The Evil Dead – Ultimate Edition

It’s Christmas time, and we all know what that means? Well, if you’re Sam Raimi or the people over at Anchor Bay Entertainment, it means it’s the time of year for demonic possession, total dismemberment and tree rape.

Yes, the little DVD house in Michigan is giving us another release of The Evil Dead. So what makes this better than the nine gazillion releases of the cult classic? Besides being labeled “Ultimate Edition,” this release includes a three-disc set that includes both widescreen and full frame presentations along with a ton of special features.

This release isn’t for the Evil Dead novice, but rather for the collector and film buff that loves the film so much he wants an excess of more.

Included on the first disc is the widescreen version of the film along with an audio commentary by Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert. There’s also a documentary One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of THE EVIL DEAD. I’m pretty sure that much of what’s in the documentary has in fact been told before, but it’s a nice comprehensive discussion of the film.

The second disc includes a full frame presentation of the film along with an audio commentary by Bruce Campbell. The special feature on this disc is probably one of the most interesting ones I’ve seen on a film in a while. It includes an hour of raw footage from the film, showing heads and tails of shots fans are very familiar with. Some shots are mundane, like a driving car. Others are quite hilarious, showing the actors in make-up dropping in and out of characters as the camera rolls and stops. This stuff can be pretty boring to the casual observer, but for a true fan of the film, it’s a gold mine of background info.

The final disc is largely devoted to The Ladies of the Evil Dead, who are the three women from the film. About five years ago, they three got together and started touring conventions as a group, finally meeting their fans up close and personal.

Features on this disc include the background of the ladies, an interview with them and Bruce Campbell, a spotlight on the group at conventions and a reunion panel. Other standard special features include TV spots, still galleries, make-up tests, trailers and other picture galleries.

I can’t say that this is necessarily the Ultimate Edition of The Evil Dead as there are surely to be more to follow, but fans of the film – and novices who make it through the reels without throwing up yet wanting more – will find a lot to love in here.

Grade: A+

The Upside: A pretty definitive collection of Evil Dead info.

The Downside: There’ll probably be a dozen more releases of this film over the next ten years.

On the Side: Sam Raimi was brought up on obscenity charges for this film.

Release Date: December 18, 2007
Rated: NC-17
Running Time: 85 minutes
Number of Discs: 1
Cast: Bruce Campbell
Director: Sam Raimi
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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