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In addition to the various retail DVDs available around the world, 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: 
January 4, 2012
Production Time: 
20 Weeks
Number Of Discs: 
2
Language(s): 
English
Subtitle(s): 
Some Titles, English
Source(s): 
Retail US NTSC Blu-Ray
 
Retail NTSC & PAL DVDs
 
Retail UK PAL VHS Tape
 
Bootleg NTSC VHS Tapes
 
Bootleg NTSC DVDs
 
Bootleg PAL VCDs
 
Retail CD Albums
 
Retail 12" Record Albums

 
This DVD project grew out of two of my earlier projects; the January 2008 'The Evil Dead Treasures Collection' DVD, along with a long abandoned project from November 2006 on the OriginalTrilogy fanedit forums, a Book Of The Dead Preservation. In September 2010, I started thinking about re-visiting my 'Evil Dead - The Treasures Collection' DVD. Since it's release, my collection of rare Evil Dead material had grown, and some previously included items could be upgraded. Just to give this new project some context, 'Evil Dead - The Treasures Collection' DVD itself emerged out of an earlier project.
 

DVD cover artwork - 14mm spine (click to enlarge)
 
In April 2008 I attempted a re-edit of The Evil Dead, which was to be re-titled back to it's original title of Book Of The Dead, editing back in some of the raw footage found in the 'Treasures From The Cutting Room Floor' extra from the 2007 Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition DVD and the raw footage extra from the 1999 Elite Entertainment DVD.

The edit was quite involved even going as far as things like repairing unusable raw footage matte shots, by matting together two separate shots in Adobe After Effects. I had got around half way though editing the video (leaving the audio for a second pass) when I discovered a forum thread detailing the rare 1985 Japanese 'Herald Videogram' laserdisc release at the end of May 2008, which you can see Here. This laserdisc is arguably the best transfer of Evil Dead ever made available, which I won't go into in detail here, but due to its colour timing, picture framing, and lack of any editing tweaks, along with having the original untampered mono audio track. I decided this laserdisc would be far better editing source material than the 2007 Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition transfer I was currently using, and put the whole project on the back burner. After much searching, I tracked a copy down on an Ebay auction in Kagawaken, Japan, which I won on May 26, 2008, which I received a few weeks later on July 9, 2008. Rather than buy my own laserdisc player especially for this project, I made contact with Moth3r from these forums, who was able to transfer the laserdisc to his PC as an uncompressed AVI, then encode it into an NTSC MPEG file with AC3 audio. I finally received the transfer back on October 10, 2008. I decided not to immediately launch back into the editing project, as I thought a DVD containing the untouched laserdisc transfer itself would be a worthy project, so I began work on that instead, which with motion & audio menus, is the most complex I have done to date, and the entire project took around 6 months to complete from start to finish, and was released at the start of 2009.


2010 Anchor Bay Blu-ray cover
 
On August 31, 2010, Anchor Bay released the first Blu-Ray transfer of The Evil Dead anywhere in the world, which contained both the widescreen 1.85:1 and full screen open-matte 1.33:1 versions of the film in 1080p. Prior to this, it was true to say that the 1985 Japanese 'Herald Videogram' laserdisc release was indeed the best in terms of framing/cropping, colour timing, and editing tweaks, but now with this new Blu-Ray, this was not now quite the case. They're both in full 1.33:1 OAR, and the framing on both is virtually identical. The laserdisc transfer gains a few pixels more to the left & bottom sides, but looses a few over the Blu-Ray on the top & right sides, the gain/loss is about the same, and the actual frame sizes are identical.
 
The colour timing on the Blu-ray transfer is probably truer to life than the laserdisc, or any other previous release, although the laserdisc transfer does have a darker cold blue colour timing to it which does add to the overall feel of the film.

With all that said, I'd have had trouble doing a revised Treasures Collection DVD without replacing the old laserdisc with the new Blu-ray transfer, as I couldn't really say with any conviction that this was the best overall version. Obviously this would then lead my DVD into direct competition with the current retail release from which it draws. Four things do argue the other way; the first is that Blu-ray & DVD are different formats, and you cannot (currently) buy the 1.33:1 Blu-ray transfer on any standard DVD worldwide (although the 1.85:1 transfer has subsequently been released), the second is that mine would be in a lower definition, and who would watch a standard definition DVD when they could see the same thing in HD? (other than people that can't play BD discs obviously) The third is that technically speaking, I live in the UK, and the 1.33:1 open matte version has only been released here once, and that was on the long out-of-print 2003 Anchor Bay R2 Evil Dead Trilogy DVD box-set. It isn't currently available to buy on any current DVD, unless you import one of the R1 US versions. Finally, I can encode the whole movie at the highest 9mb/s CBR bitrate, so as much of the high-resolution quality is retained as possible. Looking at some comparison encodes, I knew it would come out looking a fair bit better than the 1999 Elite Entertainment US DVD version, which is easily the highest quality retail standard definition DVD ever available.

Prior to receiving the Blu-Ray, I had read on a number of forums that Rob Tapert standing in the background of the bridge crossing shot had been digitally painted out, so using the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version (the best untampered DVD SD transfer available), I encoded a side-by-side picture DVD with the Blu-ray on the left frame-for-frame synced up to the Ultimate Edition open matte version on the right, so I could check though & note any further tweaks & changes and be sure I didn't miss anything.
 

2010 Anchor Bay Blu-ray & 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition comparison, with timecode
 
I actually found quite a catalogue of tweaks & changes, and the following list didn't even include any audio changes as I always intended to replacing the entire Blu-Ray audio with the 'Herald Videogram' laserdisc 1.0 mono track.

00:03:05:10 to 00:03:08:18 - Rob Tapert standing in the background has been digitally painted out
00:05:49:19 to 00:06:07:19 - Exterior darker evening light adjusted to sunny dusk
00:06:07:20 to 00:06:25:12 - Exterior darker evening light adjusted to sunny dusk (Same shot as below)
00:06:07:20 to 00:06:25:12 - Cameraman's reflection in window has been digitally painted out (Same shot as above)
00:06:30:19 to 00:07:24:10 - Exterior darker evening light adjusted to sunny dusk
00:16:19:04 to 00:16:21:08 - Cabin/moon matte shot tweaked; blending, levels, and movement steadied
00:19:21:00 to 00:19:26:00 - Cabin/moon matte shot tweaked; blending, levels, and movement steadied
00:23:38:00 to 00:24:00:11 - Shelly/moon matte shot tweaked; blending, levels, and movement steadied
00:34:13:11 to 00:34:25.17 - Background lights have been digitally painted out
00:36:47:10 to 00:36:49:09 - Linda screaming has been horizontally flipped to correct screen direction
00:36:51:22 to 00:36:54:02 - Linda screaming has been horizontally flipped to correct screen direction
00:38:21:14 to 00:38:25:21 - Cabin/moon matte shot tweaked; blending, levels, and movement steadied
00:52:19:09 to 00:52:24:22 - Hair in camera gate painted out
01:05:05:09 to 01:05:06:18 - Two lens flares painted out
01:05:09:22 to 01:05:10:14 - Two lens flares painted out
01:05:15:07 to 01:05:16:07 - Two lens flares painted out
01:05:18:04 to 01:05:19:06 - Two lens flares & dirt painted out
01:16:12:09 to 01:16:21:15 - Jump cut while Ash is moving the dresser has been smoothed with a fade
01:21:16:17 to 01:21:26:06 - Camera movement during animation digitally steadied
01:22:47:22 to 01:22:51:02 - Hand-held shot digitally steadied

So that brings me to the crux of this project, to make my version different enough to the Blu-ray version by restoring The Evil Dead to the version shown theatrically under the title Book Of The Dead. For those who don't know what this version is, you can read about it Here. This will mean a number of changes including;
  • Remaking the Book Of The Dead title
  • Revert the other three Book Of The Dead editing changes
  • Swap out the mono audio track from the old laserdisc
  • Revert any Blu-Ray editing tweaks
  • Adjust the levels & colour timing more towards the darker cold blue of the laserdisc
I was aware that DVDCompare.net has the Italian CDE Eagle Pictures 2-disc DVD listed as having an English 1.0 mono audio track, but having actually checked this, it was actually 2.0 AC3, which could mean that the mono audio was just copied to both the left & right channels to make a 'fake' stereo track, or maybe it's just a listing error. Besides this, the Italian 2.0 audio seemed to have a slight high pitched tone/wine when it was played at full volume, so I wanted stick with the old laserdisc track.

I looked at a wide range of ideas for new material to add to the set. One idea I looked at was adding Bruce Campbell's text commentary from The Evil Dead Companion as a subtitle track, but going through it there wasn't much that's really new there that isn't covered on one or other of the existing audio commentary tracks. Then I had the idea to add the original shooting script as a subtitle track which you can read (and see the differences) as the film plays through. Since I have it, I thought I'd do the same for Within The Woods too. Rather than try to just pad out the two discs with any material available, I tried to restrict myself to items I'd really want to see, and going less on just whether items are rare or not. Other possible ideas included; The Evil Dead standard open-matte trailer with other foreign versions, Evil Dead deleted scenes edited & mixed from the various raw footage available, The old Book Of The Dead VHS version differences edited sequence, New Book Of The Dead Vs Blu-ray version differences edited sequence, Photo/video montage to music or stills gallery of modern movie location visits, Photo/video montage to music or stills gallery of Tom Sullivan's Evil Dead Museum. Below is the final DVD set contents list;

Disc 1
  • Book Of The Dead Theatrical Restoration
        (Original un-mixed mono audio track)
        (Complete isolated score stereo audio track)
        (Synced up 2010 Anchor Bay US LE Blu-Ray mono commentary track)
        (Synced up 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 SCE Bruce Campbell DVD mono commentary track)
        (Synced up 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 SCE Sam Raimi & Rob Tapert DVD mono commentary track)
        (Facts & trivia subtitle track)
        (English subtitle track)


  • Within The Woods
        (Original mono audio track)
        (Complete isolated score stereo audio track)
        (English subtitle track)


  • Book Of The Dead Trailer

  • The Evil Dead - 6 Deleted Scenes

  • Release notes & information pages


Disc 2
  • The Evil Dead - The Various Versions
        (1990 Palace Pictures UK Censored Re-Release VHS To US Theatrical Print side-by-side comparison)
        (2010 Anchor Bay US Limited Edition Blu-Ray To US Theatrical Print side-by-side comparison)
        (1985 Book Of The Dead Greek VHS To US Theatrical Print side-by-side comparison)
        (1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 SCE DVD To US Theatrical Print side-by-side comparison)


  • The Incredibly Strange Film Show (composite DVD & VHS version)


  • PM Magazine Detroit TV Spot on Renaissance Pictures


  • Tom Sullivan TV interview circa 1982


  • Super-8 Shorts; It's Murder & Clockwork


  • Release notes & information pages


  • A DVD-ROM Folder
The original 'The Evil Dead - The Treasures Collection' DVD was one dual layer disc, which was virtually at capacity, so I'd have had to either need to delete something off the disc to make space, or bump the release up to a two disc set. Given that the DVD-ROM folder has come on so much since 2008, it would seem logical to remove it as it's so far behind the current version; v1.2 (1791mb) was on the original Treasures Collection DVD, and the current version is v1.8 (7638mb), which is now one dual layer DVD just by itself.
 

Book Of The Dead title original VHS capture

Book Of The Dead title restored

Once I got started editing, the process became quite involved. Here is a list of revisions I made to the Blu-Ray transfer to restore it as much as possible to the original theatrical release print. In all, 131 seconds (3141 frames) of footage was either like-for-like replaced from the Blu-ray transfer with one of the DVD versions, or was entirely new material added in, with other effects such as the new opening titles overlaid on the existing Blu-ray footage in addition to this. Since there will be so many little fixes, I decided to leave the colour timing as per the Blu-ray. This is for a number of reasons; I was doing this to differentiate my version from the retail version but that is somewhat unnecessary given all the fixes I'm doing to my version, the original Book Of The Dead transfer wasn't particularly blue, just the 1985 Japanese 'Herald Videogram' laserdisc, also the colours on the Blu-ray are really true to life and it would be a shame to mess with them.


Audio Editing
The 1985 Japanese 'Herald Videogram' Laserdisc seemed to be the only true mono audio track source available. Both the 2003 'Anchor Bay' UK R2 Trilogy Box-set bonus disc and the 2006 'CDE Eagle Pictures' Italian R2 Special Edition DVD were listed at DVDCompare.net as having mono or dual-mono audio, but upon proper checking both turned out to be the remastered stereo track.

The Laserdisc audio needed some work. Even though both were NTSC sources, the sync between the Blu-ray image and Laserdisc audio was inconsistent phasing in & out of sync, which meant synching up short sections by altering the audio playback rate to compress or expand the audio to fit the picture and achieve a complete A/V sync from start to finish. The Laserdisc transfer was not of the highest quality and there are numerous pops/clicks (which could be from from dust or dirt on the print during the original telecine). Given the source material available to work with, not all of this could be removed, particularly in the film's louder moments, without replacing much longer sections.

The majority of noise was fairly inaudible, but there were some places where a burst of louder clicks was quite distracting. For that, some very short pieces of the Laserdisc track were substituted for the 1999 'Elite Entertainment' US R1 Special Collectors Edition 2.0 stereo track, but even when this DVD stereo track had been down-mixed to mono, the two tracks did not sound identical. 'Remixed' didn't just mean taking the mono audio elements and panning some of the effects to the left or right speakers. In places the bass and treble levels were in stark contrast and some of the effects and musical elements had been mixed at differing levels in relation to each other to accentuate certain instruments. In order to get rid of absolutely all the audio noise, much longer sections would have needed to have been replaced in order to hide the obvious transitions between the two versions, and I wanted to retain as much of the original mono track as possible. The section around 28:21 (NTSC) is a good example of pop/click removal problems; As Cheryl runs from the woods up to the cabin door, the background music simply stops in the original mono track, but fades out in both the DVD & Blu-ray versions. Another is around 41:40 where Scotty looks out of the broken cabin window. The wolves howling off in the distance are quite loud in the mono track, but are much quieter in relation to the cabin ambiance/wind in the Blu-ray, and had been removed all together from the 1999 Elite DVD. Rather than simply replace both these sections, I ran them both through a pop/click removal filter. The removal isn't perfect, but is better than either leaving it as it is, or fully replacing it with the remixed audio. In total around 360 seconds (9358 frames) of of Laserdisc audio had been replaced with other sources, with another 45 seconds (1092 frames) pop/click filtered. The the 1999 'Elite Entertainment' US R1 Special Collectors Edition 2.0 stereo track was also used to replace the Laserdisc side 1 into side 2 fades.





Reinsertion Of Cue Marks
All six Cue Marks had been re-inserted using the 1985 Japanese 'Herald Videogram' Laserdisc as a source for exact placement and style. While the 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape also had Cue Marks, I preferred the look of the former over the latter. They were in SMPTE-301 (Theatre Projection Leader) format, with the first cue in each pair shown for 4 frames, then a 172 frame gap, then another 4 frame cue followed by another 18 frames until the end of the reel. You can see the frame placement details listed below. If you want to know more about Cue Marks, see the Wikipedia entry Here.

End of Reel 1 - Cue Mark 1 starts at 00:21:38:00 (Frames; 31120, 31121, 31122, 31123)
End of Reel 1 - Cue Mark 2 starts at 00:21:45:08 (Frames; 31296, 31297, 31298, 31299)
End of Reel 2 - Cue Mark 1 starts at 00:43:08:06 (Frames; 62056, 62057, 62058, 62059)
End of Reel 2 - Cue Mark 2 starts at 00:43:15:14 (Frames; 62232, 62233, 62234, 62235)
End of Reel 3 - Cue Mark 1 starts at 01:04:25:16 (Frames; 92684, 92685, 92686, 92687)
End of Reel 3 - Cue Mark 2 starts at 01:04:33:00 (Frames; 92860, 92861, 92862, 92863)


Video Editing
00:00:14:05 to 00:00:20:07 - Recreated The 'Book Of The Dead' Title
The 'Book Of The Dead' version obviously plays with a different title. The font, colour & animation style were the same as 'The Evil Dead' titles playing at 00:00:14:05 to 00:00:20:07. I composited together a number of the smoky blank sections of the credits sequence to give a blank canvas. The 'Book Of The Dead' title animation was taken from the 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape. The quality of the source transfer was too degraded to just splice into the Blu-ray footage, and a little tricky to recreate from scratch, so I used various AVISynth filters to reduce the VHS footage to a solid black title with white background. I outputted all 165 frames of animation as BMPs and cleaned up any dust, dirt or scratches to leave a clean image. These were then strung back together with another AVISynth script and used as an image mask in Adobe Premiere over a red solid colour layer, two slightly offset layers to give a black and a white highlight.

00:03:05:10 to 00:03:08:18 - Replaced Rob Tapert Shot
Rob Tapert is stood in the background a shot where the car crosses the bridge; from 00:03:05:10 to 00:03:08:18. This had been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:06:07:20 to 00:06:25:12 - Replaced Cameraman's Reflection In Window Shot
A cameraman's reflection (probably Sam Raimi) could be seen in a window where Scotty first looks round the cabin at 00:06:07:20 to 00:06:25:12. This had been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:16:19:04 to 00:16:21:08 - Replaced 1st Cabin/Moon Matte Shot
Moon/cabin matte shot from 00:16:19:04 to 00:16:21:08 had a couple of tweaks on the Blu-ray; the levels were adjusted to blend the matte square with the rest of the frame and to increase the brightness and tweak the colour of the moon, and also the slight motion mis-match between the two matted shots had also been corrected to give a stable image. The entire shot was replaced with the original taken from the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:19:21:00 to 00:19:26:00 - Replaced 2nd Cabin/Moon Matte Shot
Moon/cabin matte shot from 00:19:21:00 to 00:19:26:00 was tweaked as per previous matte shots. The entire shot was replaced with the original taken from the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:23:38:00 to 00:24:00:11 - Replaced Shelly/Moon Matte Shot
Shelly/moon matte shot from 00:23:38:00 to 00:24:00:11 was tweaked as per previous matte shot, and the whole image really brightened up. The entire shot was replaced with the original taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:34:13:11 to 00:34:25.17 - Reinserted Background Lights
Some lights in the background of the crane shot during Shelly's breakdown with Ash, running from 00:34:13:11 to 00:34:25.17, had been digitally painted out in the Blu-ray transfer. These were re-inserted using the a 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. Rather than dump the whole Blu-ray shot, a combination of traveling matte & chroma key effects were used just leaving the lights themselves which were superimosed over the Blu-ray frame to recreate the original shot.

00:36:47:10 to 00:36:49:09 - Flipped Linda's Screaming Face
Two shots of Linda screaming as Shelly stabs the pencil into her ankle were horizontally flipped, presumably to correct the screen direction. This is the first at 00:36:47:10 to 00:36:49:09. Both were flipped back

00:36:51:22 to 00:36:54:02 - Flipped Linda's Screaming Face
Two shots of Linda screaming as Shelly stabs the pencil into her ankle were horizontally flipped, presumably to correct the screen direction. This is the second at 00:36:51:22 to 00:36:54:02. Both were flipped back

00:38:21:14 to 00:38:25:21 - Replaced 3rd Cabin/Moon Matte Shot
Moon/cabin matte shot from 00:38:21:14 to 00:38:25:21 was tweaked as per previous matte shots. The entire shot was replaced with the original taken from the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

00:52:19:09 to 00:52:24:22 - Reinserted Hair In Camera Gate
A hair can be seen moving across the top of the frame while Scotty is dying on the sofa at 00:52:19:09 to 00:52:24:22. This had been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:04:37:13 to 01:04:38:09 - Reinserted Reel Change Delay
20 frames of black with one shovel/digging sound effect running from 01:04:37:13 to 01:04:38:09 were missing from the Blu-ray, but present on the Laserdisc transfer. This was a reel change point so probably accounts for the missing frames. These frames were also missing from the other two DVD open matte transfers; the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition and the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version.

01:05:05:09 to 01:05:06:18 - Reinserted Lens Flares
Two lens flares could be seen in the centre of the screen on a number of shots where Ash is being attacked by Linda emerging from her grave at 01:05:05:09 to 01:05:06:18. This had all been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:05:09:22 to 01:05:10:14 - Reinserted Lens Flares
Two lens flares can be seen in the centre of the screen on a number of shots where Ash is being attacked by Linda emerging from her grave at 01:05:09:22 to 01:05:10:14. This has all been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:05:15:07 to 01:05:16:07 - Reinserted Lens Flares
Two lens flares could be seen in the centre of the screen on a number of shots where Ash is being attacked by Linda emerging from her grave at 01:05:15:07 to 01:05:16:07. This had all been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:05:18:04 to 01:05:19:06 - Reinserted Lens Flares & Dirt
Two lens flares could be seen in the centre of the screen on a number of shots where Ash is being attacked by Linda emerging from her grave at 01:05:18:04 to 01:05:19:06, along with some white marks on a couple of frames. This had all been digitally painted out of the Blu-ray version, and was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:16:12:09 to 01:16:21:15 - Reinserted Jump Cut
The jump cut as Ash is moving the dresser to barricade the cabin door from possessed Shelly at 01:16:12:09 to 01:16:21:15, had been smoothed over with a fade for the Blu-ray transfer, but not removed/fixed altogether. This was replaced with the same shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:21:16:17 to 01:21:26:06 - Reinserted Camera Movement
There was some camera movement during Scotty's meltdown animation shot at 01:21:16:17 to 01:21:26:06, which was digitally steadied in the Blu-ray version to give a perfectly static shot. This was replaced with the original shot taken from the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition. The DVD shot's Levels, Colour Balance (RGB & HLS), and Sharpness were tweaked to match the original footage as closely as possible.

01:22:27:15 to 01:22:33:22 - Recreated Sunrise Shot
The alternate sunrise shown in the 'Book Of The Dead' 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape was too degraded to just splice into the Blu-ray footage, so a new one was composited from scratch. I trawled 1000's of Sunrise/Sunset Mountain/Forest photos on Flickr, but had to composite 3 separate images to get a good enough match. I used an AVIsynth script to make a video file, along with the AddGrainC plugin to add film grain. This was then imported into Premiere and replaced the shot at 01:22:27:15 to 01:22:33:22. It was desaturated & darkened and a slight handheld camera wobble was added using the motion tracked from the below sunrise shot. Just to add to the realism, I superimposed a flock of birds flying way off in the distance.

01:22:47:22 to 01:22:51:02 - Recreated Camera Movement
There was some camera movement during the second sunrise shot at 01:22:47:22 to 01:22:51:02, which had been digitally steadied in the Blu-ray version to give a perfectly static shot. The same shots from both the 1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 Special Collectors Edition and the 2007 Anchor Bay US R1 Ultimate Edition open matte version looked markedly poor in comparison to the Blu-ray, with an overly bright the sky bleaching out much of the finer detail in the trees. Instead using either DVD version, the camera wobble was recreated with matching frame-by-frame movements of the Blu-ray original to recreate the un-tweaked shot.

01:23:53:01 to 01:24:02:23 - Reinserted Ash's Scream Resonating Before The Credits Roll
The 'Book Of The Dead' titled version had Ash's scream resonating over a black screen for 9 seconds before the credits roll. The extended ending/credits segment audio was taken from the 'Book Of The Dead' 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape, a processed to match the laserdisc audio track as closely as possible, and was then edited into the timeline at 01:23:53:01 to 01:24:02:23, overlaid with a black screen as per the VHS.

01:25:18:01 to 01:25:27:11 - Recreated End Credits Screen
The very last page of the credits at 01:25:18:01 to 01:25:27:11, read slightly differently and was recreated from scratch using the 'Book Of The Dead' 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS tape. It appeared and faded exactly as per the Blu-ray
 

Book Of The Dead sunset original VHS capture

Book Of The Dead sunset restored

In addition to revising the main feature, some of the extras also needed some work ranging from full editing to simple re-encoding.

The Evil Dead - Deleted Scenes
Up to now, deleted & extended scenes could only be seen in the various raw footage featurettes, these videos have been fully edited & mixed from the various sources available, to create full coherent scenes.



1) Drinking Moonshine In The Car (1:05)
2) Finding The Trapdoor Nailed Shut (1:34)
3) Dinner Table Conversation (2:26)
4) Looking Through The Book (2:16)
5) Discussions Round The Fire (0:43)
6) Breakdown & Cheryl's Taunting (1:53)
7) Repaired Matte Shot (0:24)
8) Extended Final Sequence (0:39)


Within The Woods 2011 Restoration
In order to raise initial financing for 'The Evil Dead' the Renaissance team made 'Within The Woods', a 31 minute short film, at the Tapert family farmhouse near Marshall, Michigan. Shot over 6 days during the spring of 1979 with a budget of $1600, it was their biggest production to date. This copy was transferred was from from one of a pair of incredibly rare VHS tapes borrowed from an American forum user, also containing a number of other previously unavailable shorts, footage & interviews. Sections have been digitally restored where possible.


Book Of The Dead Trailer
In the spring of 1980, with principal photography, re-shoots & effects sequences completed, the Renaissance team travelled from Michigan to New York, to work with editor Edna Ruth Paul. Sorting through over 100,000 feet of footage, a rough 97 minute cut of 'Book Of The Dead' was put together. This in hand, Rob, Sam & Bruce returned back to Michigan and cut a four minute trailer narrated by John Cameron in order to raise more funding, enabling further editing work, and ultimately the final completion of the later re-titled 'The Evil Dead'. Because it was edited from the 97 minute rather than the 85 minute version, there are snippets of footage here which you’ll not see in the final movie.


Super-8 Short; It's Murder
Made in 1978, the 68 minute Super-8 feature 'It's Murder!' is a broad Hitchcock-esque slapstick comedy directed by Sam Raimi, with a large cast, death defying stunts, even a car chase! While a commercial failure, but one scare moment always played well with audiences and gave the group their first glimpse of the power of the horror genre, and contains the seeds of 'The Evil Dead' in some of the gags & set-pieces. With the exception of its past availability on YouTube, both 'It's Murder!' & 'Clockwork' shorts are very rare in terms of offline/physical trading between fans. The DVD version presented here has been re-encoded from an MPEG-1 25P PAL (352 x 288) VCD, picked up at a New York comic fair a number of years back.


Super-8 Short; Clockwork
Made in 1978, the 7 minute Super-8 short 'Clockwork' was Sam Raimi's first foray into all out horror film making. An exercise in suspense, it was made as part of Sam's film course only a few months before 'Within The Woods', and was a far smaller production than 'It's Murder'. While primarily preceded by slapstick comedy films, it served to illustrate that horror was a commercially viable option. With the exception of its past availability on YouTube, both 'It's Murder' & 'Clockwork' shorts are very rare in terms of offline/physical trading between fans. The DVD version presented here has been re-encoded from an MPEG-1 25P PAL (352 x 288) VCD, picked up at a New York comic fair a number of years back.


The Incredibly Strange Film Show
'The Incredibly Strange Film Show' was a programme profiling offbeat directors hosted by Jonathan Ross, which ran for two series over 1988 to 1989 on UK TV Channel 4. Episode 5 of Series 1 was first broadcast on the 2nd of September 1988, and featured Sam, Rob, Bruce, & Scott Spiegel. It covered their early Super-8 days, to 'Within The Woods', 'The Evil Dead', 'Crimewave' and 'Evil Dead II', and up to 'Night Crew'. Anchor Bay included this in their 2003 UK R2 Evil Dead Trilogy Box-set. Likely at Sam's request, all the 'Crimewave' & Super-8 footage was omitted (38m 38s, edited to 34m 09s). This is a composite of the uncut bootleg VHS & retail DVD versions to give the full uncut show, in the highest possible quality.


PM Magazine Detroit TV Spot on Renaissance pictures
PM/Evening Magazine was a US television series with a news & entertainment format. It was syndicated to stations throughout the United States. In most areas, Evening/PM Magazine was broadcast from the late 1970s into the late 1980s. In Detroit this was carried by WJBK as 'PM Magazine Detroit' & 'PM Detroit'. Circa 1982, the production filmed a piece on the local up and coming Renaissance Pictures team; Sam, Rob & Bruce, shot shortly after their return from Cannes, but while they were still looking for a US distributor. Although widely available in a truncated version on various bootleg VHS & DVDs, this is the full 7 minute & 28 second segment transferred from an original VHS recording.


Tom Sullivan TV interview
'Creature Features' was the generic title for a genre of horror TV format shows broadcast on local U.S. television stations throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, sandwiched with comment & interviews. In the San Francisco Bay Area, this ran on KTVU Channel 2 from 1971 to 1984, hosted first by Bob Wilkins, and later by John Stanley, who took over in 1979. Around the same time as the US theatrical release of 'The Evil Dead', Tom Sullivan moved to San Francisco for a time. Circa 1983, he was interviewed by John Stanley, discussing the film and showing a number of his props over two segments totalling six minutes. Here, you can see both sections transferred from an original VHS recording.


1990 Palace Pictures UK Censored Re-Release VHS To US Theatrical Print Side-By-Side Comparison
When Palace Pictures submitted 'The Evil Dead' to the UK censorship board (the BBFC) in 1982, 49 seconds of cuts were required to obtain an 'X' certificate, both for cinema & video release. Despite being cut, the video version was soon vilified as a 'video nasty' prompting police seizures from video stores around the UK and it's disappearance from stores for nearly eight years. In 1990, the BBFC passed the Palace Pictures re-release VHS with an '18' rating, after the removal of a further 66 seconds. It wasn't until 2000, that it was passed as '18' uncut for the first time. This sequence transferred from that 1990 Palace Pictures VHS, illustrates those 115 seconds of cuts in comparison to the US theatrical version.


2010 Anchor Bay US Limited Edition Blu-Ray To US Theatrical Print Side-By-Side Comparison
A number of the home releases of 'The Evil Dead' have been tweaked at Sam Raimi's request, and the 2010 US Anchor Bay Blu-ray has quite a long list. As you may expect, there are some standard Blu-Ray tweaks such as colour timing and brightness levels, but in addition to this, the list includes such things as the digital removal of errant window reflections & background lights, flipping shots, digitally blending matte shots, dirt, hair, lens flares, smoothing jump cuts, digitally steadying camera movement, and even the removal of Rob Tapert in the background of one shot. This sequence edited from the Blu-Ray details these differences, in comparison to the US theatrical version.


1985 Book Of The Dead Greek VHS To US Theatrical Print Side-By-Side Comparison
'The Evil Dead', was originally titled 'Book Of The Dead'. This version isn't generally available, save some rare exceptions. There were four releases; the 1984 1st issue 'Diamond' label PAL Greek VHS, then the later 1985 'Video Standard' label PAL Greek VHS, and also the 1982 1st issue 'Videomax' label NTSC Mexican VHS and then the 1995 re-release (all English language). The movie itself plays identically to the theatrical version, with four minor differences; the title, an alternate sunrise shot, Ash's scream resonating before the end credits, and the end credits. This sequence transferred from the Greek VHS, shows these 4 differences, in comparison to the US theatrical version.


1999 Elite Entertainment US R1 SCE DVD To US Theatrical Print Side-By-Side Comparison
A number of home releases of 'The Evil Dead' have been tweaked at Sam Raimi's request. The 1999 US Elite Entertainment Special Edition Laserdisc & DVD have a number of little editing changes supervised by Sam during the remastering process. This included the removal of a lighting strike, an effect Sam was allegedly unhappy about (this shot has been left untouched in all subsequent home releases). In addition to this, a digital zoom was added when Cheryl is first possessed and turns round to the group watching, to emphasize the 'shock' in the shot. This sequence edited from that DVD, shows these differences in comparison to the US theatrical version.



Book Of The Dead - Disc 2 main menu screen

The menus for disc 1 were simply recycled and tweaked from the eariler The Evil Dead - The Treasures Collection DVD. Dics 2's menus were entirely new. I had come up with a range of ideas including the cabin's bathroom, bedrooms, the car, bridge, and the forest floor/leaves. I finally settled on the table in the cabin's cellar, with various props such as the shotgun, dagger, book, and tape player. Virtually every single element in it was composited from different images, then coloured & graded to match the scene. I augmented this scene by adding the record player playing in background, the sound of pipes/water dripping, and the Super-8 Projector Wirring creating highlights on screen.

After many months of on-off work, this project was finally completed at the start of 2012. 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 to be far more tightly controlled than the original DVD, which ended up being shared widely online. That original disc did however have form of semi-pirate/bootleg protection in that who would watch a DVD with a softer laserdisc transfer and burnt in Japanese subtitles over any of the retail releases, unless they specifically wanted to watch that version. This new project had neither of those drawbacks and is being kept strictly offline for physical trades only.
 

Disc 1 of 2 - Disc Artwork & Menus

Total DVD Running Time: 
02:12:45
ISO Image Size: 
7.86GB
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 - Intro copyright warning screen

Disc 1 - Chapter selection menu

Disc 1 - Release notes
 

 
 

Disc 2 of 2 - Disc Artwork & Menus

Total DVD Running Time: 
02:23:11
ISO Image Size: 
7.88GB
Region: 
0 (Worldwide)
Disc Format: 
NTSC DVD9
Video Format: 
MPEG-2 / 720x480 / 4:3
Audio Format: 
AC3 2ch Stereo

 

Disc 2 - Disc artwork

Disc 2 - Main menu
 

Disc 2 - Intro copyright warning screen

Disc 2 - Release notes

Disc 2 - Item selection menu
 

 
 
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