Army of Darkness (Poolman’s View) [retro viewing]

Psst! Hey it's me, Heather! I moved this article over from the old site and, seeing as how we used the US poster in Justin's Viewing of AOD, I just had to stick this one from Japan in here. It's too awesome not to use, right? Click it to see it full-sized. Whoops, I think I hear Justin coming. As you were!

Well, Halloween 2005, and if I do my math right (and I’m pretty decent at math) I’m the only person who didn’t make it onto the bus for HallowHorrorWeen. Boo-urns. There is so much more expected of the PoolMan! So, to try and make up for it, I give you anauthentic Halloween Night Mutant Viewing of one of the MRFH’s all-time favourite flicks: Army of Darkness!


0:00You gotta love how important this music sounds. I almost expect Darth Vader to march onscreen.

0:32 My name is Ash, and I am a slave. It all starts out so simply. Was anyone else wondering why Ash’s stub is locked up in the manacle? He could pull it out easily.

1:05 Ah, Linda. Wait a sec, BRIDGET FONDA?!?

1:38 Ancient Cimmerian text. I wonder if Conan read it.

2:00 Ah, the first Evil POV shot, rapidly followed by the wrist cutting scene. And the Classic. It’s nice to know Raimi’s nothing if not wonderfully predictable.

3:00 I always loved the way the title was done. Bruce Campbell Vs The Army of Darkness. Just sounds so much more fun. It’s worth pointing out this is the Bootleg Edition of AoD, which means the content of the movie is nicely cleaned up and fleshed out a bit, but the ending is off from the one most people know and love. Don’t worry, I’ll be griping about it later.

4:02 And here we are, four minutes into the film, and our intrepid S-Mart employee is already back in the 1300’s, chainsaw at the ready. We don’t waste any time, do we?

4:50 I love how everyone in the past has a funky beard. Especially the wise man.

5:20 Dissolving from a chainsaw to a sun… that’s novel!

5:39 Now THAT’S a model castle. Graham Chapman, eat your heart out.

6:55 And intro Sheila. Shades of Eowyn there, methinks. I always thought she looked a little like Tracey Ullman when she gets demonized later on.

7:41 Sure takes a long time to finally get to this darned pit, doesn’t it?

8:25 Well hellooooooooo Mr Fancy Pants. I love how Ash emotionally swings back and forth between “sassy” and “pants fillingly terrified”.

9:03 Well. Politics. That’s nice.

9:55 I love the dead silence after the first prisoner gets thrown in, followed by the geyser of blood. Bright orange blood, mind you, but blood nonetheless. Definitely a subtle movie. Teehee.

10:50 Ha. Next?

11:15 Okay, NOW Ash is a little scaredypants.

12:06 And this is what the Pit of Carkoun looked like from the inside.

12:53 So the witch who lives in the well opens up by punching Ash? Where’s the big “turn him into a geyser of blood” move? Good comedy to the fight, though.

13:40 What exactly causes the old wise dude to toss in the chainsaw? Ah who cares, it’s cool. One decapitated witch, coming right up!

14:25 I never really noticed just HOW many POV shots were in this flick. POV on the evil, POV on the spike walls, POV on the toast going into the toaster… I’ll be pointing them out as we go. Anyways, why is the SECOND demon finally coming out only now?

15:49 You know, your shoelace is untied. Heh. Slug the lord just for putting you in. Followed by one of the best rants in the business. This is Ash at his most fun… when he’s pissed off and ready to take it out on everybody else, no matter who it is.

17:20 I love the cheek pinching by Henry. An odd move, to be sure, but funny.

18:03 See this? This… is my BOOMSTICK! Film history. I like the appraising looks from the crowd as Ash basically verbally sells them the shotgun.

18:50 Didn’t Demon #2 just disappear in between a double row of spikes?

19:25 And cut to Ash, enjoying the best the Middle Ages have to offer in wine, women, and song.

19:52 Ash “The Promised One”. Well that’s got to be a good sign.

20:30 And yet another random demon from nowhere. I love the open eye as Arthur comes into check her out. Ash really has a way with demon chicks. I love the Bruce Lee cool down after he shoots her.

22:40 Building montage! It’s time for the Power Glove! Groovy. Once again, Raimi really doesn’t waste time in this flick. Thirty seconds and Ash has both hands again. Love it. Although it takes FOREVER to actually prove itself useful.

24:00 Heh… things with molecular structures are complicated.

24:40 Gimme some sugar, baby. Taming women, the Ash Way! But where’s all the wind coming from as they’re having sex indoors?

26:30 A cemetery is an unholy place? Ooooookay. Too bad Ash doesn’t repeat the words, though…

28:00 Bruce Campbell actually knows how to ride a horse, I’d say. Either that or there’s hundreds of rejected takes of Bruce flying off the horse as it rears.

28:20 Ooh! Evil POV! Here it comes! This is the world famous scene where people think they see a face in the third split tree. I grant you, it LOOKS like a face, but it’s just a weird chunk of wood. Thank goodness for the miracle of DVD. Myth debunked, yes!

29:53 And here we have a windmill. No reason, just thought it’d be nice.

30:20 Remember, never get caught screaming when there’s no longer anything to actually scream at. Kind of embarrassing.

31:40 So why does Ash try to heat up his metal hand?

32:15 RAMMING SPEED! Love the mini-Ashes.

33:18 Oh, man… having your face stuck to the grill… Ash sure takes a ton of punishment. Oops, there goes the OTHER end onto the grill.

34:20 It’s fun watching him try and take revenge on the mini-hims. They just such little bastards. London Bridge is falling down!

36:20 As soon as he sets sight on the teapot, you’ve just gotta cringe.

37:00 Okay, eyeball on the shoulder, growing into a full blown second Ash… that’s just a little weird. How come the second Ash seems to grow its own clothes? And why does Good Ash keep the metal hand when seconds before it belonged to Bad Ash?

39:09 It’s the director’s cut, so “I ain’t that good” isn’t a bad line, but it just doesn’t hold water against “Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun”.

40:42 Hey, what’s that you got on your face?

41:00 And at long last, Ash is back on his quest and not getting his ass kicked by six inch tall little dudes. It’s a little surreal that the windmill scene basically takes twelve minutes and features little more than Bruce Campbell flinging himself around the set.

42:20 For a guy who just had his face pushed onto a flaming hot grill, Ash looks pretty good.

43:00 Ooh, that stinkin’ wise man! As usual, when confronted with a problem Ash bitches and moans to almost no end..

43:55 I think the first stretchy face Ash looks a little like Keanu Reeves, and the last one looks like Ronald Reagan. The cartoony bits of this flick always strike me as out of place. The Evil Dead movies were more dark and scary, Army of Darkness kind of comes across as funny and cartoonish. Still excellent fun, mind you.

44:30 Do you go with your first instinct, or second guess yourself? Obviously should have listened to that little voice…

45:45 Bet you wish you’d listened to the words a little closer, eh? Love the echo on his voice until he gets to the last one. Check out how he coughs over the last one, and then tries to fool the empty graveyard. “Klaatu, verada, niCOUGHHACKCOUGH!”

47:24 Meanwhile, back at the castle, the old wise man definitely seems to have an idea that Ash wasn’t listening as closely as he might have.

47:55 This would be another point where it all just gets cartoony… the bony hands routine is fun, but seems kinda weird. I might have preferred this scene to be scary than a nice long homage to the Three Stooges.

49:50 Birth of Evil Ash. Apparently chainsawing a body into pieces isn’t a permanent condition.

50:30 Enthusiastic welcome by the villagers, met with utter contempt by Ash.

51:27 Heh. Spinach beard.

51:57 Wow, that is one nasty mullet on Arthur. Jeez, man.

53:18 Well that’s just what we call pillow talk, baby!

53:55 Winged creature POV!

54:19 I love how Arthur prevents the guards from firing, because they’d “hit the girl”. Like she’s going to a better place, Art? Maybe a quick arrow to the ribs wouldn’t be a bad option for poor Sheila.

56:00 Lucky Sheila. Kissing a corpse sure looks like fun. I always wonder how Evil Ash kisses without a lower lip.

56:50 If they’re two days’ ride away, how did the scout get back so quickly?

58:00 Nice quick lil’ cameo by Ted Raimi. You can count on my steel!

59:45 We can take them with science?!? Man, this isn’t like physics, is it? I mean, the guy’s got a chemistry text and a book about steam engines in his car. Ash used to be so cool!

61:30 Ash teaches them one extremely simple polearm move, and he’s excited?

62:35 There’s something almost Disneyish (I mean like Fantasia) about the advance of the skeleton army, with the flutes and the drums. It’s a very cool scene, especially considering the dated (but charming!) effects.

64:40 Evil Ash really isn’t looking all that hot, is he?

66:00 Why is it archers always need such explicit instructions! Arrows! Bows! Load! Draw! Floss! Spit!

67:15 I love the skeletons grunting as they’re blown up. Oof! Argh!

69:05 Catapult fireball POV!

69:48 Stop motion animation will never stop being cool.

70:02 Why is it the doors are never braced BEFORE the enemy army shows up? They always call for bracing after the battering ram comes out.

70:25 Ah, the Deadites finally remembered they have arrows!

71:20 Evil Ash doing the zagreet (the Xena lalalalala sound) is kinda unique. Don’t see that much.

71:54 Here comes the single polearm move! Huzzah! Here’s to coordinated choreographed fighting techniques!

72:40 Probably the Classic’s best moment in any of Raimi’s movies. Transformed into a whirling killing machine (that the Deadites seem to identify as a “car”).

74:00 Sheila’s lookin’ pretty good again… I’m sure it can’t be a trick, right Ash?

75:15 Spear POV!

75:38 Excellent skeleton over the knee kill by Ash. Remember kids, when you’re being attacked by the walking dead, the WWE is your source for defensive maneuvers.

77:03 Come to poppa. Gosh, Ash sure gets the crazy eyes sometimes, doesn’t he?

78:58 FINALLY, the steel hand is good for something. Stopping a killing sword blow is a plus.

79:40 Dual wielding Ash! There’s some pretty good action to this flick!

80:50 Evil Ash takes his share of punishment too, that’s for sure! It takes finally setting him on fire to really get his attention. But of course, that ain’t quite enough…

81:50 For stop motion animation, the final fight between Good Ash and Bone Ash really isn’t bad.

83:20 Henry shouts “for King and castle” as he charges. Who exactly is the King?

84:16 Was that Bony Ash blowing up, or the Death Star?

84:31 Thank goodness, the love interest survived.

85:30 The hug between Arthur and Henry… guess we know where Peter Jackson would get it eventually, eh? Definite shades of Aragorn and Legolas, here.

87:45 I always thought the “blow up the cave mouth and sleep” plan was a wee bit risky. And oops, one drop too many in this cut… Ash counts five drops of the sleeping potion twice.

90:08 Hahaha… manufactured products! Yeah, this would be the “other” version of the movie, where Ash wakes up in post-apocalyptic Britain (complete with defunct Big Ben lying in ruins) and he screams that he slept too long. I like the other ending myself, with the return to S-Mart and the last demoness. Ah well, it’s off to the video store for me…

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