The Evil Dead Anthology is an humongous collection that includes all of the films from the classic horror series, The Evil Dead, all on blu-ray disc. By all films I mean that this set includes: The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead 2 (1987), Army of Darkness (1992), and even includes the 2013 remake of the original film. You'd think that this set ends with the films, right? Well that's not all, this set also comes with a documentary film titled Invaluable (2014) and two more bonus discs that are full of exotic special features and are all holstered in a replica of the Necronomicon itself. Is this set the most definitive way to enjoy this series? Or will this end up being too good to be true? (Click on "Read More" to read the full review).
Chapter 1: The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead is a film about a group of young adults going out to an old cabin to hang out and relax with each other. As soon as they get to the cabin, they soon feel that something doesn't feel right with this place what so ever. After some relaxation by the fire and playing games, we see one of the young adults have found a creepy looking book and a Panasonic reel-to-reel music player. Instead of waiting around for the other to reply, the guy just presses play on the tape and listens to the horrors that are found on the recording, these horrors are the readings of the book, The Necronomicon. After the tape has ended, all hell breaks loose (literally) as they have summoned demons from the book and all they want to do is torment the poor souls in the cabin. It is now up for the young adults to try to survive the horrors that they have let loose and they've got a snowballs chance in hell in surviving the night.
The story in this film is incredibly simple with it just being about a group of young adults going camping and finding an evil book and dealing with the consequences, that's all there is to the story of this film. A great thing about the story is that it wastes no time in getting right to the point of things, making every minute of this movie worth something, there's no filler, it's all killer and yes, that's in both the literal and metaphorical sense. You'd think a movie that is all killer would run on the shorter side of film length, however this film runs for around ninety minutes long and I'm amazed that this film managed to accomplish becoming a full fledged movie without needing to pad out the film with useless filler.
Another thing this movie got right with the story is that the character and character development is incredibly well done, you will feel bad for what will happen to them and will want them to see them all survive. The characters also feel more like actual human beings that would react in the same way that we would for if we ever came into this unlikely situation and this helps to like them, you'll find them incredibly relatable. The acting in this film can get a little over the top... Okay, it can get very over the top, especially when the possessed come into the picture but it also comes off as legitimate, it enhances the feeling of how these characters are just normal people at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The styling of this film is much different than any of the other films in this series, instead of being a fun action horror with comedic elements, this film is an incredibly dark horror that doesn't pull any punches. I really wasn't expecting this from this movie as not only was I used to the style from Evil Dead 2 and beyond, I could also never find myself a home video release as it was either sold out or on backorder in the shops here and importing it was too expensive for me. There haven't been many horror movies out there that have actually scared me but this one did make me feel very uncomfortable. The horror factor in this film is incredibly intense, unpredictable, and incredibly well done to where it is one of the most brilliant horror movies you will ever see, a true king of horror movies (hail to the king, baby).
This film is incredibly gory and it looks more realistic than most horror flicks. The gore is very disgusting looking as you'll see blood, guts, pus, and even the veins all mushed together and I did find myself disturbed and a little green in the face. Not all of the gore is realistic looking, there are some cartoony looking moments towards the end and it is just as disturbing and disgusting nonetheless. The blood and gore will also help to make you fall in love with the film, it has a certain charm about it to where you can't turn your head away and find it to be fun. Do not worry dear governmental people and social justice warriors, this film won't turn you or your kids into bloodthirsty little tyrants, that's what top 20 pop-music is for.. Although I don't know why you'd let your kids watch this film, it isn't very kid friendly.
The violence in this film (violence is different from gore) is very gruesome and disturbing and is very brilliantly used. The violence from the demons will make you shiver down your spine as they are very ruthless and unforgiving, this makes their attack scenes incredibly intense and unnerving. The violence from the unpossessed/human characters are just as violent but what makes their attacking scenes just as brilliant is due to the psychology. The unpossessed are in a fight for survival, so there is a heroic element to it but the unpossessed are also going through a state of mind to where they don't know what to think, thus making them feeling very unsettled to know that they have to kill their loved ones due to there being no cure for the cause.
Some of the violence in this film is very disturbing to where that even I had to turn away from some of it and that's a rare thing for me to do in films. The most extreme case where I got disturbed was the scene where someone gets a pencil shoved right into their ankle and it is very hard to watch. Some scenes of violence are just plain out there, one example is a scene where one of the female cast runs into the woods and gets attacked by trees. What makes this scene bizarre is that the trees don't just attack her, they also have their way with her (was so hard not to make a hard wood pun there).
The special effects in this movie is incredibly well done and make everything look and feel very gritty, disgusting and it'll make you feel very uncomfortable and scared. A good chunk of the special effects have aged incredibly well, much like the pencil stabbing scene that I mentioned before (*Shivers in fear*), it is especially amazing as this is a low budget film and it looks like a film that was made with a higher budget than what this film had. However, there is one scene where the effects have aged terribly due to how this film uses claymation towards the end and it doesn't look good for when it is used on the Necronomicon... Actually, the claymation used on the Necronomicon looks very silly and laughable.
My problem with the blu-ray version of the film is that the picture quality is a little blurry and it is a little bothering but not bothering enough to make this film unwatchable. Although, this is not a film that needed its very own blu-ray disc but I did enjoy that it was on blu-ray for not only just consistency, I also like that all of the special features are on the one disc and it saves me the extra minute of changing discs. I know this sounds like a very small thing to mention (excluding the "blurry" comment, that needed to be said) but this paragraph isn't going to pad itself now, isn't it.
This disc has a nice selection of special features that includes: An audio commentary featuring Sam Rami, Bruce Campbell, and Rob Tapert. A picture-in-picture option that has interviews with other horror movie directors talking about their love for the film. An hour long documentary that has the cast, crew, fans talk about the first film in detail in a feature titled (*takes a big gasp of air*) One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead. An hour of rare outtake and raw footage called Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor. A feature from 2006 that has the cast and crew asking the crowd trivia questions in a feature called At the Drive-In. A documentary feature from 2002, Discovering Evil Dead. Lastly, a feature called Make-Up Test.
The audio commentary was oddly very relaxing and it did take away from the intensity of the film but not in a way that makes it unenjoyable. The audio commentary is also very fun as the guys tell some nice trivia and fun tales from back in the day when they were working on the film. The picture-in-picture option where horror movie directors talk about their love for the film isn't a bad feature at all. During the movie you'll see a little box pop-up in the bottom right corner where you'll see a person and what they have to say is about the film is typical fan stuff but that's not a bad thing at all, it was entertaining hearing them express their love for the film. My problem with this option is that the video boxes pop-up in certain scenes and so there are huge gaps where you won't get any commentary. This picture-in-picture mode feels more like an alternative commentary track as you do not need to watch the video boxes to get what is going on and you can just listen to this in the same way as an audio commentary.
The Untold Story of The Evil Dead, is a decent documentary that is full of nice information from the cast and crew and some nice insight from some other horror movie directors that also happen to be fans. The format of this documentary is done in a way to where it is like something that you would see on History Channel and has a very professional look to it. The thing I dug about this documentary the most was the use of rare outtake and behind the scenes footage, they were very interesting and entertaining to see.
If you loved seeing the rare outtake footage from the Dicovering Evil Dead doco, you'll' really enjoy seeing all of that rare and raw footage in Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor. This feature is packed to the rim with raw and rare footage that is sure to make Evil Dead fans feel like that they have found a chest full of gold. I really did enjoy this feature but I did find that the first twentie minutes to be a bit slow due to it being all footage from the pre-demon attack scenes of the film, however everything else after that was pure gold and sometimes pure grosse. Fans of the film will love this feature.
The At the Drive-In feature is a bit of a weird one as it was just the cast and crew giving out copies of the DVD release of the uncut film from back in 2006. The way they'd give them out is by making the audence answer some trivia questions and if any crowd member got one right, they won a copy of the DVD. This feature was recorded at a film screening that took place at an airport runway which in itself is very interesting on its own. I went into this feature thinking it'd be bland filler material for the sake of filling up the disc but I ended up being proven wrong, this feature was very fun to watch and I did find myself also yelling out the answers to the questions.
Discovering Evil Dead is a very short and interesting feature that goes on about how the film got released in cinema and home video through Palace Video in the United Kingdom. This feature goes on about it in great detail and is full of neat information and is very entertaining. This documentary isn't very long and runs for only twelve minutes but what you get is very golden, this is a feature I defiantly recommend checking out. The Make-Up Test feature is a one minute long clip showing the crew test out the blood effects and the decomposing demons effect. This feature sounds better than actually is, there wasn't much to it and was anti-climantic. I did find myself really grossed out by it though, it looked very nasty and vile.
Overall, this film might not have the comedic vibe that the second and third films have, however, this film is incredibly well done and it's surprisingly incredibly scary. This film is absolutely worth watching and I also find it to be the best movie in the entire series and that says a lot as Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness are some of the greatest horror films that I have ever seen. Evil Dead is the second greatest horror movie of all time. Nosferatu (1922) is the greatest horror movie in case that you are wondering.
Chapter 2: Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Evil Dead 2 is about a young couple, Ash Williams and his lovely girlfriend, Linda. The lovebirds decide to have a romantic getaway to a nice log cabin, where they plan on having a good time. All things are going well up until they find a mysterious book, a spooky looking dagger, and a tape full of recordings from an explorer, Professor Knowby. Ash decides to listen to the tape and finds some information about the book and what is written in the book, this unleashes some uninvited guests... Demons. These demons are hell-bent (no pun intended) on causing them pain and they do so with no remorse, no regret (also the name of a great Metallica song). Ash was lucky to survive the first night of the great demon attack but sadly, he must survive a second night, these damn demons just won't go away.
Jumping from the first film to the first sequel is a real huge jump, it will cause confusion for many reasons. The first reason is that this is not a direct sequel to the original movie but it is both a remake and a sequel all rolled up into one which is good, if this were a direct sequel, there'd have been way too many plot holes to even label this as a direct sequel. I do not dislike this move one bit, it is done very well due to very interesting and smooth storytelling that better explains the Necronomicon's existence and adds more to the lore of the film series. Just like the first movie, this film gets right to the point and doesn't waste your time with boring filler scenes that have nothing to do with the story.
This film is also where the series takes a huge change in style and reinvents the series, it is not an incredibly intense scary horror film like the first movie, it is an action packed horror comedy movie that is full of flash and style. This action comedy horror style is used very well and is what helps this movie to be incredibly iconic and is ultra entertaining, it will keep you on the edge of your seats. Changing to this style over the gruesome horror of the first movie was a great thing, you can only go so far with gruesome horror up until the point where the gruesomeness doesn't become special, but predictable and boring instead. Making this film with that old style would've taken away everything that made not only the first movie special but it also would've made this film not very special as well.
Comedy in this film doesn't ruin the nature of the film at all, it was done appropriately, heck, it even enhanced some of the scenes, especially to show how mad the characters have gotten. So even though this film has a comedic element, you'll still take the situation of this film very seriously. This film is very gory and gruesome, in a more over the top comic book kind of way that's designed to be more fun to watch. The violence in this movie can get a bit too zany to where it becomes silly, even so, you'll just find yourself enjoying the film rather than turn away in disgust. Action in this film will also get you feeling very excited and make you feel very good on the inside in spite of all the gruesomeness going on.
This film might not be scary but it does have a dark and serious atmosphere that'll keep you on your toes and make you really feel worried for good old Ash. Speaking of caring for the characters, you will do so for most of them, they've got some good character that will draw you into them. Sadly, some characters aren't all that great and have about as much character as a cardboard box and aren't very memorable. The acting in this film is a bit on the cheesy side but in a good way, it helps add character to the characters and it is also incredibly charming and makes the movie even more fun to watch.
The filming style and camera shots are some of the greatest that you'll ever see in movie history, not only did they look good, they also looked unique and added a lot of great atmosphere to the movie and will impress you every time you watch this movie. This movie has incredibly brilliant special effects that looked great and were used masterfully. Granted, some of the effects have aged and your immersion with the film will be a bit more shallow but you will still find that they were used brilliantly. I was mixed on the costumes for the possessed, half of them looked very spooky and shoved a shiver down my spine, while the other half were so silly that they were laughable.
The special features in Evil Dead 2 are very small, you only get a commentary track and a making-of feature. The commentary track features Sam Rami, Scott Spiegal, and Bruce Campbell and it is a very enjoyable commentary to listen to, heck, it is one of the greatest audio commentary tracks that I have ever listened to. The stuff said in this commentary wasn't just informative but it was also very fun to where it feels like that you are watching the movie with friends rathar than listening to people talk about a movie.
The making-of documentary is a thirty-minute feature that was made in 2000 and it is full of really neat stuff. This documentary is packed with interviews, backstage footage, make-up tests, rare footage of unreleased scenes, and a mini-film about an evil dead baby (literally, an evil baby that's dead). The interviews were very informative and insightful and all of the footage they used was absolutely incredible, especially with the make-up tests and unreleased scenes. The unreleased scenes were also quite gory and resemble what is found in the original Evil Dead and makes me sad that they weren't added to the film, especially since they piece together (no pun intende) a scene that has a plot hole, where one of the demons got half their head chopped off only to suddenly have it still attached not long after.
Overall, I might have called Evil Dead the second greatest traditional horror film of all time but Evil Dead 2 is defiantly the greatest action horror film of all time. If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor, go out and watch this movie right now. Yes, right now as in go see it now before you continue on reading this review. SKADOOT!
Chapter 3: Army of Darkness (1992)
Army of Darkness is the third film of the series and is also a direct sequel to Evil Dead 2. After banishing the evils of the Necronomicon into a portal, Ash also sadly gets sucked into the portal as well due to not being able to fight the portals pull. What lies beyond the portal? Hell? Michigan? A world full of beautiful busty leather-bound women in Insane Clown Posse make-up? Nope, none of those. Ash ends up in none other than Medieval-era England where Ash is captured as a prisoner. Lucky for Ash, he proves himself to be the hero that England needed as the evils of the Necronomicon have risen again, so it is up to Ash to put a stop to it. However, this time we have Ash fighting more than just the Necronomicon, he is also fighting an evil clone of himself named Evil Ash.
The story in this film strays even further from being a horror flick and ends up diving right into the action fantasy genre and feels just like an awesome Dungeons and Dragons session (Tarl Igot FTW*). This film wasn't written to be a highly intellectual film but more so to be a simple film that you can watch without having the need to think. This works really well as while simple, it was incredibly entertaining and fun, it also hooks you in right from the very start. The film is paced and portioned very well, where no scene goes on for too long or too short. This film doesn't get straight to the point like the first two films did but it doesn't waste too much time either on getting to the main point of the film. My only problem with the writing is that it has a few plot holes in it and you'll notice them, especially if you are jumping into this right after watching Evil Dead 2.
Seeing as this isn't a horror movie, don't expect to see a lot of gore, do expect to see a lot of sword fighting, canon fire, arrows and explosives, and crazy black magic. This film is action packed and it worked really well with this film, it really fits into the series, plus the action is incredibly fantastic and fun. The drama in this film can get a little cheesy, especially with all of the one liners that are said in this film. There isn't any award winning acting in this film but this film didn't need any, it is enjoyable as it is. Acting is on the cheesy side but they pull off the characters well to where it helped to make them very likeable and tell a fun story.
The camera work in this film is spectacular with its very stylistic camera angles that help emphasize all of the crazy stuff that is going on. Most of the special effects in this film are spectacular with its over the top styling that looks great and also adds more fun to the film. Some of the effects haven't aged all that well and look a bit goofy but you won't care about that what so ever, you'll be too deep into the film to worry. Costumes look really cool but they really make this film look more fantasy than medieval and might annoy time purists. Music in this film gives this film a great adventure film vibe to it and it will get you all incredibly excited.
The version of the film found in this set isn't the same cut that you are used to, it is a very special director's cut. This director's cut includes extended scenes, alternate scenes, deleted scenes that were cut from the theatrical edition, and some scenes that were completely re-edited to make the film make more sense. It was very interesting watching this version of the film, it has moments that really should've been in the theatrical cut but some of the alternate parts weren't as good as what was found in the theatrical cut. I wouldn't say that this cut was better, it is as equally as good as the theatrical cut, so you might want to keep that version of the film in your collection as well. The theatrical cut is nowhere to be found in this box set, such a shame and would've made this set much more sweeter.
Army of Darkness doesn't have a very big special features section, you only get two items. You get a commentary track featuring Sam Rami, Bruce Campbell, and Ivan Rami (Sam's brother who appears mid-way into the commentary). The other feature is an art gallery full of more than just art. The audio commentary is very good, it had a lot of good conversation and information being said. It was very neat hearing the differences between the director's cut version and the US theatrical cut and how the effects were done.
The art gallery is really amazing to watch, it is full of a lot of great images including: Production art, covers to most the home video releases (VHS, LD, DVD), promotional photos, photos of action figures in prototype and final form. This is a very huge gallery and this feature runs for just over sixteen minutes and every bit of that time was enjoyable. The downside is the name of the feature itself, the name gives you the impression that you are only seeing production art, so name alone won't get you motivated enough to watch it.
Overall, a very different film compared to the other Evil Dead films but it works so well being part of this series and is worth watching as much as Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. We have just reached the half way point of this review and this box set is already worth it with just the inclusion of the original three movies. Now let us talk about the remake of the original film.
Chapter 4: Evil Dead (2013)
The fourth (and final) movie in this collection is Evil Dead, not to be confused with the first movie in this set, The Evil Dead. This film is the second remake of the tale of the Necronomicon (the first remake being, Evil Dead 2) that not only re-tells this tale, this film also tries to tell it much differently compared to the Evil Dead films that you all know and love. This remake is about a group of young adults that travel to a cabin in the woods for some serious business... Their dear friend, Mia, has some serious drug habits, so they have taken her to the cabin in the woods to give her an intervention and try to force her out of her drug habits. Sadly, during this intervention trip they just happen to find this weird looking item that's wrapped in barbed wire and black plastic. One of the young adults opens that sucker up and the item is none other than the Necronomicon, of all the crazy things to find, they had to have found that. They also find a way to translate the book and well what do you know, demonic forces are unleased and now the young adults must try to survive the night.
The story aims for a darker, more gritty version of Evil Dead and I can see where they were going with that style, they were trying to capture all of the dark vibes and intense horror of the original film. Is it the right time to have a remake of the original Evil Dead? The answer is surprisingly, yes. It was the perfect time to remake an Evil Dead film but done in it's original style but this film has some major issues that stop this from being a great film.
First problem with this film was the pacing, it was a lot slower than any of the other Evil Dead films due to it trying to flesh and explain the relationship between the characters. This film also explains why we should feel for their quest to make their good ol' pal be free from her demons. This problem takes up the first half of the film and it was just a bore to sit though, we didn't need this much time to get to know the characters. The drama is also incredibly corny and not relatable, it just made the experience much more painful and it felt like I was a teen drama show rather than watching a horror, thus turned this movie into MTV's The Evil Dead, instead of The Evil Dead.
Another huge problem is that all but one of the characters have no personality what so ever and give me no good reason to care for them what so ever, they are generic, boring, and one dimensional. The one character I did like was done pretty well and did get me caring for him, that's great as for what this character goes though, you're going to feel legitimately bad for him and hope this character pulls though. While the characters were generic, the acting itself was okay and the actors did a good job for what they had to work with but that's not to say that they didn't have terrible acting moments. Oh boy, this film has some acting that is incredibly painful to watch due to it being corny and unauthentic to where it is just sad to watch.
The second half of the film is where the movie greatly picks ups. The story moves along at a better pace, the horror kicks in, and the real fight for survival begins. Story in the second half is quite intense and really focuses on trying to be a horror movie instead of teen drama. Sadly, the horror isn't that scary but it does get a little unsettling due to the atmosphere. I did find myself enjoying this half of the film a lot more than the first, however this second part of the film still has some major problems that hurt the film.
First problem is that while atmospheric, it could've been stronger and what killed the atmosphere a little bit was that they gave the demon its own physical form right off the bat, thus ruining the mystery and mystic of this pure evil creature. The reveal of the demon should've been a reveal in the very end (look at Evil Dead 2 for example), while an old technique, it would've given this film a more spooky atmosphere that a horror flick should have. Another problem I have is that this film goes for cheap jump scares and they weren't scary, they were just horrendously bad and sad to watch and just made me face palm hard.
A pet peeve I have with the film is that the introduction to the evil force was incredibly weak in comparison to the other Evil Dead films. Normally the evil force would force their evil into someone and force them to do incredibly epic speeches that send a chill down your spine, sending your mind rushing with many visions of horror and make you wonder how it'll all turn out. This film nearly does that but as soon as the evil force is given a voice, all it says is, "You are all going to die". This line actually could've worked but the build-up and performance was just laughable and badly done.
If you are a fan of gore in horror films, you are bound to get some kicks out of this film as the gore and violence is incredibly gruesome and graphic to where it'll make people turn their heads in shock... And I loved it. The violence is quite entertaining and was one of the few things stopping me from bursting out in a violent rage and going Leatherface on my television... How painfully ironic. This film also ends with a huge plot twist that'll either make the Evil Dead fans riot, or you'll just get what this movie was going for and accept it. People that aren't familiar with the Evil Dead films and are watching this as their first Evil Dead film won't even notice any plot twist what so ever. I did enjoy the nods and Easter eggs to the original films as they were fun and tastefully done.
The special features on this disc are decent in size and you get the following: An audio commentary track, a feature called Directing the Dead, a feature called Evil Dead the Reboot, a feature called Making Life Difficult, a feature called Unleashing the Evil Force, and a feature called Being Mia. I wouldn't be surprised if you got sick of me saying "a feature called", I used it so much that it could have been turned into a drinking game. Now enough of me being apologetic just to pad out a paragraph, let's see how the features are.
People on the audio include: Jane Levy, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Fede Alvarez (the director), and Rodo Sayagues (the writer). The commentary track was decent, the commentators did cover what it was like working on the film and how they filmed what they filmed. The information itself was informative and decent and all done in a very serious way, so there's no goofing around here unlike the Evil Dead 2 commentary (Evil Dead 2 commentary is still the best commentary in this set). I would defiantly recommend giving it a listen for once you have finished watching the film.
Directing the Dead is a feature that has interviews with some the cast and crew, plus it also shows off behind the scenes footage. The interviews are very basic stuff like you would see in a promo that airs on television but the director does come off as pretentious with what he has to say about the film, it gets annoying, really annoying. The behind the scenes footage is very good, the footage is very insightful, interesting, and entertaining. Watch this one for the behind the scenes footage and not for the interviews.
Evil Dead the Reboot is a feature that has the cast and crew from both this film and the original film just talking about the film, what inspired the idea for this film, how they were going to make this film, and other stuff like that. This feature was very entertaining, you get more of an understanding to why this film was made and the stuff said was very interesting and insightful. This feature did make me understand why they made this film and while I do still have some problems with it, I can see what they were going for with this film. A pretty neat feature.
|There's a problem with the Maples and they're quite convinced that they are right.|
Unleashing the Evil Forces is a feature that has the cast and crew from both the new and old films talk about the star of this film, the Necronomicon. This feature wasn't bad, it had some nice information about the book, it was information that wasn't explained in the actual movies themselves. This feature also goes through the book and showing off the artwork found inside and I found the art to be scary but it was also lacking a lot of charm found in the Necronomicons from the past films. I did like how the art in the book did have a sick sense of humor and so it does have some charm to it, just not as much as the other Necronomicons.
Being Mia is a video diary by Jane Levy (whom plays Mia in the film, she's also the main character) and it has her showing off the set, showing off props, showing behind the scenes footage of her, and shows some comments from the director. This feature is a lot more better than it sounds, it was fun seeing the backstage, especially fun seeing the props. The behind the scenes footage was okay and the comments from both people were also okay as they had some entertaining things to say. The footage was shot very clean, so you can make out everything just fine but there isn't really anything else to add on to what I have to say about this feature other than that it was a decent watch.
Overall, this film succeeds at being an Evil Dead remake that is daring to be different but it does fail at being a good movie. Granted, while not a good movie, it is okay enough to watch at least once via rental or legal streaming, it's just not good enough of a movie to go out and add to your collection or to watch over and over and over again. Misses its mark.
Chapter 5: Invaluable (2014)
This collection also includes an unexpected surprise in the form of a two-hour documentary titled Invaluable. What is Invaluable? Invaluable is a documentary all about Tom Sulivan, the guy that worked on the brilliant (that's understating the effects) special effects in the Evil Dead series. This documentary takes an incredibly detailed look at not just his work but also his life from his early days to modern works.
The way this documentary is formatted is that it is made up of interviews from friends, family, and cast and crew from the Evil Dead films, plus you get a bunch of profile segments on Tom Sulivan. The interviews and profiles are incredibly detailed (as I've said before), incredibly interesting, and incredibly entertaining, so you will be really into the film and also be really appreciative of Sullivan's work. The editing was really well done and you do get to see a lot of rare photos and footage that help enhances the film and its subject. I was a bit worried about the editing at the start of the film as it was done in that annoying hipster 1990's-poser-punk style but that was only for the first few minutes until the intro was done, thank gucking foodness as it was a little irritating.
There isn't anything much to add towards what I have to say about Invaluable, it is a documentary that can be summed up in one and a half paragraphs but while simple, it is an incredibly strong watch that movie buffs and horror fans must watch. This documentary is best watched after watching the original three films as it serves as the chocolate sprinkles on top of the orgasmic banana split. The only downside to this disc is that it is a DVD, not a blu-ray and that might upset some people due to this box set being marked as a blu-ray collection but I personally don't care, it's not a thing that matters.
Chapter 666: The Book of the Dead/ Bonus Props.
One of my favorite things about this set is that this set comes with a replica prop of the Necronomicon. The book itself is designed to look like the one from the very start of Evil Dead 2 and in no other scene, so it is based on one of the more obscure designs of the book. The inside of the book is full of the charming demonic artwork from all four movies and it is pure awesome. The book itself isn't made from flesh, blood and skin, it is made from rubber, paper, wood and ink but that's okay as it doesn't have that putrid dead smell that you get from rotted corpses.
I really like the spooky nature of the art, it builds up a mystique to it that makes you feel like that this is a cursed item that you should not own... Don't worry, it isn't really cursed... Hopefully. I also like how it is full of archaic looking symbols, text and notes written down from other people that have came in contact with this book. If you read the text carefully, you will see that it is full of comedy gold that ruins the horror nature of the book but done so in a good way to where it serves as brilliant fan-service. Right at the back of the book you have all seven discs holstered in papers sleeves and this is my only complaint about the book, the paper sleeves are very flimsy and will break (mine have). The paper sleeves will also scratch up the discs and it has done so to my copy of the remake and it now skips on certain special features, I'm just glad it happened to that one and not to any of the good Evil Dead films.
The other thing that comes with this set is a replica figure of the dagger with the skull on top of it. This version of the dagger is also from Evil Dead II, it is also really neat to have as it is very detailed and the hard rubbery plastic really gives it good weight, so you'll feel like you are carrying the real thing. You can't really stab anybody with it though (not that I recommend doing so anyway) but you can still annoy your friends by poking them with it as it pokes really hard (that I do recommend. Hee hee hee). These replicas are worth getting this set for just by that reason alone, they do look great sitting on the shelf. The Necronomicon looks especially great next to my Holy Bible and Death Note.
Chapter 7: Bonus Discs
This special collection also comes with not one, not three, not even five, but two bonus DVD discs that are packed full of nothing but special features. Bonus disc number one includes the following features called: The Incredibly Strange Film Show. The Living Love the Dead. Dead Good Marketing. Bruce Campbell: Geek or God? Stravinsky Gave Me Nightmares. Lastly, Behind the Scenes Footage and Outtakes. Bonus disc number two includes: Life After Death: The Ladies of Evil Dead. Make Up Test. At the Drive In. The Ladies of Evil Dead Meet Bruce Campbell. Reunion Panel. Unconventional. And to close off this movie set we have a feature called Trailer and TV Spots.
The Incredibly Strange Film Show feature is pretty damn cool, it's a whole episode of a UK show hosted by Jonathon Ross called The Incredibly Strange Film Show. This episode of the show is profiling Evil Dead and Evil Dead II by talking to Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and Robert Tapert and asking them about working on the films. What's really cool about this is that it is very detailed and even talks about other films that the crew have worked on that you've probably forgotten about, like Crimewave (1986) and Intruder (1989). It is very cool to see that this was a whole episode and not just highlights from it and it also makes me want to watch more episodes.
The Living Love the Dead is a thirty-five minute fan documentary that has some of the fans (that also happen to be reviewers) talk about their love and appreciation of the Evil Dead movies. This documentary was okay, some of the views were very nice but some of them were very cheesy due to how some reactions being incredibly forced and it came off as fake. This documentary has some weird quality issues as some scenes were really blurry to where you couldn't make out anything on the screen. Overall, this wasn't a bad watch but far from being essential.
Dead Good Marketing is a quick ten minute feature done by the same crew behind the Living Love the Dead. This feature is all about the marketing of the first two Evil Dead movies and has views and stories from fans and by people that worked on the Evil Dead movie posters. This feature was very entertaining and well done, the views are insightful, plus you get to see some rare and brilliant UK television ads promoting the theatrical release of Evil Dead II. This feature is a must watch and serves as a good companion to the Discovering Evil Dead feature from the first film's special features section.
Bruce Campbell: Geek or God? Is yet another feature done by the same crew behind the previous two features but this time we see fans talk about Bruce Campbell and his evolution from starting as a geek and transforming into a legendary action hero fighter. This feature was average, it just had the fans saying their favorite things and saying their favorite lines by Bruce Campbell. There wasn't anything much to this feature but there's no harm in giving it one viewing.
Stravinsky Gave Me Nightmares is a feature that has director, Adam Mason talk about his experience directing an Evil Dead inspired music video, Stravinsky Gave Me Nightmares by Antihero. It was cool hearing about what he had to say, although it did leave you wanting to see what the song sounded like and what the video looked like. Thankfully, you do get to see the music video in its full glory as it is also included and it was pretty damn cool to see and makes this a much watch feature.
If you liked watching all of the raw footage found in the bonus section of the first Evil Dead, you'll absolutely love the Behind the Scenes and Outtakes feature on the first bonus disc. This feature gives you eighteen more minutes of more raw footage from Evil Dead and it is a blast to watch. All of the footage was interesting and entertaining and also a bit on the funny side. The downside is that the aspect ratio is weird due to the original footage being filmed with a Super 8 camera, so you get huge black boarders on the sides of the video, much more huge than the black boarders found in the 4:3 ratio. This feature is a must watch and is one of the best features in this special collection.
Life After Death: The Ladies of the Evil Dead is a mini-documentary that's all about Theresa Tilly, Betsy Baker, and Ellen Sandweiss, also known as three women that were in the original Evil Dead. This documentary has them talking about their roles in the film, discussing about the fan reaction of the film, and their journeys at comic book conventions. This documentary was very good as there were a lot of interesting things said and it was also good to get another view of this film through the actoreeses that were in this film. There's also a second Ladies of the Evil Dead feature where they are joined with Bruce Campbell and all they are talking about is the process of making the movie and what went on while the cameras were off. This feature is even better as the things they have to say are pretty entertaining and even funny and is worth watching.
The Make-up Test and At the Drive In features are the same features found in the special features section of the first Evil Dead. Well, the Make-Up Test feature does have one very minor variant and that's how the aspect ratio is in its original form instead of being in 4:3 but even then, there's no difference in what's shown in this feature compared to the other. Naughty, naughty, very naughty including repeated features in a huge set like this, very naughty.
Reunion Panel is a panel that took place at Flashback Weekend Horror Convention at Chicago on the date of July 30th, 2005, on a Saturday (I only know because it says so when you start the feature). This panel has the stars of the first Evil Dead talking about the movie and answering some questions from the fans. This panel was very entertaining and quite funny at times, all of the people on stage play off each other really well and that adds an element of fun to the panel. A pretty good feature to watch. Another good feature that makes for a good companion piece is the Unconventional feature that has the cast of the original Evil Dead talking about what's it like going to conventions and meeting up with the fans. It is a really entertaining and insightful feature and is very interesting to hear what they all have to say about conventions and fans.
Finally, to close it all off we have the Trailer and TV Spots feature, this feature is pretty self explanatory as it's the theatrical trailer and TV spots. What's not self explanatory is for which Evil Dead film(s) the trailer and spots are for. Well, the trailer and spots are all to promote the original Evil Dead and they were all pretty good, they were very exciting and spooky and it got me wanting to watch the film all over again. What's very cool about the TV spots is that they have a piece at the end of them that shows which drive-in cinemas that this film was played in, it makes me want to travel back in time and watch these movies at a drive-in cinema, oh how convenient is it that the Delorean is a time machine and a car.
Chapter 8: Conclusion
Overall, this is one hell of a collection (pun fully intended) and is defiantly worth sucking in your gut, pay the price and have this as part of your collection. The movies are good (except for the remake), the special features are good, the cover and bonus items are great, I can not recommend this collection enough. GET IT NOW!
Title: The Evil Dead Anthology
Directed by: Sam Raimi (Evil Dead 1 - 3), Fede Alvarez (2013 film)
Starring: Bruce Campbell (in all films), Jane Levy (2013 film)
Genre: Horror, Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Distributed by: Via Vision Entertainment
Running Time: A lot
Rating: R18+ (High impact horror violence, low level coarse language)