• Evil Ed

    Released by: Arrow Video
    Released on: May 30th, 2017.
    Director: Anders Jacobsson
    Cast: Johan Rudebeck, Per Löfberg, Olof Rhodin, Cecilia Ljung
    Year: 1995
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    The Movie:

    Eddie Tor Swenson (Johan Rudebeck) spends his days editing art films, but his live is thrown into disarray when the quiet, unassuming man is given a change in duties. No longer will he be cutting Bergman-esque cinematic treasures, instead he’ll be cutting the naughty bits out of low budget sex and gore pictures for a local distribution company run by Sam Campbell (Olof Rhodin). How did this come about? Sam’s previous editor finally had enough and stuck a grenade in his mouth and pulled the pin.

    At any rate, Ed’s new gig is to trim all the good stuff out of the Loose Limbs films, a series of eight low budget gore pictures that Sam has just sold for a very lucrative distribution deal. Sam sets Ed up in an editing suite in his house just outside of town and Ed gets to work. His wife Barbara (Cecilia Ljung) calls one night to remind him about their daughter’s upcoming birthday party and he promises to be there, but otherwise Ed just throws himself right into his work like a dutiful employee. When Ed finishes one film, Sam has Nick (Per Löfberg) bring him another one – after all, they’re on a very tight deadline.

    Soon enough, however, Ed starts seeing things. He’s visited by a demon, he finds a monster in the refrigerator and he starts acting more and more like a character out of one of the movies that he’s editing. When these hallucinations give way to a murder spree and Ed misses his daughter’s party, well, it all goes from bad to worse very, very quickly.

    A film clearly made by horror fans for horror fans, Evil Ed is, like a lot of low budget indie genre pictures, full of references to other horror films. There are nods here to Night Of The Living Dead, Re-Animator, Evil Dead, Halloween and quite a few others scattered throughout the movie and hey, they even managed to get Bill Moseley to do the dubbing for the lead psychopath in the Loose Limbs films. It’s hard to take horror pictures seriously when they do this, but Evil Ed never asks you to take it seriously, so it’s not such a big deal. The movie is as much a gory comedy as it is a horror film, everything is played very over the top and even the gore in the film, which is both plentiful and really well done, is often comedic in tone.

    Johan Rudebeck is pretty great in the lead. He’s meek and mild to start but as the film progresses and his mental state regresses giving the actor ample opportunity to really chew some serious scenery. He does this well, really throwing himself into the part and going for it. The rest of the cast are pretty fun too - Olof Rhodin is a great choice to play the sleazeball distributor, Cecilia Ljung is good as the dotting wife and Per Löfberg fits his slacker role to a tee, but for the most part the film belongs to Rudebeck… and the effects work. There’s a lot of effects work here, all done practically before CGI sucked the soul out of movies like this and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Heads explode, limbs are severed, there’s blood all over the place – it’s pretty strong stuff, but again, done with tongue placed firmly in cheek.

    Note that Arrow’s Blu-ray release of the film includes the new ‘Special Ed-ition’ of the movie as well as the original cut of the film. The differences? The new cut runs about five minutes longer and includes a scene involving Ed on a balcony, some changes to the editing montage sequence and slightly improved audio synch. Thankfully the original version is maintained, the differences aren’t massive but it’s always ideal when viewers are given the option to choose with version they prefer.


    Evil Ed arrives on Blu-ray framed at 1.78.1 in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 2k scan of the original 16mm negative and it looks great. There are occasionally some small white specks here and there but that’s about it as far as print damage goes. The film’s grainy aesthetic is left firmly in place but detail, depth and texture are impressive throughout. Color reproduction is also really good here, with nice bright reds in the film’s splattery scenes and solid black levels in the darker moments. Shadow detail is occasionally a little less than perfect but it’s not due to crush, it’s due to the film’s original lighting. Otherwise, no complaints – this is an excellent film-like picture.

    Audio options are provided in LPCM 2.0 Stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio with optional subtitles available in English only. The whole film is dubbed but the clarity of the both tracks is pretty solid here. The 2.0 mix sounds more true to form while the 5.1 remix opens things up and places some sound effects and bits of the score in the rear channels. Either way, both tracks sound just fine with clean, clear dialogue and properly balanced levels.

    Extras on the first disc start out with a featurette called Keep Em Heads Rollin, essentially a making-of documentary that includes interviews with director/co-writer Anders Jacobsson, producer/actor Doc, co-writer Göran Lundström, leading man Johan Rudebeck, actress Cecilia Ljung, actor Per Löfberg and make-up technician Kaj Steveman. This forty-four minute piece sees the participants share plenty of stories from the set as well as offer up details on how the movie came to exist in the first place, what went into getting the shoot done on a pretty modest budget, why the film was dubbed, the stunts required during the shoot, some of the effects work entailed in the picture and quite a bit more. From there, checkout the Reconstructing Edward featurette that details the genesis of the creation of the ‘Special Ed-ition’ cut of the movie over the span of twenty minutes. Here Jacobsson and Doc detail the process that started in 2011 and wound up taking about five years wherein they went through the film elements, recovered some of what they wanted to reincorporate into the picture and then the subsequent editing and HD restoration process. Before Ed is a really fun ten minute piece that includes clips from some of the earlier movies that the creative team worked on (including the Halloween fan film that surfaces in Evil Ed in the background on a television screen) while Beyond Ed is a ten minute piece that fills us in on what some of the cast and crew have been involved with since wrapping production on Evil Ed. There’s also a separate six minute piece included on this disc called New Scenes in which Andersson and Doc talk about the new material that was added to the recut version of the picture.

    Rounding out the extras on the first disc is a healthy selection of deleted scenes (roughly twenty-two minutes of material, all in fairly rough shape and most from the first half hour of the movie – you can see why they cut this out, it doesn’t add much but is quite interesting to see), a collection of seven different teasers and trailers, a fairly massive still gallery, animated menus and chapter selection. The feature is also available to watch with an optional (and fairly humorous) five minute video introduction from Anders Jacobsson and Doc in which they talk about how long it took to re-edit the ‘Special Ed-ition’ version of the movie and describe some of the changes that took place.

    The second Blu-ray disc includes the original cut of the film as noted as well as a massive three hour documentary on the making of the feature entitled Lost In Brainland. This fairly exhausting piece covers pretty much everything you could want to know about the movie, including how they started out together working on a project called Highlight only to basically run out of money and then opt to shoot a low budget horror picture using as few locations as possible. From there they talk about mixing the film’s comedic elements with its more traditional horror elements, what it was like working on the production (they held onto their production diaries and are able to provide a lot of details and fun memories thanks to this), the locations, the effects, the editing, cutting the work print together, working with the actors and lots, lots more.

    Also included on this second disc is a five minute blooper real, menu and chapter selection.

    Also included inside the clear Blu-ray keepcase is a DVD version of the recut and an insert booklet containing liner notes on the film from Mike Gingold as well as credits for the feature, credits for the Blu-ray and a nice selection of stills from the film. Arrow also provides some keen reversible cover art featuring a newly created piece by Graham Humprheys on one side and the original poster art on the reverse.

    The Final Word:

    Evil Ed isn’t meant to be taken seriously, but as a horror-tinged splatter comedy it works, in fact, it’s a lot of goofy, gory fun. Arrow’s special edition Blu-ray release presents two cuts of the film, a three hour documentary and a host of other supplements in addition to a genuinely impressive presentation for the movie itself. All in all, a great package for a really entertaining little schlock picture.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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