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4.5 out of 5 stars
Evil Dead: Book of the Dead Edition (Widescreen)
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Showing 1-10 of 27 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on March 2, 2004
A QUICK REVIEW ABOUT THE SOUND.This movie is a horror classic. My review is not about the movie itself. The DVD displays a sharp clear picture for such dated material and cheap production. My main complaint is that this is another one of those many DVD's out there that feature an old movie CLAIMING to have DTS surround sound.First off the movie never had DTS in the theatres, DTS was never used in the sound process in filming the movie besides this DVD's inserting of bogus sound effects and reditributing VERY LITTLE sounds into a faked DTS process.The DTS surround sounds on this one, especially one CLAIMING to have DTS-ES, are just about nothing much.Maybe two or three scences have redistributed sounds in the back & side speakers. I didn't notice much.The sounds quality is not bad, it's just not any form of true DTS surround sound. Most DVD's featuring old movies that never had DTS in the beginning haven't been very good in my opinion.The Dolby Digital EX process is much better when it comes to reproducing and redistributing surround sounds through home theatre sound systems."The Exorcist (The Version You've Never Seen Before)" was done excellent using the Dolby Digital EX for transfer to DVD.
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I have to frankly admit that I was hesitant in purchasing this DVD. The reason being is that I purchased "Evil Dead 2" first after reading several of the rave reviews posted on this site. I was extremely disappointed with it, at first (I have since re-watched the sequel multiple times and I like it now, almost as much as the original. Sometimes you need watch a film more than once I guess).

The story deals with several people spending some quiet time in an isolated cabin in the middle of nowhere. They accidentally stumble upon an old book - the very powerful "Book Of The Dead" and foolishly recite some of its incantations and in doing so, unleash hell upon themselves. The demons start by raping one of the unfortunate girls and later possess her. The victim, once it is clearly evident that she is possessed by a malevolent demon, is put under restraint and thrown in the cellar however the demonic infection is passed to others until the only one left is our hero Ash who must fight to survive amongst the possessed. The film moves along at a good pace and there is gore-a-plenty. What makes this film slightly superior than its sequel, in my opinion, is that it's scarier despite its much lower budget ("Dead by Dawn" clearly had a better budget and better special effects). It is over the top but not to the extent of the sequel. There are no severed walking hands, laughing moose-heads or laughing lamps. What you get are frightening possession scenes, reminiscent of "The Exorcist", pencil stabbings, be-headings and a lot of blood and slimy gore. The films major strength lies in it's creativity and excellent make-up effects, although some of the clay-mation effects in the climax are a bit cheesy and not as effective.

Gore-hounds and horror film fans will find a lot to like in this fast paced shocker that delivers the goods despite it obvious low budget.

3.5 out of 5
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on August 8, 2003
In 1979, after gathering funding from showings of their film "Within the Woods", Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert set out to film a project originally titled "Book of the Dead" ... and later re-titled THE EVIL DEAD. THE EVIL DEAD is a surprisingly good Indie film, gathering inspiration from THE HILLS HAVE EYES, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (especially), and EQUINOX, and has a place deservedly among those as a milestone of horror films.
Bruce Campbell stars as Ash, a college student who journeys to the woods for a fun-filled weekend in a cabin with his friends (phew). Soon, however, they learn something is lurking in the woods...and it wants them. Sexually, physically, and violently, if need be.
Sam Raimi writes and directs this with surprising starter's mastering; Campbell is good, although he'd later be terrific in the sequels, EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS. Joseph LoDuca also contributes a good (as well as inspired) score. Very cool!
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on June 17, 2003
It was the fall of 1979 when Sam Raimi, Robert G. Tapert and Bruce Campbell teamed to begin filming on "Book of the Dead" - which in 1981 was released and re-titled. Since then, THE EVIL DEAD has become a legend and a classic, as well as a milestone for the horror films.
THE EVIL DEAD centers around a group of college students journeying to a cabin in the woods for a weekend of fun. Fun for someone - something, excuse me - else, but not for them, as it turns out. After playing a tape reciting demon resurrections, well - the demons are resurrected and unleashed upon the kids. Eventually, only one remains - Ash (played by cult legend Bruce Campbell), who, armed with a shotgun, must defend himself and chop up his girlfriend. Uh...I think you might just wanna watch it for yourself.
Raimi's directing is good, and his script is quite the predictable - if not fun - bunch of gory thrills, while Campbell is great. Let's not go into Lo Duca's mediocre score.
Definitely worth a watch, but be prepared - it's super gory, super scary, and super thrilling.
OVERALL: 3.5 [Above Average] out of 5 [Flawless]
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on April 8, 2002
Five good friends drive to an old cottage in the foothills of Tennessee. They rented the place for an incredibly cheap price and no one knows why. Not long after arriving at the cabin, darkness falls and strange noises are heard outside and under the cabin. The group stumbles upon an old reel to reel tape recorder and a strange looking book that looks like a shriveled face. After listening to the tape they learn that the book is an ancient Book of the Dead and contains enchanments to raise evil spirits that can possess people. The only way to kill one of the possessed is by dismemberment. One of the guys listens to the tape a little too long and strange words are chanted. The spirits are waken and the group finds themselves in a fight for their lives.
EVIL DEAD reminded me of THE NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and there are a lot of similarities. Both films were shot on a shoestring budget. Both films' directors when on to bigger pictures. Both films involve creatures rising from the dead, killing humans, and having the aforemention killees come back to life. About the only major differences between the two films are that: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is in black and white; EVIL DEAD is much more gorier than NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD; EVIL DEAD isn't a social parable about the state of society; and one person survives in EVIL DEAD and surprisingly becomes a hero.
I could see how this film could scare people. However, I didn't find this film as frightening as I thought, though it was often suspenseful. In between the times of action and suspense, the movie moved slower than a snail. Though the movie runs a little less than ninety mintues, it could have been cut in a few places and have had a more steady pace. Of course the stop and go pace of the film reflects the shakycam technique used in much of the picture, so maybe Sam Raimi wanted it that way. The story is rather simplistic, but it works. Bruce Campbell is a joy to watch as Ash and the transformation of Ash from a whiny wimp into a tough guy hero, parrallels the acting acting career of Campbell himself.
Over all, a rather gory and sometimes frightening film that you probably wouldn't want to watch alone. It has become a horror cult favorite and introduced some new movie making techniques to the general populous in a way that works well.
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on March 10, 2002
I don't think a whole lot has to be said about the movie itself, it's been covered already. An incredible, classic movie.
The packaging is pretty darn cool. The look, the feel, the way it looks on your coffee table...
But, I was extremely disappointed with the "wide-screen" aspect of this dvd. The Elite dvd, an awesome dvd in it's own right, was full frame, and I was pretty sure that if the movie was wide at all, it was only slightly. It seemed full frame was the best way to see this movie. So when I was watching the disc, I couldn't believe how wide this dvd was. I had to investigate. Playing both dvds side by side, my suspicions were correct. Yes, the book of the dead dvd is slightly, and I mean slightly wider. But boy oh boy, did they chop off the top and the bottom to give it a phony wide-screen look. I just don't understand why Anchor Bay would do that. It's just silly.
So should you buy this? If [you like] packaging, then yes. If you're not, then look for the Elite version of the dvd. The picture is superior. The only extras this dvd has is a couple of useless documentaries, that aren't particularly interesting and don't add anything to your viewing experience of The Evil Dead.
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on November 29, 2001
Possibly the most unscary horror film ever made Sam Raimi makes rubbish horror films an art form.The lowest of the low budget, the most obvious shocks, seriously (...) acting and unbelievably bad dialogue brings together a terrific and entertaining film.
Bruce cambell heads the lame cast as Ash, a geeky sensible college student who thinks it would be a good idea to take his girlfriend and a few mates to an isolated cabin. Huge mistake! not only is his girlfriend too fridged to have sex with him but there are crazed demons on the loose. Released by Bruce's annoying prankster friend Scotty the demons are soon raping Linda (in the form of trees!) and doing David Blane style card tricks. The kids one by one play host to the evil dead which causes for some seriously repetative play dead gags and everyones favourite "it's ok i'm back to normall now" jokes.
nobody seems too bothered when linda starts hovering around the room speaking in deranged tongues it's only when she starts jabbing a pencil into Cambells girlfriend that they finally realise somethings up.So down to the cellar she goes where she remains for most of the film occasionaly growling in an evil type way and often grabbing at Bruce cambells feet. Throughout the film Cambell takes a hilarious hiding getting smashed into walls, bookshelves repeatably falling on him and his whole body getting cut up by the evil fingernails of the dead. At one point in the film Bruce is caught under a small chair and is unable to actually lift the thing off himself.Throughout the film there are gruesome puss dripping attacks on Cambell but only does he really scream out in horror when the mirror turns to water which in my opinion would be the least of my worries. Soon everyone has turned or been cut into several pieces with an axe except for for some unknown reason Bruce Cambell who seems imune to the demonic virus. So he reaches for the shotgun and does the only sensible thing and starts shooting randomly at the windows then stands at the open windows to get grabbed and mauled by the undead parasites. After alot of pulling and ripping he pulls off a john wayne style lasoo trick and doesn't really save the day.
It's horror at it's most gruesome and predictable with Bruce Cambell's facial expressions and stupid girls falling over lots when being chased that bring together a great cult horror film that you have to love in an evil undead kind of way.
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on June 13, 2000
Now don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Sam Raimi (especially his DarkMan), but this movie didn't seem to cut it. I think a good, quality horror movie must always begin with a lot of charactor developement, in which the audience can relate to the "victims". This way, when trouble arrives, the siduation becomes more believable. This was not so in Evil Dead. The movie almost emmediately started with a set of eery twitches and sequences, as if Sam Raimi wanted just to skip the "borring stuff" and jump right into the "scary stuff". This was a very bad move, but at least the charactors weren't bad actors. As a matter of fact, I thought the acting was unusually good. But lets just forget about the sentimental part, any true horror fan will just focus mainly on the gore factors. In this case, Evil Dead is a masterpiece of horrific disfigurement and unconcerned cannibalism. Its not a non-stop blood-fest, but when the heat is up, the fire starts burning. There's even a very creepy and distastefully sexual encounter with a monster tree, but lets not get into that. My main point is, that Evil Dead can only be reveled at, not experienced. The storyline is so choppy that tension development will rarely occur. If you're looking for a good time, buy the sequal: Evil Dead 2; if you're looking for a scare, go to a haunted house or something, cause this one won't delivere the goods. I'd buy it for the special effects though; its cheap, but very explicit. I give this movie credit strictly based on its ability to deliver massive amounts of gore, not its emotional effectiveness.
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on May 23, 1999
The Evil Dead is a rather poor film if you look at its story. Five college students named Ash (Bruce Campbell), his sister Cheryl, his girlfriend Linda, his best friend Scotty, and Scotty's girlfriend Shelly go to a cabin in the woods and discover a book called the Necronomicon, translated the Book of the Dead. They play a tape recorder with chants from the Necronomicon and an evil call the evil dead is awakened in the woods and begins to possess the students one by one. While this plot idea would seem rather creepy(some scenes certainly were)it took over thirty minutes for the suspense to begin and for a film 85 minutes long that's almost half the film gone. Not to mention the plot is too much like The Exorcist, The Shining, and The Haunting. It doesn't perfect anything of that genre. This film is actually more of an excuse to show off Sam Raimi's directorial talent, which he has plenty of. He's a truly stylish director and one of the best in the horror genre(I consider George Romero the best). The blood and gore in The Evil Dead is more than abundant. I would say this is number six in the goriest and bloodiest movies department with Dead Alive being the obvious first. I don't really think gore is needed in horror films but it seems that was all this film could show. Want examples? A girl is stabbed by a pencil, another girl is totally dismembered by an ax, the house literally bleeds, etc, etc. There were some suspenseful scenes but there were also some plot holes. For example: Cheryl was raped by a tree yet when she ran back to the cabin it was quite obvious her underwear was still on yet she became possessed. Chery stabbed Linda with a pencil and Linda became possessed. That's pretty confusing, by a pencil? Later on, Ash is cut pretty badly by Linda's fingernails but he's never possessed. (at least not until Evil Dead 2 but what took so long?) Overall, not a bad film but not as good as so many fans cut it out to be. My favorite film in this series is Army of Darkness. What is cool about the Evil Dead series is that each is of a different genre that can appeal to different fans. The Evil Dead is a very gory gross out horror film that will please die-hard horror fans, Evil Dead 2 is a horror-comedy, and Army of Darkness will attract those who love comedy, action, adventure, fantasy, and special effects.
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on November 29, 2001
Possibly the most unscary horror film ever made Sam Raimi makes rubbish horror films an art form.The lowest of the low budget, the most obvious shocks, seriously (...) acting and unbelievably bad dialogue brings together a terrific and entertaining film.
Bruce cambell heads the lame cast as Ash, a geeky sensible college student who thinks it would be a good idea to take his girlfriend and a few mates to an isolated cabin. Huge mistake! not only is his girlfriend too fridged to have sex with him but there are crazed demons on the loose. (...) The kids one by one play host to the evil dead which causes for some seriously repetative play dead gags and everyones favourite "it's ok i'm back to normall now" jokes.
(...) It's horror at it's most gruesome and predictable with Bruce Cambell's facial expressions and stupid girls falling over lots when being chased that bring together a great cult horror film that you have to love in an evil undead kind of way.
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