The title for Sam Raimi’s third entry into the Evil Dead Trilogy was, rather aptly, initially titled Bruce Campbell Vs The Army of Darkness. The film is a wall to wall camp fest encapsulating everything that made Raimi’s freshman and sophomore episodes so engaging. Unlike The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, the Army of Darkness is takes our lovable hero, Ashley J Williams and catapults him from barely coping nincompoop to full on idiot superhero.
The film is essential a redressing of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Ash, through the power of the Necrinomicon, is ripped backwards in time to the era of kings, knights, and shit-tons of deadites.
The key element of this film’s success is it’s focus on shifting the source of humor away from gore and horror and more towards slapstick comedy and action adventure. The franchise’s third time protagonist really steps into his own. Sam Raimi’s approach to loose continuity also really bennifits Campbell’s Ash. The addition of the character element that Ash works at not-wall mart is a brilliant supplement to his bumblingly heroic persona.
Overall the Army of Darkness succeeds in what it accomplishes to do. It sets a target on being a rompingly destructive campfest. Army of Darkness it an interesting conclusion to the trilogy. It wouldn’t appear to be the most obvious choice in terms of how to wrap the trilogy but it definitely has become a being unto itself. Both Raimi and Campbell are forever tied to the character of Ash and the franchise. Even now, almost thirty years later, there are rumblings of a new Ash-centric film.
Here’s hoping Army of Darkness 2 or Evil Dead 5 will be released soon. Cause there’s never enough deadite slaying for me.