The general consensus for Army of Darkness seems to be split down the middle. You either love the movie or hate it. Fans of the first Evil Dead films may feel it deviates too far from the horror genre and tiptoes quite a bit into comedy instead. I do agree that Army of Darkness doesn’t feel like a true Evil Dead 3, which is probably why it’s never referred to it as such, nevertheless, I love the movie. Hence, when Scream Factory announced a super duper Blu-ray release, featuring not one, not two, but three different versions of the movie, the Theatrical, the Director’s Cut and the International Cut, I went completely bonkers. This massive Collector’s Edition release is crammed full of Army of Darkness goodness on 3 Blu-ray discs, with a massive feature length interview session with several people (oddly Sam Raimi is not present) and tons and tons of other goodies to consume, you’ll be so overdosed on this movie, you’ll probably have to take a year off from looking at anything related to Evil Dead (save for the awesome Ash vs. Evil Dead TV series of course). I could stop the review right here and tell you to just pick it up, but why would I do that when I have the power to waste more of your time, so keep reading…
RUN-TIME: 81 / 96 / 88 / 90 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1, 1.33:1 (SD TV Version)
RESOLUTION: 1080p, Standard Definition for TV Version
AUDIO: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1992
RELEASE DATE: Oct 27, 2015
Bound in human flesh and inked in blood, the ancient “Necronomicon” – the Book of the Dead – unleashes unspeakable evil upon mankind in director Sam Raimi’s (Darkman, Drag Me to Hell) outrageously hilarious third chapter in his Evil Dead Trilogy.
Back to do battle with the hideous “Deadites,” Bruce Campbell returns to the role of Ash, the handsome, shotgun-toting, chainsaw-armed department store clerk from S-Mart’s housewares division. Demonic forces time warp him – and his ’73 Oldsmobile – into England’s Dark Ages, where he romances a beauty (Embeth Davidtz, The Amazing Spider-Man) and faces legions of the undead. Can Ash save the living from the evil dead, rescue his girlfriend, and get back to his own time?
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, my loyal readers, I did not go through every single version of the movie or special feature on this set. If I did, I would be still sitting in front of the TV. Instead, I chose to watch one of the versions I’ve never seen before, which was the International Cut. What is different you say? Well, besides a few lines and scenes added or missing from the film, not much. This version falls somewhere in-between the Theatrical and Director’s Cut, with an ending that uses the Theatrical version. Nothing super different jumped out at me, save for the missing line ‘good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun’. I have to say, that’s pretty disappointing, as I love that line. If you want to know what exactly is different, the IMDb page for Army of Darkness has tons of details to go over. Of course, watch the movie first, unless you love to be spoiled.
As for the movie itself, Army of Darkness is quite different from the previous versions, with the first Evil Dead being a more straight horror flick and the second having more dark comedy in it, but still horror. Army of Darkness on the other hand is pretty much through and through a comedy, a slapstick comedy to be precise. Yes, there is some “horror” elements thrown in the mix, but more often than not, they are played for laughs. Don’t get me wrong, all of these scenes worked in getting me to laugh, but would I have loved to get some more straight horror? Of course, but what we do get works.
Bruce Campbell as Ash is once again perfect. He hits all the right notes and excels in The Three Stooges inspired mayhem. I can’t imagine anyone else in this role. His character has definitely evolved since the first, becoming a cynical wiseass, who doesn’t give two craps about anyone, unless there is a babe involved. We get to see some of his normal life outside of the cabin of the first two and the medieval ages of this one (if those scenes were enjoyable for you, you’ll love the TV series.) There are many memorable scenes in this flick and they are all perfect because of Bruce Campbell’s fantastic performance.
I don’t really need to say anything more about Army of Darkness do I? It’s a cult classic flick and one that is a blast to watch. It might not be as horrifying as the first two, but it’s a damn hilarious good time.
Scream Factory has nailed this one out of the park. There is nothing negative to be said about this collection. (Although, supposedly there is an issue with the Theatrical Version, where a few seconds are missing and the audio gets messed up because of it, but I hear it will be resolved by Scream Factory in the near future.) The video and audio are looking and sounding as good as can be and I can’t think of anything to say about it, besides it’s so damn good. I didn’t notice any DNR issues or damage in the International cut that I watched. From reading other reviews for the other versions, there doesn’t seem to be any issues either, save for the aforementioned missing seconds in the Theatrical.
The special features are absolutely mind blowing. there is so much stuff to go through, you’ll literally be days perusing through all of the discs. If you love Army of Darkness, the Blu-ray is the sugar you need.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
DISC ONE (Theatrical Version, 81 min.) – 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0
- NEW Medieval Times: The Making Of “Army Of Darkness” Featuring Interviews With Star & Co-Producer Bruce Campbell, Actors Marcus Gilbert, Ted Raimi, Timothy Quill, Richard Grove, Bill Moseley, Patricia Tallman And Angela Featherstone, Director Of Photography Bill Pope, Editor Bob Murawski, Production Designer Anthony Tremblay, Composer Joseph Lo Duca, Costume Designer Ida Gearon, Special Make-Up Effects Artists Howard Berger, Tony Gardner, Robert Kurtzman, And Greg Nicotero, “Pit Bitch” Performer And Effects Artist William Bryan, Mechanical Effects Artist Gary Jones, First Assistant Director John Cameron, Visual Effects Supervisor William Mesa And Stunt Coordinator Christopher Doyle (96 min.)
- Original Ending
- Original Opening With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
- Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Home Video Promo
DISC TWO (Director’s Cut, 96 min.) – 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0
- Audio Commentary With Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell And Co-Writer Ivan Raimi
- NEW Additional Behind-The-Scenes Footage From KNB Effects (55 min.)
- Vintage Creating The Deadites Featurette (21 min.)
- Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
- Extended Interview Clips With Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell And Robert Tapert
DISC THREE (International Cut, 88 min.) – 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0
- NEW 4K Scan Of The International Inter-positive
- Television Version With Additional Footage (90 min., Standard Definition (1.33:1), DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
- Theatrical Trailer
- NEW 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)
- NEW Still Gallery Of Props And Rare Photos From The Collection Of Super Fan Dennis Carter Jr.
- NEW Storyboards For Deleted Or Alternate Scenes
- Vintage The Men Behind The Army Featurette (19 min.)
Army of Darkness is a flick that is a cult classic that is both loved and hated. I myself fall squarely in the love department, which funny enough, is right next to housewares. You can’t go wrong in picking up Scream Factory’s Blu-ray. I know there are handfuls of releases of this movie out there already, but this is the end all be all of editions. It’s got absolutely everything you could want. Shop smart people and shop Scream Factory.