Evil Dead
November 18, 2004 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Which Evil Dead DVD should I get? Over at Amazon, I can find four different versions. The biggest difference seems to be that some have a 1.33:1 aspect ratio and others have 1.85:1. And according to a review under this copy, the movie was in fact shot in 1.33:1 and Anchor Bay slapped bars over the top and bottom to make a "widescreen" version. Is that true? If so, I want a 1.33:1 copy. But which one should I get?
posted by punishinglemur to Media & Arts (18 answers total)
Response by poster: Adding to the aspect ratio confusion, here's one IGN review:
The movie is presented in it's original, widescreen aspect ratio and is enhanced for widescreen TVs.
Well that seems to settle this. But wait! There's another IGN review which claims:
The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
As for IMDb, they say 1.37:1. But who knows?
posted by punishinglemur at 8:38 AM on November 18, 2004

This guide to aspect ratios says that Evil Dead was "composed by the director and projected in the theater in the 4:3 aspect ratio."
posted by o2b at 8:54 AM on November 18, 2004

I have a great copy at home; with commentary by Campbell and Raimi. I'll do a search for it and post later; a friend who is obsessed with the series loved the version I have to his.

If I'm not mistaken, the film was shot 16mm (right?) so there wouldn't be any widescreening; the shape of the film would be a square instead of a rectangle. Am I wrong? It's been years since I've watched. The tree scene, though, brr!, aint a creepier or oddly funny moment in horror movies.
posted by Peter H at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2004

Most "widescreen" movies are shot on a square negative and cropped down. Of course the director/cinematographer knows this and composes the shot accordingly. If we saw the whole frame we'd get boom mics and "naked" people with funny pants on.
posted by rschroed at 9:19 AM on November 18, 2004

16mm film is not square; it has a 1.33:1 (or 4:3, same thing) aspect ratio (though it can be letterboxed to other ratios of course.)
posted by ook at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2004

square... 4:3 same diff for us non-math inclined. My TV is square.
posted by rschroed at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2004

Evil Dead was show full frame, if I recall, and if you look closely, you can see the tops of sets sometimes.

The Absolute Most Awesome Version is the Anchor Bay Book Of the Dead edition. It's got nice commentary, a cool booklet inside with art by the guy who made the book and that cool dagger from the movie, and it probably the coolest DVD case ever. Besides that, it's the technially superior edition (I own 3 of them!). On the note of cool DVD boxes, the Wicker Man LE Anchor Bay came out with is pretty kickin' too.
posted by zerolives at 10:18 AM on November 18, 2004

posted by ook at 10:23 AM on November 18, 2004

Or you could just wait for the next remake.
posted by Caviar at 10:33 AM on November 18, 2004

My TV is square.

posted by kindall at 10:41 AM on November 18, 2004

Who has a square TV? I've never seen one. I want one, now!

I also think "Which Evil Dead DVD should I get?" is one of my favorite AskMeFi questions ever.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:10 AM on November 18, 2004

Well, it's a question of rounding up and down. 16mm film rounds down to a square shape, so does a television set, which is why it shows up fullscreen on a television; they fit — whereas Cinemacope or some gigantic and wide film stock rounds up (in relative size) to a rectangle. (huffs) ;)
posted by Peter H at 11:42 AM on November 18, 2004

This is the DVD version I have

It has the worst external packaging but the commentary and transfer are great, based on my memory of five years ago, that is. And it's packed with extras.

I'd never heard of Elite Entertainment before but this is a great DVD (and you'll notice the price is the cheapest, has the correct aspect ratio, and it has commentary by both Raimi and Campbell, etc) -- Also, the negative 1/5 star review on top is referring to the Anchor Bay disc, not this one.
posted by Peter H at 11:49 AM on November 18, 2004

Ha, ook swapped in a different image than the one originally posted. Dirty poker!
posted by Peter H at 12:47 PM on November 18, 2004

Anchor Bay are kings of the DVD double-dip, especially with regards to the Evil Dead series. I wouldn't be surprised if they came out with yet another edition in the future.
posted by neckro23 at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2004

Apparantly a remake is on the way, so you might want to hold off...
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:28 PM on November 18, 2004

Doh, sorry, was too bust looking at ook's pic to see Caviar's post...
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:29 PM on November 18, 2004

Plus I can't spell busy. I give up.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:29 PM on November 18, 2004

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