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This page details a 2013 project by Danish Evil Dead fan Jesper Mørch to create his own replica Book Of The Dead. The finished item is truly astounding, and well worth it's own BookOfTheDead.ws page. All the photos with the exception of the page-artwork-scans can be clicked to enlarge. Beyond his write-up & photos below, Jesper is happy to assist and advise anyone constructing their own Book replica, and can be reached directly via email at


It's worth adding a further note; While he's happy to see creative fans undertake one-off replica Book Of The Dead projects for their own personal ownership such as the one detailed below, Tom Sullivan retains the ownership & copyright to the Book Of The Dead design. This is something he fiercely protects to this day, and is why you're unlikely to find anyone publicly selling exact book replicas. Tom has taken legal action against a number of individuals publicly selling replicas in the past on auction sites such as Ebay, even with single/one-off items. So if you're thinking turning out replica Books would be an excellent source on income, chances are you'll find yourself on the wrong legal end of Tom, sooner rather than later.


When I decided to start making my own Book of the Dead replica, I knew I wanted it to be bigger than the original book made by Tom Sullivan for The Evil Dead. His reasons for making his book the size it was are well documented, so I won't go into that here. I also wanted to use the look of Tom's own replica, which I found looked the most creepy and disturbing of all the Book variants so far. I found a photo of his book and printed it out in different sizes, to enable me to judge the size I felt was right, approx 242mm x 177mm, just slightly smaller than the Evil Dead II Book.



The Cover Sculpt

Placing the print of the cover under a piece of transparent acrylic sheet left over from an old and cheap poster frame, I began with the facial features, sculpting with a material called FIMO. FIMO is a type of modelling clay made by Staedtler, which doesn't harden until baked it in the oven, leaving me plenty of time to sculpt when I had the time.


Once the sculpt was finished,I made a rough wooden frame just slightly larger than the acrylic sheet, lined it with a heavy plastic sheet, and placed the sculpt inside. After coating the sculpt with Vaseline, I poured plaster over the whole thing to a thickness of about 1½ inches.



The Latex Cover

When the plaster had set, I cleaned the mould of FIMO and had a negative version of my sculpt. I then dyed some liquid latex brown with a little acrylic paint and started painting it into the mould. You can also just pour the latex in but this is risky, as you might end up with air bubbles in the latex cast. I left the latex to set and made some rough covers and a spine in several layers of heavy duty cardboard, the type used as backing for art pads. I assembled the front, back and spines with duct tape.




The Pages

The pages inside were made from heavy-weight yellowish ivory coloured paper. I pre-aged all pages before doing any artwork. To accomplish a realistic aged look, I soaked the pages in water for a few minutes two at a time, and placed them on my cutting mat. I then brushed acrylic paints into the pages from the outer edge towards the centre. When properly soaked, this paper will absorb the paint into it and create the most incredible patterns resembling dirt, mildew or rot, a convincing look for paper hundreds of years old and kept in less than optimum conditions. I left the pages to dry on a piece of double ply heavy cardboard.


When the pages were dry, I added the artwork. I used a light box to trace all the artwork off laser-printed sheets of material found on the internet. I used a very finely tipped brush and painted in everything with a mixture of black and burnt umber, with other colours where needed. The correct order of the pages can be found in the Easter Egg featurette on disc two of The Evil Dead's Anchor Bay 2007 US R1 Ultimate Edition DVD release. This feature also shows that pieces of thin parchment were added in three places between certain pages.



The Extra Pages

To flesh out the book a little, and because I felt a couple of pages were missing, I decided to add a few pages of my own design, even though I'm no match at all for Tom Sullivan whom I consider a very gifted illustrator.

When you look at all the pages in Tom's original book, you'll notice that the writing is very inconsistent - on the first pages the writings almost look like Nordic runes. Later on, the writing is more pronounced and clear. On the last pages, the writing looks very rushed and more like simple doodling. I changed that on my pages and wrote - in Tom Sullivan's 'bullscrit' font - a few key phrases from the movies as well as the Kandarian incantations found in the script. Here is a list of some of my own additions made from the original;


 
1) The Kandarian dagger: It seemed strange to me that none of the pages referred to the Kandarian dagger found next to the book in The Evil Dead, so I added a page with a dagger schematic and detail drawing of the hilt. A second page illustrated how the dagger would "process" the blood of its stab-victims.

 
2) A page with Sam Raimi's three golden rules; "The innocent must suffer, the guilty must be punished, and you must taste blood to be a man", along with a second page with Bruce Campbell's possessed hand from Evil Dead II. I added a spider web pattern to show an infection spreading, much like Linda's pencil stab wound in The Evil Dead.


 
3) Two pages of bodily dismemberment. One page with Evil Ed's split head from Evil Dead II, and a page with a chopped off hand from The Evil Dead with "We are the things that were and shall be again" in bullscrit.

 
4) Two pages depicting the dangers of the woods. A page with a hand-like branch and a page with mist in the woods with "It lives out in those woods" in bullscrit.


 
6) I never liked the page with the terrified faces on a dark background. I felt it was of tune with the rest of the book so I replaced that with a page showing demon arms shooting out from a body based on the climax of The Evil Dead. I also added drawings of a worm, a fly and a cockroach.

 
5) A page depicting attacking vines, and a page outlining that the trees can movie around based on Tom's artwork from the Evil Dead II Book Of The Dead DVD.


 
7) Lastly, I wanted to make a homage to Tom Sullivan, so I made two pages showing that the book cover comes from the skin of a human face (Tom's) and what's left over when the skin is removed.



Final Assembly

I decided to assemble the book with a more primitive variant of the way Tom Sullivan's official replica is assembled. I aged some narrow pieces of paper left over from the pages and glued the pages together with these using 3M spray mount. This type of glue is strong and does not distort the paper.


I dyed a piece of fabric with to hand-sewn 'wings' or 'flaps'. The "wings" were contact glued to the first and last page of the book and the area between the wings was glued to the spine of the pages. The fabric outside the 'wings' was then glued to the inner font and back cover of the book. The latex cover was then fastened to the outside cover using industrial strength double sided adhesive tape, the kind used for securing carpets to the floor. The latex cover was then folded over and secured to the inner cover, overlapping the fabric, using a combination of the double sided tape and contact adhesive. The inner corners of the latex was cut in a way that hid the seams in the folds of the latex and latex-glued together.


Having completed the project, I know now that When I made the pages and cover at first, I just cut everything precisely according to the dimensions I had decided on, but for the best and most accurate look, every page should be slightly different in size, the angles slightly askew and corners slightly different. This goes for the cover as well. If you - like me - made everything the same size to begin with, you can easily trim some of the pages a milimeter on one or more sides, even at an angle to make the pages seem askew when the book is assembled.

Other words of advice to would-be Book creators I can pass on are to make sure the book covers does not have completely sharp corners, be sure to make the fabric loose enough to allow the book to lie flat in an open position, and before you glue something securely, be sure to test if the parts fit together properly and think the process through.
 
 
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