|ARMY OF DARKNESS
|Copyright 1992 Dino De Laurentiis Communications
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 February 2009 (updated)
- 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.
|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.
- 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 format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||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."
Ash: "Yeah. All right you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this? This is my BOOMSTICK!"
||Ash tries to BS his way through saying the magic words.
||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 image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Army of Darkness
Reply #25. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by deaddwarf
This trilogy is the best trilogy I know - actually I have tried to find other movies with sequels that are this good but havent found any?
Every film has its value of entertainment.
Evil dead - great horror
Evil dead2 - awesome horror/comedy
Evil dead3 - superb adventure/horror/comedy
I really hope there will be one more movie!
|Army of Darkness
Reply #26. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Michael
This movie wsa interesting to say the least. I like the S-Mart ending better, for many reasons. like to old zombi-foed lady, I like the "Ash: Housewares" and most of all, I like the zombie lady flying through the air after going for a little "bounce." I had no idea old crusty evil ladies we that agile until I saw this film. The origonal ending with the world being destroyed reminded me of Planet of the Apes. "It was Earth all along. EARTH!"
Anywho, its a good movie if your high or bored.
|Army of Darkness
Reply #27. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Big Drew
The S-Mart girl at the end of the movie is the same actress that played Adam Sandler's ex-girlfriend Linda in "The Wedding Singer." "Hey, take off my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up!" (sadly prophetic)
AOD is one of those rare films that I could watch every day and still laugh every time.
|Army of Darkness
Reply #28. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Rob
Well, first of all, does anyone know how to get in touch with Rory Dul? His review is somewhere on this page and I am rather ashamed that he speaks the same language I do.
Getting on to the subject of the movie, I have to say that it rocks! It is one of those movies that somehow manages to get better every time you see it, like "Ghostbusters" or "The Princess Bride." But since "Army of Darkness" is a b-movie, this fact makes it even more remarkable.
I saw it at the tender age of 13 (and being raised by a Catholic mother, it was hard for me to see R-Rated movies until I was about 15 or 16), and I still refer to it whenever I speak of one-liners or anti-heroes. It is very well-written, and Ash is one of the most down-to-earth characters I have ever seen. That line he shot to the deadite version of Sheila was just brilliant ("Honey, you got real ugly"), and the scorn he felt towards these people at the beginning (and still kind of did at the end) was also admirable. I've always enjoyed anti-heroes more than "white hats vs. black hats," and the two examples I always cite are Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) and Ash.
This movie opened up the door of b-movies for me, and I have been collecting them ever since (course, I have it easier than my predecessors; the internet is a useful tool for hunting). I will always have deep respect for Sam Raimi, and for Bruce Campbell.
|Army of Darkness
Reply #29. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Sane Jake
Feh, Gareth's opinion means Jack and Squat to me, and Jack left town. Primitive screw-head.
Personally, I think Ash is more endearing in Evil Dead 2 as he's loopier... but I love how he acts like a cartoon character in Army of Darkness. No matter WHAT happens to him, he is determined to somehow... SOMEHOW... get it back. (First exposed when he's determined to shoot his hand, and amplified later)
I viewed the movie as a live cartoon -- one that does a FAR better job than any movie that actually meant to be a live cartoon. (Such as using a spatula to scrape his face off a hot stove, and the mini-Ashes finishing "London Bridge" when Ash gets wallopped) Personally, I didn't see "horror", just the comedy. It has the spirit of a classic (uncut) Warner Bros. cartoon.
I can see how one might be split between ED2 and AOD as the better film. One thing that IS fun is watching Ash's personality evolve in each film -- from the wimp in ED, to the I'm-Not-Taking-Any-More-Of-Your-Crap in EO2, to being completely sick and tired of anything evil, anything dead and anything irritating. He retains the sentimentality in each film (whether it be cheap jewelry or seeing his girl again in the midst of a battle) but he seems to learn in each one. (Such as pre-emptively smashing the mirror in AOD... doesn't work, but worth a shot) He seems to become a better fighter in each film, too.
Still... I'd think AOD should have gotten an extra half drop at least.
|Army of Darkness
Reply #30. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Luke Bannon
This has to be one of the best horror/comedies I have ever seen. Nothing more needs to be said except BUY THIS MOVIE! You'll thank me for it. 10/10
|Army of Darkness
Reply #31. Posted on November 03, 2002, 06:25:58 PM by wheresthecarrot
Simply outstanding in every way.
|Army of Darkness
Reply #32. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Karlo
Hey, what if they made a sequel (4th in the series) from the apocalyptic ending. Imagine this, Bruce Campbell (definitely still playing where he left off from AOD)meeting a descendant from his outrageously weird bloodline, and then battling it out with spaced-out, futuristic zombies and stuff. It would be rad if Jim Carrey, who looks similar to Bruce be his co-star, no?
Ok, I'm just desperate for another installment of the Evil Dead Series, can't Mr. Raimi take a hint?
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