So here we are with the third and final installment in the Evil Dead movie franchise. And yes, I know there was a remake, but it doesn’t count. I’m not saying it’s bad, but I just don’t care about the rehashing of an already perfect movie. So as far as the movies go this is the end and what a good way to wrap things up… Until the T.V. show which is also pretty good.
At the end of Evil Dead II Ash is sucked into the portal and dumped in the middle ages where he shoots a deadite and the movie ends. For Army of Darkness they rewind things a bit and instead of killing a deadite he is captured by Arthur’s men and hauled off in chains. They toss him into a pit thinking he is one of Henry’s men, whom they are fighting with. But instead of being killed by the deadites in the pit he does his “Ash” thing and kicks some butt. He climbs out and sets Henry, who was also captured, free with the rest of his men. Then he seemingly takes over the castle. The wise man tells him that he needs to get the Necronomicon so they can send him back home and to save them from destruction. Of course, he screws it up, he is Ash after all, and following him back to the castle is an army of the dead lead by his own evil doppelganger.
This movie is awesome. The tone continues to shift from the horror of the original Evil Dead to the slapstick action that was part of Evil Dead II to eventually full on comedy in Army of Darkness. Here they full on “stooge” with eye pokes, slaps, and sound effects. I understand that many fans of the original Evil Dead are annoyed by this because they think it is too silly. Honestly, I can totally see where they are coming from. I love this movie and the other Evil Dead flicks equally, but for different reasons. To me that is what makes this franchise completely unique in that all three of the movies are able to change dramatically but yet are equally entertaining. I can’t think of another franchise that has pulled that off.
In addition to the stooges gags the dialogue is cleverly written to give Ash as many quotable lines as possible. There is a lot of silly stop motion effects work that harken back to Harryhausen, as well as some actual puppets, and actors suited up as deadites. Is it seamless? No it isn’t, but that is part of the fun. The ending of the movie has Ash back in the present doing battle with the deadites at S-Mart. But why you might ask? Wasn’t the book supposed to banish the deadites once and for all? He screwed up the words again so now he has to protect housewares from the scourge of the dead.
I’m a huge fan of the Evil Dead franchise. While I love them all equally Army of Darkness is the first one that I saw in the theater on it initial release so it will always have a special place in my heart. It is also the movie where I personally feel Bruce Campbell became the personality that we all identify him as now. The silly, wisecracking character actor that we all love starts here. If you are a horror fan you have to watch this one at least once. It is recommended.
© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer