The Evil Dead Review and Bluray Features
The Evil Dead
15 Oct 1981
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Concept for the remake
Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell are drawing up plans for a remake of The Evil Dead(1981). They released a statement saying: “We are committed to making this movie and inspired by the enduring popularity and enthusiasm for the “Evil Dead” series. We can’t wait to scare a new generation of moviegoers using filmmaking techniques that weren’t available to us 30 years ago, as well as bring a fresh eye to the film’s original elements.”
Location of Cabin
The cabin was located in Morristown, Tennessee. In Bruce Campbell’s biography he says that it was later burned down. No one knows for sure what happened (Sam Raimi says that he burnt it down himself after filming). Additionally, no one will give out complete directions to the cabin because the only remaining part of the structure is the brick chimney, and too many people have already vandalized the property.
Work by Stephen King on Film
The film was shown to Stephen King, and it was his glowing endorsement (which was later used on the film’s ads and posters) of the film which really sold it to the public. The film was bought by New Line Cinema soon after.
Blood in Film
At the end of a ‘normal’ day of shooting, Bruce Campbell would return home in the back of a pickup truck because he was covered in fake blood from head to toe.
Andy Grainger, a friend of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, gave them this advice: “Fellas, no matter what you do, keep the blood running down the screen.” They included the scene in the finished film where the blood runs down the projector screen as a tribute to him.
Trouble during filmmaking
After completing principal photography in the winter of 1979-1980, most of the actors left the production. However, there was still much of the film to be completed. Most of the second half of the film features Bruce Campbell and various stand-ins (or “Fake Shemps”) to replace the actors who left.
The film ran out of money and only half of it was completed in the winter of 1980. In order to complete it, Sam Raimi, Robert G. Tapert and Bruce Campbell did everything they could to complete the film. From taking out high interest bank loans, borrowing money from friends and family and even making cold calls to businesses around their hometown state of Michigan. The cold calls worked in that they actually got catering, gasoline and other necessities that the cast and crew needed.
Bruce Campbell put up his family’s property in Northern Michigan as collateral so that Sam Raimi not only could finish the film, but also blow it up to 35 mm film which was required for theatrical release.
Editing of movie
Filming began in 1979 with a cast and crew of 37 people. Initial shooting finished in six weeks, but it took 1.5 years to edit the picture
Freezing Cold during filming
According to cast and crew members, this was one of the worst experiences they’d ever been involved in due to freezing temperatures, the locale, and Sam Raimi’s filming which took endless hours. The temperatures were so cold at time during shooting that the camera and other wiring froze. They then had to be thawed by the fireplace inside the cabin.
Richard DeManincor reportedly had no idea the movie had such a cult following until he started appearing at conventions and was surprised by the amount of fans who attended.
Almost every actor was injured during production
As you may’ve gleaned by now, the actual production process for The Evil Deadwas something of a horrorshow in and of itself. With barely any budget for flashy special effects or stunt doubles, Raimi regularly put his cast in real, death-defying danger to achieve some of the shoot’s biggest scares. Leading man Campbell sprained his ankle and nearly busted his chin open in a couple of choice sequences, where actress Betsy Baker lost all of her eyelashes when her Deadite make-up was ripped from her face. Not so groovy
RT/Meta Critic Review
One of the shining lights of the horror genre.(Click here to see)
Sam Raimi’s visceral debut remains a benchmark of modern horror.(Click here to see)
An inspired gross-out horror pic.(Click here to see)
Oh my, The Evil Dead was…. Amazingly brilliant, I loved the whole series, although this one sticks out the most. “Swallow your Soul!” I’ve watched this film over and over again, it still impresses me.
100/100 (if i could rate Like that)
“Groovy” [HouseClarkZonia/Meta Critic]
The Evil Dead debuts on Blu-ray with two versions of the film found on one disc: a 1.37:1-framed transfer that approximates the picture’s original aspect ratio, and a 1.85:1 “enhanced” presentation. Whichever of the two viewers select, Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray delivers a high quality image across both versions. Make no mistake, The Evil Dead looks its age and budget; there’s nothing shiny, bright, or fresh about this movie, but that roughly-hewn texture is reflective of the original elements. Still, Anchor Bay’s transfer delivers an unparalleled Evil Dead viewing experience; the image retains a fair bit of grain while print damage and random other anomalies are kept to a minimum, resulting in what is, generally, a handsome and strong film-like texture. Fine detail is never exemplary, but The Evil Dead wasn’t shot with top-end equipment and was captured at 16mm rather than higher-resolution 35mm. With that in mind, what’s here looks marvelous, with the transfer bringing out all there is to see in faces, clothes, and the wooden planks that make up the cabin’s walls and flooring. Blacks are absorbing and deep without devouring too much in the way of necessary detail, while flesh tones appear accurately rendered. Though there’s some obviously soft and smeary elements — some shots surrounding the sequence where Ash gives Linda the necklace, for instance — The Evil Dead impresses a great deal on Blu-ray, and fans can rest assured that this is the best the film has ever looked across both of the offered aspect ratios.
Anchor Bay brings The Evil Dead to Blu-ray with a wonderfully satisfying Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Though it’s not a perfect track — some elements, like crunching leaves underfoot, leave a bit to be desired — it’s almost a revelation considering how effortlessly it flows, how natural the various elements play out, and how spacious and clean most of the mix sounds. The track isn’t quite as powerful as one might expect; some of the heavier elements, like the hanging bench seat that beats against the cabin’s wall upon the group’s arrival, is surprisingly understated but no less an effective mood-setting sonic tool. Still, there are some heavier elements later in the film that provide a heftier experience, and the track also handles some of the louder effects — notably the frighteningly loud shrieking noises made by the demons — so well that they’re capable of sending chills down listeners’ spines. Anchor Bay’s lossless mix also delivers an absorbing environmental ambience throughout, whether the slight drip-drip-drip sound as Ash enters the basement in search of a missing Scotty early in the film or various creaking wood floorboards and blowing winds that make their presence known at several points during the film. Music plays cleanly and accurately across the front and at just the right volume and power at reference levels, accompanied by a fair but not overbearing amount of surround support in tow. Rounded out by pitch-perfect dialogue reproduction, The Evil Dead‘s TrueHD soundtrack will impress even longtime fans of the film.
The Evil Dead‘s Blu-ray debut actually comes with most of the special features plopped onto a separate DVD disc; only a new commentary track, recorded in late 2009, with Writer/Director Sam Raimi, Producer Robert Tapert, and Actor Bruce Campbell is found on the Blu-ray disc. The commentary is a strong one, with the participants exploring the picture’s origins and the state of filmmaking and the distribution system in the late 1970s, speaking on the people that helped make the picture possible, the business aspect of filmmaking, technical information, the shooting schedule, the general grind of the shoot and the difficulties surrounding it both in front of and behind the camera, the casting process and choice of shooting locales, the challenges of applying the makeup, creating the gore effects, tales from the set, and plenty more. This is a coherent, informative, and easy listen; longtime fans of the film will want to upgrade for this track alone, though the high quality video and audio presentations don’t hurt, either.
The DVD disc contains a plethora of extras, all presented in standard definition, broken down into three categories: “Featurettes,” “Trailer & TV spots,” and “Photo Gallery.” “Featurettes” contains the bulk of this package’s supplements, beginning with One By One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of ‘The Evil Dead’ (53:46). This is a massive, absorbing, and all-encompassing documentary that examines the making of the film, its effects, its reception, the quality of Sam Raimi’s direction, and much more. ‘The Evil Dead:’ Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor (59:24) is a massive collection of various raw alternate takes and footage from the making of the film. The Ladies of ‘The Evil Dead’ Meet Bruce Campbell(28:55) features Campbell and his three female co-stars reminiscing on the making of the film. Discovering ‘The Evil Dead’ (13:06) looks at how The Evil Dead became a Horror favorite. Next is Unconventional (19:09), a piece that features the cast discussing film conventions and their experiences in working them. At the Drive-In (12:04) features the cast giving away copies of The Evil Dead DVD at a screening of the film. Reunion Panel (31:19) sees the cast of the film speaking and answering questions at the Flashback Weekend Horror Convention in Chicago on July 30, 2005. Book of the Dead: The Other Pages (1:57) contains footage of Ash flipping through every page in the book. Finally, Make-Up Test(1:08) is a string of footage testing out some of the film’s makeup and special effects. Also included in this set is the film’s theatrical trailer (1:54), four TV spots (0:33 each), and a photo gallery