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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 

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 


 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 4 ... 10
Army of Darkness
Reply #9. Posted on April 09, 2000, 06:01:56 PM by
I found EVIL DEAD boring, I found EVIL DEAD 2 awesome, but ARMY OF DARKNESS only made me wish that MST3K had picked it up. I thought it was too funny for its own good. The first two were serious horror, this was just childish humor. I enjoy childish horror movies, but this was ridiculous. Sam Raimi should have known better. But I'm surprised you noticed the cable on Ash's back. I had to rewind it a few times to finally see it clearly.
Army of Darkness
Reply #10. Posted on June 01, 2000, 03:34:16 PM by Paul Westbrook
Army of Darkness is without a doubt, the best of the Evil Dead series. Bruce Cambell redefines his role as Ash, the rebel outsider who always seems to have the unfortunate task  of destroying hordes of Zombies. The effects are top rate. I was fortunate to obtain the special edition, which contains both endings. Anyone on this site who wants to correspond with me, contact me, at I will be very interested in comments on any movie related topics. Thank you.
Army of Darkness
Reply #11. Posted on June 13, 2000, 03:54:14 PM by Pantsman
This is the cornest movie ever made......I looooved it. It was sweet. I got the collecters edition, it had the original and S-mart ending. I like the S-mart ending more. Bruce Campbell is perfect for a role as Ash. With that lantern jaw, he looks corny! How couldn't this get nominated for a oscer? Bad dialoge( hail to the king, baby), bad special effects, bad acting, Bruce Campbell. This movie had everything! Hell, even my mom liked it. Not as violent as the first two.....But just as good.}:)
Army of Darkness
Reply #12. Posted on August 14, 2000, 08:44:46 PM by Bruno Combat
EVIL DEAD TRILOGY make sucess even here in BRAZIL.
Go to my site
Army of Darkness
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Swamprat
Okay kiddies...A love-hate situation with this one. First the hates...More money sequels just never measure up. Money, money, everywhere. But Ash isn't the totally hapless twit he was in the first two. He's a hybred now, a homegrown-self made super hero. Situations are now contrived, and predictable. Most of the humor is forced. Bruce Campbell isn't really being Ash, he's an actor doing shtick...Now the loves...Well...Bruce Campbell doing shtick! The guy is hilarious. The contrived situations, again, hilarious. I knew what was going to happen and was waiting and wanting for it. Did anyone notice that he has a double barreled shotgun, but he fires it three times before reloading it? The first time I thought I caught a typical sloppy oversite...but after keeping count through the rest of the movie...Allright Sam! That's a good one. Inside joke for the bad movie buffs! The freshness of the first two Evil Dead films is what's sorely lacking here, but Army of Darkness is still funny and worth watching. If this had been the first one made, it would have been a horror fantasy comic masterpiece...but as is, its just a souped up quasi-sequel to what was really one idea to start with. Three attempts at the same idea, each one with a little more money to work with than the one before. Evil Dead 2 is and will remain my favorite of the series. As far as the endings are concerned, I liked both the S-mart and the DVD versions. The DVD one is more fitting to the feel and spirit of the two earlier films. The S-mart ending is more of a send-up of the whole three film series in a nutshell. I laughed out loud at the S-mart ending, laughed inside while nodding my head at the DVD...I knew it was coming. If you like either of the other two films, you'll like this one. It's a fun, if not fresh, movie...and as always, Bruce Campbell doing Three Stooges shtick with the dead is a riot. A bunch of mini-Ashes running around looking for weapons is a riot. The skeleton army getting its ass kicked to pieces is a riot. Ashes one liners are a riot. This has been a great idea, but I think the series should end here. As far as I know, it has.
Army of Darkness
Reply #14. Posted on September 03, 2000, 08:26:40 AM by B-Man
I laughed, I cried, I kissed two bucks goodbye.  What can I say?  Army Of Darkness, like its predecessors is just so darn likeable and engaging.  Campbell's Ash will never, ever win an Oscar, which is really a shame because, in many ways, the character has evolved on the same lines as some of our greater screen heroes.  That is to say yes, he's a clod-hopper, yes he seems to constantly screw up at times when he needs to be the most focused, and yes he's a real selfish ol' Jim-Jim.  Like Oscar-worthy characters, however, I find myself feeling sympathetic to him, his plight, and earnestly interact with the film hoping that he will eventually succeed.  Oh, and I also giggled my dang silly head off for pretty much the whole movie.
Army of Darkness
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by SSG Chris H. Brown
  Just finished watching "Army of Darkness" again.  Lord knows how many times I've watched that film and I never grow tired of it.  Even my parents thought the movie was hilarious.
  I enjoyed the original ending, typical Ash luck, but I must admit I prefer the S-Mart ending.  When I saw the movie in the theater I was so hoping they'd put out "Army of Darkness 2", still am hoping.  
  Another great thing about this film is it caused me to meet a fellow B-Movie fan here in my unit.  I was talking to one of the women I know in passing from the unit and she was heading off to the PX to do some shopping.  Of course I said "Shop smart," to which she responded "shop S-Mart."  I stopped, looked at her and continued "Lady, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the store."  We then proceeded to do the lines for the rest of the movie from that point with me as Ash and her as the She-b***h.  Needless to say other soldiers nearby just sort of looked at us with that weird look the uninitiated give.
  It's great to find someone to watch B-Movies with.  We've gotten together several times so far and she's just as bad as me in mocking them.  Now if she just didn't already have a boyfriend but I digress from the original point of this e-mail.  Hey, it's 2248 hours (10:48 P.M. in civilian time) on a Sunday night and I'm still exhausted from a long hard week and the weekend is over.  Fortunately it's a short week with the 4th of July coming up.
  "Army of Darkness" rocks and Bruce Campbell is the man!!!
Army of Darkness
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Justin
The third film in the Evil Dead delivers yet again another cult classic. All though the horror aspect of the movie is far from sight, the comedy is funny. I never thought Bruce Campbell can actually BE funny. The storyline is different which gives the film series a new feel. I was surprised to see Bridget Fonda playing the role of Linda. I enjoyed the film to the to the limit. I also hope that Bruce and Sam will return with a fourth film to add to this amazing series.
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