In the mean time, I got a friend to do a DVD transfer of the Japanese Evil Dead II Shochiku Home Video laserdisc (Catalogue Number: SF078-5254), to use for the main portion of the film in a composite edit. In addition to being open-matte, I knew that particular Laserdisc had far more vibrant colours than the more recent DVD & Blu-Ray transfers. On properly comparing the Laserdisc transfer to the open-matte transfer from the 2000 R1 US Anchor Bay Evil Dead II DVD, I changed my mind. The picture was a little too soft and grainy, as well as Japanese subtitles throughout, so I opted to use the DVD transfer as the base version instead.
In August 2016, a friend in the US said she was in contact with a fan in Mexico; Rogelio Matamoros, who had a VHS to DVD transfer of the TV version, recorded from Mexican TV during the 90's. She got a DVD-R copy from him on August 17th, and passed a copy on to me, which I received on September 2nd. I started editing it the same day with Adobe Premiere CS5, using the the DVD transfer for the main portion of the film, editing in the VHS version where needed. Even though it's lower quality than various newer Blu-Ray transfers, I decided to use this specific DVD transfer to edit with as it's the only open-matte version released on either DVD or Blu-Ray to date, and edits together perfectly in terms of framing/frame-size with the 4:3 TV version (rather than switching back & fourth between full-frame and widescreen, or cropping the TV version into widescreen). I also used the theatrical mono audio track from the Elite Entertainment Evil Dead II Blood Red Special Edition Laserdisc. The mono track phased in and out of sync with the DVD transfer, so fairly extensive editing was required.
The 'clean' version of D1's Main Menu
The 'clean' version of the DVD cover
The untouched TV version ran at 1h 30m 39s, and the 2000 R1 US Anchor Bay DVD ran at 1h 24m 18s. As some of the footage from the theatrical version was duplicated using alternate takes in the TV version, 2m 11s of footage was edited out of the theatrical version, and every last frame of of alternate takes & additional footage running at 16m 10s from the TV version was edited in. That gave a final composite running time of 1h 37m 18s, which is 13m 01s longer than the standard theatrical version, with 16m 10s of new footage. Some little new sections do play in Spanish language, but the vast majority of the composite version plays in its original English.
You can see a full list of all the TV version footage added into the standard theatrical version, to create the composite version. Just to explain the below terms; a 'repeated shot' is one which seems to have been borrowed from elsewhere to use as a cutaway from something violent or to pad out the running time. 'further shots' are new shots building on an existing sequence, and 'extended shots' are extended versions of shots already in the Theatrical version. An 'alternate sequence' uses alternate shots from the Theatrical version but showing the same action, and a 'new sequence' is an entirely new sequence. The timecode listed references the composite version's running time.
00:01:05:07 to 00:02:23:09 - Replaced opening credits
00:03:33:14 to 00:03:33:14 - New sequence; Ash & Linda embracing & dancing
00:07:30:15 to 00:07:33:10 - Repeated shot; trees outside
00:07:39:07 to 00:07:44:00 - Repeated shot; trees outside
00:08:42:23 to 00:10:28:01 - New sequence; Ash returns to cabin, burns book, and cries for Linda
00:11:04:10 to 00:11:14:17 - Further shots of Ash flying through the trees
00:14:43:25 to 00:15:19:29 - New sequence; Ash driving to the bridge, eating cereal & choking
00:18:13:21 to 00:18:16:21 - Repeated shot; wall clock
00:19:44:14 to 00:20:13:05 - New sequence; force POV, Ash dreaming and shots looking round the cabin
00:21:42:10 to 00:21:47:03 - Further shot of piano playing itself
00:21:51:12 to 00:22:00:02 - Further shots of Ash's reaction, and steam coming out of piano
00:24:01:24 to 00:24:02:20 - Repeated shot; Ash's POV through the window
00:26:01:16 to 00:26:07:07 - Repeated shot; force POV shot
00:26:55:01 to 00:26:56:29 - Further shot of possessed Linda's head
00:27:28:22 to 00:27:30:28 - Further shot of workshed interior
00:27:34:11 to 00:28:20:06 - New sequence; Ash flips out in the workshed having killed Linda
00:28:45:17 to 00:30:21:09 - Alternate sequence; Ash re-enters cabin, looks round, gets gun and goes to chair
00:30:25:05 to 00:30:28:09 - Alternate Ash reaction shot
00:30:44:25 to 00:30:53:27 - Alternate Ash reaction shot, and rocking chair
00:37:36:01 to 00:37:41:12 - Repeated shot; cabin from hillside
00:39:18:23 to 00:39:20:25 - Repeated shot; mounted deer head on wall
00:42:09:01 to 00:42:22:21 - Further shots of items laughing in the cabin & Ash's reactions
00:42:47:11 to 00:42:50:15 - Further shot of items laughing in the cabin
00:42:52:18 to 00:43:12:05 - Further shots of items laughing in the cabin & Ash's reactions
00:50:10:03 to 00:50:31:20 - Further shot of Henrietta's attack aftermath
00:53:14:24 to 00:53:20:25 - Further shot of Jake's reaction to Evil Ed
00:54:36:24 to 00:54:39:18 - Repeated shot; dark sky with moon
00:54:43:14 to 00:54:46:21 - Repeated shot; trees outside
00:57:57:27 to 00:58:46:12 - Alternate & further shots, Ash & Annie look round side room
01:01:07:16 to 01:01:07:16 - Further shots of Bobby Jo running through forest
01:02:22:19 to 01:02:35:00 - Further shot of Bobby Jo being dragged through forest
01:04:52:04 to 01:05:00:02 - Further shots of Ash, Annie & Jake's conversation
01:07:59:26 to 01:08:04:21 - Further shot of Jake hitting the tree
01:09:35:10 to 01:10:22:25 - New sequence; Annie looks round cabin rear, then outside seeing Ash
01:10:37:29 to 01:10:38:18 - Further quick shot of Annie stabbing Jake
01:11:28:20 to 01:11:36:26 - Further shots of Ash pounding on door while Annie screams
01:12:29:09 to 01:12:33:14 - New shot; possessed Ash in the forest eating a squirrel
01:13:57:12 to 01:14:07:10 - Further shot of Annie screaming with Jake's blood on hands
01:14:54:03 to 01:15:24:26 - New sequence; possessed Ash remembers dancing with Linda
01:19:17:01 to 01:20:34:13 - Further shots looking round the first cellar room
01:29:25:07 to 01:29:28:07 - Further shot of Ash fighting Rotten Apple Head
01:30:59:14 to 01:31:13:26 - New sequence; images flash as Ash travels back in time
01:31:22:09 to 01:31:54:13 - New sequence; more images flash as Ash travels back in time
01:33:32:10 to 01:34:01:11 - Extended shot, pullback on Ash freezes with title
The remaining space on the two discs was filled with all the rarest Evil Dead II video material I had. You can see a detailed list of what was included below;
Book Of The Dead II DVD (Disc 1)
- Evil Dead II Mexican TV Version Composite Edit - A composite edit of the "Severely Edited For Television" TV version as recorded from Mexican TV during the 90's, and the open-matte transfer from the 2000 R1 US Anchor Bay Evil Dead II DVD, along with the The mono audio track from the Elite Entertainment Evil Dead II Blood Red Special Edition Laserdisc, giving a composite edit with 16mins of alternate takes & additional footage running around 13mins longer than the theatrical version.
- Evil Dead II Workprint - Originally transferred from VHS, this is a truncated workprint of Evil Dead II, consisting of the first twenty and last ten minutes of the film. It's copied from a workprint DVD obtained from The Asylum Of Oblivion bootleg website in 2008. It features temp music, original production audio (pre-ADR) and a small selection of short deleted scenes. The quality of the version included here is better and plays far more smoothly, than the more widespread Workprint transfer which has numerous screen-drop-outs and is virtually unwatchable.
- Attack Of The Helping Hand - Copied from the German 2002 Dragon Films Entertainment special edition PAL Region 2 DVD of Intruder (under the title Night Of The Intruder). This was an unofficial release which was mastered from a bootleg VHS tape, probably sourced from a high-generation version of the original leaked bootleg compilation, without Scotty Speigel's involvement.
- Torro, Torro, Torro - Copied from the German 2002 Dragon Films Entertainment special edition PAL Region 2 DVD of Intruder (under the title Night Of The Intruder). This was an unofficial release which was mastered from a bootleg VHS tape, probably sourced from a high-generation version of the original leaked bootleg compilation, without Scotty Speigel's involvement.
- The Evil Dead US Theatrical Trailer 2K 4-3 Open-Matte - This was transferred from a personally owned 35mm film version in May of 2015 by a company in London called 'i-dailies'. It's completely Open-Matte right up to the edge of the frame, showing more image than any previously released version of the trailer.
- Evil Dead II US Theatrical Trailer 2K 4-3 Open-Matte - This was transferred from a personally owned 35mm film version in March of 2016 by a company in London called 'i-dailies'. It's completely Open-Matte right up to the edge of the frame, showing more image than any previously released version of the trailer.
- Army Of Darkness US Theatrical Trailer 2K 4-3 Open-Matte - This was transferred from a personally owned 35mm film version in March of 2016 by a company in London called 'i-dailies'. It's completely Open-Matte right up to the edge of the frame, showing more image than any previously released version of the trailer.
- Evil Dead II Palace UK TV Spot (longer & shorter versions) - Taken from the UK 2003 Anchor Bay Evil Dead Trilogy 4-Disc DVD Box Set, this UK Evil Dead II TV spot was edited from the Dead Good Marketing featurette on disc 4, into a standalone video. There are two slightly different edits shown; longer and shorter versions.
- Evil Dead II Intro Channel 4 Censored Weekend - When Evil Dead II was shown uncut on UK TV Channel 4 on February 20th, 1999 as part of the channel's Banned Season, it was introduced by Mark Kermode who gave a brief history of the movie's UK censorship problems. Don't Look Now, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Bad Lieutenant, and Salon Kitty were also shown, along with a number of related documentaries and featurettes.
- Evil Dead II Movie BBFC Edits Compilation Sequence - Evil Dead II was passed by the BBFC on May 22nd of 1987 for release on UK home video, with 2 seconds of cuts; to two sequences where Ash was kicked in the face by Jake. This is a side-by-side comparison sequence of both those cuts.
- Evil Dead II Trailer BBFC Edits Compilation Sequence - Evil Dead II's UK trailer was pre-cut by the distributor Palace Pictures to obtain a 'U' (suitable for all) rating. This censored trailer appeared on the 1990 Palace VHS UK re-release of The Evil Dead, among other releases. This is a side-by-side comparison sequence of the censored version, next to the standard US theatrical trailer.
- Jason Goes To Hell Workprint Excerpt - This is a short poor quality excerpt from the Jason Goes To Hell Workprint, showing the original Evil Dead II Book Of The Dead & Kandarian Dagger props, which were featured as an in-joke without Tom Sullivan's permission.
- Book Of The Dead Evil Dead Fanfilm Trailer - This is a short sequence shot in 2016, used as 'trailer' to raise funding to make the full film via the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. It tells little snippets of the story of the 'Book Of The Dead', how it was first found, Professor Knowby translating it at the cabin, and skimming over the events of The Evil Dead, leading into to what will be the start of the main film. It was shot using three actors (myself included) over four locations using seven mini-sets taking nine weeks from start to finish, including all the prop/set purchase & construction work. This includes sets of an archaeological dig, the Professor's desk & fireplace in the cabin, as well as little sections of the cellar and workshed too.
Book Of The Dead II DVD (Disc 2)
- Evil Dead II: Behind The Screams - Not to be confused with the DVD featurette of the same name, this Laserdisc extra is a compilation of the camcorder footage Greg Nicotero shot on the set of Evil Dead II, transferred from the 1998 US Elite Entertainment 'Blood Red' laserdisc. While some of the same footage was recycled into later The Gore The Merrier DVD featurette, much of it is still unavailable on any retail DVD.
- Evil Dead II Vern Hyde's Behind The Scenes Camcorder Footage - Not to be confused with Greg's footage, this Evil Dead II behind the scenes camcorder raw footage seems to be taken from tapes shot by Vern Hyde and his effects crew, which leans towards more general on set footage, rather than special effects. It was originally copied from a Behind The Scenes Collection DVD obtained from The Asylum Of Oblivion bootleg website in 2008
- Evil Dead II Talent Show Camcorder Footage - A 1:1 copy from a DVD bought from Ebay in 2011, which contains 65m 53s of camcorder footage covering the Evil Dead II talent show which took place as shooting wrapped. This seems to be taken from tapes shot by Vern Hyde and his effects crew.
- The Evil Dead & Evil Dead II: A Location Odyssey - This is personally shot The Evil Dead & Evil Dead II 2012 locations camcorder footage as seen on the BookOftheDead.ws The Evil Dead - Locations page and the Evil Dead II - Locations page respectively. Contained here is the neatly edited single disc version. Running at 49 minutes, it was edited from the raw footage. it's basically what's shown on BookOftheDead.ws with a few extra minutes.
While this is just about all the Evil Dead II unreleased material I own, some of you make know, I also own the first two out of the total six hours of Greg Nicotero's Evil Dead II behind the scenes raw camcorder footage, but I was given this on condition that I don't publicly share it, so it's not included here. Hopefully Greg may release this himself at some point. Both he and Tom Savini have what amounts to probably hundreds of hours of behind the scenes special effects material shot on a long list of productions back as far as Creepshow in 1982, and only a small amount of that complete raw VHS footage has leaked out so far.
The front cover for Killing Moon issue 2
While the Book Of The Dead DVD took five months from start to finish to create, I wanted this project to be much quicker & simpler. The obvious release artwork on which to draw, would have been the Evil Dead II UK quad poster by Graham Humpreys, following on from the previous Book Of The Dead DVD which also used its UK quad poster, also by Graham Humpreys. While I did toy with the artwork to see what might be possible, it had been used on so many official & unofficial releases, I decided to take things in a different direction.
I always liked the photocopied hand-drawn artwork & layout of 90s UK horror fanzine; Killing Moon (created by Alex J. Low), so borrowing from issue 2's front cover (drawn by Ross Collins), I produced a black & white poor-quality-photocopy effect DVD cover. This involved creating an initial 'clean' version of the artwork in GIMP 2.8.18, printing it off, photocopying it, scanning it back in, then manipulating that back in GIMP; overlaying a number of textures and effects to make it look like a really bad photocopy. This cover can be printed off on white matte photo paper and looks pretty convincing as a fake photocopy. The same process was used for the disc menus. The still menus were tweaked and overlaid with various effects in Adobe Premiere CS6 to make them look like they'd been transferred from an old VHS tape. I did try properly transferring these menus to and back from a real VHS tape, but the results were just a little too soft making the smaller text unreadable. The final DVDs were assembled in Adobe Encore CS6.
There were a number of designs for the DVD disc art, including sticky labels, and a proper home-recorded VHS label, but the final design was created to look like two rough pieces of masking tape stuck on the discs and written up in black marker, adding to the rough bootleg feel.
It's worth saying that I'm a massive fan of the trilogy, and this project was never intended to rip anyone involved in the movie off. I wanted my DVD to be a companion to bought retail releases, not a 'free' bootleg replacement. In that spirit, any sharing of this DVD is being kept strictly offline for physical trades only.