DVD Shopping Bag: Army of Darkness Screwhead Edition - Mania.com

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DVD Shopping Bag: Army of Darkness Screwhead Edition

You'll Be Blu about being Screwed

By Robert T. Trate     September 22, 2009

Bruce Campbell Vs. The Army of Darkness on Blu-ray
© Bob Trate


Last week Universal Studios released Sam Raimi’s now classic film Army of Darkness on Blu-ray. I won’t lie to you; I was really looking forward to this one. After all, I have loved these films since I first saw Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn on “Up all Night” on the USA network years ago. I went opening night when the Army of Darkness premiered back in 1993. I have stood in line for hours to get Mr. Campbell’s autograph, a nice fellow by the way. To really show my admiration for the film I got the local art house cinema to screen the film on 35mm and then run the alternate ending on DVD. I can safely say I am a big fan. What I am not a fan of is this Blu-ray “Screwhead Edition”.
To get right to the heart of it this was Universal’s big chance to really let out a no holds barred definitive edition with the best sound and picture quality to date. With the space that is available on a Blu-ray disc Universal could have packed it with tons of special features and all four versions of the film including the 96-minute director's cut, the 81-minute U.S. theatrical version (the only one on the disc), the 88-minute international edit and the 88-minute U.S. television version. Blu-ray technology could have also allowed us to watch multiple versions at the same time. The use of this technology is clearly seen in the Sin City Blu-ray (see review). The High Definition transfer is breathtaking. The colors pop as if you were on set with Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Richard’s yellow flags glisten in the sun light. There is a brilliant hint of green slime on Ash’s shirt which was long forgotten. The oddest highlight for Blu-ray transfers maybe the fact that each and every actor looks as if they have a sun burn. This is the “HI-DEF MOVIE” experience for the sound as well. All the creaks, swooshes and bizarre screams are ear shattering, in a good way. What really shatters the heart are the special features.
What is included in the special features is probably the best rendering of the alternate ending ever, the one Universal found too depressing. There is also a brand new twenty one minute Hi-Def Documentary called “Creating the Deadites”. Here we are given a retrospective about a time when CGI effects were still in their infancy and the call for real world effects was needed. Make-up artists and craftsmen discuss their joys with working for Raimi and many on set moments are revealed. The best of which included Raimi, though not in the documentary for comments, is seen on set taunting and joking with the puppets and puppeteers. The documentary moves pretty quickly and could have easily been expanded upon. Then you are done with this “Screwhead Edition”, because there is nothing else.
Anchor Bay is known for releasing a new version or edition every so many years for all the Evil Dead films (see my review of Evil Dead the Ultimate Edition). So much that many people, including Bruce Campbell have made fun of it. You know what? Anchor Bay knows what they are doing with this property. My two disc limited edition version, circa 1999, might not look as good as the Blu-ray but there is commentary for the director’s cut, numerous deleted scenes and a behind the scenes featurette narrated by Bruce Campbell himself. I hold in my hand one of the 30,000 copies released of this limited edition and still see it has the definitive one.
Now many of us have sob stories as what has happened to our copies of Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. Unfortunately many of us share the same ending in that we have lent it out and never had it returned. If you have misplaced it or need to replace your copy of Army of Darkness then the “Screwhead Edition” is good enough, for now. You have probably seen or know everything that would have been on more special features anyway. It is worth picking up if you need just a copy of the movie. If you are a die hard fan like me hold out for just a little while longer for the next edition. It is only a matter of time before the property falls back into Anchor Bay’s hands or Universal wises up and we get the limited edition re-released on Blu-ray. Regardless “Hail to the King Baby!”
Mania Grade Movie: A+
Mania Grade Special Features: C-
Mania Grade Blu-ray Transfer: A+
HORROR (in anticipation of Halloween, Horror comes first)
Albino Farm ~ Tammin Sursok, Chris Jericho, Richard Christy, and Duanie Whitaker
Bedtime Ghost Tales
Beware the Children
Carnival of Souls - IN COLOR! Also Includes the Original Black-and-White Version which has been Beautifully Restored and Enhanced! ~ Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, and Herk Harvey
The Chosen One ~ Arthur Collins, Carolina Monnerat, Sam Porretta, and Jared Barron
Clive Barker's Book of Blood ~ Simon Bamford, Clive Russell, Sophie Ward, and Jonas Armstrong
Edges of Darkness ~ Alonzo F. Jones, Shamika Ann Franklin, and Annemarie Pazmino
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto ~ Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, Brian Posehn, and Danny Trejo
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto [Blu-ray]
Hillbilly Cannibal Bloodline
Manson Kilmore: The Night Caller of Coal Miners Holler - Part 1 Deadly Secrets
Manson Kilmore: The Night Caller of Coal Miners Holler - Part 2 Payback Is Hell
Mondo Psycho ~ Guillermo Lombardi
Reincarnation of Isabel ~ Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni, Christa Barrymore, and Raoul Rossi
Severed: Forest of The Dead ~ Paul Campbell
Shaun of the Dead [Blu-ray] ~ Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Lucy Davis, and Jessica Stevenson
Vampire Collection - COLLECTOR'S EDITION TIN!
Vampires: Out For Blood ~ Kevin Dillon
Witchmaster General ~ Phil Lewis, Suzi Lorraine, Vic Martino, and Colleen Marie
Adam Resurrected ~ Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Cristian Motiu, and Vasile Albinet
Adam Resurrected [Blu-ray]
Black Afrodite ~ Ajita Wilson
Fear Of The Dark ~ Kevin Zegers
Gangs Of The Dead ~ Enrique Almeida, Howard Alonzo, and Reggie Bannister
Play Dead ~ Chris Klein, Fred Durst, Jake Busey, and Sasha Alexander
Rage ~ Steve Buscemi, Eddie Izzard, Jude Law, and John Leguizamo
Run Run Bunny! ~ Guillermo Lombardi
Six: The Mark Unleashed ~ Stephen Baldwin
Streets of Blood [Blu-ray] ~ Michael Biehn, Val Kilmer, Dylan McDermott, and Sharon Stone
Honey and Clover: Box, Vol. 1
Knight Hunters & Knight Hunters Eternity-Complete Thin Pack
Nabari No Ou: Complete Series, Part 1
Naruto Uncut Box Set, Vol. 16
Naruto Uncut Box Set 16 (3pc) (Full Dub Spec)
Yu-Gi-Oh GX!: Rise of the Sacred Beasts, Part 2
Astro Boy 1: Astro Boy Blasts Off (Ws Sub) [UMD for PSP]
SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes
Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection (4 Disc Set)
Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf or Death ~ Peter Sallis
Hot Fuzz (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray] ~ Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton, and Julia Deakin
Observe and Report ~ Seth Rogen
Observe and Report [Blu-ray]
Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] ~ Robbie Amell, Nick Palatas, Frank Welker, and Kate Melton
Three Stooges and W.C. Fields - COLLECTOR'S EDITION TIN!
Battle for Terra ~ David Cross, James Garner, Danny Glover, and Mark Hamill
Battle for Terra [Blu-ray]
Gojira [Blu-ray] ~ Akihiko Hirata, Momoko Kochi, Kokuten Kodo, and Haruo Nakajima
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [Blu-ray] ~ Kirstie Alley, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, and James Doohan
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home [Blu-ray] ~ Vijay Amritraj, Majel Barrett, Michael Berryman, and Robin Curtis
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [Blu-ray]
Star Trek VIII: First Contact [Blu-ray] ~ LeVar Burton, James Cromwell, Michael Dorn, and Jonathan Frakes
Zombies of the Stratosphere ~ Ray Boyle, Lane Bradford, Roy Engel, and Judd Holdren
30 Rock - Season Three ~ Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer
Brotherhood: The Final Season ~ Jason Isaacs, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish, and Ethan Embry
Castle: The Complete First Season ~ Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and Jon Huertas
Friday the 13th: The Series - The Final Season ~ Chris Wiggins, Louise Robey, and John D. Lemay
Friday the 13th: The Series - Complete Series Pack ~ Chris Wiggins, Louise Robey, and John D. Lemay
Ghost Whisperer: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Jennifer Love Hewitt, David Conrad, Jay Mohr, and Camryn Manheim
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - The Tenth Year ~ Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Richard Belzer, and Dann Florek
The Mentalist: The Complete First Season ~ Simon Baker
Star Trek The Original Series: Season Two [Blu-ray] ~ William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan
Taxi: The Complete Fourth Season ~ Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Andy Kaufman, and Tony Danza
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete Second Season ~ Lena Headey, Thomas Dekker, Summer Glau, and Brian Austin Green
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray]
Paul Newman: The Tribute Collection ~ Paul Newman
Swordfish / Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Double Feature)
Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection [Blu-ray] ~ Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Levar Burton, and Brent Spiner
Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection
Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection ~ William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Robert also participates in a pod cast that reviews movies, comics and celebrates all things geek. Check it out at You’ve Got Geek on You.com.


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DaForce1 9/22/2009 2:02:00 AM

Wrath of Khan is out on Blu-Ray?!? Shit.....I may have to get it.

karas1 9/22/2009 4:04:27 AM

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [Blu-ray] ~ Kirstie Alley, Bibi Besch, Merritt Butrick, and James Doohan

Hmm, I think there are some actors missing there...

StarlightGuard 9/22/2009 4:23:41 AM

Star Trek! Star Trek! Star Trek!

Pure un-JJ'd Star Trek!

OOH! And Wallace and Gromit in a new short feature apparently!

Hobbs 9/22/2009 7:27:32 AM

Is Wrath of Khan the theater version or the special edition that came out a few years ago?  I never liked the scenes that Meyer put back in it.  It make Kirk look like a whiner instead of the confident Captain we all know.  Not saying he wasn't actually feeling those things he said but as the Captain you can't show it and that's one of the reason I felt it was cut out to begin with.

themovielord 9/22/2009 2:28:38 PM

HObbs it is the Theater edition... I covered that when they released it in the big blu-ray box set in the summer. See http://www.mania.com/khan-quagmire_article_115264.html ` Robert



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