Army of Darkness (1992) is the third and final film in the Evil Dead trilogy. It begins by summarizing Evil Dead II and continues from the moment where Ash is pulled into the time vortex. He and his Delta 88 are dropped into the middle ages where he is taken prisoner by a group of knights, led by Lord Arthur. Ash joins other prisoners, one of whom is Duke Henry.
The prisoners are taken to Lord Arthur’s castle and Ash is thrown into a well inhabited by a deadite. A Wiseman, who has recognized Ash as their prophesied savior, throws him his chainsaw. Ash catches it with his stump and plugs it in, making short work of the demonic creature. When he climbs out, he takes charge and sets Duke Henry free.
Ash wants a way home and the Wiseman tells him only a spell from the Necronomicon can send him back. In order to retrieve the book, he must go to a nearby graveyard and speak the magic words, “Klaatu Barada Nikto.”
Ash sets out on his mission and is chased into a windmill by an evil force. While there, he breaks a mirror and tiny images of himself come to life. They knock Ash out and tie him down. When he comes to, they force him to swallow one of their tiny number. Ash tries to drown the tiny Ash by swallowing boiling water but fails. The creature grows splitting off into a second, evil Ash. Ash chops his doppelganger up with his chainsaw and buries him in the woods. He then resumes his quest.
When Ash reaches the cemetery, he finds three books waiting for him. The first sucks him in, and when he pulls himself out, he has a long, stretched-out face. The second book flies up into the air and attacks him. When he takes the third book, he realizes he has forgotten the last magic word and so, instead of saying “Nikto,” he coughs and fakes it. This leads to a chain reaction wherein the graveyard comes alive and skeletal hands attack Ash. Lightning strikes the grave of Evil Ash and he is reanimated.
Ash returns to the castle and greets Sheila, the girl who loves him. They are soon attacked by a bat-like deadite who abducts Sheila. She is taken to the Evil Ash who transforms her into a deadite while assembling his Army of Darkness.
Army of Darkness is not only frightening, it’s funny. Bruce Campbell is hilarious as the bumbling hero and as the equally bumbling villain. Every scene he’s in is terrific.
Ash Williams/Evil Ash – Bruce Campbell
Sheila – Embeth Davidtz
Lord Arthur – Marcus Gilbert
Wiseman – Ian Abercrombie
Duke Henry – Richard Grove
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS:
-In the original ending, Ash fails to use the correct amount of potion which will take him to his own present. He winds up in an apocalyptic future. The studio found this ending too depressing and a new happier ending was shot.
-Evil Dead II was supposed to be Evil Dead II: Army of Darkness. Unfortunately, the budget for the film couldn’t accommodate a trip to the middle ages.
-Army of Darkness was originally given an NC-17 rating for the decapitation of a female deadite.
-Bridget Fonda plays Ash’s girlfriend, Linda, at the beginning of the film.
-“Klaatu, Barada, Nikto” are the words spoken to neutralize the robot, Gort, in the original version of the film, The Day the Earth Stood Still.
-Ash has appeared in many graphic novels. Some have featured Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason. One of the most popular, features the rock band KISS. It’s called KISS Army of Darkness.
Ash [holding Sheila in his arms]:
Gimme some sugar, baby.
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Ash [after crushing a metal goblet with his new hand]:
When Ash takes the book and announces in a dramatic voice: “Klaatu. Barada. N-cough! Cough! Cough!”
When I was younger, my parents made my sister and I leave the room if a film was too violent. Army of Darkness was the first movie I watched in the Evil Dead trilogy and all through it, I was terrified. I was sure I’d have to leave. But, many of the scenes utilized the suggestion of violence which was more frightening and effective than the actual violence.
A few years later, we tried to show the first Evil Dead to my nephew and niece who were fairly little. Needless to say, we had to turn it off. The violence in the first two films was not suggested.
I still haven’t seen the complete film (or the second for that matter.) But, I have seen the TV show and it is extremely violent. It is incredibly fun though. I’m really sorry they canceled Ash vs. Evil Dead.
HOW YOU CAN WATCH:
Army of Darkness is rated R. You can watch it, Tuesday, October 16, during the “Day of the Undead” marathon on AMC’s FRIGHT FEST. As always, it is available for purchase on Amazon.
That’s it for October Frights. We hope you’ve enjoyed our take on our favorite movies as well as the little bit of free fiction. If you like October Frights, let us know in the comments below.
For now…HOP ON!