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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
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 ... 8 9 [10]
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #73. Posted on April 21, 2010, 06:17:27 PM by Andrew
When I was given the link to this site, my initial reaction was "cool!" .. now I see its run by a bunch of trolls who post every single movie just to get a rise out of people  I mean;  the Evil Dead trilogy are fun movies which everyone enjoys and understands their humor.   That the point of these movies; to combine the elements of cheesy bad movies with good filmmaking. which is brilliant.   And well received and loved by many fans.  So why is this labeled a bad movie?    Why is Hedgwig and the Angry Inch labeled a bad movie?  It receives praise and detractors - as most brilliant films do (Brazil, 2001 etc..)

I wish you guys would focus on generally accepted bad films - and chuck the films that receive split reviews

otherwise you guys are sad trolls

Have you read the review and actually looked around the site?  We celebrate everything from cult movies to truly awful creations of cinema.  The interest is if a movie is entertaining.  I rated "Army of Darkness" at 3 out of 4 slimes (call them stars) and said the following in the review:

Quote
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.

What about the review does not say that I liked the movie a lot?  Even more telling is that most of the reader comments say that the person liked or even loved the movie. 

Please provide a basis for your insulting comment that this is a site full of trolls.
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #74. Posted on April 21, 2010, 09:12:50 PM by Rev. Powell
When I was given the link to this site, my initial reaction was "cool!" .. now I see its run by a bunch of trolls who post every single movie just to get a rise out of people  I mean;  the Evil Dead trilogy are fun movies which everyone enjoys and understands their humor.   That the point of these movies; to combine the elements of cheesy bad movies with good filmmaking. which is brilliant.   And well received and loved by many fans.  So why is this labeled a bad movie?    Why is Hedgwig and the Angry Inch labeled a bad movie?  It receives praise and detractors - as most brilliant films do (Brazil, 2001 etc..)

I wish you guys would focus on generally accepted bad films - and chuck the films that receive split reviews

otherwise you guys are sad trolls

Andrew gets this complaint over and over again from people who just do not get the basic concept of "bad" movies or of the site.  Because Andrew or someone else reviews a movie on a "bad movie" site does not mean that the movie is unentertaining or without merit.  It just means that it's a movie of interest to the badmovies.org audience.  Some people seem to think that just placing one of their favorite movies inside the "badmovies.org" domain is a way of insulting the film; that's not the case at all.  Movies with high slime ratings are entertaining and worth seeing (even if "bad" by conventional standards) and movies with low ratings or skulls should be avoided.  It's as simple as that. 
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #75. Posted on November 02, 2011, 06:31:39 PM by CalrissianFoxxSteele
Only thing I have to say...this movie does not belong on this site.
None of the 'Evil Dead Series' does.
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #76. Posted on December 12, 2011, 09:59:39 AM by Trevor
I just read what kornula had to say so I say to you Jy is 'n poephol. I will not translate that.

Thanks for the review, Andrew: I saw this for the first time last night on the MGM channel of all places. Great review: great movie and both are very funny.
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #77. Posted on December 15, 2011, 12:48:57 PM by JPickettIII
Only thing I have to say...this movie does not belong on this site.
None of the 'Evil Dead Series' does.

Dude, they are bad movies.  They are movies that we love with our hearts and will have a special place with most of us, but they are bad.  This is Badmoives.org.  They belong here.

Later,

John
Re: Army of Darkness
Reply #78. Posted on October 15, 2014, 03:33:33 PM by zelmo73
I have always thought that the term "B-movie" was short for "Bad movie". Not all bad movies are literally "bad movies." Many are extremely entertaining anecdotes of film that earn the B-movie ranking due to their low budgets, minor league actors, fledgling directing careers, producers who are just starting out in the industry and raiding everything from Warner Bros' discarded movie prop recycle bin to Cousin Ernie's tool shed looking for spare parts, etc. Bad movies are the heart & soul of the filmmaking industry because they often tell stories on film that the A-list movie production companies would never touch because A-listers are usually hindered by marketing strategies, or how much money that a movie will rake in at the box office. That being said, I have seen truly godawful bad movies like Godzilla (1998) and The Hobbit (2012) being given the royal A-list treatment simply because they were a big box office draw; truly bad "good" movies that make good bad movies like Army of Darkness (1992) look like masterpieces in comparison.

This was a great review, by the way. I love in-a-nutshell summaries like this because it teaches film reviewers like me who talk too much in their movie reviews that sometimes, "less is more!" On a side note, I believe that Bridget Fonda made her little cameo appearance in this movie because she was a friend of Bruce Campbell's or Sam Raimi's or something. Or she probably just lost a bet or needed the rent money.  TeddyR
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