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Because there are so many really decent & detailed Blu-Ray & DVD review sites out there, I have decided to restrict this section to information you might not normally find on standard sites, although I will give a brief outline of the pros & cons of the main versions and a summary of the contents.


The Definitive Blu-Ray Version

Army Of Darkness has had a number of Blu-Ray releases over the last few years. There is one easy winner; the German 2013 Koch Media Six Disc Ultimate Edition Blu-ray/DVD box-set. This brings together all four versions of Army Of Darkness (the Director's Cut, International Cut, U.S. Theatrical Cut, all in both Blu-Ray & DVD format and the U.S. TV Version in DVD only) into one fantastic package. While it's a German release, there are English DTS & DD audio & subtitle options for each version. If you only own one Blu-Ray or DVD version of Army Of Darkness, make it this one! While these have sold in the past on Ebay.com for over $100, as of December 2013, this is still available brand new direct from Amazon Germany (Amazon.de, click here) for €43 Euros (roughly $60 USD or £36 UK Pounds) plus shipping. You can read more about the various image quality and framing points in comparison to the main DVD versions below.

There is also an Australian 3-disc Blu-Ray version of note, with it's own Book Of The Dead style packaging (ASIN: B00DQKC75M), released June 6, 2012. Disc one is Blu Ray and contains the Theatrical Cut, Disc two and three are in DVD format and contain the Theatrical Cut and Director’s Cut respectively. There is nothing new here other than the packaging and by many accounts the Book Of The Dead is of a fairly poor standard, certainly not a patch on the quality of The Evil Dead & Evil Dead II's Anchor Bay releases. The German box-set easily wins out here.



The Definitive DVD Version

For those who want to keep it simple and buy only one DVD, then it would have to be the 2003 R3 Hong Kong Director's Cut. The movie on this release has the longest running time & highest quality picture of any of the various retail DVD available worldwide, along with an excellent 5.1 audio mix and a fair assortment of extras.

To cover the issue in more detail; There isn't one definitive DVD box set, which collects together the various cuts/versions of Army Of Darkness into a neat package, if you want the best DVD of each cut, you'll need to buy them separately. Each cut of the film has exclusive elements that the others do not, (for more information on the differences see the 'Deleted Scenes' page). Below you can see a breakdown of the pros & cons of each version.



2009 US R1 Universal Studios Screwhead Edition DVD menu
Best US Theatrical Cut: This was the version released theatrically in the US, and is the shortest of all the cuts at 81 minutes (NTSC). For the highest quality presentation of the film itself, the choice would have to be the 2009 US R1 Universal Studios Screwhead Edition DVD, which has an excellent picture, and is presented in the OAR of 1.85:1, but is somewhat lacking on the extras side. If you're looking for a decent all round DVD then go for the 2003 US R1 Anchor Bay Boomstick Edition which does have some presentation issues (see section further down), but does come packaged as a two disc set with the Director's Cut of the movie, and has a larger & better selection of extras.


Best Director's Cut: This is Sam Raimi's original Director's Cut running at 96 minutes (NTSC), before the distributor Universal demanded editing changes and a drastically reduced running time. Again there are two likely contenders; the 2003 R3 Hong Kong MGM Director's Cut which has a vastly superior picture, is in the OAR of 1.85:1, and has an additional brief 2 second shot where Evil Ash rips Sheila's dress, but is lacking on the extras side, or the 2003 US R1 Anchor Bay Boomstick Edition which has some presentation issues (see section further down), but does come packaged as a two disc set with the US Theatrical Cut of the movie, and has a larger & better selection of extras.

2003 R3 Hong Kong MGM Director's Cut DVD menu



2003 R4 Australian MGM International Cut DVD menu
Best International Cut: This was the version released theatrically outside the US, with the running time mid-way between the US theatrical & Director's Cuts at roughly 88 minutes (NTSC). The DVD choice here is far simpler; either the 2003 R2 Norwegian MGM, 2003 R2 French MGM, 2006 R2 German MGM or 2003 R4 Australian MGM DVD. All are PAL (there is no NTSC version of this cut) and have completely identical disc content & language options, only differing on on the packaging. All are presented in the OAR of 1.85:1, but have a very limited selection of extras, which seem to have been sacrificed in order to fit a wider range of audio & subtitle options.


Most complete Version: would be the Primitive Screwhead Edition DVD, although this is a fanmade DVD and you cannot buy this in stores. Its a composite edit bringing together exclusive elements from each different cut of the film along with re-inserting the various deleted & alternate scenes to provide the longest version possible, and includes both openings & endings via seamless menu branching. Its sources include the 2006 R1 US Universal HD-DVD US Theatrical Cut, the 2003 R3 Hong Kong MGM Director's Cut, the 2003 R4 Australian MGM International Cut, and the Sci-Fi channel TV version, all of which have some specific scenes & shots not found in the other cuts.

2008 Primitive Screwhead Edition DVD menu




Anchor Bay DVD presentational issues

Anchor Bay has released & re-released two cuts of Army Of Darkness a number of times in America; the US Theatrical Cut twice in 1999 then again in 2003, and the Director's Cut in 1999 2000, 2001, and 2003, each either as standalone releases or both together as box sets. The disc content of all equivalent Anchor Bay editions (i.e. Director's vs Director's, Theatrical vs Theatrical) is completely identical, including extras & menus. The only differences between them is the packaging and any booklets/inserts.

There is a vast difference in quality between the Anchor Bay Director's Cut (first released in 1999) and the shot for shot identical 2003 R3 Hong Kong MGM Director's Cut DVD (which even has one additional 2s shot). William Lustig, one of the producers of that first Anchor Bay DVD was asked in a Mobius Q&A session about their sources for the Director's Cut over at http://www.mhfv.net, dated 10th October 2001. The original Q&A page is no longer online, but you can read the applicable section below, or view it in the internet archive here. The Q&A also answers questions and technical points on a number of other Anchor Bay pre 2002 DVD & VHS releases.


"...Could you describe if the search for materials for AOD included overseas resources, and clarify if you believe better materials were and/or are available?"

"For several months, both StudioCanal and myself literally searched the world for Director’s Cut film elements. The best we could find was a Japanese D2 [D2 is a professional ¾" digital video tape format] of the cut international version with the apocalyptic ending. So to create the ARMY Director's cut, we assembled the best elements using Bruce’s personal ¾" tape - the only existing element in the world of Sam’s original cut.

FYI, there were 3 edits of this film – Sam's original version, the cut international version with the apocalyptic ending and the Universal version. The original production company
[Dino De Laurentiis] destroyed all the ARMY outtake footage when they went bankrupt."


MGM's version was transferred from an original 35mm unedited print, so seemingly the film elements were available, it was simply that Anchor Bay couldn't find them. The quality of Anchor Bay's version over the running time does vary depending on which source is being used, with some spots being particularly poor, whereas the MGM version is a constant high quality transfer throughout. You can see a comparison frame between the two versions below.


2003 US R1 Anchor Bay Boomstick Edition Director's Cut (1.66:1)  -Vs-  2003 R3 Hong Kong Director's Cut DVD (1.85:1)

Its also worth adding that while Anchor Bay's US Theatrical Cut is a definite step up in quality from their Director's Cut, the picture quality still looks poor in comparison to the 2003 R3 Hong Kong Director's Cut, or even the 2009 US R1 Universal Studios Screwhead Edition DVD. One other point to add; the OAR of Army Of Darkness is matting to a 1.85:1 widescreen. All the Anchor Bay releases are anamorphically enhanced 1.66:1. This means the image has been 'sideboxed' (vertical bars down the left & right edge of the picture, in addition to top & bottom) to make it fit within the 16:9 frame. With TV overscan, you'd be unlikely to see them on a standard TV, but would when played on a PC monitor. Because they are under-matted, you would expect to see more image top & bottom in comparison to releases matted to 1.85:1, but this isn't always the case as both Anchor Bay cuts look cropped on all four sides in some scenes and zoomed in others, but their Director's Cut is particularly bad in this respect.


2003 US R1 Anchor Bay Boomstick Edition Director's Cut (1.66:1)

2003 R3 Hong Kong Director's Cut DVD (1.85:1)



Blu-Ray & DVD Release Details

Because there have been so many 'Carbon Copy' Blu-Ray & DVD releases of The Evil Dead around the world, I have decided to restrict this section to especially distinctive presentations really worth trying to get. If a particular release you are interested in isn't covered here, or you want more detailed information on one that is, then look it up using a search engine. There are many excellent and highly detailed DVD review sites out there.



Army Of Darkness (Six Disc Ultimate Edition) Blu-ray/DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
Koch Media GmbH
Release Date:
April 26, 2013
Region:
B/2 (Europe)
Format:
PAL/NTSC
Number of discs:
6
ASIN:
B00BGSI408
Disc 1:  
(Blu-ray)
Army Of Darkness (Director's Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Widescreen)
      (English DTS HD-Master 5.1 / English & German DD 2.0)
      (Audio commentary: Sam & Ivan Raimi and Bruce Campbell)
Trailers (in SD)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 2:  
(Blu-ray)
Army Of Darkness (International Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Widescreen)
      (English & German DD 2.0)
Army Of Darkness (U.S. Theatrical Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Widescreen)
      (English DTS HD-Master 5.1 / English & German DD 2.0)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 3:  
(DVD)
Army Of Darkness (Director's Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English & German DD 2.0)
      (Audio commentary: Sam & Ivan Raimi and Bruce Campbell)
Trailers Promotional Material & Stills Gallery
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 4:  
(DVD)
Army Of Darkness (International Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English & German DD 2.0)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 5:  
(DVD)
Army Of Darkness (U.S. Theatrical Cut)
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English & German DD 2.0)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 6:  
(DVD)
Army Of Darkness (U.S. TV Version)
      (4:3 Non-Anamorphic Open Matte)
      (English & German DD 2.0)
Creating The Deadites featurette
Making Of Featurette
Interviews
Behind The Scenes Camcorder Footage
Deleted Scenes
Evil Dead Tribute
Trailers
      (German, USA, UK, Teaser, TV Spots, VHS Commercial)
 
 
 
Notes:
This six-disc Blu-Ray/DVD combo box set brings together all four versions of Army Of Darkness (the Director's Cut, International Cut, U.S. Theatrical Cut, all in both Blu-Ray & DVD format and the U.S. TV Version in DVD only) into one fantastic package. If you only own one Blu-Ray or DVD version of Army Of Darkness, make it this one!

While these have sold in the past on Ebay.com for over $100, as of December 2013, this is still available brand new direct from Amazon Germany (Amazon.de, click here) for €43 Euros (roughly $60 USD or £36 UK Pounds) plus shipping.




Army Of Darkness (R3 Hong Kong) DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date:
January 16, 2003
Region:
3 (Asia & Hong Kong)
Format:
NTSC
Number of discs:
1
ASIN:
B0029QDFO6
Disc 1:  
Army Of Darkness
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 5.1)
      (Audio Commentary: Raimi, Campbell & Ivan Raimi)
Deleted scenes
      (Audio Commentary: Raimi & Campbell)
Alternate ending
Photo gallery
Theatrical trailer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:  
This is the only source worldwide of the Hong Kong Director's Cut, which is almost identical to the normal Director's Cut, except for inclusion the brief 2 second shot where Evil Ash rips Sheila's dress, which isn't in the normal Director's Cut, presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

This release is easily the best option for the Director's Cut of the film, and probably the version to go for if you're happy owning just one DVD. The movie itself has the highest quality picture out of any of the various DVDs or film versions available, as it was compiled from the original 35mm source prints, not from VHS masters, as per the Anchor Bay Director's Cut. It also includes possibly the best 5.1 mix available too. Its worth noting that The 'The Men Behind The Army' featurette is not included in this DVD.




Army of Darkness (Screwhead Edition) DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
Universal Studios
Release Date:
September 15, 2009
Region:
1 (US & Canada)
Format:
NTSC
Number of discs:
1
ASIN:
B0024FADDI
Disc 1:  
Army Of Darkness
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English & Spanish DD 5.1 / English DD 2.0)
'Creating The Deadites' featurette
Alternate Ending
Theatrical Trailer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:  
This DVD contains the US Theatrical Cut of the film, presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 'Creating The Deadites' featurette, while similar to 'The Men Behind The Army' featurette, is an entirely new 21m 29s interview with Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, on their special effects input on the film, intercut with VHS camcorder footage & photos taken during production.

The picture quality is an improvement over the previous Anchor Bay releases, but the R3 Hong Kong Director's Cut DVD still wins out. The content of the similarly packaged Blu-Ray version of this release is virtually identical. Considering this is the most recent release, it's missing many previously standard extras. It has no commentary track, deleted scenes, or 'The Men Behind The Army' featurette, although the alternate ending is still included. These omissions could be due to rights issues, as rights to some of the previous extras could still be held by Anchor Bay.




Army of Darkness (Boomstick Edition) DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date:
March 11, 2003
Region:
1 (US & Canada)
Format:
NTSC
Number of discs:
2
ASIN:
B0000844IT
Disc 1:  
Army Of Darkness (US Theatrical Cut)
      (1.66:1 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 5.1 / English DD 2.0)
Army Of Darkness (US Theatrical Cut)
      (4:3 Pan & Scan)
      (English DD 5.1 / English DD 2.0)
Original ending (presented separately)
Theatrical trailer
'The Men Behind The Army' featurette
Talent bios
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 2:  
Army Of Darkness (Director's Cut)
      (1.66:1 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 5.1 / English DD 2.0)
      (Audio Commentary: Raimi, Campbell & Ivan Raimi)
15 mins of additional footage
4 Deleted scenes
Director's storyboards
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:  
This release contains both the US Theatrical & Director's Cuts of the the movie. The DVD content is identical to the previous Anchor Bay LE 2-disc set (ASIN: B00001ODHL), but with new packaging, an 8-page booklet, and a 'Dinner With Bruce' promotion.




Army of Darkness (R4 Australian) DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
MGM Home Entertainment
Release Date:
September 1, 2006
Region:
4 (Australia)
Format:
PAL
Number of discs:
1
ASIN:
Unknown
Disc 1:  
Army Of Darkness
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English & German DD 5.1 / Spanish, Italian & French DD 2.0)
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:  
This release contains the International Cut of the film running at 85m 7s PAL (roughly 88m 39s equivalent NTSC running time) presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture quality is much the same as the stunning Hong Kong R3 MGM Director's Cut DVD, although this version runs around 7 minutes shorter (NTSC/PAL equivalent). See the 'Deleted Scenes' section for more information on the version differences.

There are very few extras on this disc; no commentary track, alternate ending or 'The Men Behind The Army' featurette. They seem to have been sacrificed in order to fit in a wide range of audio dubs; English, German, Spanish, Italian & French, along with a long list of subtitles; Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, English & German.

This disc is identical to the Norwegian MGM DVD (UPC: 8712626014713), French MGM DVD (ASIN: B0000AMKH9), and the German MGM DVD (ASIN: B000164XPQ), all R2 PAL discs.




The Evil Dead Trilogy (4 Disc Box Set) DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date:
July 28, 2003
Region:
2 (Europe)
Format:
PAL
Number of discs:
4
ASIN:
B001ARNWP2
Disc 1:  
The Evil Dead
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DTS-ES 6.1 / DD 5.1 EX / DD 2.0 / French DD 2.0)
      (Audio Commentary: Sam Raimi & Robert Tapert)
Theatrical Trailer
4 TV Spots
Poster And Still Gallery
Talent Bios:
      (Bruce Campbell / Sam Raimi / Robert Tapert)
'Fanalysis' documentary
'Discovering Evil Dead' featurette
Behind The Scenes Footage & Outtakes
THX Optimizer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 2:  
Evil Dead II
      (16:9 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 5.1 / German, Italian & Spanish DD 2.0)
      (Audio Commentary: Raimi, Campbell, Spiegel & Nicotero)
Theatrical Trailer
The Gore The Merrier featurette
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 3:  
Army of Darkness (Director's Cut)
      (1.66:1 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 2.0)
      (Audio Commentary: Raimi, Campbell & Ivan Raimi)
4 Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentary)
The Creature Concept Art
Director's Storyboards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Disc 4:  
The Evil Dead
      (4:3 Non-Anamorphic Open Matte)
      (English DTS-ES 6.1 / DD 5.1 EX / DD 2.0)
      (Audio Commentary: Bruce Campbell)
The Living Love the Dead
Dead Good Marketing featurette
Bruce Campbell: Geek or God? featurette
The Incredibly Strange Film Show
Antihero - Evil Dead inspired Music Video
 
 
 
 
Notes:
This box-set brings together a number of previous standalone releases, and comes with a bonus disc. Disc 3 is identical to the Army Of Darkness Director's Cut disc in the 2002 R2 UK Anchor Bay double DVD set, but with different packaging. This box-set also comes with some interesting new extras on the fourth disc, a couple of which can only be found in this release, although relating primarily to The Evil Dead as opposed to Army Of Darkness.

Two things of note; The Evil Dead disc in the 2005 R2 UK Anchor Bay 'Box Of The Banned' collection is identical to the bonus fourth disc here, and in both 'The Incredibly Strange Film Show' has been edited to remove all Super-8 shorts clips, along with some other material such as The Three Stooges, running at 34m 9s, down from an uncut running time of 37m 38s.




Army Of Darkness (Primitive Screwhead Edition) Fanmade DVD

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Studio:
N/A
Release Date:
January 21, 2008
Region:
0 (Worldwide)
Format:
NTSC
Number of discs:
1
ASIN:
N/A
Disc 1:  
Army Of Darkness
      (1.78:1 Matted Anamorphic Widescreen)
      (English DD 5.1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes:  
This is a fanmade DVD, and you cannot buy it in stores. If your interested in getting a copy, check out the forums and see if someone can help. This DVD is meant as a companion to the above retail DVDs, not as a pirated/free option.

This release features three differing extended versions of the movie, featuring both the alternate endings and alternate openings, available one one disc via seamless branching. Its a composite edit bringing together elements from each different version of the film along with re-inserting the various deleted scenes (which have been painstakingly cleaned up frame by frame) with new opening logos to provide the longest ever version of Army Of Darkness, in the highest possible quality. Its sources include the American R1 Universal HD-DVD US Theatrical Cut, the Hong Kong R3 MGM Director's Cut, the Australian R4 MGM International Cut, and the Sci-Fi channel TV version, all of which have some specific scenes & shots not found in the other versions.

It also includes a new 5.1 sound mix, including some musical surprises from the Army Of Darkness & Evil Dead II scores.
 
 
EMAIL: