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Can you name one DVD that is much more famous for something other than the main advertised product?  Any ideas?  Try thinking about commentaries … no not your average Ridley Scott Gladiator commentary where he goes on, and on, and on about architecture (if I remember correctly).  I mean really funny and entertaining ones.  Well, this copy of Evil Dead II that Momentum has kindly sent is one of these very titles.

Evil Dead II
Movie
Evil Dead II is really quite an old movie, it was actually first distributed back in 1987.  It centres on a character called Ash Shemp (Bruce Campbell) who is having a slight problem in his holiday cabin.  You see he appears to be in a small cabin in the middle of nowhere – or to be more exact – a big woodland.  The only apparent route to civilisation is via a bridge, which is um, conveniently out of order.  The reason why these things are happening around this cabin is because one Professor Knowby decided to translate the scribing of Necronomicon – the book of the dead.  In the process he had unfortunately awoken the Kandarian who possessed his wife, he had to lock her in the basement.

At this point it should be mentioned (and I’m sure you will have guessed this) that Evil Dead II is the sequel to a movie from New Line entitled “Evil Dead.”  In that movie, Ash went up on a trip with a bunch of friends to this very cabin and found that it wasn’t quite the holiday that he was led to believe.  I only really need to mention that they had a few problems with the woods being alive and nicking people, oh and there was quite a bit of chain saw action too!

Now that I have explained that, I can mention one of the most common misconceptions held by the viewing public of this movie.  New Line did not allow the creators of Evil Dead II to obtain the original footage of Evil Dead, so when they made the sequel they had to re-shoot the summary of what happened in the previous movie.  This involved showing Ash going on holiday up to the cabin and since they could not get some of the original actors, this scene appears to be different and therefore looks like Ash decided that he should return for another vacation to hell … as you do.

Back to the movie. In this movie he has awoken the next day in the cabin, with daylight at his midst.  He rushes out to the old car and makes a dash for the only exit from the woodland.  Unfortunately (as I’ve already mentioned) he discovers that the bridge has been somehow totally destroyed and his only hope is to get back to the cabin before darkness descends and the evil trees and other stuff start doing nasty things.  The whole movie is all about Ash’s battle with evil during the night.

It sure does sound like a film that takes itself way too seriously, doesn’t it?  Well that’s the best bit, it doesn’t!  As well as being very suspenseful and sometimes even scary, on the whole Evil Dead II has got to be one of the funniest movies in its genre.  It really doesn’t take itself seriously and for that reason it is a very entertaining film that has lasted the changes in taste of the movie going public over the years.

Evil Dead II
Video
Evil Dead II is presented in its original 1.85 aspect ratio using the Anamorphic display method.  This has resulted in a film that is very crisp and clear, and without grain that has plagued previous releases of this movie.  The picture has been softened somewhat giving this fairly low budget movie a much more modern feel, and since they have chosen to darken the material it gives the movie a new edge – especially where special effects were used.  Colours are of course very accurate, all thanks to the work of Anchor bay who handled the region one release of this disc.

Audio
For the non-English speaking public there is three Dolby Digital mono tracks in the following languages: German, Spanish and Italian.  For the rest of us we have a newly remastered English track in Dolby Digital 5.1 for those with the technology.  Sound is very clean, with a distinct lack of hiss that dogged previous releases of Evil Dead II.  However this has resulted in the sound suffering from the less dynamic ranges.

Extras
The “making of” feature definitely isn’t your average promotional thingy, it really is interesting.  It shows you lots of footage that was taken whilst the movie was being filmed and is narrated/introduced by a bunch of people who were involved in the project.  There are lots of interesting comments made about the movie, including how the scenes were created and showed areas of the movie where they made the odd mistake; you also see long-lost footage that they weren’t able to cut into the film.  One thing to look out for is the short they created at the end of this documentary about a baby who becomes some sort of zombie and reeks its revenge – very funny.  Also in this section is the trailer, it was of a surprisingly good quality and is presented in an Anamorphic format.

The main extra that everyone who has seen this DVD tends to talk mostly about is its commentary by Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel and Greg Nicotero.  From the very beginning, this commentary is absolutely hilarious – granted I have heard funnier ones, but this is way up among the best of them.  It’s the sort of commentary that is recorded with all the members together, and as a result it is much more entertaining.  You learn loads of things about how movies like these are made while at the same time laugh at the jokes made at the expense of producer Rob Tapert.

Evil Dead II
Overall
This disc really is one of those that everyone should really add to their collection, even if you aren’t familiar or even dislike the horror genre.  After all, it is more of a slapstick comedy than a horror movie!  The commentary definitely shouldn’t be missed and the documentary that Momentum has included on the disc is really entertaining and interesting at the same time.  Go buy this disc now!


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