production work, leading to some comically unbalanced levels. But when the
words ‘woodshed’, ‘Bobbi Jo" and ‘groovy’ are clear as a bell, do you need
8.5 out of 10
ground here as well. Most of these features are the same stuff Anchor Bay has
been flogging since DVD broke free of Japan. Just to mix things up, one new
featurette is included: Evil Dead 2:
Behind the Screams. Intestine-knotting mundanity of the title aside, this
is a slideshow narrated by effects guy Tom Sullivan. Some of the photos are
pretty good, with glimpses of effects and the wrap party, but it just doesn’t
offer much for any but the most die hard fan.
I just don’t have a Powder joke in me the way this guy’s got Victor in….oh.
it’s not a patch on The Gore, The Merrier,
which was already full of great footage like Ted’s booties being emptied of gallons
of sweat. This is still a great piece of ten years later interviews mixed with
behind the scenes footage.
me wants to cry ‘foul’ with respect to the commentary featuring Raimi,
Campbell, Spiegel and Nicotero, because it dates back to video’s laserzoic
period. When at least two companies have used the same commentary track, you
know it’s old.
Liam Gallagher finally listens to his last record.
stifles my complaints is the quality of the track — this is one of the best
commentaries out there. Bruce keeps things moving along as the rest of the
participants throw out a rapid-fire stream of jokes, anecdotes and technical
details. Anyone who likes the film and doesn’t already have another copy of
this track will find that it’s worth the price of admission, despite having
been recorded ten years ago.
7 out of 10
course, is the other selling point. If there was ever a flick made for gimmicky
packaging, it’s this one. But I feel the same way about this as I did for the
original Book of the Dead: it’s terribly half-assed.
exterior is good. It’s got better detail than the first edition, though I
prefer the pallid color of the original’s faded flesh wrapping. This one does
have that screaming eye, though — press the orb on the right and a dimly
audible screech can be heard. And the whole dead still stinks like old cabbage,
which is probably a fine thing for any aspiring book of the dead. For you
sticklers for consistency, the two Book of the Dead editions sit do
nicely side by side.
I may not know art, but I know what I like.
however, is really a tossed-off affair. Decorating each page are more of the
same blood-ink drawings found in the first, but there doesn’t seem to be any
meaning to them; it’s just a way to fill some pages. This is supposed to be a
book, after all. And unlike the original edition, there’s not even an extra
booklet with stories about production, etc. With the hundred thousand people
ready to spew forth about the legacy of Evil Dead 2, Anchor bay couldn’t
come up with anything?
I don’t care about inserts and extra packaging, but when the whole reason for a
release is the presentation, there’d better be something to justify another
purchase at a higher price. This doesn’t do it.
6 out of 10
7.5 out of 10