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Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)
I found out some good news from the scifi channel's website -

The SciFi channel is airing AoD this Friday, September 15th at 11 am and then again on October 22nd at 11 pm eastern time.

I will make a recording this Friday from DirectTV with my digital 8 setup - but if there is anyone out there with a better setup and can capture the digital satelite signal itself, then please do it!

Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)
First off - My cousin is doing much, much better. When she first got to the hospital, the doctors were saying she wasn't going to live - but hey, she's walking around now. I'm still amazed about the whole thing. She's recovering at such a fast rate that it's unreal. I gave her copies of ocpmovie's classic editions, Deleted Magic, and The Thief and the Cobbler - as well as Doctor M's reinventing the wheel editions. As you might guess, she's a big OUT (original unaltered trilogy) fan.
Unfortunately she hasn't gotten to watch much of the videos since she's still seeing double and it gives her a headache to watch tv. We did try to watch Deleted Magic - her boyfriend and I took turns reading the Deleted Magic text out-loud and it was kind of funny. Although initially enthusiastic about Deleted Magic, my cousin fell asleep about halfway through. Anyways - thank you guys for the kind words. It meant a lot to me.

Reverend - unfortunately I read that message about a week after it aired. My DirectTV receiver is set up to tell me whenever Army of Darkness, along with other programs, comes on - but I guess it's not working. Anyways, thank you for the heads up even though I missed it. The good news is that I've been tinkering with my original recording of the SciFi version - and it's not so bad having the full-screen DVD fill in for the 1 min of footage I missed at the end. Ocpmovie sent me his older recording of the SciFi version so I could put to rest any fears I had that the ending was different from the theatrical version (thanks again ocpmovie!). What I discovered was that there is one line in the tv version that isn't in any other versions - it's when the flashing blue light in S-Mart appears - Ash says "So I left her there." After that, it's exactly the same as the theatrical version. My recording stops right before Ash says, "Mam, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the store" - so my recording has everything that's exclusive to the tv version. I really don't think it's a problem to patch it up with the fullscreen dvd footage.

Anyways - I should have a dvd of the SciFi version out shortly. What I'm doing now is checking for interlacing errors since I did perform an inverse telecine on the whole movie. I'm sure some interlacing problems will escape me, but I've already fixed the major problem areas, as well as a few small ones. As the whole thing stands now, it is a mighty fine progressive presentation of the SciFi cut. Also - I haven't performed any color/brightness/contrast correcting - the reason for this is that I think it looks fine as it is. I'm also hoping that since I didn't tinker with the image (aside from the inverse telecine), this dvd might be considered useful to any others out there who might work on a fan edit of Army of Darkness.

Work on my fan edit is still slowly crawling along. I recently discovered that the Army of Darkness soundtrack contains all of the music that is missing from the Little Ashes sequence on the director's cut. Naturally I restored most of that music just so I could see how it plays - and it's been growing on me. I'm very familiar with the official versions, so it's strange when Army of Darkness suddenly has music in it that I'm not familiar with, but like I said - it's growing on me and I actually like it. I put a few different versions up on youtube so you all could have a look and listen at what I'm talking about.

The Original Director's Cut with No Music

Director's Cut with Restored Music

The SciFi version of this sequence moves a little faster than the director's cut, but it cuts out the shot where you can hear the little Ashes yelling "yeeeaaah baby!" - which is something I love. It is also missing a little music, which some of you might find preferable.

The SciFi Cut

Also - just for fun, here is the crazy Australian cut. If you don't like the Little Ashes sequence, then you will probably appreciate the way the editor butchered this version.

Australian Version
Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)
Here's a dramatic "before and after" example of the cleanup I've been doing on the deleted Henry the Red sequence. Most of the cleanup has involved removing small bits of dirt and dust, which is time consuming but not really challenging - but as you can see, this frame right here was a monster -


This is one of 8 frames with this type of marking moving all over Henry's face. It's tricky work, but the results have been pretty good. I'm not saying you won't be able to tell that I did some cleanup on these 8 troublesome frames, but it doesn't call attention to itself or distract. =)

Even with the cleanup, this deleted sequence won't look as good as the rest of the movie - but hopefully it won't stick out as bad as it would've.

Well - back to work.
I just compared my 'Hoosiers' Anamorphic & Non-Anamorphic DVD's
Something a little strange - most official anamorphic dvds do not reach their potential anyways. Studios apply detail reduction to the video image to help with the compression. A while ago, I converted an HD quicktime movie to a dvd file. The video was a trailer for Terrence Malick's The New World. I used the high quality lanczos setting to resize the video to the standard dvd resolution. Anyways, when I watched my transfer of the trailer over an HD projector projecting onto a 106" diagonal screen, the video quality was amazing. It looked very close to HD. Later when I watched the official New Line dvd on the projector, the image wasn't nearly as sharp or vibrant. To say the least, comparing the footage was an interesting experience.

Anyways, it makes sense that a studio's official non-anamorphic dvd wouldn't look too bad when compared to the official anamophic release. Even the best anamorphic releases are usually handicapped with detail reduction and small edge enhancement halos.

Edit - yeah, anamorphic releases are better - especially for 2.35:1 films. I was just trying to make myself feel better. These are some sad times.
Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)
Thank you very much, Rikter.

Progress is still being made on this project. The audio mix is almost done and the SciFi sequences look as good as I can make them. In the next few days I'll be working on cleaning up the rest of the dirt in the deleted "Ash recruits Henry the Red" sequence. I've already spent plenty of hours removing the dirt and markings on this sequence, and in the end it will look as good as it possibly can.
Make your voices heard! (again) - re the 2006 GOUT DVD being in letterbox format
**EDIT - Since I didn't have the time to send out my original letter today, I decided to rewrite it. I have deleted the original letter from this message**

Here's what I'll be sending:

Dear Mr. Ward,

I was very excited about the news regarding the September release of the Original-Original Trilogy (it sounds funny saying that out-loud) on DVD, and I have already gone around spreading this good news to my friends who honestly didn't believe me when I told them about it. As you can imagine, their jaws dropped and they were speechless when I told them I wasn't joking. What can I say? We're a bunch of Star Wars fanatics and we thought it would be a cold day on planet Mercury before we ever saw a high-quality, official DVD release of the Original-Original Trilogy. Shortly after this fantastic news hit, there was speculation on the net that Lucasfilm would merely put 13 year old laserdisc masters onto these highly anticipated dvds. I said this idea was ridiculous because Lucasfilm is synonymous with quality and to think otherwise would be silly. Surely some sort of restored film master from 1993 was being used, and not a dated video master from the same year. Unfortunately, these rumors have apparently been confirmed by the highly respected website, The Digital Bits. A part of me still doesn't believe it and is waiting for The Digital Bits to correct their erroneous report.

I know it might sound silly, but the Star Wars films are very important to me. I'll spare you my life story, but I will tell you that the original versions of the classic trilogy provided the perfect escape for me during one of the hardest times in life. I am forever grateful to George Lucas for his creation and I'll always consider him a genius. Even if I don't buy the September release due to its' low quality, I will no doubt remain enthusiastic regarding the Star Wars universe. Hopefully at some point the original versions of the original trilogy will be given a high quality video release, but until then, I cannot easily justify spending money on a low-quality product which is no better than what I already own. Despite it all, I'm still glad that the original versions will finally find their way to dvd this September. It's just very unfortunate that this will be a bittersweet experience for so many loyal and dedicated fans.

What are you going to do with your SE discs?
Originally posted by: juicerino
if you really loved star wars, you wouldnt pass shit versions of the movies to already less-than-fortunate kids.
Originally posted by: Yoda Is Your Father
Good point. Those poor kids have it bad already without that shit in their lives.

lol - I love you guys.

Personally, I think it's a great idea to send thousands of unharmed discs back to George Lucas with a request that he donate them to charities all around the world. If this were to happen - yes, some poor children would have to be subjected to the horrors of the OT Special Editions, but they're acceptable losses in this war to ensure that the OOT will have future releases beyond September 12, 2006.

And JediRandy - I can't shake the feeling that you might be George Lucas. If you are Mr. Lucas, then would you actually donate to charity any discs that we might send your way? Also I'd like to thank you for Star Wars in general. If you're not George Lucas - then nevermind.
Original Trilogy DVD FAQ (Unofficial)
No one needs to worry. Last night I had a dream where I spoke with George Lucas, and indeed - these upcoming dvds will be newly transfered from film elements. He said it was ridiculous that anyone would think he would simply slap some old laserdisc masters onto these dvds. After all, he's George Lucas - the man behind ILM and THX! He's all about using technology to its fullest!

But yes, unfortunately it was just a dream. So don't quote me.
Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)
Originally posted by: ChainsawAsh
I'd be VERY interested in this - is there a chance of this getting uploaded to MySpleen or another torrent site when you finish it?

I wouldn't be suprised if it did find it's way onto a well-visited torrent site.

Originally posted by: focuspuller
project sounds great, can't wait to see it. How are you able to sync all the clips from the different sources, what programs are you using?

Vegas 6.0 is making it all possible.

-Sorry to keep this message extra short, but lately my free time has been greatly reduced thanks to upcoming finals. I shall return with full force to this project after May 2nd.

Also - A big "Thank You!" to everyone for the kind words and interest in the project.
Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)

Hopefully it will just take a few days to get familiar with Sony's DVD Architect 3.0. The program should allow branching, although I doubt it will be seamless - more likely there will be slight pauses. I'll do what I can to orgranize the footage so that the branching is done during the more quiet and still moments.

As for Ocpmovie's suggestions - I am going to incorporate the deleted scene where Ash recruits Henry the Red. I feel it is a worthy scene that deserves to be in some version of the movie. The video quality in this scene is actually not too terrible, though it certainly has blemishes. I've already spent a day digitally removing a great deal of hairs, spots, markings, and all of the splices in the footage - and it looks a little better but still needs more attention. As far as the audio in this deleted scene - anyone have any ideas on how to make it sound better? I've tried different audio filtering methods and nothing really helps. There probably isn't a whole lot that can be done.

And yes - I am using a method that directly streams all 24p VOB footage into my video editor without loss of quality or recompression of any kind. For the SciFi footage and deleted Arthur scene, I am using IVTC to recreate the original 24 frames per second. Again - it's all progressive. The final version will have the necessary pulldown flags for interlaced players - but the progressive image will be preserved for progressive players.

For those of you asking about it - A preservation of the SciFi cut itself is a fine idea for a project. Except for the tape running out during the S-Mart ending (which should be exactly the same as the theatrical version), I have the entire SciFi cut recorded onto Digital 8. I believe that other than the extra scenes and additional music - the only other main difference with this cut is that the final battle sequence is edited in a different manner from both the theatrical and director's cut (though I'd have to check to be sure). Sometime after my main project is done I'll also release the unmodified, full-screen SciFi version separately if no one else gets around to it. I'll need to recheck the tape to ensure there won't be any problems.

I think that about covers it - looks like I'm going to have a little more to do with Army of Darkness than originally planned. It shouldn't force that much of a delay though. However, I do have finals coming up - and that gets top priority unfortunately.
Army of Darkness - The Primitive Screwhead Edition (Released)



Although the Region 3 Director’s Cut DVD of Army of Darkness was fantastic, it was still missing two great sequences and music which seem to only exist in the version shown on the SciFi channel. For the last 2 years, I have been working off and on to create a slightly extended version of the director’s cut which could incorporate all of my favorite elements.

I was able to obtain a copy of the SciFi version by recording it with the best setup I have - my digital 8 video camera connected to DirectTV via s-video and rca audio cables.

The elements I’m using from the TV version are -

-A sequence early on in the film where Ash and Arthur have a direct confrontation before Ash’s capture.

-Alternate audio when Ash enters the windmill and sits down. The day begins to pass away quickly as the old windmill creaks. The official DVD versions have music during this sequence. The SciFi version has no music, just sound effects. There’s something about the music-less version that I prefer, so it’s going into this cut.

-Sequence where Ash cautiously leaves the windmill when he hears his horse cry out.

-Alternate audio during the ‘Little Ashes’ sequence. The official director’s cut dvd has no music during this long sequence - making it a chore to watch. Strangely (yet appropriately), the SciFi version is scored with silly, Looney Toons-esque music.

-The line “Battlestations!”, which Ash yells before the beginning of the final battle.

-The music during the exchange between Arthur and Ash - “I was wrong to think you a coward”

Also - I’m using a few things from the theatrical version which isn’t featured on the director’s cut -

Music during the fight with the “She-Bitch”

All of these lines missing from the Director’s Cut will be present -

“Good, Bad - I’m the guy with the gun”

“…yeah, and maybe I’m a chinese jet pilot”

“Put your backbones into it”

“Women and children first”

As far as the multiple endings go - I’ll figure out how to make this a branching dvd.

**A Matter of Aspect Ratios

You may be wondering how I’m going to incorporate the standard 4:3 SciFi footage into the widescreen footage. Thankfully the SciFi version was transferred mostly open matte. When looking at the inferior quality versions of these sequences on an official dvd, it is clear that the SciFi version can be easily cropped in order to recreate a close approximation of the intended widescreen version.

inferior quality version from the official dvds-

unmodified SciFi version -

my tinkered around with version -

Unfortunately, not all shots in the SciFi version work out that nicely.

Here’s a shot that gave me a little trouble -

As you can see, Ash is located in an area that would force me to include the SciFi logo -

The inferior version from the official dvd is unattractively framed and doesn’t serve as a guide in how to appropriately crop this scene-

Here’s what I came up with -

Since this is a stationary shot, it proved easy to remove the SciFi logo. I just superimposed some fullscreen dvd footage over it. The footage I’m refering to is the other up-above shot when Ash runs out of the windmill screaming, “Oh dear God, it’s growing bigger!”

Edit* Currently there’s no telling when this thing will be truly finished.

If I could possibly find a copy of a workprint, then I will put any additional footage from that elsewhere on the disc as a special feature.

The final version of my edit will feature a smooth 24p framerate and 5.1 surround sound.

This cut uses -

Director’s Cut - MGM Region 3 DVD
Theatrical Cut - Universal HD-DVD/DVD Combo Edition
Television Cut shown on the SciFi Channel