| 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 
 | 



 
 
In addition to the various retail & bootleg DVDs available, there are also a number of fanmade DVD projects made over the years. This page details one such project assembled by myself, the webmaster. It's worth pointing out that fanmade DVDs are not meant as a pirated replacement for legally bought discs, but a companion to them, produced as a labour of love by die hard fans to offer other fans something more which isn't commercially available.



 

Completion Date: 
November 8, 2009
Production Time: 
Four Weeks
Number Of Discs: 
3
Language(s): 
English
Subtitle(s): 
None
Source(s): 
Bootleg NTSC VHS Tapes
 
Pre-existing NTSC & PAL DVDs
 
VCD PAL MPEG-1 files

 
Prior to directing The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, along with a group of school friends including; Bruce Campbell, Rob Tapert, Scott Spiegel, Josh Becker, John Cameron, Bill Ward, Matt DeWan, and Tom Sullivan among others, separately and together wrote, directed, produced, and shot a string of over 60 low & no budget Super-8 short films between 1969 and 1985.

For the most part they were three stooges style slapstick comedies, although there were forays in the genres of drama, crime, horror, history, & avant garde.
 

DVD cover artwork - 14mm spine (click to enlarge)
 
While never formerly released to the public, a number of select titles are available varying quality bootlegs, probably the most well known of which is Within The Woods, a prototype for the later feature The Evil Dead, made to show potential investors and raise funds. I first saw Within The Woods on an Nth generation NTSC VHS tape in 1998, obtained from a US website, and have been actively searching out more shorts and expanding my collection ever since.

There is fairly widely available a standard bootleg VHS/DVD compilation of a small number of the shorts, which is generally known as the 'Sam Raimi Super-8 Shorts', this isn't really a refection on who directed or was involved with each short, but simply provides an easy moniker. Statistically a more accurate single name title would be the 'Scott Spiegel Super-8 Shorts'. Attack Of The Helping Hand, The Blind Waiter, Stryker's War, Torro, Torro, Torro!, & Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter were actually directed by one, other or both Josh Becker & Scott Spiegel, and Six Months To Live by Sam Raimi & Scott Spiegel. Only Within The Woods and The Sappy Sap were directed soley by Sam Raimi.

As of 2011, I had 19 titles collected from various sources including NTSC VHS tapes, bootleg & retail NTSC & PAL DVDs, and VCDs, out of the 60 or so that were made, the remainder of which are unlikely ever to see the light of day unless given official releases. There are a few exceptions to this list; Josh Becker licensed two shorts which he directed; Oedipus Rex & The Blind Waiter, for inclusion as extras on the French DVD of Alien Apocalypse, released by Free Dolphin Entertainment in 2005. Early in 2010, Josh also decided to sell a further list of his shorts directly to customers via his website. Currently there are five shorts discs available; disc one has Stryker's War, disc two has The Blind Waiter & Oedipus Rex, disc three has Holding It, disc four has Acting And Reacting & The Final Round, and disc five has Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter, The Case of the Topanga Pearl, Super Student, and Public Enemy Revisited.

In November 2009, I decided to compile my collection together from it's various sources, into one DVD box-set. At that point the collection stood at 14 titles; Within The Woods, The Sappy Sap, Stryker's War, Cleveland Smith Bounty Hunter, Holding It, Shemp Eats The Moon, William Shakespeare The Movie, Attack Of The Helping Hand, Clockwork, Oedipus Rex, The Blind Waiter, Torro, Torro, Torro!, and It's Murder, most of which were VHS quality or lower.


Promo poster for It's Murder designed by Tom Sullivan
 
I had personally transferred a number of those titles from of a pair of incedibly rare NTSC VHS tapes borrowed from an American fan & forum user, which contained a number of previously unavailable Super-8 shorts, additional material, footage & interviews, including William Shakespeare - The Movie, Shemp Eats The Moon, and Holding It. These tapes were an entirely separate compilation from the various generations of the standard bootleg 'Sam Raimi Super-8 Shorts' VHS tape and DVD.

To transfer the tapes, I used a JVC HR-S7600EK S-VHS PAL VCR, connected to a PC with an ATI All-In-Wonder 128 AGP card via an S-Video cable and Left & Right audio phono leads. The full tape was captured to an AVI file using VirtualDub 0.9.6 with the Huffyuv 2.1.1 video codec and uncompressed WAV audio. From that I used AVIsynth scripts to edit the video (leaving the hard interlace as it was originally captured) and frame-served it HC MPEG2 Encoder 0.23 for the MPEG2 M2V encode, and used Aften 0.0.8 to encode the AC3 audio. The M2V & AC3 files were then multiplexed together with ImagoMPEG-Muxer 1.1 giving the final MPEG2 files. I gave the MPEG files the maximum allowed constant bitrate of 9000kbps to retain as much quality as possible, along with 192k AC3 stereo audio. Because some of the pre-existing titles came from PAL sources and some from NTSC, I made discs 1 and 2 NTSC DVDs, and disc 3 PAL, which allowed me to avoid re-encoding most of the shorts and loosing yet more quality.
 
I used GIMP 2.6.7 to design the DVD cover, which then made the disc artwork & DVD menu screens background simple as they were assembled using many of the same edited graphical elements. The DVD cover was adapted from Tom Sullivan's promo poster for the Super-8 short; It's Murder!. Since this project was aimed at a very small group of fans, which was unlikely to have mass appeal beyond the people who already knew what it was, I didn't go overboard with technical information or DVD symbols, leaning more towards trying to replicate the look & feel of that original poster. Because I only had a limited number of letters to work with, but didn't want to just replace all the text with a stock font, I edited, cropped, warped, and rotated the existing characters to create all the additional letters needed. I also added high quality 600dpi scans of the DVD cover & disc art to the DVD-ROM folder. DVD-Flick 1.3.0.7 was used to author and assemble the final DVD set.

The set's distribution has been very limited, just to a few other die hard collectors, and never shared online with the wider internet. While my Super-8 shorts collection has since grown, and a number of the elements on this set have now been superseeded, making it fairly redundent, but it was still an enjoyable project non-the-less.


Disc 1 of 3 - Disc Artwork & Menus

Total DVD Running Time: 
01:46:00
ISO Image Size: 
6.05GB
Region: 
0 (Worldwide)
Disc Format: 
NTSC DVD9
Video Format: 
MPEG-2 / 720x480 / 4:3
Audio Format: 
AC3 2ch Stereo

 

Disc 1 - Disc artwork

Disc 1 - Main menu
 

Disc 1 - Chapter selection menu

Disc 1 - Audio selection menu

Disc 1 - Subtitle selection menu
 

 
 

Disc 2 of 3 - Disc Artwork & Menus

Total DVD Running Time: 
01:05:20
ISO Image Size: 
3.89GB
Region: 
0 (Worldwide)
Disc Format: 
NTSC DVD5
Video Format: 
MPEG-2 / 720x480 / 4:3
Audio Format: 
AC3 2ch Stereo

 

Disc 2 - Disc artwork

Disc 2 - Main menu
 

Disc 2 - Chapter selection menu

Disc 2 - Audio selection menu

Disc 2 - Subtitle selection menu
 

 
 

Disc 3 of 3 - Disc Artwork & Menus

Total DVD Running Time: 
01:50:36
ISO Image Size: 
7.71GB
Region: 
0 (Worldwide)
Disc Format: 
PAL DVD9
Video Format: 
MPEG-2 / 720x576 / 4:3
Audio Format: 
AC3 2ch Stereo

 

Disc 3 - Disc artwork

Disc 3 - Main menu
 

Disc 3 - Chapter selection menu

Disc 3 - Audio selection menu

Disc 3 - Subtitle selection menu
 

 
 
EMAIL: