Evil Dead 2 “Blood Red” LaserDisc Review

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Evil Dead 2 Blood Red Front CoverEvil Dead 2 “Blood Red”

 

“I should’ve helped you with the camera thing here probably;
and relied less on your Quote… Acting.”

 Released in 1997 by Elite Entertainment the Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn Laserdisc is unique due to a very nice and apt gimmick.

The first 1000 run contained a limited edition “Blood Red” disc.
There are reports of a special Green Laserdisc released for the Toxic Avenger though there is no evidence to support that. Gold Laserdisc however do exist but only one red and here it is.

If you don’t know what a Laserdisc is it is the precursor to DVD and VCD. Think of a DVD but the size of an LP and if you don’t know what an LP is then you must have school tomorrow so isn’t it pass your bedtime?

Better picture quality than VHS but not as good as DVD, Laserdisc are analogue and that means that on a modern TV the picture quality is going to be very poor.

Thankfully I own an old CRT TV to watch this on and it looks amazing. Scanlines which are essential for old games consoles sometimes get in the way, then again that might be due to the fact I’ve been watching flatscreen HDTV’s for almost 15 years.
There are reports that making the disc Blood Red caused speckles or white dots on the screen similar to what those of us who remember VHS willingly put up with but other than a few spcks once in a very long while I had no problem.
It certainly did not detract from the picture.

Evil Dead 2 Blood Red Disc

The transfer was supervised by Sam Raimi himself just for this disc and the quality impressed him no end. Presented in 1.85: 1 aspect this was the first time outside of the cinema the Evil Dead 2 was seen in widescreen and to be honest this looks almost as good as DVD to me.

The audio despite being mono, there was no stereo audio stem available when making the disc with one only turning up later which Anchor bay used to make their DVD 5.1 stereo surround release, the audio is very crisp and clear.

I don’t need to review the film as we’ve all seen it so I’ll talk about the commentary. Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Greg Nicotero (special effects and make up) and Scott Spiegel (co-writer) all got together to record the special audio track just for this Laserdisc so I don’t know if it has been used on any future DVD or Blu-Ray releases.

First thing you notice is how much fun these fellas are having recording this. Lots of humour, piss taking and interesting behind the scenes tit-bits starting with Greg saying that they had filmed the opening to the first evil dead again with all 5 characters but differen’t actors having them sit around listening to the tape recorder yet no-one else remembers that this happening. They also talk about how Steve Guttenberg was the reason they couldn’t use the Linda in Evil Dead 2 again.
She married him and was pregnant when they filmed Army of Darkness.

– Other funny stories include how the script supervisor came out of a screening crying because they forgot to put her name in the credits.

– One points out in the first chase scene through the house you can see over the top of the set when the camera is following Ash running through the cabin. If you spot this once, you’ll always see it from now on everytime you watch this film.

– Another one you’ll always notice is when Annie and her boyfriend Ed first appear and get of the plane, the actor playing one of the planes crew can’t get the planes doors open and struggles for the entire time he is in shot.

– Speaking of Ed when they did the recording he worked for a home shopping network.

– Early in the film Bruce is told not to scream in a scene but later told to “Scream like a woman because you’ve screamed like a man so much”

– Bruce talks about the only cut made to the film in England was when Ash was kicked when knocked unconscious. Saying cutting off heads is ok but kicking a man when he’s down is a big no no.
Clearly he hasn’t been out around Lancaster on a Friday night.
I also doubt this was the only cut made.

– Eye ball Fly ball. Two guys had to run out of the cinema during the scene when the eye pops out of Henrietta’s head and flies into Bobbie Joes mouth not because they were scared but due to laughing too much.

My personal favourite moment is when they are talking about the scene where after Bobbie Joe has been dragged through the woods and Bruce has to shudder he says it feels like someone walked over his grave, Sam comments “I should’ve helped you with the camera thing here probably; and relied less on your quote… acting.”

As they shot exteriors first Bruce went on to lose weight during filming and they also covered Bruce in fake blood during these scenes because they didn’t know how he would look at that point in the film later on so had to guess.

They mention the misunderstanding with Wes Craven and how they thought in The Hills Have Eyes there’s a torn poster of Jaws which they interpreted as Wes making a statement which they thought was him saying Jaws was a pop culture icon which the monsters have torn to bits. A statement that this is real terror, so they tore up a poster of the hills have eyes to say that no, this was real horror which followed with Johnny Depp watching evil dead in A Nightmare on Elm Street.
It didn’t end there because in Evil Dead 2 there is a glove of Freddy’s hanging in the shed.

Thrown in for good measure is a few deliberate bad puns.

I am lucky to own two copies of this rare collectors item and both are almost as good as new with one being in mint condition.
The back of the disc sleeve has a misprint saying Evil Dead 2 was made in 1976. This error was cleared up in later non-blood red prints.

Evil Dead 2 Blood Red Back Cover
This is a sleeve that has the error corrected

You get a trailer and a 30 minute behind the scenes footage consisting mostly of how they made the effects. It’s good to see an above shot of Bruce “acting” again with the cabin filling up with blood.

I’ve never listened fully to feature commentary before and I doubt there’s many as good as this one.

For good measure here is the trailer for Evil Dead 2