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When we last saw Ash Williams, he had been sucked through a time vortex and ended up in the 14th century... where he STILL had to contend with undead horrors. No, not going to give context.

"Army of Darkness" pretty much picks up from there, finishing up the legendary trilogy that Sam Raimi started with "The Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn." This time around, Sam Raimi dials down the horror once again, while dialing up massive quantities of skeletal comedy -- while there's the odd gross-out moment (eyeball in the shoulder!), most of the story is devoted to the increasingly manic Bruce Campbell struggling to defeat an undead horde of skeletons with only his trusty boomstick and chainsaw.

Having appeared in the 14th century, Ash (Campbell) is immediately captured by the arrogant Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), who mistakes him for one of Duke Henry's (Richard Grove) men. He tries to explain that he's not, but ends up tossed into an execution pit filled with iron spikes and demonic Deadites -- and only the timely intervention of the Wise Man (Ian Abercrombie) allows Ash to reclaim his chainsaw and "boomstick," kill the Deadites, and establish that he is a prophesied savior come to free them from the Deadite scourge.

But of course, the entire universe hates Ash. So when he's sent on an incredibly simple quest to reclaim and de-power the Necronomicon, Ash immediately encounters bizarre Deadite attacks that are specifically designed to torment him -- including the formation of an evil doppelganger from his own body, Evil Ash. And when he manages to botch the whole thing, the Deadites prepare to storm the castle and take everything over. Life is hard when you're Ash.

Considering that the series started with a serious attempt at horror, it's a little odd that "Army of Darkness" mostly drops the horror. Of course, there's still some gloriously gross moments (the emergence of Evil Ash, and his decaying face a few scenes later), but most of the movie is played for laughs (including a long sequence where Ash is assaulted by a small army of Lilliputian doppelgangers, who jab him in the butt with a fork and tie him to the floor). Even the grosser moments are played for laughs ("Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun").

And that's what makes this whole movie so gloriously entertaining -- it's gross, nasty and violent, but it's presented with the gleeful joy that comes with a cavalcade of one-liners and memetastic moments ("All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up... this... is my BOOMSTICK!"). Nothing is presented very seriously, because... well, how can you take this seriously? It's about a college student/S-Mart employee who gets blasted back in time to fight demonic zombies in a medieval setting. The cheese is thick and gloriously unserious, climaxing as Ash careens through the titular army in a massive armored steampunk-car/tank that easily hacks them apart.

And despite the much larger cast and more extensive sets and special effects required, somehow Raimi maintains that rough, low-budget feel -- the stop-motion, tiny Ashes, and especially the battle sequences that are clearly against inanimate Halloween skeletons. It still feels like a cheesy low-budget movie that does NOT care

Bruce Campbell is at the absolute height of his Campbellitude here -- he gives a delightfully hammy performance as a gun-toting, one-liner-spouting Ash. He plays the kind of guy that every guy likes to think he'd be in such a crisis, uttering don't-give-a-dang one-liners, shooting monsters and smooching a wench with extremely good teeth with great relish. And he gives an equally quotable ("Little goody two-shoes!") performance as the Evil Ash, who is just as snarky but... well, his face is rotting off. The supporting actors give good performances, especially Abercrombie as the wise man that nobody ever seems to actually listen to, but this is clearly the Campbell show here.

It may have effectively left horror behind, but "Army of Darkness" instead embraces a gloriously gross brand of comedy, with knights, skeletons, bagpipes and one S-Mart employee with a boomstick and a robot hand. It's hard to find a movie more resolutely fun than this.
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on September 22, 2010
I've probably seen Army of Darkness a hundred times and on several different formats over the years. When I watched this Blu-Ray edition it was like watching it for the first time. I found myself smiling the whole way through and noticed little details that only hi-def can provide. It's great that they can make old movies people love look brand spanking new. That being said, the disc doesn't contain much else, but none of the other Army of Darkness releases did either. It has the theatrical cut only, which I actually prefer as the directors cut changed some key one-liners. You can watch the Alternate ending seperately, and there is the featurette on creating the deadites which we've seen before. Oh, and the audio commentary.So nothing new except the quality, but thats enough reason to pick this up. Plus it sounds amazing. If you want a bunch of Evil Dead special features then pick up the Evil Dead blu-ray or ultimate edition DVD. It has tons of stuff, but sadly I don't see many AOD extras coming anytime soon, as I dont think much behind the scenes stuff exists. But don't let that get you down you primitive screwheads. This is still one to pick up!
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on September 21, 2004
Over the past few years ive introduce my spouse to The Evil Dead films mainly the first two since ive been waiting for them to stop releasing numerous versions of the third one.
So I bought The BoomStick Edition and her and I watched it and she was in tears from start to finish.
She finally agreed with me that yes Bruce is the man.
Army of Darkness is so stupid yet totally watchable even if it does fail to live up to the franchise expectations.
Bruce has allready proven his chops recently with Bubba Ho Tep so im hoping that an allout final big boy finale for the Evil Dead series will follow.
As much as I would like see Freddy vs Jason vs Ash that will not count no matter how good it may turn out to be as the big finale im craving to see.
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on August 3, 2011
description is wrong. it is not the director's cut with 15 more minutes. it is the exact same blu-ray as the Screw-Heah Edition that already exist. do not buy
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 22, 2012
Being the final installment to the Evil Dead series, this movie stands up to its precedent stories, although the treatment is different here. Indeed, Raimi, known for his genre-mixing movies, has opted for a comedic and adventurous story in Army of Darkness, as we find Ash fighting his way across hordes of demonic entities while trying to find his way back to the twentieth century.

Although I was surprised to see that the story wasn't set in the Middle-East like in the original ending of Evil Dead 2, but in England instead, the plot really kept me into my seat. Even better, it foreshadowed what Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi would do on Xena and Hercules, mixing dramatic action scenes with comedic situations, and an excellent soundtrack from Joseph LoDuca. If there were times when I felt the comedy was more evident in this movie, there are still some scary situations to endure, like when the Dead spirits, through Sam Raimi's camera, harass Ash and force him to hide in a windmill.

If I had one criticism to the story, it is that the Sheila character was a bit too stereotypical in the damsel-in-distress way that she and Ash interacted. Not only that, I felt their romance was a bit forced upon us and I don't think it would have hurt the story if there hadn't been any romance for us to see.

Technically, the fights and special effects were well done and more impressive. They also included a great use of the stop-motion animation, most notably with the Deadmites army. But my favorite effects were the mini-versions of Ash who torture him in the windmill. Their actions towards Ash were funny and add to Bruce's talent as a comedy actor.

Again on the technical aspect, although there are some shots in the movie that are still grainy and dirty (like a view of the castle at night, or during the fight with the "She-bitch" (says Ash!)), this movie's High Definition is amazing. Indeed, the image is so clear that you can even see the sweat and the pores on the actors' faces. And even though you can see the dirt on the camera for one shot, this Blu-Ray's images make it worth buying this movie. Especially when the excellent Dolby sound effect makes this movie experience great to listen to.

As for the bonuses, I was glad to see the first ending that they wanted to use, and I'm happy that they reshot it and gave the official, and better, finale because it worked better in the comedic tone of this movie, unlike Evil Dead 2 which had a more dramatic tension than Army of Darkness.

In the end, this movie is a treat for those who are ready to kick back from the week's work, and enjoy a good adventure. One that, once again, foreshadows what would be done on Xena and Hercules.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 11, 2011
Army of Darkness(released in Oct/92)finds our hero Ash back,played by Bruce don't-call-me-Ash Campbell.It's his film all the way through,as he chews the scenery up,right,left and centre stage.The co stars are really just incidental to the proceedings.
This film finds us about where the last left off.A passage read in the Necronomicon in the last film mentioned a man from the sky that would arrive in 1300 A.D. to help the people fend off the deadites.Well,Ash is THE man of legend,much to his chagrin.He takes care of the initial deadite onslaught and goes into the castle grounds.There he is forced to take care of a deadite down a large well.After this he finds that in order for the wizard to send him back to his own time,he must obtain the Necronomicon from a local cemetery.The wizard gives him the words to speak to get the book safely away:Klaatu,Barada,Nickto(words every film fan worth their salt knows as the self same ones Patricia Neal had to speak to Klaatu in the 1951 film,The Day the Earth Stood Still....and Ash obviously hadn't seen it!).
He arrives at the cemetery,after a brief encounter with deadites in a windmill,only to find not one but three Books of the Dead.He opens the first and gets sucked into it.After he gets out the second bites him and continually flies at him until he is able to subdue it.Of course the last one would be the real one.He starts to chant the sacred words:Klaatu,Barada...Necktie... Neckturn... Nickel... It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word!...".In final desperation he says the first two and substitutes a drawn out cough for the last one.He looks around,nothing seemingly happens,but as he starts to return to his horse skeletal hands begin to rise up through the ground and trip him and try to grab the book.He gets away and returns to the castle.
He tells everyone that everything is alright,he has the book and now it's time he got returned to his own time.By now the people have thought he would stick around to fight the deadites and they are very disappointed.In the meantime the deadites have risen up from their graves and are marching on the castle.When a girl who had become infatuated with Ash is possessed by the deadites,he vows to stay and fight.It is a pitched battle but in the end good wins the day over evil and Ash is finally returned to his own time.
In the finale we find Ash back at work as he is explaining his exploits to some disbelieving fellow employees.Suddenly a deadite appears and Ash is forced to take action,as he grabs his weapon of choice,a boomstick(a shotgun to you Evil Dead noobs),and blasts the thing back to where it came.The film ends as Ash has a lovely lass bent over,ready for a kiss,as he utters the immortal words"Hail to the King,baby".
So ends the Evil Dead trilogy that really made a star out of Bruce Campbell;and rightfully so.Campbell has got to be the hardest B picture character actor in the business,along with being a very prudent and smart business man.He has written books,along with his movie work and has also directed.A man of many talents our Bruce is,and it shows that you don't have to be a Hollywood suck up to make it in films.We need more Campbells out there.
Technically speaking the print here is beautiful and is shown in its original a/r of 1:85:1.Extras include a featurette on the S/Fx and the alternate ending to the film.
All in all a recommended picture.This is the last of the Evil Dead series and shows Bruce Campbell off in his element as Ash.It is not GREAT film per se',but just a fun,fun romp in the horror genre that will have you laughing as much as jumping scared.
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on March 19, 2004
Proving you can't keep a good deadite slayer down, Army of Darkness marks the return of Ash in the third film of the highly popular Evil Dead trilogy. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is no longer confined to the isolated cabin in the woods, now that he's been transported to the 14th century (don't ask), apparently somewhere in England. He's seen as an enemy by the local Lord Arthur, but quickly becomes hero and savior to the people when he kills a couple of deadites. Consequently, and in order to return to his time, he's sent on a quest to retrieve the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead. What should be a simple task results in the creation of the army of darkness, which Ash must battle to keep evil from spreading throughout the land.
Army of Darkness' plot is pure nonsense, sort of a mix of Monty Python and just about every fantasy movie you may have seen. The entire movie's success is based on humor, and it delivers with consistent comic ingenuity. All traces of horror its predecessors had is all but gone here, those expecting to experience terror with their mirth will be sorely disappointed. Army of Darkness is a silly comedy from beginning to end, and it revels in its silliness.
Easily the movie's anchor and probably the only reason I couldn't stop giggling for all 81 minutes is cult fave and comic genius Bruce Campbell. Roles of this kind are perfectly suited for him, and he doesn't disappoint. Whether it's his sharp one-liners, priceless facial reactions, or general good-nature about making a complete fool of himself, Campbell is hilarious as Ash. This is undoubtedly my favorite performance of his, period.
Director Sam Raimi shows off his usual kinetic style, delivering plenty of zooms and swirling camera movements. Most of the action sequences (and there are a LOT of them) are played equally for laughs and thrills, but probably succeed at the former slightly more successfully than the latter. The only movie I can think of that managed to keep its action completely thrilling while consistently mingled with silly physical humor is Stephen Sommers' The Mummy (which obviously gained inspiration from this movie)(Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade also accomplished the task, but boasted better and less silly physical gags).
As much as I enjoyed Army of Darkness, it's not as if though the movie couldn't have been improved. Some jokes fall flat and the concept of Ash fighting his evil twin hardly lives up to its full potential. While the intentionally cheesy and fun special effects and make-up effects are perfectly suited for the film, I would have preferred more sets. Most of the movie is based around one castle (albeit a very large one), without even a small village surrounding it; kind of gives off that low-budget vibe (though it's easily the most expensive of the Evil Dead series).
The director's cut attaches another fifteen minutes to the movie, most of which neither hampers the movie nor enhances its enjoyment. In fact, I would have welcomed this 96-minute cut if not for the alternate ending, which may be more in tone with the trilogy, but doesn't measure up to the hilarious S-Mart finale of the theatrical cut. As far as comparison with its predecessors, it's different enough in tone to not warrant any comparisons, but what the hell, I'll give one, anyway. Army of Darkness is more consistently enjoyable than Evil Dead 2 (which wasn't scary and only sporadically funny), but not up to par with the original The Evil Dead (which remains one of the most frightening films I've ever seen).
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on April 16, 2003
The third movie of the Evil Dead Trilogy don't deserve this poor DVD edition. Ok, it's the worst movie in the trilogy, but it's still awesome, unlike the DVD.
It's rated R for violence, blood... The movie is the Evil Dead II sequel, where Ash "falls" in year 1300. His mission is to come back to his own time, but expect a lot of work in order to do that. He has to take the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead) from an unholy graveyard and a lot of other things. It's a comedy with some horror elements.
The DVD features audio in English (not 5.1!), French. And it's captioned in English and Spanish. The extras are:
- Theatrical Trailer: What can I say about it? It's the theatrical trailer!
- Bios: Cast & Crew main bios.
- Scene Selection: C'mon, what's a DVD without this?
- Production Notes: A bunch of texts. A little boring...
Overall, but this only if you can't find another edition... This is one of the worst Army Of Darkness' editions... But, if you can't find buy it for the movie, which is fun and it's part of the awesome Evil Dead Trilogy.
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on January 28, 2003
"Klatu Barata Nikto" - the entirety of the plot depends upon those magic words {which ironically are not actually in Necronomicon}, to whether ot not "the dead shall arise to devour the living" - yet that last phrase is in Necronomicon. Just remember, when attempting to possess the book, utter those words exactly, lest you release the dead & invoke all manner of chaos.
Ash {Bruce Campbell} returns in this part three film of the Evil Dead series. But where the first two films focused primarily on insanity, which is entertaining or disturbing, depending upon who is viewing the presentation, part three lapses into much more of a comedic vein, likened very much the Hercules / Xena brand of humor, which may have actually derived from these films.
3 immediately resumes where 2 left off, transporting Ahe through the portal from the present into the past, circa mideival Ireland, complete with car, rifle, & the chainsaw which replaces the hand he amputated to be rid of the "evil" possessing it, which in itself made for quite a hilarious scene.
He is made a prisoner of war when he virtually "falls from the sky", & despite the recognition of the resident wiseman as the one prophesied as the deliverer / savior of their people, is instead identified as being a member of the opposing army's memvership, & is placed in chains & shackels along with a leader of the enemy, to meet their fate in "The Pit", an abyss containing several monsters who mutilate & kill whomever is thrown down into it - a veritable sacrificial pit. So poor Ash is forced to do his first battle with a couple of ghouls, until the wiseman, who resembles Merlin, toses in the chainsaw. Ash makes quick work ofthem, decapitating one, blasting another with his "boom stick", as he explained to the bloodthirsty peasants. And finally, he is acknowledged as the prophesied deliverer of the people.
He must acquire The Necronomicon from a cemetary, but is admonished to speak the afore-mentioned binding words of spell, but unfortunately, at the last moment, forgets the last word, eventuallcausing the dead, an army of darkness, to arise to do battle with mortals, but not before he must divulge the correct book from the three set upon an altar in the graveyard, experiencing the plights that each false one presents.
Subsequently, Ash has run-ins with impish clones of himself, a demon who flies off with a sweet damsel, who becomes possessed by the nefarious gloom besetting the land, but she is eventually released of the influence of the King of The Dead, who multiplied himself himself from the flesh of Ash during that scene with the miniature imp-clones which became reminiscient of Gulliver's Travels.
Ash teaches the mortal army a few new tricks, & prepares for the arrival of the excarnate nemesis in skeletal form. The remainder of the movie consists of Xena-esque battles until the book is preserved, victory is hailed, & Ash is returned to the present, where he rgails the apathetic S-Mart co-workers with tales of his explits. But again, he did not utter the words of Spell completely, & the results are made evident when a she-demon in the form of a hideous hag attacks his girlfriend {*There is another scene earler in the movie when another hag appeared to kill anyone who woild deem to possess the book*}, to which the warrior Ash surfaces once more, to battle another denizen of the dark.
Overall, Army of Dakness is a comedy, not really something that would give you a fright, but will tickle your funny "bone'. Personally, I prefer the first two over this version, for the more occultic references, focusing on the mythology of Necronomicon lore, & some of the more horriffic scenes.
The FX are remarkable however; well-hewn demonic creatures, the skeletal army is superbly done, & the environments are crafted quite appropriately, especially the cemetary. A classic Horror-Comedy.
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on June 6, 2002
Buyer beware: there are so many different versions of Army of Darkness on video and DVD that you have to be careful which one you buy. If you want the best version, get the regular edition (not the director's cut, bootleg version, or special edition) if you want the full tilt comic blast that is Army of Darkness. The other versions with alternate endings cut out most of Ash's great one liners, so be careful! Now onto the movie; Army of Darkness finds Ash in midevil times after being transported there at the end of Evil Dead 2. While there, he must find the Necronomicon to get back home, and stop an entire army of the undead being led by his devilish alter ego Evil Ash. While its not as scary, bloody, or gorey as Evil Dead 1&2, Army of Darkness sacrifices all that for some Three Stooges-esque slapstick comedy, and a display and tribute of sorts to Ray Harryhausen's stop motion animation techniques of years ago. While its not on the same level of overall greatness as Evil Dead 1&2, Army of Darkness is a fitting ending to the Evil Dead series, and you'll laugh an awful lot from beginning to end.
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