It’s impossible to contain the insanity that is the Evil Dead Trilogy in one night, so Gabe and I were forced to break this crossover into two parts. And while marathoning all three movies would have been an impressive test of our endurance, I’m glad we cut the series in two for two reasons: 1) I made Gabe drink apple cider during Army of Darkness and he was not amused (though I was) and 2) I want to make up for almost killing the joy of this camp classic series with my last post. I realize that analyzing camp takes the fun out of camp. Mea maxima culpa. Fortunately, Army Of Darkness can rise as the undead horror that it is, surviving even the awkwardly aimed arrows of my academic analysis. Okay, that sentence was a little much. But really, this entire series is a little much.
Forget everything else I borrowed from Susan Sontag and remember this instead: Camp is really, really fun. Fun is the entire point of camp. Evil Dead was a monument to 70s horror, Evil Dead 2 was a send-up of 70s horror and Evil Dead, and Army of Darkness is a slapstick love letter to B-movie epics and to itself. Like with Evil Dead 2, Sam Raimi starts Army of Darkness by throwing continuity out the window into a hell vortex (literally) by rewriting the entire ending of the preceding film. Bruce Campbell as the groovy hero Ash gets thrown back in time to fight Deadites in medieval somewhere (England? Scotland? Iceland?). In the process, he goes Gulliver’s Travels on his own psychotic mini-clones, fights an Evil Ash who grows out of his shoulder, makes love to the teacher from Mathilda, and gets into a series of situations that are always funny but rarely scary. In fact, Army of Darkness is hands down the least scary film in the entire series.
A horror movie that isn’t scary sounds ridiculous, which is actually a pretty accurate description of Army of Darkness. In order to make this “horror comedy,” Sam Raimi relies on Bruce Campbells comic skills and a surprisingly high budget of low budget special effects. Ray Harryhausen probably never had a greater homage than the stop-motion skeletons of Army Of Darkness, who are given even more personality than some of the flesh-and-blood characters. Added to this is puppet work worthy of Jim Henson, prosthetics makeup by way of Dick Smith, and a smattering of hand-drawn animation. The effects (and what Raimi does with them) are the star of the film along with Campbell. All things considered, Army of Darkness is never more than what it needs to be: a hell of a lot of fun.
Watching the movie with Gabe was a lot of fun as well. Don’t forget to check out his review! If you have suggestions of other holiday-themed bad movies we can watch, let us know via Twitter, Facebook, or the comments section below!