That…was…AWESOME. Near the beginning, a medieval lord throws a prisoner into a deep pit. After a minute, a veritable geyser of blood shoots out of the pit and all over the courtyard. At that moment, I knew I was going to love this movie. It’s got an over-the-top audacity that just totally works for me.
I’ve been wanting to see Army of Darkness for quite a while, after liking-not-loving both Evil Deads and hearing a bit about how Army of Darkness throws in time travel and is a lot goofier. I love goofy, and this film met or exceeded all my expectations. I will say upfront that I didn’t realize there were multiple versions, and I think my library only had this one anyway – I watched the theatrical cut. I would gladly, even gleefully watch the director’s cut.
Immediately following the events of Evil Dead 2, Ash is pulled into a time warp and deposited unceremoniously in the 14th century, in the middle of a clan war – but there are bigger things afoot, as some kind of evil power is threatening the land and these folks think Ash is their prophesied savior. They send him after the book of the dead, and we can guess how well that goes.
In the meantime, we have horrific creature designs, sarcastic one-liners, time travel, boomsticks, a face-stretching book (a decoy), last-minute escapes, a mechanical hand that replaces a chainsaw hand, an evil Ash grown from several tiny Ashes that torment him like maniacal Lilliputians, the iconic Evil Dead rushing demon, and perhaps best of all, a bizarre and manic camera style that no one but Raimi does – and he doesn’t really do it anymore.
The only part that threatened to jump the shark for me was the Tiny Ash section, but that barely held the line, and everything else is not only acceptable, but actively awesome. Like I saw, I liked the first two Evil Dead movies, but the bigger scale of this one really worked for me, and I can definitely see this becoming an oft-rewatched favorite in our house. Having only seen the S-mart ending, I’m pretty excited to revisit it and see the director’s cut ending, which sounds very very different.
Stats and stuff…
directed by Sam Raimi; written by Sam and Ivan Raimi
starring Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie
I’m ranking all my Challenge films on Flickchart (as I do all the films I see), a movie-ranking website that asks you to choose your favorite between two movies until it builds a ranked list of your favorites. Just for fun, I will average out the rankings and keep a running tally of whose recommendations rank the highest. When you add a film to Flickchart, it pits it against films already on your chart to see where it should fall. Here’s how Army of Darkness entered my chart:
Army of Darkness > Royal Wedding
Army of Darkness > The Little Matchgirl
Army of Darkness > What’s Up Doc?
Army of Darkness < One A.M.
Army of Darkness < The Others
Army of Darkness < Mon Oncle
Army of Darkness < Up in the Air
Army of Darkness < Toy Story 3
Army of Darkness > Team America: World Police
Army of Darkness > The Big Trail
Army of Darkness < Inside Llewyn Davis
Final ranking #438 out of 3606 films on my chart (88%)
It is now my #1 Sam Raimi film, my #1 Bruce Campbell film, my #2 Embeth Davidtz film, my #5 Horror Comedy, my #10 Monster Film, my #2 Supernatural Comedy film, my #3 Supernatural Horror film, my #5 Time Travel film, and my #5 film of 1992.
Army of Darkness was recommended by Jennifer Sicurella, a friend from the Flickcharters group on Facebook. Averaging together this #438 ranking with my #1950 ranking of her other film, Milk, gives Jennifer an average ranking of 1194.
A few quotes…
Duke Henry: You Sir, are not one of my vassals… who are you?
Ash: Who wants to know?
Duke Henry: I am Henry the Red. Duke of Shale, Lord of the Northlands and leader of its peoples.
Ash: Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I’ve got news for you pal, you ain’t leadin’ but two things, right now: Jack and shit… and Jack left town.
Ash: Alright you Primitive Screwheads, listen up! You see this? This… is my boomstick! The twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart’s top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That’s right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety five. It’s got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That’s right. Shop smart. Shop S-Mart. You got that?
Ash: Don’t touch that please, your primitive intellect wouldn’t understand alloys and compositions and things with… molecular structures.
Ash: Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Wiseman: Well, repeat them.
Ash: Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Ash: I got it, I got it! I know your damn words, alright?
Ash: Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.
Ash: Klaatu Barada…Necktie?
Wiseman: When you removed the book from the cradle, did you speak the words?
Ash: Yeah, basically.
Wiseman: Did you speak the exact words?
Ash: Look, maybe I didn’t say every single little tiny syllable, no. But basically I said them, yeah.
Sheila: You found me beautiful once…
Ash: Honey, you got reeeal ugly!
Evil Ash: I got a bone to pick with you.
Ash: Hail to the King, baby.
A few more screenshots…