This was the third movie in a series by Renaissance Pictures, a film company created by four film students. Sam, Ted, and Ivan Raimi, and Bruce Campbell. The first movie was the cult classic, The Evil Dead, which was shot on 8mm film, but is now a horror film collector’s staple. In this movie, Ash (Bruce Campbell) is still at odds with that demonic Sumerian text, the Necronomicon. We still find him in that cabin in the Tennessee woods, but not for long, as Army of Darkness takes place exactly where Evil Dead 2 ended.
The once timid S-Mart housewares clerk Ash has become a chainsaw-wielding, shotgun-toting badass, but that cursed book won’t let him be, and this time it has a new destination, and it is bring Ash and his big yellow car with it. The destination, England, circa 1300 C.E. Ash is drawn into a battle between two Lords, Arthur and Duke Henry the Red, and is mistaken to be a knight in Duke Henry’s army. He is taken as a P.O.W. by Lord Arthur’s men to his keep. At Lord Arthur’s keep is a pit that is home to some undead creatures, and they throw the prisoners in there as a punishment. A spirited beauty, Sheila (Embeth Davidtz) is vowing vengeance for her brother’s death at the hands of Duke Henry’s men, and takes an instant dislike to Ash An alchemist in Lord Arthur’s employ, known only as Wiseman (Ian Ambercrombie), says that Ash is a hero that is part of a prophetic legend sent to protect them from the curse of the Necronomicon. Then things get weird, but when it comes to Raimi movies, you know it going to be weird in a very good way. This movie was made in the very early 90s, before computer animation became commonplace with the advent of Toy Story and Jurassic Park.
The Army of Darkness itself was lead by an evil clone of Ash that was created by the curse. Ash killed the clone, and went to the graveyard where to book was supposedlu kept. He found three books, and after some trial with the wrong ones, he said the words to stop the curse incorrectly, and just made things worse. The clone came back, nastier and more evil than even, and anyone who has played a necromancer in an MMORPG will recognize the spells used to bring the dead back. The animation used to show the undead army on the move reminded me of the old classics like Jason and Argonauts, but not quite as streamlined as that in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
This movie is more fun than its prequels, and even though it has scary moments and monsters, it is not overly gory. The scare factor is definitely there in the true sense that a horror film should be made to give you the creeps and jumps at things that go bump in the night, and not to gross you out. The one-liners time-travelling Ash spouts out here and there are great, and keep right in line with his character. This movie is just fun, and not too serious, as great entertainment should be.
I give this film a Musing review of