Any excuse to watch Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic The Evil Dead is good enough, and this year we’ve got two great excuses.
As a Halloween staple, October makes for reason enough all its own. No one’s 31 Days of Halloween is complete without a return to Raimi’s camp classic—which people often forget is terrifying in its own right, even with the silliness and camp. This year, with a new release from Lionsgate, we have another reason.
Available now, the new 4K transfer of The Evil Dead offers a brand new way to experience the horror classic. Presented in 2160P, Raimi’s classic has never looked so vivid and so delightful. The colors pop, which is especially fun considering how much bloody chaos you get with this classic. The reds look slick enough to slip on, and Raimi’s Deadites have never seemed so lifelike or terrifying.
This is great news for obsessive cinephiles who demand the highest possible resolutions and who delight in seeing how vivid a picture can be presented. However, given the shoestring budget of the film and the 16MM filming techniques, there are limits to what is possible here. There is often a distracting graininess to the film which, while charming in lower-fi releases, might be irritating to some watchers here.
Still, it’s important to note that this isn’t always a problem, and the vividness and colors pop in a way that make this an easy trade off, especially if this isn’t in a film that’s already in your collection.
There is, however, a sad lack of special features found on this edition. The commentary track from the previous Blu-ray release is included, and is a must watch for fans of the film—especially fans who’ve never seen the movie this way before. Raimi, along with producer Rob Tapert and star Bruce Campbell, gives a keen insight into the unique production of The Evil Dead, and the three have a clear blast while doing so.
Still, the sparsity of the bonus features is disappointing, especially considering all of the great bonus features included in the Blu-ray release from a few years back.
That being said, if The Evil Dead isn’t already in your collection, or you just want to see it in the highest possible transfer rate, the 4K release is cheaply priced at about $16 and does make an excellent addition to your home collection. And given the impending release of the Ash vs. the Evil Dead boxset later this month, it’s an excellent time to get reacquainted with the classic that started it all.