Director – Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell)
Starring – Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep, Evil Dead II), Embeth Davidtz (Matilda, Thir13en Ghosts), Marcus Gilbert (Doctor Who, Rambo III)
Release Date – 1992
Rating – 4/5
UHD Release – 4.5/5
Most of my close friends have heard the stories but my childhood was an unusual time for me. The woman that gave birth to me has severe mental issues and used religion as a way to cope with them. However, her mental issues made her turn fanatical with religion and when I was just a few months old she abandoned me. My father was able to find me safely. Fast forward a few years and she was back in our lives for a short period. I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time and she forced me to sit down and watch several movies over and over again because she believed they had hidden messages from God or some fucked up shit. Honestly, I liked a few of the films that she would force me to watch so I didn’t mind.
One of the films was Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II. I watched that tape so much in my youth that it stopped working after becoming snowy in certain spots. I love that movie and it was a stepping stone into the other Evil Dead films. In fact, original Evil Dead trilogy was the first movies I bought on DVD when Anchor Bay was still a thing. One of my favorite DVDs in my collection was Anchor Bay’s release of Bruce Campbell vs. The Army of Darkness. It was such a great release and I loved the artwork for it. I’ve watched it countless times in my life and I’m always looking for an excuse to watch it again. A few days back Scream Factory sent over the UHD steelbook release of the film for me to check out and I was happy to. Thanks Scream Factory!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Ash who finds himself in medieval times after using the Necronomicon to stop the evil that was released in Evil Dead II. Now, the wise man to the king suspects he is the chosen one foretold in the book to stop the deadites. He is sent on a journey to retrieve the book and site the incantation to stop them. However, he forgets the words and accidentally unleashes the deadite hordes on the castle and the innocent lives inside. Instead of fleeing, he stays to train the people and fight the deadites in hopes of returning to his time. **Spoiler Alert**
Army of Darkness is one of the wildest entries in the Evil Dead series but it’s not as goofy as it sounds. It’s a fun blending of horror and fantasy that other films would never gamble on. Director Sam Raimi took a big risk on this film and it paid off in a big way. In fact, it may not be the most beloved entry in the Evil Dead series but it easily the most popular with many non-genre fans hailing this film as it’s meshing of different genres.
The acting in this one is top notch. Bruce Campbell never disappoints, and this is the beginning of the personality that Ash is known for now. In the first Evil Dead film he is a final girl more or less. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a bit of a baby. In Evil Dead II he is starting to be a bit more of a smart ass but he is still a sweet heart that can carry slapstick humor. However, Army of Darkness shows him as the smartass we know and love. He has catchy dialogue and always carries the scene he is in. Embeth Davidtz and Marcus Gilbert are great as well as Sheila and Lord Arthur. In fact, the entire film is well acted. We have Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead’s Patricia Tallman, horror legend Bill Moseley and the iconic Evil Ash, and even a small appearance from Bridget Fonda just to name a few.
The story for this one is unlike any other Evil Dead film but would be a prominent point in the comic series that would soon follow. The Evil Dead reboot would be a return to basics in a way but this story will always stand out among fans due to different it is from other films. The backstory of the Necronomicon is further explored here with more lore and deadites added to the fold. We have waring clans, knights, castles, dungeons, deadites, love, and slapstick. The film has perfect pacing and really works.
Finally, the film is overflowing with practical effects. It’s not a gory flick but we do get some blood, fantastic creature designs, and plenty of skeletons with decaying flesh on them. The practical effects are phenomenal and still look good to this day. Overall, Army of Darkness is a radical follow up to the classic Evil Dead II that fucking works. Genre fans don’t get a lot of fantasy horror but this one is fun for the whole family. The steelbook release from Scream Factory is a thing of beauty and a must own for fans of the franchise.
DISC ONE (THEATRICAL CUT – 4K UHD):
NEW 2022 4K Scan Of The Original Camera Negative Approved By Director Sam Raimi, Director Of Photography Bill Pope, And Editor Bob Murawski
In Dolby Vision (HDR 10 Compatible)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
DISC TWO (THEATRICAL CUT – BLU-RAY):
NEW 2022 4K Scan of the Original Camera Negative approved by director Sam Raimi, director of photography Bill Pope, and editor Bob Murawski
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Medieval Times: The Making of “Army Of Darkness” – A Feature-length Documentary With Over 20 people Interviewed Including Star & Co-Producer Bruce Campbell, Actors Ted Raimi, Bill Moseley, And Patricia Tallman, And Many More…
Alternate Opening With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
U.S. Video Promo
DISC THREE – (DIRECTOR’S CUT – BLU-RAY):
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Audio Commentary With Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell, And Co-Writer Ivan Raimi
Additional Behind-The-Scenes Footage From KNB Effects
Creating the Deadites – Vintage Featurette
Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
Extended Interview Clips With Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, And Robert Tapert
DISC FOUR – (INTERNATIONAL CUT – BLU-RAY):
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0 (International Cut)
Television Version With Additional Footage (Standard Definition)
International Theatrical Trailer
Still Galleries With Rare Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Production Designer Anthony Tremblay, Visual Effects Supervisor William Mesa And Special Make-Up Effects Artists Tony Gardner And KNB EFX, Inc. (Over 200 Stills)
Still Gallery Of Props And Rare Photos From The Collection Of Super Fan Dennis Carter Jr.
Storyboards For Deleted Or Alternate Scenes
The Men Behind The Army – Vintage Featurette