My History With the Film:
My buddy Michael is a huge Evil Dead fan. I mean HUGE. A few months back we were discussing some horror documentaries and he mentioned this film called Invaluable that I had never heard of. The film took a look at the life and career of Tom Sullivan, the special effects artist on The Evil Dead. I was immediately intrigued because I love Evil Dead and I love horror documentaries. And being the standup guy that he is, Michael actually sent me his DVD copy of the documentary since he had recently purchased the blu-ray which was incredibly kind of him.
I finally sat down when I knew my head would be into watching this doc and I loved every minute of it.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A look into the life of Tom Sullivan, special effects artist on Evil Dead and Evil Dead II.
What I Liked About It:
-The film features interviews with almost every major player from Evil Dead with exception of Sam Raimi. Folks like Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Brain Rae, Scott Spiegel, and Theresa Tilly are just some of the names involved in this documentary.
-The film shows you parts of Evil Dead I never thought I’d see. Mr. Sullivan has a large assortment of props from the films and you get to see these in great detail with in-depth descriptions on how they were made and how they were used in the film. Mr. Sullivan also takes a road trip to Tennessee to various filming locations from the first film, including what remains of the original cabin.
-The quality of film used was all over the place. You can tell the doc took several years to make and different cameras were used. This led to the production feeling a bit amateurish but that was also part of the charm.
-The editing was pretty much on point with the doc going through Mr. Sullivan’s life in chronological order. This is surprising because not all the interviews were sit down and thorough and some came across as just quick answers from a convention table.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The filmmaker uses a variety of cheap filters across the documentary which can be quite distracting at times. It felt like a kid for the first time playing with a video editor and trying to make something look cool.
Invaluable reminded me a lot of a lesser polished version of To Hell and Back. It was full of some great stories, interesting insight, and we got to see horror history up close and uncensored. Could it have been better? Definitely, but the fact that this documentary even exists is surprising. Tom Sullivan was an essential part in creating one of horror’s greatest franchises and it’s nice to see him get the respect and credit he deserves.
I’d recommend this documentary to any fans of horror, but especially fans of the Evil Dead. For Evil Dead fans this is a must see documentary that you cannot afford to miss. For the rest of horror fans, it’s a damn good look into horror history and I highly recommend it.