The Evil Dead DVD Commentaries: Amateurishness and “Bad Film' Discourse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

While a colourful, eventful production story can be an appealing characteristic of many low-budget cult films, this is particularly the case with the funny, anecdote-filled story of the making of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead. Since the release of Elite's Special Edition DVD of the film in 1999, this aspect of the fim's cult appeal has been effectively harnessed in the DVD commentaries that have accompanied this version and all subsequent DVD versions of the film. On the one hand, the popularity of these commentaries amongst dedicated Evil Dead fans illustrates how the production histories of low-budget independent productions can be distinctly DVD-friendly, assisting in the perpetuation of the long-term cult reputation of a particular film. On the other, it illustrates the potential for low-budget, independent cult films to be appreciated and experienced not only inter-textually but also extra-textually. The aim of this chapter will be to consider the ways in which The Evil Dead DVD commentary tracks work as crucial 'proxy cult' texts (Mathijs and Mendik, 2008: 8) that have come to be connected to the cult experience of watching and appreciating The Evil Dead. This chapter will analyse the commentary tracks themselves, as well as fan responses to these commentaries, in order to consider how the circulation of the film's making of story (in DVD commentary form) has impacted on the film's cult appreciation, allowing many fans to overlook the film's flaws and inconsistencies, to appreciate the personality and fallibility of the filmmakers, and to feel inspired to make films of their own.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationB is for Bad Cinema
Subtitle of host publicationAesthetics, Politics and Cultural Value
EditorsClaire Perkins, Constantine Verevis
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherState University of New York Press
Pages181-196
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781438449975
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

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