During the two years The Evil Dead was in production, around 100,000 feet of 16mm film was shot. This equates to around 46 hours of footage, although of that, some would have been wasted & unusable and there would have been multiple takes of identical shots. The first assembled rough cut of The Evil Dead came in at 117 minutes; further editing took that down to 91 minutes, then later to the theatrical running time of 85 minutes.
Two DVDs have been released on which you can see some of the raw footage. The 1999 R1 US Elite Entertainment DVD contains an extra running at 18m 29s, which consists mostly of raw footage & retakes of shots that ended up in the finished film, but there is some previously unseen material in there as well. The 2007 R1 US Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition DVD contains three featurettes; The Evil Dead Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor running at 59m 22s, consists solely of raw footage. There are some shots that wound up in the finished film, but a good percentage is previously unseen material. Book Of The Dead The Other Pages is a single unedited shot showing of Ash thumbing through each page the Book Of The Dead, and the documentary One By One We Will Take You contains additional odd clips of footage here and there intermingled between interviews. While a couple of shots are identical on both DVDs, for the most part they are different, so are both are worth seeing.
With that huge amount of raw footage, there is a vast quantity of material that didn't make it in to the final edit. Here is a list of some of the alterations and deletions made at various points between the scripting stage to the finished film. This only covers specific sequences or shots of merit, as opposed to accounting for every last frame. Screenshots from each sequence have been included where the footage has been released.
Book Of The Dead trailer
Late in 1980, a four minute trailer was edited from the rough cut of the then titled Book Of The Dead, narrated by John Cameron. It was produced in order to raise more funding. Because it was edited from the 97 minute version rather than the 85 minute theatrical version, some shots run slightly longer, and there are snippets of footage you’ll not see in the final movie.
Book Of The Dead original title
Before Irvin Shapiro suggested the name be changed to The Evil Dead, the film was titled Book Of The Dead, but a number of titles were also suggested including 'Blood Flood', 'A Hundred and one percent Dead', 'These Bitches are Witches', 'Fe-Monsters', and 'The Evil Dead Men and the Evil Dead Women'.
The Book Of The Dead titled version was never generally released theatrically or on home video, but there were a couple of rare exceptions. As far as is known, there were four releases; the 1984 1st issue 'Diamond' label PAL Greek VHS tape, then the later 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape, and also the 1982 1st issue 'Videomax' label NTSC Mexican VHS tape and then the 1995 'Videomax' label re-release NTSC Mexican VHS tape (all four in English language). The movie itself plays shot for shot identically to the general theatrical version, but with four minor differences; the movie title, and alternate sunrise shot at the end just before Ash walks out of the cabin, Ash's scream resonates for a few seconds with a black screen before the end credits roll, and the text on the last page of the end credits.
The Evil Dead Elite Entertainment Raw Footage VHS Tapes
There exists a set of ten NTSC VHS tapes, probably created in the late 1990's, containing 3h 49m 17s of The Evil Dead raw film footage. Only four sets of these tapes are thought to exist; one owned by Sam Raimi, the second formerly by Elite Entertainment, the owner of the third is unknown, and the fourth is owned by a French fan & friend of the site. He got in touch in July 2014 mentioning he had the set of tapes and we paid to have them transferred to DVD between the two of us. You can see some screenshots taken from across the set of tape/DVD-transfers further down, and the DVD artwork created for the two of us below that.
In April 2016, Elite sold a number of Evil Dead items to a UK Evil Dead collector, which included eight BetaCam SP tapes as well as two DAT tapes. The BetaCam tapes were labelled identically to the VHS tapes and look to be their source, although tapes seven & ten were missing from that sale. The DAT tapes contained the audio commentary tracks by Sam Raimi & Robert Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, featurette on the 1999 US R1 Elite Entertainment Special Edition DVD. As of August 2016, neither the BetaCam tapes nor the DAT tapes have been transferred to DVD/Blu-Ray, due to the high costs involved.
It was from these tapes (tape 2 mostly) that the twenty-minute 'Behind The Scenes Footage & Outtakes' featurette on the 1999 US R1 Elite Entertainment Special Edition DVD was assembled. This is entirely different to the The Evil Dead: Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor raw footage featurette on the 2007 US R1 Anchor Bay Entertainment 3-disc Ultimate Edition DVD. Of the set of ten, tapes one and four are identical duplicates.
Primarily the footage consists of alternate and longer takes of shots used in the finished film, and while much of the footage is silent, there are a few interesting new and longer scenes in there too. Each tape ranges from 15-27mins, probably containing the contents of one or two 16/35mm film reels each; accounting for the short length. While much of the shooting was indeed done without sound, there are some shots where the clapper board is visible with a sound number, so sound would have been recorded at the time but it's just missing on the tapes. This set was never meant for the public to see in its entirety, so it probably never mattered to anyone involved. It was just created for Elite to assemble the raw footage featurette.
Below you can see the artwork personally created for this VHS to DVD transfer. While there were ten source VHS tapes, their short running length meant that all the footage could fit across just two dual layer DVDs. This DVD set is not being publicly shared, but may be available for trade if you have something equally special available in return.
The Extended German 96 minute 'XXL Version'
There exists a German unofficial semi-bootleg extended DVD of The Evil Dead called the 'XXL Version', running at 1:36:04 (PAL) probably released around 2008, which has around 15 minutes of additional footage in comparison to the theatrical version running at 1:25:13 (1:21:31 PAL equivalent). It's worth saying first that there is no new 'previously unseen' material here. The extra footage edited in to the standard version is drawn from both the 20 minute 'Behind The Scenes Footage & Outtakes' featurette on the 1999 US Elite Entertainment Special Edition DVD, and the 'Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor' featurette from the 2007 Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition US DVD. The movie is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen with German dubbed audio, but the original English audio is also included as a second track. You can see the DVD cover below, and also an alternate cover shown Here
Had the creators spent more time seamlessly blending the the video & audio of their source footage into the main movie, along with giving a little more thought to the edits themselves, this could have been a really worthwhile project. As it is, it may only be of particular interest to die had fans. Some of the edits are rather crude, obvious & jarring, and much of the extra material has been crow-barred in, simply serving to pad out the running time as much as possible while adding nothing whatsoever to the film itself.
While this 'Extended' version is very unlikely to have been officially sanctioned by Renaissance Pictures, it can still be bought as a retail DVD in Germany, either as a standalone release, or as part of the huge German 12-disc Evil Dead Trilogy DVD set. For anyone who is interested in tracking down this 12-disc set, Only 100 copies were made, so even though an unofficial bootleg, it will still likely be expensive.
Never having seen the set, there are only internet websites & forum postings to draw from, but here is a full list of what the set reportedly contains, although this may not be 100% accurate;
The Evil Dead (Uncut Version) 1:25:13 NTSC
Special Features PAL
Within The Woods
The Evil Dead Trailer & TV Spots
Discovering Evil Dead
The Ingredibly Strange Film Show
Bruce Campbell: Geek or God? featurette
Dead Good Marketing featurette
The Living Love The Dead
Making of Evil Dead 2 & Trailer
Making of Army of Darkness & Trailer
Bonus DVD NTSC
The Ladies of Evil Dead
The Ladies meet Bruce Campbell
Life after Dead
At The Drive In
Sam Raimi's Short Films
Behind The Scenes Of Evil Dead II
Tales From The Cutting Room Floor
Book Of The Dead - The Other Pages
FX Test Screening
DvD-ROM: Soundtracks of Evil Dead Trilogy
Evil Dead Regeneration (PC DVD-Rom Game)
The Evil Dead (Extended Version) 1:36:04 PAL
Evil Dead II (Uncut Version) 1:24:07 NTSC
Evil Dead II (Extended Version) 1:23:29 PAL
Army Of Darkness (US Theatrical Cut) 1.20:48 NTSC
Army Of Darkness (Director's Cut) 1:36:28 NTSC
Army Of Darkness (UK Television Cut) 1:28:15 PAL
Army Of Darkness (Restored Workprint Cut) 1:44:36 NTSC
Evil Dead - The Musical 1:35:10 NTSC
Virtually all this material has been copied from one or other of the various official US DVD, game & soundtrack releases, with the obvious exceptions of a couple of items; the Within The Woods and 'Sam Raimi's Short Films' included here are poor quality bootleg VHS transfers, and not the best generally available, the two 'Extended Versions', are both poorly assembled from widely available raw & on-set-camcorder footage, and the various unreleased versions of Army Of Darkness along with Evil Dead - The Musical, likely taken from leaked & pirated copies circulating on the internet.
En route to the cabin, Scott produces moonshine (although it's scripted as scotch) and passes it around the car. Look closely at the movie and you’ll see Ash look like he’s gasping, this was his reaction having drunk it. Bruce has said that this scene as filmed never really made any sense as it would be out of place for kids from northern Michigan to produce moonshine, although the scene could also been removed due to pacing reasons. Parts of this sequence can be found in the The Evil Dead Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor featurette.
ID - CAR
...SHELLY turns around in the front seat and holds up a pint of Scotch.
Well, I'd like to make a toast. To Scott who almost killed us.
Aw, eat shit and die will ya?
SHELLY and the others laugh.
Okay, okay- then to a wild week- end in a wonderful cabin with good friends, (She glances at SCOTT) provided we live that long.
SHELLY cooly drinks from the Scotch and passes the bottle back to ASHLY and LINDA. ASHLY pours LINDA a drink in the bottle cap and keeps the bottle. They raise their drinks.
ASHLY and LINDA
...With good friends.
They toast, drink and react to the strong liquor. ASHLY tries to hide his reaction to the Scotch in front of LINDA, since SHELLY had reacted so calmly. ASHLY passes the bottle to CHERYL who stops him with a polite "No, thank you," then back up front to SCOTT.
First discovering the trapdoor
In the script, once Scott had finished looking round the cabin, he joins Cheryl in the main room, where he spots the trapdoor. He unlocks the padlock using the set of keys, but finds it to be nailed shut, so when it opens by itself later it is obviously far more of a shock to the group, and it sets the viewer wondering what might be imprisoned down there. A little later on while Cheryl is sketching the clock and sees the trapdoor move, the force is supposed to be straining against the nails. Again this increases the suspense, but as this sequence is cut out that additional meaning is lost on the viewer. Tacked on to the end of the scene is Linda re-starting the clock, although this seems to have no significance to the overall plot. Parts of this sequence can be found in the The Evil Dead Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor featurette, although likely because Linda was supposed to be outside chatting to Ash, it's Shelly that starts the clock rather than Linda.
ID - M.R.
...Located centrally in the main room is a trap door leading to the cellar. This catches SCOTT's eye.
Hey, this place has a dungeon.
CHERYL puts down a case of art supplies, and moves over to SCOTT by the trap door. He unlocks a chain securing the trap door with one of his keys and hands the ring to SHELLY.
Put these back will you?
SHELLY leaves with the keys, and SCOTT tries to open the hatch but cannot.
They nailed it shut.
Good, I don't like cellars. Probably just some garbage down there anyways.
Cheryl, they don't nail garbage in cellars. I mean it's not going to try and get out or anything.
Well, what's down there?
Well, could be any number of things. Old baseball cards, mushrooms, dead bodies-
Hey, look at this!
LINDA is standing in the corner next to the old grand- father clock. She repositions a balance weight, and it begins to tick.
The others applaud and whistle. LINDA smiles.
Extended tape exposition
When they first listen to the tape player and just before the possession of Cheryl, there was a lot more speech scripted which introduces some exposition involving the professor. In the script this is much longer. I have put an edited portion of the script below.
IN - M.R.
...ASHLY is rewinding the tape recorder, and once this is done, he turns it on. The voice of an old man is heard. ASHLY turns to the others who are talking...
My name is Julian Knowby. I am a professor of ancient Egyptian mythology in Dextin university's ancient history department...
(Continuing)...I am recording this entry from a small cabin in the southern mountains of Tennessee. Here, I am staying with my wife for a few weeks so that I may continue my research undisturbed. Since May, a group of associate professors and myself have been excavating the ruins of Ca'n Dar. I believe I have made an important find in that area, and thus the reason for this log. With it, I can keep an accurate record of translations from my latest find; the first of six, the others still lost, volumes of ancient Sumarian burial practices and rites. Basically, it is a book of do's and don'ts dealing with the deceased entitled "Naturan Demanto" roughly translated "Book Of The Dead." It is bound in human flesh, and inked with blood of the deceased...
(Continuing)...This particular volume deals with demons and demon resurrection. These are of the Katardi family, meaning those forces believed to inhabit the jungles and woods of man's domain. The first few pages that I have translated warn that these demons are dangerous, everpresent, and exist primarily through this book. As legend has it, only the sacred high priests of the Ca'n Dar tribe could posess these books, for they alone could properly control the resurrected demons. It is only through the act of reciting the resurrection passage that these demons would be able to posess the living. For many years, it was thought that this legend...
IN - M.R.
...ASHLY turns on the tape recorder to listen with the ear plug.
March 12th. Suzanne came after me and almost murdered me. My own wife. At first I thought it was a mental or physical disorder because of what had happened to her eyes, but I was only fooling myself. I knew what it was...
(Continuing)...Three days have passed since that thing has been down there. I was hoping to weaken it without food or water. Nothing worked. Finally, in desperation I dragged her out to the shed and dismembered her so that whatever it was could not get up again...
(Continuing)...This is when I saw the dark figures moving about in the woods. I should have never tampered with the "Book Of The Dead." I now know that whatever it is I have resurrected through this book, is coming for me.
Ash comforting Linda & being taunted by Cheryl
After Linda has been put to bed in the back room and Scott has left, Ash comes in and comforts Linda telling her that everything is fine. Cheryl can hear this and taunts him about it. Parts of this sequence can be found in the Elite raw footage featurette
IN - L.B.
He opens the door and a crack of light falls across her. LINDA wakes up.
Who's there? Ash?
It's me Linda.
Ash, I had a bad dream about Linda.
You did baby?
Yeah. She's all right isn't she?
Is Shelly okay too Ash?
ASHLY can no longer hide his fear and anxiety. He speaks in a whisper so as not to let his voice quiver.
Yeah, sure. She's sleeping that's all.
Ash, I love you. (She turns over)
Get some rest.
ASHLY closes the door behind him and the fear from a few hours ago engulfs him once more.
IN - M.R.
ASHLY moves into the main room and stops dead in his tracks when a voice in the cellar speaks.
You lied to her. You lied to Linda. Shelly's not sleeping. She's dead. Don't you know the difference? You killed her. You and Scott cut her up with the axe. She's dead ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-
ASHLY picks up the axe and slams it down upon the trap door. CHERYL is silent from below for a moment, then the hatch opens an inch or so. (The length of the chain securing it) CHERYL's white eyes can be seen again.
This scene follows on directly from the above scene. In order to get away from Cheryl's taunts, Ash goes outside and chops some wood. Parts of this sequence can be found in the Elite raw footage featurette, although it's been filmed slightly differently. Here, Ash breaks down in tears then lashes out at a broken window and destroys the remaining glass, whereas in the script Ash seems far more measured & composed. The scene as filmed seems far more poignant than the script, and would have served as a good emotional break in the pacing.
IN - M.R.
ASHLY picks up the axe and slams it down upon the trap door. CHERYL is silent from below for a moment, then the hatch opens an inch or so. (The length of the chain securing it) CHERYL's white eyes can be seen again... ...ASHLY takes the axe and steps outside.
EN - CAB
He begins to chop wood, taking out his emotions upon the logs with each blow. SHELLY's blood can still be seen on the blade of the axe.
IN - M.R.
From her dungeon, CHERYL watches ASHLY chop wood in the window. The shadow of his axe rising then striking is seen over her white eyes.
EN - CAB
Exhausted, ASHLY puts down the axe. He looks off into the woods but there is no sign of SCOTT. He returns to the cabin.
Burning the book with the necklace
In the original intended ending, Ash was proposed to burn the Book of the Dead using Linda’s silver magnifying glass necklace, which would concentrate the dawn sun's rays on to the book setting it on fire. The necklace style as seen in the film was specifically bought from a shop called Corey's Jewel Box, with this use in mind, but the idea was dropped even before the script was finalized in favour of using the necklace to have Ash 'hook' the book and throw it on to the fire, and the original necklace was just kept, although Bruce has made a point of saying how unsightly it looks on a number of occasions. The first necklace was lost during shooting and it had to be replaced, but the closest match available was in a gold colour so it had to be painted silver. A slightly different design, but similar necklace also appears in Evil Dead II