Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The MONTH of HORROR - Day 28: Army of Darkness

It is amazing that this movie was even made. I've seen it countless times however during this most recent viewing I was really struck by how much of a miracle it is that this thing ever got a major release. Clearly, a lot has changed in Hollywood in the last 20 years because now I can't imagine anything like 'Army of Darkness' ever being given the green light. Based on a horror series that never exactly lit the box office on fire, and starring a lead actor only really known to cult film fans, it had to have either been a leap of faith on the studio's part, or possibly a favor owed to director Sam Raimi after the success of 'Darkman'--probably a combination of both.

"Gimme some sugar, baby"

Bruce Campbell once again stars as our titular, strong jawed hero, Ash, and thanks to the Necronomicon (the book of the dead) he has been sent back in time to 14th century England. Initially imprisoned, Ash promptly displays his 20th century knowhow, and is soon exalted as "The Chosen One". A chainsaw for a hand, a shotgun (with cobalt steel, and walnut stock!), and a beat up Oldsmobile that followed him through the time portal will do a lot to convince a bunch of primitive screwheads that this guy is the real deal!

"Come get some

It's soon up to Ash to do whatever he can to band everyone together, and fight an incoming "deadite" army that wishes to wipe the living from the face of the earth, only possession of the Necronomicon can save them all. Simple, and straight forward, just the way it ought to be! Of course, when I used the word "hero" to describe Ash, that might be a bit of an overstatement--he's selfish, rude, and sometimes cowardly but when he needs to step up to the plate, he can get the job done. There's a lot of great physical humour from Bruce Campbell once again as he's jumping around, pratfalling, being flung like a rag doll, and even acting like a descendant of Larry, Curly, and Moe during one graveyard set piece involving the arms of skeletons poking up from the ground.

"Groovy"

You have to know what you're in for with a movie like 'Army of Darkness', if you're unfamiliar with the 'Evil Dead' series, or you're expecting something serious, you're probably going to hate it. The budget, for a flick with a scope like this, is relatively cheap, the acting is intentionally over the top, and the story is about is simple as it gets but damn if it isn't charming, and funny as hell. Yeah, most of the horror elements from the first two instalments are gone, and maybe that rubbed some purists the wrong way but if you're a fan of the genre, I just can't imagine you not being ridiculously entertained by this one. It's an annual watch for me, and for it's short 75 minute runtime, the smile never once breaks from my face.

"Hail to the king, baby"

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