Army of Darkness is the third chapter in director Sam Raimis 'Evil Dead' trilogy, and takes hero Ash (played by Bruce Campbell) from the cabin in the woods, dumping him in 13th Century England with nothing but his boomstick, a chainsaw, and the wreck of his 1973 Oldsmobile. Out of time, surrounded by evil, and low on gas.....
Of course the half-witted Ash endears himself to the primitive locals as only he can, and soon finds himself in chains and facing certain death in a deadite infested pit. One gore-splashing encounter with a demon later and it dawns on his medieval hosts that Ash just might be the 'promised one', the one that was prophesised to fall from the sky to deliver them from evil.
Naturally Ash is the absolutely least qualified person to be the savior of the world. He's crass, sexist, idiotic and cowardly - all attributes he displays in full when he manages to unleash a terrible evil on the world whilst trying to do the exact opposite, all because he's too bone-headed to remember three little magic words.
Theres one thing that Ash does excel at though, and that is fighting deadites and kicking ass which - having created the whole mess they find themselves in to begin with - he has ample opportunity to endulge in. A groovy mechanical hand later, a run in with a dozen tiny versions of himself resulting in the birth of his evil alter-ego 'Evil Ash', one kidnapped princess, a Rocky-style training montage, and an army of the dead on your doorstep, and the scene is set for one hell of a showdown.
Army of Darkness is without doubt my favorite movie of all time. I watched it at the cinema in 1992 having been enthralled by images on the back of my comic book of a man with a shotgun and a mechanical hand punching-out skeletons, and the poster for the movie sits on my wall to this day. To be honest it is a movie that suffers from terribly low production values and has a cast made up entirely of actors you are unlikely to have ever heard of, but is all the better for it. Animation is of the Harry Hausen stop-motion style, and director Raimi abandons the much more traditional horror of the first two movies for a film that is played mainly for laughs. Its also one of the most deliberately quotable movies of all time, and I defy you not to try and introduce at least a couple of Ash's one-liners into your working day! in short, its a brilliant little B-movie that in the more than 20 years since its release has deservedly gone on to gain a massive cult following.
This version of the DVD provides you with a completely remastered version of the original cinematic release including the 'S-Mart' ending. Also included on the DVD is the Directors cut with a slew of additional scenes as well as an alternate 'Planet of the Apes' ending. You can also watch the Directors cut with commentary from director Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert.
My only complaint is that you cannot watch the Directors cut in remastered HD, which is a shame as this was by far the most entertaining version of the film. Other than this however you are holding perhaps the single greatest cult movie of all time in your hands - a very groovy purchase indeed!
on 9 December 2013
Ash finds himself stranded in the year 1300 AD with his car, his shotgun, and his chainsaw.
Soon he is discovered and thought to be a spy for a rival kingdom and is taken prisoner. After proving his merit in The Pit, he decides to help the kingdom retrieve the Necronomicon, which will also help him return to his own time, which they need to battle the supernatural forces at play in the land.
Ash accidentally releases the Army of Darkness when retrieving the book, and a fight to the finish ensues.....
A word of advice, if you really want to enjoy the film for what it is, try not to see the first two movies in close proximity to this, it really does tarnish the overall effect of the film.
It can be seen as a standalone film, because the film really has no continuity with the first two, other than he gets sucked into the past, and he has a chainsaw.
But it's fun, and this was when Raimi was getting a too clever for Hollywood and when Campbell started self parody, so by no means expect a horror film. It has parts that are slightly eerie, like the pit scene, but its laugh out loud funny all the way through.
It's as if Raimi doesn't care what people think of his trilogy, he's doing this for himself and his friends, and the love of the film is evident, even though one feels we are being left out of most of the joke.
Effects are intentionally cheesy, as is the script, but its short, exciting and never once gets boring.
NB: As is their wont, Amazon have lumped together the reviews for all editions and formats of this title - and there have been a LOT of different editions. This review refers to Anchor Bay's deleted two-disc UK DVD.
Having abandoned genuine scares in favor of all-out slapstick, Army of Darkness, the third entry in the Evil Dead series sees Bruce Campbell lost in time, low on gas, surrounded by evil and facing the Medieval Dead with only a chainsaw, a '73 Oldsmobile, his trusty boomstick and a lot of attitude in a film that owes more to Ray Harryhausen than George A. Romero, albeit with an R-rating (it's one of the last films to use stop-motion extensively, with more sword-wielding skeletons than Harryhausen managed in his entire career). Never quite as much fun as you'd like it to be, it's certainly aged much better than expected - initially regarded as a disappointment, today it stands up rather well, especially when seen away from its two more small-scale predecessors. Joe LoDuca's unapologetically old-fashioned epic score is a lot of fun too, particularly cues like `Manly Men' and `Building the Deathmobile.'
Seeing the two versions of the film side by side on Anchor Bay's 2-disc DVD - the US theatrical version with the S-Mart ending and the longer director's `Bootleg cut' with the original `Planet of the Apes' ending, the differences in the longer version are mainly extended scenes rather than deleted ones, though the use of a few alternate takes means that some of the most quotable lines from the shorter version are lost ("Good, bad, I'm the one with the gun." "Maybe my men can hold them. Maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot." "Hail to the king, baby.") and the picture quality is a lot softer. It has to be said that both versions have their merits: there's a bit of repetition in the long version (Marcus Gilbert's every other line in the last half hour seems to be "We are deserted!") and while a lot of good stuff was lost when the film was trimmed for the US, the shorter version IS a lot snappier and the S-Mart Dedite ending is quite fun even if it doesn't set up the will-it-ever-get-made Evil Dead 4 promised in the original ending.
on 10 October 2014
Though this movie isn't quite as good as Evil Dead II, it's still a great watch - especially with a few beers! - and there are some genius moments of Tom&Jerry style slapstick violence, some cool effects and a fair amount of laughs too. Bruce Campbell does his comedy/horror shtick with aplomb in this installment. Love the cover art!
on 8 October 2008
I know what you're thinking - this classic film starring Bruce Campbell has been released so many times already (and it has)... but whether you're a long-time fan or newcomer, it's worth getting this movie on Blu-Ray. Essentially, it's the HD-DVD version transferred to the Blu-Ray format, but what a difference HD makes - the quality of the picture is the best I've seen of this film. One thing worth mentioning, as it neglects to tell you under EXTRAS on the box cover: This Blu-Ray edition is the U.S. theatrical cut with the S-Mart ending - but the Director's Cut appears as an "extra" in standard definition. Incidentally, the DVD release (with the same box art and extras information) is the Director's Cut! All in all, worth £14 of anyone's money. Hail to the king baby!
on 28 January 2013
Bruce Campbell is the absolute king of B Movies and in this movie he's in the absolute prime of his career. He's got such screen presence doing all the corny and off the wall hilarious jokes and physical humor in what is the third movie of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. The first movie was pretty much a straight up horror movie and a cult classic, then Evil Dead 2 while it still had a bit of true horror in it was very much a fantastic comedy/horror film also, in Army of Darkness they go all out with the comedy. But the comedy is done tastefully and doesn't make the movie into a parody of the previous films like a lot of bad movies like Scary Movie do. Plus it doesn't hurt that they time travel back to medieval times instead of being a modern day cabin like the previous two movies were.
We find our hero Ash (Bruce Campbell) sucked into a vortex which sends him back in time to 1300 AD. The Wiseman John knows that Ash is the one written about in the Necronomicom , "he who is sent back to deliver them from the evil deadites". But King Arthur suspects he's one of Henry the Red's men. After doing battle in the pit, we get a glimpse of Ash's sensitive side. He is able to strike a "deal" with Arthur that if he retrieves the book, they will send him back to his own time. He is instructed that he must say three little words before retrieving the book. If said wrong....he would release the Army of Dead.
While traveling to retrieve the book, he has a little run-in with his evil side. When he finally happens upon the book, he tries to say the words right, really. But, as you can probably surmise from the title, the dead march. Along the way, Ash must do battle with his possessed medieval girlfriend, the Army of Dead, and even himself (as Evil Ash and little Ashes). The end battle scene is a laugh a minute. This film has great effects and the best performance by Campbell in the series with some of the funniest writing I have ever seen. I cannot really say much for these films because they are movies which aren't meant to be critically analyzed or meant to be taken seriously, they are just to have fun with. Army of Darkness was one of the best comedy/fantasy/horror films out there, check it out.
Optimum's Blu-ray transfer reveals an impressive color-scheme where reds, yellows, and blacks are practically perfect. Army of Darkness really does look quite exceptional in 1080p, you also have the alternative ending but again like with ED2 on blu-ray not that much as far as special features.
When we last saw Ash Williams, he had been sucked through a time vortex and ended up in the 14th century... where he STILL had to contend with undead horrors. No, not going to give context.
"Army of Darkness" pretty much picks up from there, finishing up the legendary trilogy that Sam Raimi started with "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn." This time around, Sam Raimi dials down the horror once again, while dialing up massive quantities of skeletal comedy -- while there's the odd gross-out moment (eyeball in the shoulder!), most of the story is devoted to the increasingly manic Bruce Campbell struggling to defeat an undead horde of skeletons with only his trusty boomstick and chainsaw.
Having appeared in the 14th century, Ash (Campbell) is immediately captured by the arrogant Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), who mistakes him for one of Duke Henry's (Richard Grove) men. He tries to explain that he's not, but ends up tossed into an execution pit filled with iron spikes and demonic Deadites -- and only the timely intervention of the Wise Man (Ian Abercrombie) allows Ash to reclaim his chainsaw and "boomstick," kill the Deadites, and establish that he is a prophesied savior come to free them from the Deadite scourge.
But of course, the entire universe hates Ash. So when he's sent on an incredibly simple quest to reclaim and de-power the Necronomicon, Ash immediately encounters bizarre Deadite attacks that are specifically designed to torment him -- including the formation of an evil doppelganger from his own body, Evil Ash. And when he manages to botch the whole thing, the Deadites prepare to storm the castle and take everything over. Life is hard when you're Ash.
Considering that the series started with a serious attempt at horror, it's a little odd that "Army of Darkness" mostly drops the horror. Of course, there's still some gloriously gross moments (the emergence of Evil Ash, and his decaying face a few scenes later), but most of the movie is played for laughs (including a long sequence where Ash is assaulted by a small army of Lilliputian doppelgangers, who jab him in the butt with a fork and tie him to the floor). Even the grosser moments are played for laughs ("Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun").
And that's what makes this whole movie so gloriously entertaining -- it's gross, nasty and violent, but it's presented with the gleeful joy that comes with a cavalcade of one-liners and memetastic moments ("All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up... this... is my BOOMSTICK!"). Nothing is presented very seriously, because... well, how can you take this seriously? It's about a college student/S-Mart employee who gets blasted back in time to fight demonic zombies in a medieval setting. The cheese is thick and gloriously unserious, climaxing as Ash careens through the titular army in a massive armored steampunk-car/tank that easily hacks them apart.
And despite the much larger cast and more extensive sets and special effects required, somehow Raimi maintains that rough, low-budget feel -- the stop-motion, tiny Ashes, and especially the battle sequences that are clearly against inanimate Halloween skeletons. It still feels like a cheesy low-budget movie that does NOT care
Bruce Campbell is at the absolute height of his Campbellitude here -- he gives a delightfully hammy performance as a gun-toting, one-liner-spouting Ash. He plays the kind of guy that every guy likes to think he'd be in such a crisis, uttering don't-give-a-dang one-liners, shooting monsters and smooching a wench with extremely good teeth with great relish. And he gives an equally quotable ("Little goody two-shoes!") performance as the Evil Ash, who is just as snarky but... well, his face is rotting off. The supporting actors give good performances, especially Abercrombie as the wise man that nobody ever seems to actually listen to, but this is clearly the Campbell show here.
It may have effectively left horror behind, but "Army of Darkness" instead embraces a gloriously gross brand of comedy, with knights, skeletons, bagpipes and one S-Mart employee with a boomstick and a robot hand. It's hard to find a movie more resolutely fun than this.
on 17 November 2012
To fans of the Evil Dead films this DVD is no doubt a godsend; it contains two versions of Army of Darkness, the cinema release and a director's cut, each with different endings. In this respect the latter wins; Sam Raimi's intended last shot is a funny, bitter punchline. The studio approved finale's also good - it has a neat fight scene - but Raimi's is better. The studio were right about one thing though: Raimi's cut is too long. There's a lengthy action climax that doesn't suit a madcap film; the plot's just a clothesline on which to hang comic set pieces and special effects, so the swordplay grows pointless. The heroes and villains are caricatures, so why do they need an epic battle? It's like if Airplane! ditched the jokes during its third act and became a serious action film. The studio cut is also better-looking; its effects scenes are much clearer, but I think that's because Raimi's unused cut wasn't cleaned up for general release (or maybe, as another review suggests, it was poorly transferred from someone's VHS copy).
The plot is very simple: after a prologue covering Evil Dead 2 we pick up where that film left off, with Ash (Bruce Campbell) in 1300AD, where he's surrounded and almost killed by Lord Arthur's (Marcus Gilbert) men. After he shows off his shotgun and chainsaw they make a deal with him; if Ash brings them the Book of the Dead they'll use it to send him home. Ash messes this up, and in doing so raises an army of the dead which he'll lead Lord Arthur's men against. The angelic Embeth Davidtz plays a love interest, and in a great scene she and Ash parody how fantasy heroes fall for each other.
Army of Darkness' tone is almost the polar opposite of Evil Dead's, and though Evil Dead 2 was a comedy it's still much grimmer than this second sequel. Army of Darkness is a bit like if David Lynch directed a Three Stooges short. It's compellingly strange at times, but through it all is a light and jolly romp which aims for humour rather than tension. Campbell, who was an average slasher hero in Evil Dead, gives a brilliant comic performance here. He's a great physical comedian; he has a few slapstick scenes which are surreal and hilarious. It would be unfair to say that everyone else phones it in, but that's kind of how it feels. Apart from a couple of villains the others aren't memorable; they're basically enacting cliches for Ash to banter with. All in all, Army of Darkness is a weird, light-hearted fantasy adventure filled with imagination. Raimi rightly doesn't worry about plot, focusing instead on slapstick, parody and awesome visuals. This is a shamelessly outlandish film which doesn't care if you get it or not; for those who do get it, it's a hell of a ride.
on 4 January 2005
I'm glad this classic cult movie from one of the greatest horror trilogy's out there is on DVD however, have you ever sat and watched a movie, kinda happy but thinking to yourself "why?"
The movie itself does not link up to the end of the second movie, in which everyone praises him and we presume he becomes the king. In this movie, it starts off where he becomes a slave, has to kill some midget down a well (and that's what it really is! the monsters are no longer scary like the original two) until he gains respect and becomes a knight which everyone loves.
However... the films musical score is composed by Danny Elfman which knocks it back up abit and the fight scenes are entertaining enough to watch and be kept in suspense but for a horror movie, my dad was shocked when the guy selling it us said "this film is so funny, just like the Monty Python movies" Granted the movie is great, i love the trilogy but it is the latter of the series, you can watch this with your family however, if you want to bring some cult tv watching into the house.
If you want a "Monty Python"-esque film buy this DVD but if you want a horror film buy "Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn" by far, the most entertaining, and scariest of the trilogy.
As for the DVD extras, some new unseen footage is available but the documentaries are pretty bad, they explain how they had about 10 million dollars to make this movie and they spent 9 million on a skeleton horse which they never used in this movie.
on 10 July 2009
Army of Darkness is the most elaborate and expensive of the Evil Dead trilogy.Our time travelling hero Ash is transported from his haunted cabin in the second film to medieval times,landing in the middle of two rival armies.His only way home is to find the Book of the Dead in a dark forest and remember an incantation as he opens it.Of course, he screws up big time and raises the Army of the Dead instead.The Blu-ray comes in the hi-def theatrical cut and the extended Director`s Cut in standard def.The hi-def version is a revelation to behold, with detail and clarity top notch. There is plenty of film grain, but this contributes to the picture`s sharpness rather than obscuring it.The colour scheme is very impressive for what is supposed to be a low budget film as is the very meaty audio, which really gives the speakers a working over. I would ignore the longer, standard def version though - visual quality is very poor at times and suffers in comparison to the shorter Blu-ray edition. As well as the take it or leave it Director`s Cut, supplements include deleted scenes and commentaries from the great Bruce Campbell and the director Sam Raimi. Army of the Dead is bizarre, quirky and original entertainment, unlike anything else out there. It defies being pigeon holed and really is a genuine, highly recommended oddity in this stonking Blu-ray release.