Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Re-cutting The Evil Dead Franchise Into One Movie

It is a gross misunderstanding that Evil Dead 2 is a remake of The Evil Dead. It is in fact, a sequel. Now, yes, it does somewhat rewrite the events of the first movie. In the initial six minutes the viewer is given a Reader’s Digest summary of what had happened in the previous film. For the sake of time-length, the other characters from the first movie have been removed during this section, which is the source of this never ending confusion. However, if you were to remove that section of ED2, the two movies would line up quite nicely. And that got me thinking... what if you were to combine all three movies into one epic-movie.

AoD: Theatrical
First, a bit of background. One of my first memories is walking into the VHS rental shop in town with my mother and seeing the gigantic cardboard display for Army Of Darkness. A ripped Bruce Campbell with a woman at his leg, chainsaw as a hand with the tagline “Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.” I mean, what a fucking fantastic piece of imagery (one that now hangs on my living room wall). Unfortunately though I did not watch this movie as a kid, as my mother was a bit self-serving with her precious VHS rentals. As she didn't have any interest in the film, she would tell me that it was far too adult for me, and instead would rent whatever even more horror/suspense film she wished.



AoD: Boomstick
Edition
Eventually I did watch the movies at a friend’s house in high-school and have been hooked ever since. So much so that I immediately went out and bought the entire collection on DVD. Unfortunately for me, I decided to look at DVD reviews of the series and come to find out, there were more than a handful of releases and each of them had differing bonus content. Well, some of them were too expensive so I gave up looking for them in stores (The Boomstick Edition for one), but I did discover that my neighboring Blockbuster had the best version of the original movie... one that was selling for $50 on Ebay. So, to save it from some cretin scratching a precious artifact, I did what any teenage fanboy would: I rented it and swapped the disc out with my own. Even though I have bought the movies at least a half-dozen times since then (thanks you quadruple-dipping assfaces at Anchor Bay ;-) that is still a version that I own and hold sacred, Blockbuster sticker on the DVD and all.

It is with this great passion that I have always wanted to see the franchise not just back to back (which I have too many times), but fully, without break in one continuing movie. How long would it run? Would the intentional comedy/horror aspects of Evil Dead 2 line up with the unintentional comedy of the original? And can you go from the tone of The Evil Dead to Army Of Darkness within one full sitting? Well it was these questions that I set out to find answers to.

Sources:

I took 1080p Bluray rips of each of the movies to work with (and yes, I used the dreaded 16X9 "black-box" version of the first movie to make the experience feel more solidified). That’s "The Evil Dead", "Evil Dead 2", "Army of Darkness", and "Army of Darkness: Directors Cut". After I scanned these movies a few times, it became apparent to me that simply starting off with Evil Dead was going to be too big of a jump to eventually end up within Army of Darkness… the tones are just too dissimilar. It was for this reason that I also dug up cut-scenes from the Evil Dead games: "Hail To The King", "Fistful of Boomstick", and "Regeneration".


Hail to the King, Fistful of Boomstick,
& Regeneration.
Side note: Hail To The King has horrible gameplay, but the story is worth checking out as Ash revisits the cabin years after AoD’s end. Fistful of Boomstick is a genius game that is a direct sequel to HTTK and the gameplay is great. Regeneration is a reimaging of the franchise where Ash didn’t get sucked into the vortex at the end of ED2. All three games feature brilliant performances by Bruce Campbell and are well-worth checking out.

Ingesting:

I then took all of the sources and brought them into Premiere. Although I am trying to use Avid exclusively these days, Premiere is the most convenient thing in the world and will transcode the footage in the background allowing you to get started right away. When doing a project of mixed formats of source footage, it is the only way to go. I knew when I started that I wanted this to be Ash’s tale, and the video games had some excellent voice-over that would allow me to do exactly that, but if you were to watch cut-scenes from a video game, it would take you directly out of the movie experience.

Editing:

That’s why I had to adopt the ending of the theatrical cut of Army of Darkness. This allowed me to use the footage of him in the S-Mart talking to Ted Raimi, use some videogame audio, and spin that as if we joined him as we had just began to regale the story to him. Unfortunately this also committed me to ending the movie back at the S-Mart, which although is a far inferior ending when compared to AoD-Directors cut, it was necessary.

Major Edit 1: Intro

video

I took the opening lines from the game HTTK, and then cut in a few more lines from FoB, from there I EQ‘d the two readings to make them feel a bit more similar. We open up to the S-Mart, establish the conversation, and get into the two main plot-points that drive the entire franchise: A girl and the book.

Both ED2 and AoD have a short synopsis of what the Necronomicon is, but I chose to use AoD’s as the budget was higher and it’s more visually interesting. As he speaks of his love, I chose to show Linda from ED2 because we will soon see a different actress playing her in ED, and I wanted the audience to be able to associate her as the same character. I leave her on screen for a romantic moment, but I don’t allow her to speak or really act. This keeps her in the audiences mind as an archetype, but not a character.

We then cut into establishing footage of the car driving toward the cabin in ED2. No characters are seen in this, but the production value of the car overhead is much better than anything in the original. As we see it, we then cut into dialogue from The Evil Dead. Now we’re into the meat of the first movie.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 2: Listening to the tapes

video
To branch the first two films, I wanted to use a bit of footage from the second movie cut into the first. So as they sit down to listen to the tapes, I chose to take scenes from ED2. These not only look much better, but allow the viewer to leave the cabin and see the actual discovery of the Necronomicon. This additionally sets up the characters of Annie and Ed from the sequel, thus softening the blow of watching two separate movies as one.

However, I didn’t just want to remove an entire chunk from ED and substitute in the sequel, you still needed to feel as if you were in the moment with the original characters. To accomplish this, I cut in character reactions from the group, but I also cut in the section where they turn off the tape after the girls get freaked out as it builds tension. After the tapes played, we of course needed to be back into the original movie, which requires the tree coming through the glass. Now we’re off and running again until the end of the first movie.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 3: Joining Evil Dead & Evil Dead 2

video
This is where we join Evil Dead to Evil Dead 2. Now there are a few points where this is possible, but in one way or another they always seem to screw up continuity (and not just because Ash ages years between movies). That’s why I chose the lesser of the Evils (pun intended) and placed the cut after he throws the last bit of dirt on the camera lens in the original, then we open up to the sequel as he puts the cross in the ground.

This however leaves Linda with a head, and when she emerges from her grave later she is decapitated. While this is unfortunate, it is better than having Linda switch actresses, and then switch back again, which was my other option. Also, when she pops back out of her grave later, it has bit more of a comedic element with the dancing that distracts the viewer from even noticing. Bam! Back into the rest of the movie we go.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 4: Joining Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness

video
This one is a no brainer. At the end of ED2 we get to see him spat out into the mid-evil ages, but it doesn’t line up with AoD so out it goes. Both movies however display white flashes while he is about to exit the the portal, so that was my edit point. Now we've landed in the Directors cut of Army of Darkness.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Major Edit 5: Joining Army of Darkness: Directors Cut and Army of Darkness

video
At this point, I unfortunately have to have Ash wind up back at the S-Mart, which as I said earlier, is the lesser of the two endings. But, for our purposes, it does tie the entire trilogy up into one nice bow. Now the Theatrical cut ends with him riding off into the sunset and then it cuts directly back into the S-Mart. However, you get a little bit more with the Directors Cut as it shows him being sealed off in a cave, getting comfortable, then taking the sleeping-liquid (yes, I kept him ingesting one extra drop). I even let my cut run up until the emergence of him from that cave, and THEN we cut back into the S-Mart for the traditional ending.

As for the credits, at this point I could have joined all of the previous credits together and subbed in new music, but as that was not part of the experience I cared about, I simply left in the traditional Theatrical AoD credits.
Here is a link to a downloadable Mp4 version of the edit

Conclusion:

So is this a stronger movie now that we have eliminated the differing backstories? Yes and no. Yes, if you were to sit down and watch them back to back this version would make WAY more sense to you. But at the time they were made there were many years in between each of them. At that point you get a bit more artistic license to retell the previous story a bit differently. Honestly, maybe it’s just me explaining away several versions of stories that quite don’t line up, but THAT is how I’ve always viewed these movies: I feel these are Ash's stories, and since he is such a bad person, this is just a tale he keeps exaggerating and each time he tells again, he embellishes more of the story.

This sort of takes that away, and in my opinion, tells more of a story about a man who has had horrible things done to him. As a result, you watch him slowly disconnect with reality. He starts out honorable at first, then slowly twists to where he finds the Deadite interaction funny in ED2, then ultimately get’s so full of himself that he considers himself the savior of the world at the end.

In the end, I personally prefer the theatrical version of the movies, but it must be said, this is a new and different way to experience them and it runs 3 hours and 55 minutes.

This video is NOT meant to compete with purchasable version, so I encoded it a a very low bitrate for download from my website. If you'd like the full-res 720p version, contact me and we can arrange a trade.
Note: This is a h265 encode, so make sure you're using the latest version of VLC to watch this.
http://anticurrent.com/EvilDead/EvilDead-UltimateCut-h265.mkv

UPDATE:
Complete Evil Dead
Epic Edit Cover
Several people have emailed me and asked to purchase a copy of the movie. Let me stress that it is NOT for sale, but I'd love to get it to you. However in doing so, I cannot condone the filmmakers of these not getting paid.

So here's what I'll do. Anyone that wants the full 720p copy simply do the following:
1: Email me (address can be found easily on my website) a photo of you holding all three movies (any version).
2: I'll send you my physical address, you send me a USB (the file size is 13.3GB) with a self-addressed stamped envelope to send it back.
3: Within 24 hours of receipt I will send the USB back to you.

UPDATE: 5/19/15:
After numerous complaints, the downloadable version of this has been fixed. In order to make an easily downloadable file out of the four hour movie and have it watchable, I utilized the new h265 encoding format and it comes in around 500mb. In order to play it, make sure you have the latest version of VLC. The link can be found above.

22 comments:

  1. Josh: what's the best way to get in touch to work out a trade for the 720p?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brilliant idea Josh and you've hit on almost every "gripe" I had with continuity of the films story lines. I'm downloading the low res version now and now need to worry over competition as I already own the trilogy but I would really like to get the 720 version from you and I probably have something worthwhile. Applaud your dedication and time it must have taken to pull all of this together.

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  3. Big thanks to everyone for the huge response to this post. Amazing to see I'm not the only one to love this franchise so much. Also, thanks for the kind words Larry!

    Several people have emailed me and asked to purchase a copy of the movie. Let me stress that it is NOT for sale, but I'd love to get it to you. However in doing so, I cannot condone the filmmakers of these not getting paid.

    So here's what I'll do. Anyone that wants the full 720p copy simply do the following:

    1: Email me (address can be found easily on my website) a photo of you holding all three movies (any version).
    2: I'll send you my physical address, you send me a USB (the file size is 13.3GB) with a self-addressed stamped envelope to send it back.
    3: Within 24 hours of receipt I will send the USB back to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i have a ton of rare stuff on megaup links free.. im willing to trade you multiple cuts just for one of the 720 or 1080p versions of this movie.. you did a good job... heres a few links to show how serious i am .. I wanna actually watch it over straight through in good quality. i might be able to get it in 4K if u got it 1080.. heres my email JDLC83BKNY@gmail.com - i did these all myself i also have the covers to them i did ... i cant find your email sorry..

      A Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Vs. Jason [Extended] BR 2017

      All 21 deleted scenes have been re-inserted
      https://mega.nz/#!kHYxWBCD!bv1byCCOdcGGZZZ5dKwkroUyloqwCKMUIGmA6Onyt7Y



      Child's Play 3 [Extended Recut] HD 2017 All deleted scenes (alternate intro)

      https://mega.nz/#F!ICZx2JiY!1sJP0EOfJYI6-TAYlP-ZKQ

      Home Alone 1 [John Hughes EXTENDED Edition] 1990
      10 mins of deleted scenes FANEDIT

      https://mega.nz/#F!ICxEmIyR!sZahPXj2G0loVxFzayKNlA


      Back to The Future, Timeline Edition [5Hrs.30Min] BR 2017 (All Deleted Scenes reinserted back into all 3 parts and synced- Easter Egg + screen test Footage)


      https://mega.nz/#F!QHwHyIRR!x-1XOr7k-zEmQT4iCMpngg


      Lethal Weapon, The Ragged Edge Edition BR 2017 32mins (extended cut UPGRADED personaly with newest blurays)



      https://mega.nz/#!pOgEWJKZ!tmile3lG34O48qeO7-93xmS2uggKEDuhe8RraYS6wjA




      The Cable Guy [Extended Script Edition] BR 2017 23 mins Extended cut

      https://mega.nz/#!NC5CUY4D!L77Z2rpU3BQIcrIP38snsaiELcaLl_8orEeQiHsy_gY

      Delete
    2. My email is josh@anticurrent.com hit me up!

      Delete
  4. Thank you. Your time and effort are greatly appreciated and it is just so so so awesome to come across things like what you've made. Reading this back it looks and sounds odd and maybe creepy but what's a better way to convey appreciation? Cake?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would graciously accept appreciation-cake. For that matter, hate-cake correspondence is welcome as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am glad to finally see someone do this. i enjoyed your edits. I appreciate your decison in making cuts for the sake of a clear collected story. I agree wit liking the actual original films better as an emotional experience.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The download seems to stop around the 50 minute mark? Tried 10 times and no luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hearing that alot. I believe it's something with the huge filesize. I'll look into it tomorrow when I'm out of the hospital, but you're always welcome to send me a USB key and I'll send you the 720 version.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Sorry Geiler, was going to my spam box for some reason. You asked if I could provide you a download of the film correct? If you read at the bottom of the post there is a downloadable h265 link. Unless you would like to send me a self-addressed stamped envelope with a USB thumbdrive over 13gb, thats the only version I have for you. Hope that helps.

      Delete
    2. thanks for response.
      i live in germany.
      would this be a problem?
      regards

      Delete
    3. I don't believe so. Email me again and I'll send you my address.

      Delete
  9. I don't know if you you check this site anymore but I had to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your edit of the Evil Dead Trilogy. The way every movie is joined is exceptional. The only complaint I had was there is no resolution to Scott and Cheryl from Evil Dead. Why did you choose to leave it like that?

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is awesome, all I can say.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great job, these are the remaining issues I noticed.

    Linda without a head.

    Solution: You noted this one and it can be dismissed as deadites messing with him.

    Single barrel shotgun disappears and double barrel shotgun is found in hallway.

    Solution: We can assume Ash took the single barrel shotgun with him in the car and its still there. How did they overlook the double barrel shotgun in the hallway? Maybe they just did.

    Broken wood on the basement trap door.

    Solution: Trap door appears whole later in Evil Dead 1 footage, we can assume just the edge got broken.

    Problems that need edits:

    Scott left in the Cabin and Cheryl in basement.

    Solution: Ash would have had to dismember them and bury them in the morning after walking up and before driving away, we can assume they were knocked out in the morning. Would need to add a line something to the effect of "had to kill my friends" maybe from a video game or the new Ash vs Evil Dead series. Maybe with a chainsaw and shovel effect.

    Ash driving to bridge (again) and chasm instead of river.

    Should cut in a audio line from Ash saying "trail" before driving off, maybe the trail is closer to the river. Would need cut off scene of Ash freaking out about bridge being broken and just have the sun quickly setting.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You just did an amazing job there.
    I just have one regret : your choice for 720p resolution.
    I did a cleaned version of the TC bluray of AOD, from the 4K scan. For some reason, i got annoyed with the excessive grain that was not fully justified imho. I did this under Premiere after converting the source to ProRes, in 10bit, to make sure the cleaning process would not degrade the picture quality too much. I then encoded the result into a 3.3mb (not including audio tracks) 10bit h265 file, and it looks quite nice. Not perfect as of course you can't remove grain with absolutely no detail loss, but i think i found an acceptable compromise.
    Now I've discovered your version, with its various sources, i would have loved to have my hands on a 1080p version of your edit to see if i could get decent results out of it.
    It wouldn't take that much space, especially as 10bit h265 gets even better size/quality ratios than 8bit encodes. I'm not going to ask as i think you have worked hard enough like that, but that would have really been great for all ED fans :)
    Again, thanks for your hard work !

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't know that how to use these apps. Can you give me some suggestion through by your post.Thanks.
    pirates of the caribbean 5

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think in evil dead, where he buries Linda and you edited to footage of part 2 where he places the cross down. Then you should switch back to evil dead 1 where he goes back to the cabin. Editing out the fight where he beheads Linda. Then let the rest of evil dead play out, explaining what happened to his sister. Id even edit out him going in the cellar.
    Go to where he bashes his sister's hand in the front door, then quick edit to her shoving her hands through the door.
    Next edit would be when he walks out the front door and the evil force pushes him through the forest in evil dead 2

    ReplyDelete