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ARMY OF DARKNESS - 3 Slimes
Rated R
Copyright 1992 Dino De Laurentiis Communications
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 February 2009 (updated)

The Characters:  

  • Ash - Our legendary demon-slaying, lady-killing, chainsaw-wielding, S-Mart employee. Oh, and he also accidentally invented breakdancing by slipping on milk curd.
  • Sheila - She knows that the best way to catch a man's eye is to slap the snot out of him. She also knows that the best way to keep a man is to bear him male children, and not to have syphilis.
  • Arthur - Noble born leader of the blighted lands, a real goody-goody two-shoes.
  • Wiseman - One of the worst things about the dark ages is that the world was filled with all sorts of evil spirits, fantastic monsters, and eldritch magic. The Wiseman's job was to know the weakness of every possible supernatural peril. "Silver weapons, running water, garlic, a charm made from the toe of a saint" - those sorts of things. Everybody else knew that the old freaks were just making it up as they went along, but nobody cared, so long as the wards worked.
  • Duke Henry - Red haired and bearded leader of the northern kingdoms.
  • Bad Ash - Created after Ash swallows a tiny version of himself, then grows two heads, then splits into two people...oh forget it, he's an evil and rotting version of Ash. Turned into a firework.
  • Little Ash's - These miniature menaces terrorize Ash for a while. Some get stomped, one gets eaten.
  • The Army of the Dead - Hundreds of skeletons that are chopped to bits, blown apart, or crushed.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

The beginning of "Army of Darkness" makes a slight adjustment to the end of Evil Dead 2. Originally, Ash is sucked through the wormhole, gets dumped out somewhere in time south of the Renaissance, blasts a flying Deadite, and is immediately worshipped as a delivering saint by a group of medieval warriors. Here we have Ash mistaken as part of Duke Henry's army, the force that Lord Arthur has just routed from the field of battle. Poor Ash finds himself a prisoner of Lord Arthur, locked in a stock and told to schlep it along.

Back in those days there were not any federally-funded maximum security prisons. Heck, there were not even any small continents or large islands so that a country of Queen-loving citizens could banish their criminals (and the criminals' children, and their children, and so on) to lifelong incarceration upon the too-big-for-an-island / sort-of-small-to-be-a-continent. Lord Arthur's solution to this conundrum is that the last of Duke Henry's men are to be tossed into the Pit. Inside the Pit are Deadites. Obviously, Ash does not want to go into the Pit, but that is exactly where he gets pushed. Things look really bad for our hero, but the Wiseman tosses Ash his chainsaw as a Deadite closes in for the kill. Armed with his trusty chainsaw, Ash is more than a match for any demon. The Deadite quickly becomes just plain old dead.

After he climbs out of the pit, Ash recovers his sawed-off double-barreled shotgun, and then berates the unwashed masses of medieval citizenry (nobles, serfs, and vassals). The good Lord Arthur finds it difficult to say no to a man who carries a boomstick and who eats soul-eating Deadites for lunch. The nobleman can only glare as Ash takes up residence in the central keep, and sets about enjoying the service of the serving wenches. Even a surprise visit by a Deadite hag just further cements Ash in place as a royal thorn in Arthur's royal side.

For his part, Ash effectively tells Arthur and the Wiseman that they can have the Middle Ages. All that Ash wants to do is go home. He does take a break from yearning for 1992 long enough to construct a mechanical iron hand to replace the one he lost in "Evil Dead 2." He also puts aside his animosity towards Sheila (they had a rough start) and starts making it with the "Doth do maketh my heart warm with thy presence" sort of stuff.

I am not sure why Ash insists on returning to the present. Maybe he wants to avoid cholera, syphilis, and the Black Plague, but he will be doing that at the expense of a lot of quality time that could be spent eating grapes and wenching. Ah, wenching. Out of everything the Middle Ages stood for, I miss wenching the most. If you ever make it to 784 AD, make sure that you sample the wenches.

The Wiseman finally convinces Ash that the only way he can ever get back home is by undertaking a quest to recover the Necromonicon from a haunted graveyard. Now, Ash is an extremely groovy kind of guy, but he has a hard enough time staying out of Deadite-spawned trouble in his own living room. Mucking around in the land of the dead is going to have serious consequences. The first of those is that Ash gets chased around the haunted forest that is near the haunted graveyard by invisible motorcycles. The second issue created by Ash's foray into the world of spirits, spells, and specters takes place inside an old windmill. A shattered mirror turns into a mob of tiny troublemaking Ash clones! They poke him with forks, drop things on his head, and generally make Ash wish that he had never had children of any sort. Once he gets the little hellions under control, Ash then has to deal with his alternate Deadite ego, Bad Ash.

One boomstick later, there is only one Ash standing. He is a bad-a**, but not Bad Ash.

Ash does finally reach the graveyard and recover the book (after dealing with two cursed imitation tomes). However, he does not correctly take possession of the Book of the Dead. Yep, Ash flubs "klaatu barada nikto." As a result, the dead are woken from their endless sleep. Hundreds of skeletons assemble themselves into a massive army, with Bad Ash assuming command as the undead horde's general. Now Lord Arthur has something worse than the proto-Scots and Deadite intrusions to deal with. Social Security was not created until the 20th Century; figuring out what to do about hundreds of the walking dead who refuse to stay in their graves is a big problem for a medieval noble.

Actually, Arthur and Ash decide to solve the problem the way that most problems were solved during the Middle Ages: they will have a battle!

To prepare for the battle, Ash and the other defenders of Arthur's castle turn to the textbooks that were in the trunk of Ash's car (the vehicle was also sucked back in time). I must say, Ash pursued some unusual subjects in college. How often does someone get to say, "That semester of 'Steam Power 101' really paid off!" in their life? Unfortunately, the hero has to make his preparations for Ragnarok without indulging in the time-honored tradition of pre-battle nookie, because Sheila is whisked away by a Deadite gargoyle. The next time that Ash sees his gentle lady, she is a Deadite witch and a real ball-breaker.

The Army of Darkness that attacks the castle finds itself on the receiving end of exploding arrows, catapult-lobbed bombs, and even a car that looks like the result of an Oldsmobile having sex with a windmill. Bones are crushed by the human defenders, but the walls are eventually breached, and Ash has a final skin-shedding reckoning with Bad Ash. The evil army is routed, and the only thing left for Ash to do is to go home to his own time. There are two different endings to this movie. In one, we see Ash back at S-Mart, defending the customers and employees from a surprise Deadite incursion. In the other, Ash hits the Rip Van Winkle bottle a little too much and sleeps well past doomsday.

I like "Evil Dead 2" more than "Army of Darkness." Yet, this is an entertaining cult film. You could even call it a gruesomely groovy comedy. The movie is filled with Three Stooges-style slapstick, and the head-bangs and eye-pokes are so well done that I get nostalgic to watch some old Stooges' shorts. Still, the reason that everybody loves Ash is that he has some great lines, the likes of which haven't been seen since the Stallone and Schwarzenegger action films of the 1980s, and he delivers them with style.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • In ye olde days "public transportation" meant being chained to the nobleman's horse and dragged along behind him.
  • Knights often fall for the old "your shoelace is untied" trick.
  • Department store employees know how to construct robotic limbs.
  • The difference between an ear and a pancake is academic.
  • Stonehenge was a public library.
  • Never mumble the magic words.
  • Jay Leno's chin is the product of an unfortunate childhood accident involving a vacuum.
  • No ex-girlfriend is worth wrecking your car over.
  • When wrestling a skeleton, always remember that they are vulnerable to the backbreaker.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 5 mins - You know, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" would have been more interesting if the main guy had found a chainsaw instead of that bottle.
  • 10 mins - That guy obviously suffered from high blood pressure.
  • 18 mins - Pretty cheap for a double-barreled shotgun. Hey, did the barrel length just change?
  • 21 mins - You sound like my grandmother.
  • 26 mins - Detroit?
  • 32 mins - We have gone from "The Amazing Colossal Man" to "Gulliver's Travels" to "The Manster" and now we are on "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant." What is next, "The Birds?"
  • 38 mins - Oops, looks like you found the dreaded Hoovernomicon: The Book of the Suck.
  • 51 mins - For a moment there I was worried that a song was coming on.
  • 53 mins - Skeletal musicians: +1 combat result.
  • 65 mins - Amy Winehouse?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note armydark1.wav Duke Henry: "I am Henry the Red. Duke of Shale, Lord of the Northlands, and leader of its peoples."
Ash: "Well, hello Mr. Fancy Pants! I got news for you, pal. You ain't leading but two things right now: jack and s**t, and jack left town."
Green Music Note armydark2.wav *BOOM!*
Ash: "Yeah. All right you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this? This is my BOOMSTICK!"
Green Music Note armydark3.wav Ash tries to BS his way through saying the magic words.
Green Music Note armydark4.wav Deadite Sheila: "You found me beautiful once."
Ash: "Honey, you got real ugly."
Deadite Sheila: *SHRIEKS*
Note: most women will respond this way to a similar conversation.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

ImageImageImage
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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliparmydark1.mpg - 5.4m
Ash takes on a Deadite hag.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
Army of Darkness
Reply #1. Posted on November 07, 1999, 04:09:08 PM by athenachri@aol.com
Actually, Bridgette Fonda is Ash's "revised" girlfriend at the beginning of the film.  The original girlfriend was someone else,but Fonda follows in her aunt's (Jane Fonda, Barbarella) footsteps and finds a place among the classics.
Army of Darkness
Reply #2. Posted on November 25, 1999, 05:39:16 PM by lex_particle@hotmail.com
Well in Europe, we got the different ending on the video...


DON'T READ UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS...

Ash is given the sleeping potion, miscalculates the drops and wakes up in London(!) in a post-apoco-apoca-appocy- (ah, you know what I mean... look, it's 10.30 and I'm tired, okay...)

Where was I...?

Ah yes, Ash wakes up in the future.  And everything has been destroyed... The film ends with him shouting something to the effect of "too many... too many drops!!" or similar...

I believe this ending is included on the special edition DVD...

Cheers,

Lex
Army of Darkness
Reply #3. Posted on December 29, 1999, 11:17:01 AM by Splice
This is my favorite movie of all time, I own all three parts of the trilogy. They just released a special edition CHS with 15 minutes of extra footage, like a scene where Ash breaks one of the skeleton arms in half and says "Keep your damn filthy hands out of my mouth." and instead of saying "Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun." he says "I'm not that good.". The original ending is also attached to this film, but as many other people have pointed out the S-Mart ending is far superior. There is also practically no chance for fan fiction or a sequel with the original ending, unless there are some appocalyptic survivors. An interesting fact is that Ash only takes one extra drop, transporting him only a hundred years in the future, AND the buildings seem to stll be smoking, implying that the appocalypse just took place. Interesting...
Army of Darkness
Reply #4. Posted on December 31, 1999, 11:56:26 PM by JoeDabomb@netscape.net
This Movie combines the aspects of a good and bad movie! Altogether it is probably the coolest action, fantasy, horror, and cheesiest movie of all time! I hope that they make a fourth one someday!
Army of Darkness
Reply #5. Posted on January 06, 2000, 03:16:15 PM by reignsong@yahoo.com
This movie would have been the greatest of all time if Briget Fonda was naked, then we'd have the ultimate flick.  That aside, this movie kicked hard!  I am almost inspired to read my aunt's copy of "The Necronimicon," but I am still too chicken. I'll stick to "tree hugger" magick. This movie was cool just for the fact they delved into the occult, much like it's pre-quals.
Army of Darkness
Reply #6. Posted on January 24, 2000, 03:32:43 PM by Paul H.
Good movie but lacks the true genuis of the first two movies.  I guess it simply had too much money and went two far into comedy.  I looks better than evil dead 1 and 2 and Bruce Cambell is still one of the three best actors alive.  The supporting cast just lacks a little charm.  (no BOBBY JOE!!!!)

7.25 out of 10 (4 green globs for actual quality)
(5 green globs is possible because in parts in is very good and can be rewatch several times)
Army of Darkness
Reply #7. Posted on February 05, 2000, 10:06:25 PM by Adam
I remember driving like a bat out of hell to see this as my boss made me work a bit late and there was no way I was going to miss this movie.It is a lot of fun but I was much more mesmorized by Evil Dead 2 which I saw during its theatrical run nearly 13 years a go.One of the best times I have ever had at the theater.
Army of Darkness
Reply #8. Posted on February 25, 2000, 08:32:40 AM by Chris K.
I am A fan of the Evil Dead series. I loved the first one, I laughed at the second one, and I liked the third one. ARMY OF DARKNESS (originaly planed to be called EVIL DEAD 3, and it should have been that way) continues with our slapstick hero Ash travels back to the Middle Ages and fights a army of skelitons. Originaly 92 minutes, Universal Studios (damn their evil distribution ways!) cut the film down to 86 minutes and added a new ending because movies today need a "happy" ending (makes you wonder if it ever occured to them that some independent films break the laws of filmaking, like how Herschell Gordon Lewis made the first gore film, but that's another story). Anchor Bay Entertainment has just issued out the original "Director's Cut" of the film under it's original 92 minutes plus with the original ending and four rare deleated scenes. So watch this flick for scares and inyentional laughs, but if you want to be scared watch THE EVIL DEAD (1979).
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