The Evil Dead Trilogy is a strange trilogy. The first was a gritty movie shot on a relatively low budget. The second movie is somewhat of a remake of the original but with a large amount of humor and one-liners inserted, the third movie isn’t even called Evil Dead 3, but rather Army of Darkness and while being a direct sequel is more of a swords and sorcery action comedy than it is a horror movie. That said, it’s also probably the best of the trilogy giving this franchise another peculiar element: each movie is better than the previous one whereas most trilogies do exactly the opposite, unless we’re talking about Star Wars or The Dark Knight.
Army of Darkness has Ash end up in the 1300’s where he ends up on a quest of getting himself not only home, but also battling an army of “Deadites”; a name given by the people to the possessed humans we have already seen in the previous two movies. Ash quickly becomes the epitome of cool with his future-technology like the Chainsaw, his sawed of shotgun and car, delivering one snappy post-mortem one-liner after another.
Gone this time are the buckets of blood, which have been replaced by a healthy sense of humor. It’s funny how quickly Ash transformed actually; in the previous movie he started out as a guy being scared shitless, but who ended up taking matters in his own hands (quite literally concerning the chainsaw). In this movie he’s basically leadership material which is kind of funny considering this all the events leading up to this only took place during a couple of days.
This movie gained kind of a cult following over the years and has several different cuts including a version with a different ending than the theatrical release. I watched the “director’s cut” with the apocalyptic ending and while it is a good ending, I’m not sure if I appreciate it more than the theatrical ending which throws an extra action scene at us including the cool one-liner “Hail to the king baby”.
But as cool as this movie might be, it still has its problems, mostly in the special effects department. The skeleton army is all neatly done even though they’re all puppets, but there’s an entire sequence in a mill with Ash having it out with a couple of mini-Ashes which is pretty badly done. People give George Lucas a hard time for updating the original Star wars trilogy again and again, but here is a movie which could benefit from a bit of 20+ years later post-production.
The opening titles of the movie say “Bruce Campbell vs Army of Darkness” which covers exactly the about what this movie revolves around. Aside from Ash all of the supporting characters are quit bland and have no real depth. Even Evil-Ash doesn’t have much of a persona other that turning women into Deadites by raping them. He’s there to be some figure the heroes can overcome, nothing more.
Despite its flaws Army of Darkness is a fun movie, even twenty years on. Though the effects are dated, the humor hasn’t, though I don’t think today’s youth can fully appreciate the Three Stooges humor it has so plenty of. Then again, the same went for me back in the day as I also never grew up with them… I grew up on this, and like they say on the internet: If you remember this; your childhood was awesome…
and it sure was.