Being a lifelong fan of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Trilogy of films, and the many Super-8 short films he and his small group of friends made, I have have accumulated a great deal of knowledge and rare material over the last few years, making contact & trading with countless people, digging through information on old forums and websites, amassing a large collection of the Super-8 shorts themselves, along with a lot of other rare Evil Dead trilogy related material, and even transferring some very rare material from NTSC VHS tapes to DVD personally. Using all this, and creating an unofficial Evil Dead Trilogy fan website seemed a logical progression, and a worthy pet project which afforded me the ability to use my accumulated knowledge for the benefit of other like-minded fans.
The original idea came out of an older project. WithinTheWoods.co.uk is another Evil Dead fansite run by fellow UK fan Mark Dutton, which has been around in one form or another since the late 90's. In 2005, the site went offline leaving only a holding page and the forums. On June 21, 2009, I received a round robin email from Mark with news of his plans to resurrect the site. I offered my help, and he agreed.
I began by redesigning the old website logo, which Mark wanted the style of the 1990 Palace Pictures The Evil Dead
artwork campaign illustrated by Graham Humpreys. I created the image using GIMP (an excellent & better freeware alternative to Adobe Photoshop) using elements taken from the UK quad theatrical poster, cropping, rotating & warping the existing title letters to crate the new ones I needed. Over a number of months, my input on the site progressed to re-working the entire site & page layouts, adding many new graphical elements, and writing some new content. While Mark did made some content contributions, I basically ended up running the project rather than following his lead. By the end of September 2009, I just felt his heart wasn't really in it and he was loosing interest. Rather than leave the project behind, I decided to recycle all the hard work I'd done into my own Evil Dead fansite, a decision which would give me complete control of the content and layout, rather than adhering to someone else's requirements.
Unused 'video nasty' headline, made from scratch using stock textures
I formerly started work on my own site on October 4, 2009. I wrote all the HTML/JAVA code from scratch using Notepad, and the graphics creation & manipulation using GIMP. The new name of the site was one of the hardest decisions to reach. Quite a list of titles were proposed, of which the highlights included; 'Coffee, Milk & Karo Syrup', 'Blood & Gasoline', 'Weeds Gone Bad', 'Remember To Dismember', 'Grave Consequences', 'Super-Duper-8', 'Total Bodily Dismemberment', 'Behind The Screams', 'The Number One Nasty', 'A Farewell To Arms', and a personal favourite, 'Some Assembly Required'.
Rather than go for something quirky and obscure which may need some explanation; 'Book Of the Dead' was an obvious choice from the start, and the title I eventually went with. The .com domain was taken so went with a .ws domain instead, formerly registering it on the October 10, 2009, and uploading a the 'under construction' empty skeleton of the site while I began work filling in the content, the main body of which took 13 weeks and was completed by December 31, 2009, with further sporadic additions & updates over the preceding months.
Given that a plethora of Evil Dead fansites have come and gone, my aim was create the all time definitive resource, being more comprehensive than anything else past or present. As well as the run of the mill film synopses, credits and the like which would be expected of a fansite, I wrote extensively on areas upon which have been little covered in the past, such as each films' deleted scenes, additional footage, and locations, the 'video nasty' era and The Evil Dead's
UK censorship issues, the Palace Pictures UK advertising campaigns, the bootleg history of the Super-8 short films along with a full list of all the shorts with screenshots & synopses, the Evil Dead Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum early 80's game release, and extensive photos of Tom Sullivan's travelling Evil Dead museum, to name a few areas. I also recreated & mocked-up a number of elements for the site, for which I either couldn't find at all, or couldn't find in sufficiently high enough quality to be usable. Among others; I created high quality versions of each films' title text, I remade the 'Palace Pictures', 'Palace Video', and 'Palace Software' company logos, and for The Evil Dead
'Censorship' page, I recreated both an 'X' & '18' BBFC certification cards, as well as an unused Daily Mail 'video nasty' headline newspaper front page, all made from scratch using GIMP and some stock textures.
The factual content draws together just about every source available, but mainly comes from four books; The Evil Dead Companion
by Bill Warren, If Chins Could Kill
by Bruce Campbell, Rushes
by Josh Becker, and The Unseen Force The Films Of Sam Raimi
by John Kenneth Muir, but also a wealth of other books & magazines including The Ego Has Landed
by Angus Finney, The Practical Art Of Motion Picture Sound
by David Yewdall, Fangoria Magazine
, Video Watchdog
, Rue Morgue
, various DVD releases including those of Anchor Bay & Elite Entertainment, and far too many past & present websites to list, along with additional major writing contributions by fellow fan & collector; James.
I have tried to use the rarest photos from my extensive collection, rather than trot out the same old promo images seen on most sites & blogs.With some image assistance from fellow fans, I assembled the most extensive Evil Dead 'Collectables' section there has ever been, with a range of diverse sub-sections covering nearly 800 individual items from around the world, such as; DVD, VHS & Other Media, Books, Magazines, Comics, Games, Soundtracks, Toys, Sculpted Pieces, Props & Replicas, Clothing, and Advertising.
Early 80's 'X' certificate BBFC card, recreated from scratch
late 80's '18' certificate BBFC card, recreated from scratch
While creating the site I made contact with a number of people involved either in the Evil Dead
trilogy, or the Super-8 Short films. Back whilst running EvilDeadChainsaws, I had become friendly with The Evil Dead
's make-up effects artist Tom Sullivan, who gave me a fair amount of factual information and corrections for my new site. I also contacted Graham Humphreys, the artist who illustrated Palace Pictures UK The Evil Dead
advertising campaign, and was able to add some of his never-before-seen rough sketch artwork & paintings. Since opening I have conducted interviews with a number of people, including; Tim Quill, Cheryl Guttridge, Josh Becker, Tom Sullivan, Danny Hicks, Scott Spiegel, Angela Featherstone, Mark Shostrom, Bart Pierce, Shannon Shea, Rick Catizone, Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman, Ted Raimi, Graham Humphreys, all of whom gave interviews, along with Ellen Sandwiess, Randy Bennett, Greg Nicotero, Tim Philo, Brian Rae, and Bill Ward who I've had contact with.
As of August 2021, the site is still growing, and now spans 186 pages, with at site total of 22,527 files over 65 folders at about 40.0GB in size. You can view the website via the link below.
If you're interested in any of my fanmade projects, you can contact me via email at
, or through the Rob's Online Showcase Facebook page
. Check out & 'like' that Facebook page to see the latest in-progress updates to any current projects, and check out my Wants List
to see if you can assist me with any future projects or upgrades.