Evil Dead 2 (Blu-ray)

After clearly not learning his lesson the first time, Ash heads back into the woods to yet another dusty old cabin where he and his friends wake the dead a second time, this time losing his girl and a hand in the process.  Seriously bro, try Vegas next time.

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2

When I was a kid just coming into my own with movies I was a big fan of horror.  I used to scan the many rows of VHS horror titles looking for the scariest or coolest pictures to aid in my selection.  I hadn’t seen EVIL DEAD at this time, but the box for EVIL DEAD 2 looked (and still does look) pretty creepy.  Obviously I didn’t know much about the storyline or the characters but I got the gist of it; these fools shack themselves up in a cabin out in the boons where they summon up some demons, accidentally or otherwise.  There’s a part where Ash goes into the cellar and an old crone grabs his feet after saying, “someone’s in my fruit cellar, someone with a fresh soul.”  Our basement stairs back then looked just like that, and every time mom wanted me to go get something out of the deep-freeze I could hear that voice in my head (my view on mounted deer heads was also forever changed).  Oh yes, this movie scarred me as a child.

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2

Suffice to say, the old days were the days to enjoy campy horror like this as today I barely batted an eyelash.  Sam Raimi still gets mad props for going at the gruesome details with real prosthetics and loads of slimy substances.  This has become a trademark of his these days that still lives on (DRAG ME TO HELL), but this was Raimi’s gore days at his finest.  He’s known more now for his SPIDER-MAN flicks, but horror is where he cut his teeth.  Particularly interesting here is where Raimi goes with the story at the end of the film, the time travel situation wasn’t done all that much back then and it proved to be a clever story arc for a dullish sort of film.  Now bear in mind I say dullish because this film was a rough re-creation of the first: a group of peeps end up in a secluded cabin in the woods where they open a big can of evil whoop-ass.  This is where the film fails for me now that I’m older and truly understand what’s going on.

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2

Raimi carries Ash over from the first film, which is fine, but I have to ask, if you and your crew went to a cabin in the woods in the first film only to have all hell break loose literally, why would you gather a new crew and do the same thing again?  This isn’t like DIE HARD, where Bruce Willis ends up fighting a group of bad guys twice at Christmas, Ash CHOOSES to go back into the woods, to a decrepit cabin where they again, summon the undead.  This breaches the realm of believability for me and ends up pitching a tent on asinine stupidity.

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2

EVIL DEAD 2 is gory, campy horror at its finest, no question there, but to properly appreciate it where this journey takes you, you really had to enjoy it in its hey day.  The other thing I always wondered about this series was how they went one eighty on the tone with ARMY OF DARKNESS.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s my favorite of the series simply because Ash becomes such a cool, over the top character, but again, this is completely opposite of the first two films.  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing per say, but it is very confusing when trying to view these films as a series.  Be that as it may, all three films are classics that shouldn’t be tampered with and I for one am not looking forward to Diablo Cody smearing her mark of the beast all over them here soon.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  1.85:1 Widescreen in 1080p HD with AVC codec.  Sure this baby’s dated, but the end product still looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

Audio:  5.1 DTS-HD in English, French and Spanish with the same subtitle options.  That scene with all the laughing will forever haunt my dreams.

Commentary (1:24:00):  Director Sam Raimi alongside co-writer Scott Spiegel, special makeup artist Greg Nicoreto and of course, Ash himself, Bruce Campbell all gather for this very funny, very entertaining commentary.  This is the way commentaries should go, they should be just as fun as the film itself.

Swallowed Souls:  The Making Of Evil Dead 2 (1:38:13):  The cast and crew reminisce about making the film as well as the immense cultural impact it’s had on society.  Remember folks, this was back in the day when pushing the envelope wasn’t only difficult to do, but also frowned upon in most Hollywood circles.

Cabin Fever- “A Fly On The Wall” Look Behind the Scenes of Evil Dead 2 (30:22):  This is a compilation of behind the scenes makeup effects props, a look at how these monsters came to life, along with some deleted material that didn’t make final cut.  Good times for diehard fans who crave more.

Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood (8:09):  Much like sounds, this is a short trip down memory lane with Tony Elwood on site where it all began.  Wadesboro sounds very SCREAM-like, maybe Wes Craven is bigger fan of EVIL DEAD than I thought.

Evil Dead 2: Behind the Screams (17:07):  This one plays out like a shorter commentary and is nowhere near as much fun as the main one, nor does it cover any real new ground.

The Gore the Merrier (31:51):  A celebration of what Raimi’s known best for; his gore factor.  This one’s a lot of fun and exactly what us fans want to see more of.

Previews:  There’s a theatrical trailer for the film, some additional trailers and a still gallery full of juicy pictures.

OVERALL 3
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