What is Evil Ed? That was my first reaction when it was announced for a Limited Edition release by Arrow Video. As someone who’s been into horror movies since before I should’ve been watching them, Evil Ed wasn’t something that had appeared on my radar. But when the press release compared it to such classics as Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator, and early Peter Jackson schlock, my interest was piqued.
Directed by Anders Jacobsson and starring Johan Rudebeck as Edward Tor Swenson, Evil Ed’s a simple tale of a film technician who goes slightly mad when he has to edit numerous pieces of nasty footage, but with a subtext about Swedish censorship.
What unfolds is one of the most bizarre and off-the-wall movies you could hope to see. Horror-comedy is a tough sub-genre to pull off, especially when the two genres are amongst the most polarising. If you go in accepting that none of Evil Ed will make sense, and that it’s going to be a nonsensical hybrid of ideas, then your expectations will probably be met.
Ed is moved to work in the dark and dingy Splatter & Gore section, away from the store’s classier and cleaner Foreign Film department. This commentary on the film world is something many horror fans can relate to. Horror has always been one of the most under-appreciated genres, never quite taken seriously compared to other genres, yet it remains one of the most popular. Evil Ed is clearly made by film fans who drop various subtle references and really play into the stereotypical views that we’re all familiar with.
Ed’s work on the Loose Limbs series is what pushes him over the edge. This fictional series is the most popular company product, and despite Ed’s predecessor killing himself work goes ahead. It doesn’t take long for Ed to tumble down the same path towards madness, and we see numerous hallucinations of monsters, strippers, and something demonic that wants him to kill everyone. All of this mixed in with the commentary on editing Loose Limbs and what makes for a ‘good’ movie is an interesting attempt at discussing film censorship and who makes those final decisions. It certainly poses a number of questions that are still relevant today, such as the correlation between what viewers see onscreen and their own actions in real life. Such influences from film, television, and video games are still considered too much by many and the press often drag them up when a story needs some scandal.
If you’re looking for a well-made, well-acted movie then you’re definitely in the wrong place. Evil Ed looks like it was filmed by a university student who hired a camera for a day and got a few mates round to ‘act’ without much of a script. You’ll either love it or hate it. For me, as someone who enjoyed Bad Taste and Braindead, I have no issues at all with low-budget films offering no recognisable stars, and feel they can offer something different that most Hollywood movies can’t replicate. Much like the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, less can often be more, and while Evil Ed never aims to be the scariest it does have some unsettling moments as well as some bizarrely funny ones too. It never takes itself too seriously and you shouldn’t either.
3-DISC LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:
- Two versions of the film.
- Original Stereo and 5.1 DTS-HD MA Audio Options.
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys.
- Collector’s Booklet featuring new writing on the film by horror journalist Michael Gingold.
DISCS 1 & 2 (BLU-RAY/DVD) SPECIAL ED-ITION CUT:
- Special ED-ition cut [99 mins].
- Introduction by writer-director Anders Jacobsson and editor Doc.
- You Keep ‘Em Heads Rollin’. Extensive making-of documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew. This provides invaluable insight into the making of Evil Ed, the style of the movie, and why they approached the product how they did. We learn about how they wanted to go back to basics, to make something quickly and efficiently but with a high-quality output. Influenced by other similar projects and an old idea sitting around, Evil Ed came together from that. It’s an intriguing look into a movie that is very different from much of Arrow’s output. Anders took a risk in taking more of a guerrilla approach to Evil Ed and the end product is a film you’ll definitely remember, whether that be for good reasons or bad. Everyone involved in the documentary is very honest and open about what worked and what didn’t, especially when it comes to the different approaches from those behind the scenes compared to the cast. With very little input into the performances, Anders’ focus was clearly on shooting and visualising the final rather than worrying too much about the quality of acting, and while those in front of the camera may have had a fun experience they also clearly struggled with the lack of direction. It’s clear that Evil Ed was an original and challenging movie to make in the Swedish film industry, that hadn’t been attempted before, and therefore this documentart has a very interesting tale to tell.
- Before Ed and Beyond Ed featurette looking at the early filmmaking endeavours of the Evil Ed crew. Before Ed shows the influences of the early careers of the crew, and Beyond Ed discusses where their careers went after this unique attempt at filmmaking. Considering I’d never heard of Evil Ed, or anyone involved, before checking out this release, I found the special features to be worth the time, as these are men who have a very different and curious approach to filmmaking and great senses of humour. Obviously nobody’s career blew up after Evil Ed, and that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who watches it, but it didn’t put anyone off attempting to continue on in the industry. Whether it was behind the camera or with special effects, many of Evil Ed’s crew continued chasing their ambitions for years after.
- Deleted Scenes.
- Reconstructing Edward featurette looking at the preparation of the Special ED-ition cut
- New Scenes Featurette a closer look at the scenes that were added to the Special ED-ition cut.
- Trailers & Teasers.
- Image Gallery.
DISC 3 (BLU-RAY) ORIGINAL CUT [LIMITED ED-ITION EXCLUSIVE]
- Original Cut [93 mins].
- Lost in Brainland. Never-before-seen extended three-hour making-of documentary.
- Cast and Crew Interview Bloopers.
You can’t fault Arrow for going the extra mile on the additional content for this Limited Edition, though you may question just how much information you need to know about Evil Ed, but it’s there if you want it. If you do have an interest in making movies, foreign cinema and horror then you can learn a lot here from the openness of the director and writers, and it’s always good to have something a little different to your typical glossy Hollywood horror and endless remakes and sequels.
As a whole, this is another exceptional package from Arrow, and arguably more than Evil Ed really deserves. As terrible as it may be in places, there is enjoyment to be found and you will laugh and smile at times, and there’s definitely room in the horror genre for something a little bit weirder. While I can’t promise you’ll come out loving it, there’s far worse ways of spending an evening than watching Ed and his descent into madness.