Army of Darkness - 1992
Army of Darkness completes the quasi trilogy of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series. This movie picks back-up with Ash, played famously by Bruce Campbell, after the end of Evil Dead II. The first two were “cabin in the woods” horror movies with comedic elements and the third one is… well, different. The third falls in the comedy, horror, medieval and action adventure genres - you know the same old same old. The plot is as follows:
Ash finds himself “accidentally” transported to medieval times. In his quest to find his way back to his time, he learns that the Necronomicon (evil book) is his only choice. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for us, he releases all the evil locked away within the book.
Bruce Campbell is an endless well of charisma and confidence. He convincingly portrays a man whose weapon of choice is a chainsaw attached to his arm and I don’t second guess this for a second. He is the center of attention in every single frame he appears in and you miss him whenever he is gone. He puts is some overtime in this movie as well, since not only is he playing the hero in Ash, he is the main villain in, well… Evil Ash. Campbell went through hell during production of this movie. He had to learn the fight choreography for both roles and often had to fight alone since the stop motion skeletons would be added in post. Make-up for Evil Ash took around 3 hours every day and it was hard for him to talk or emote through it. Yet, watching the final product you would never imagine any of this, given how joyful and charismatic Campbell is.
I can say either Bruce Campbell or Ash Williams, by now both are synonyms in the zeitgeist. There are very few roles in this industry that are impossible to recast and Ash is by far one of them. Along with being an impossible role to recast, it is also one of the most quotable movie characters of all time. Yes, I’m going to list my favorites and you can’t stop me:
· All right, you primitive screw-heads, listen up! See this? This... is my boomstick!
· First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me. (spits out grape seed) Blow
· Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun
Now, while the movie vastly benefits from Bruce Campbell’s line delivery of the quotes above, the writing from the Raimi brothers is the reason why this movie is such a cult classic. It takes major cojones to take a straight forward story, of a demon possession at a cabin in the woods and do a sequel in medieval times. This movie grabs the audience by the throat and takes them along for a weird ride. The moment you think it can’t get any weirder than this, they one up themselves. My favorite weird moment is Ash vs the Tiny Ash army, no words can describe how truly weird it is, so I might as well show you:
Army of Darkness is a Sam Raimi movie and nobody else can make this movie. This is the most Raimi movie you can ever see. His finger print is all over this movie and I love him for it. His style is unlike any other working director in Hollywood today. His use of practical effect, comedic violence, quick editing and super close-ups is the calling card of a Raimi movie and Army has all of this in bulk. One of my favorite sequences that showcase Raimi’s style is the one below, enjoy:
This movie is the very definition of a cult classic. Plays to a very niche crowd, quotable, unique and it has an extremely loyal fan-base that has always supported the franchise. Ash has become an integral part of our pop culture to the point that he got a series built around him. Directors as unique and visionary as Sam Raimi and actors as iconic as Bruce Campbell are why I love movies.
Army of Darkness is available to rent on multiple streaming services, worth your time and money.
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