Stuff I Watch in October: Army of Darkness (1992)

army of darkness

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Army of Darkness (1992)

army of darkness

DIRECTOR: Sam Raimi, yet again.

WHAT IS IT?: The third (and presumably final) feature film in the Evil Dead film universe.

One of the hardest parts of writing anything about film is attempting to rank them. Every single film is different. The ones you believe to be flawless might be better than other flawless films…this is especially the case with the “Evil Dead” trilogy.

The three films are classics in their own right.

THE PLOT: “Army of Darkness” sees Bruce Campbell reprising his role as Ash and picking up where “Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn” left off: Ash is a prisoner of King Arthur and his men after falling back into time through the portal that the Book of the Dead had opened up. But when Ash actually defeats the horrible Deadite that lurks in Arthur’s “execution pit”, the kingdom begins to believe that Ash may be a “chosen one” who helps Arthur destroy the evil Deadites which have been plaguing the land.

Ash doesn’t care about any of that, however, and just wants somebody to help him get back home. The Wise Man of the kingdom agrees to do exactly that — but the catch is that the passages allowing Ash to get back to his own time reside in the Book of the Dead which resides in a nearby cemetery where nobody wants to go. Ash obtains the book but, in doing so, also accidentally awakens an entire Deadite army who want their book back. Not wanting to leave Arthur’s people to a fate worse than death, he uses his modern knowledge to help Arthur in his attempt to repel the army.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: They were appropriately mixed with critics who enjoyed the first two films, saying that the series seemed tired and out of ideas. Another critic called it a cheap copy of “Jason and the Argonauts” thanks to the stop-motion skeleton army.

army of darkness

WHAT DID I THINK?:This is clever stuff — and inspired, drawing from everything from the visual effects style of Ray Harryhausen (check out the cool, jiggly stop-motion skeleton troops!) to medieval epics to The Three Stooges.

Bruce Campbell is in his element here, having fully matured and settled well into the role of Ash. Here, his character is strong, confident, and fully seasoned, if not a bit cynical and, at times, cocky in the most grating manner. He plays Ash as a man who is sick and tired of being beaten up and getting his ass kicked by both demons and the human beings around him who he sees as “primitive”.

Embeth Davidtz plays Sheila, one of the fair maidens of King Arthur’s Court and she makes a good love interest for Ash — as well as the perfect enemy after being possessed by the Deadites.

Is it as good as the other films?

“Evil Dead II” remains the high point of the series just for the execution of the comedic bits and the roller coaster feel of it. I’d put “Army of Darkness” somewhere behind it and “The Evil Dead” somewhere behind “Army”, but they’re all bunched together tight.

They’re all great action/horror films.

GRADE: B+

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