ARMY OF DARKNESSAnchor Bay Entertainment
1993
R

“You see this? This…is my BOOMstick!”

Taking place after the events at the end of Evil Dead 2, Ash and his car wind up in medieval times, where he’s immediately captured by a bunch of knights and led back to the castle to be executed. This obviously doesn’t sit too well with Ash, considering the night he had in the previous film, so he goes medieval on some deadites (sorry, couldn’t resist) and wins the uneasy alliance of his captors. To get back to his time, he has to find that pesky Necronomicon. He finds it, but he also screws up a tiny detail, and now our one-liner spouting hero with the chin that doesn’t quit has to help the good people fight off an army of risen Deadites led by none other than the Evil Ash. Ash is going to be late for his next shift at the S-Mart…

Let it be known that I will always have a copy of Army Of Darkness close by. This is one of the most fun-filled romps that’s been captured on film, and done perfectly by Raimi, who is, by default, a god in an unassuming nerd garb.

While technically the third film in the Evil Dead series, Army Of Darkness works as a stand-alone film (like the first two), as it splits from the horror genre of the previous entries, and goes the total fantasy adventure route, while keeping the spirit (no pun intended) of the series firmly in check. Campbell is in top form as Ash, who now sports a “I’ll kick anyone’s arse” macho attitude while also being a bit cowardly, and spouting some of the best one-liners ever (one liners that were lifted directly by the Playstation game “Duke Nukem”). To this day, phrases like “Gimme some sugar, baby”, “Good, bad…I’m the one with the gun”, “Groovy” and “Hail to the king” still pop up in late-night coffee drenched conversations…and I still shout “KLAATU, BARADA, NIK#$%!” out loud for no apparent reason…

The movie starts off on a high note, and it never quits with the stylish creativity and the laughs for an hour straight. Ash’s misadventures in this displaced time is great fun- be it him battling a Deadite hag in a well, fighting off evil books, fighting a bunch of pesky mini-Ashes, facing off with “Bad Ash”, or getting poked at by a bunch of skeleton hands in a graveyard (damn funny scene). Things do slow up a bit during the big showdown with the Deadite army, but not by much. And, depending on if you got the standard or one of the “Special Edition” DVDs, you know that there are two different endings to the movie. Personally, I like the one shown in the US better (the one at the S-Mart) than the post-apocalyptic ending, as it gives a sense of closure to the series while leaving open a possible sequel (one that probably won’t happen, but I can dream, can’t I?).

In the end, while not being truly horror, Army Of Darkness is a perfect capper to a classic genre trilogy…and unlike that other classic trilogy, we won’t be getting any hackneyed and stale prequels.

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