ARMY OF DARKNESS – SCREWHEAD EDITION [1992 / 2009] [Blu-ray] [USA Release]
From the Director of ‘DARKMAN,’ ‘SPIDER-MAN’ and ‘DRAG ME TO HELL’
All primitive screwheads, listen up! Cult superstar Bruce Campbell [‘Evil Dead’] reunites with director Sam Raimi [‘Drag Me to Hell’ and ‘Spider-Man’] to battle the deadly forces of evil in ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ the outrageous, effects-fuelled action epic that will make you scream with fear and laughter.
Forced to lead a makeshift Dark Ages army against the demonic Deadites, who possess all the deadly magic of hell, the shotgun-toting, chainsaw-armed, reluctant 20th century time traveller Ashley "Ash" J. Williams and Evil Ash [Bruce Campbell] must save the living from the dead, rescue his medieval girlfriend and get back to his own time.
One of the most popular horror comedies of all time, now digitally remastered and loaded with bonus features, ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ is drop-dead fun!
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1992 Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival: Nominated: Best Film for Sam Raimi. 1993 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival: Nominated: Grand Prize for Sam Raimi. 1993 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film (BIFFF): Win: Golden Raven Award for Sam Raimi. 1993 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards: Win: Chainsaw Award for Best Actor for Bruce Campbell. Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actress for Embeth Davidtz. Chainsaw Award for Best Make-Up FX for Tony Gardner and Alterian. Chainsaw Award for Best Wide-Release Film. Chainsaw Award for Best Soundtrack for Danny Elfman and Joseph LoDuca. 1993 Fantasporto: Win: Critics' Award for Sam Raimi. Nominated: International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film for Sam Raimi. 1994 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Win: Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. Nominated: Saturn Award for Best Make-Up. 1994 The Saturn Awards: Nominated: Saturn Award for Best Make-Up for Tony Gardner. 2006 Scream Awards: Win: Scream Award for Best Comic-To-Screen Adaptation. 2014 20/20 Awards: Nominations: Felix Award for Best Make-Up. Nominations: Felix Award for Best Visual Effects. 2015 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards: Win: Rondo Statuette for BEST CLASSIC DVD for Sam Raimi. Nominated: Rondo Statuette for Best Restoration for Sam Raimi.
FILM FACT No.2: For the film's original ending, using a passage from the Necronomicon, the Wise Man tells Ashley "Ash" J. Williams and Evil Ash to swallow six drops of the potion to return to the present, unfortunately, due to a distraction by falling rocks, Ashley "Ash" J. Williams and Evil Ash miscalculates the amount of potion needed to be able to correctly return to his own time, swallowing seven instead of six. As a result, he wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future where human civilization is destroyed, and he screams in dismay at having overslept. Universal Pictures objected to this climax, feeling that it was too negative and depressing in tone, and so a more positive and optimistic ending was filmed and ultimately incorporated into the theatrical cut. Danny Elfman, who composed the score for ‘DARKMAN,’ wrote the “March of the Dead” theme for ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS.’ After the re-shoots were completed, Joseph LoDuca, who composed the music for ‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘Evil Dead II,’ returned to score the film. Danny Elfman composer used his knowledge of synthesizers and was able to present many cues in a mock-up form before he recorded them with the Seattle Symphony. A vinyl release of the score was revealed during the MondoCon in Austin, Texas, on the 3rd and 4th October, 2015 by Mondo Records.
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Ian Abercrombie, Richard Grove, Timothy Patrick Quill, Michael Earl Reid, Bridget Fonda, Patricia Tallman, Ted Raimi, Deke Anderson, Bruce Thomas, Sara Shearer, Shiva Gordon, Billy Bryan, Nadine Grycan, Bill Moseley, Micheal Kenney, Andy Bale, Robert Brent Lappin, Rad Milo, Brad Bradbury, Sol Abrams, Lorraine Axeman, Josh Becker, Sheri Burke, Don Campbell, Charlie Campbell, Harley Cokeliss, Ken Jepson, William Lustig, David O'Malley, David Pollison, Ivan Raimi, Bernard Rose, Bill Vincent, Chris Webster, Ron Zwang, Lisa Michelle Axelrod (uncredited), J Michael Briggs (uncredited), Eric Clarke (uncredited), Angela Featherstone (uncredited), Bridget Hoffman (uncredited), Patricia Anne Isgate-Hayward (uncredited), Kevin O'Hara (uncredited), Courtney Pakiz (uncredited), Sam Raimi (uncredited), Jerry Rector (uncredited), Jim Rhine (uncredited) and Monique Yates Jr. (uncredited)
Director: Sam Raimi
Producers: Bruce Campbell, Dino De Laurentiis and Robert G. Tapert
Screenplay: Ivan Raimi (written) and Sam Raimi (written)
Composer: Joseph LoDuca
Costume Design: Ida Gearon
Cinematography: Bill Pope (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Spanish: 5.1 DTS Surround Sound Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French
Running Time: 80 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures / Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica / Raimi Productions
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ – SCREWHEAD EDITION  Here we find Ashley "Ash" J. Williams [Bruce Campbell] who is a housewares salesman at an S-Mart department store before an awesome adventure sends him through a time tunnel into the Middle Ages. Suddenly, as the “Promised One” of prophesy, he is expected to save the locals from an upsurge in evil. Armed with a chainsaw and a 12-gauge shotgun, Ashley “Ash” J. Williams sets out to put down an army of skeletons and woo one of the locals Sheila [Embeth Davidz], all the while trying to find a way back home.
Ashley "Ash" J. Williams escapes death in the woods only to be thrust into the past. When he is forced into servitude by Lord Arthur [Marcus Gilbert], Ashley "Ash" J. Williams finds himself on a quest for the Necronomicon once again . . . and it could be his only means of reaching home! Unfortunately, Ash isn’t a hero and saving himself is more important than saving a kingdom. The Deadites are coming and Ashley "Ash" J. Williams is going to have to step up whether he wants to or not.
The person propelling this movie is Bruce Campbell and has the acting style and the self-deprecating humour that it needed to make Ashley "Ash" J. Williams both an ass and a very likeable character. Ashley "Ash" J. Williams is backed up Embeth Davidtz as Sheila and Ian Abercrombie plays Lord Arthur [Marcus Gilbert] as his personal Wiseman. Bridget Fonda has a small role as Ashley “Ash" J. Williams’s love Linda and Ted Raimi plays Ashley "Ash" J. Williams’s bored Cowardly Warrior co-worker.
‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ is openly campy – and proud of it – blending a unique mix of horror, swords-and-sorcery, and the Three Stooges. If you've seen the previews, you know what to expect. They accurately depict the tone and content of the film without giving away all the slapstick and one-liners. While ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ isn't one gag after another, there's enough humour present to make it funnier and more enjoyable than before.
Bruce Campbell, returning after appearing in the two Evil Dead films, is in top form, delivering ridiculous lines with a deadpan seriousness that would make Leslie Nielsen take notice. As the reluctant hero, he's a walking anachronism, who shoots up ghouls and other nasties, and cannot remember how to pronounce a series of magic words that pay homage to Robert Wise's ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still.’
There are some very memorable Three Stooges-type moments, complete with sound effects like pops, zings, and so forth. There's eye-poking, headshaking, and other slapstick standards. What makes these moments especially bizarre – and effective – is that most of the time, by ghouls and animated skeletons.
The army of skeletons are also very threatening. I mean, there are tons of them. They really did a good job making it feel like an actual army. It would have been very easy to make the deadite army just a bunch of generic minion skeletons, but instead they gave every minion personality. Firstly, every skeleton has a facial expression, mostly by means of arched eyebrows, and that alone makes them unique. But each deadite also is humorous. Whether it is the Scottish deadites who somehow have beards on their bones or the cowardly deadites. It all adds to the humour of the film, but it does so while giving the enemy personality, which of course is great.
Plus the deadites stop-motion compliments their creepy factor wonderfully. The effects here are truly amazing. They actually built trenches to walk through so they could hold the deadites up. They had to make tons of those skeletons only to be destroyed, and many times they had to make them right there on set in-between shoots. Sam Raimi does a fabulous job directing. Returning are the signature camera angles that are featured.
Every ounce of fat has been trimmed from this production. It's a comic book brought to life, with no time for characterization, exposition, or subplots. ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ moves with breakneck speed, but its direction is straight, so there's little chance of anyone getting lost on the way. No matter what your opinion is of the film, you're unlikely to be bored. The special effects can be a bit hit-and-miss variety. But the skeleton and creature effects are superb, and look much more expensive to produce.
Sam Raimi has never done a completely-straight film before, but Army of Darkness outdoes his previous efforts for sheer outrageousness. Those who like this kind of thing – lots of action and gore, silly dialogue, over-the-top acting, and a self-mocking campiness that permeates all eighty-one minutes -- will love this movie. Anyone who prefers a more “traditional” motion picture will probably do best to stay away. Then again, you never know...
Okay, maybe it's more comedy than horror, but who cares? ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ is an awesome film. Bruce Campbell does an excellent job as Ashley "Ash" J. Williams, the arrogant and hilarious hero armed with his trusty chainsaw and “boom stick.” The plot was totally great and fresh, showing that the people behind the scenes were not trying to do the same thing that made ‘Evil Dead I and ‘Evil Dead II’ popular. The film is filled with sword swinging skeletons, kick boxing witches and slap stick. Bruce Campbell has some excellent one liner’s. So to sum it up, ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ is well groovy.
‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ is both cheap and brilliant. The movie uses classic special effects (like the homage to the film ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ in the skeleton battle) along with practical special effects. Sam Raimi has almost his own style and you can always tell a Sam Raimi film. The awesome editing and energy allows you to experience a strange effect that gives the movie a real style.
ARMY OF DARKNESS MUSIC TRACK LIST
ARMY OF DARKNESS (Written by Danny Elfman)
LITTLE GOODY TWO SHOES (uncredited) (Written by Sam Raimi) [Performed by Bruce Campbell]
LONDON BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN (uncredited) (Traditional) [Performed by Bruce Campbell]
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Blu-ray Image Quality – Universal Pictures presents us ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ – SCREWHEAD EDITION which is quite the leap forward and looks outstanding. It also looks quite gorgeous, and detail is very high on the skeletons and other deadites. Castle stone, sand pathways, Ashley "Ash" J. Williams and Evil Ash’s torn clothes and most of these transfers shine through with the best detail ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ has ever seen. Blacks are pretty deep and bring a little more grain with darker scenes, and shading is quite solid as you can still detect patterns and textures from clothing, surfaces and hair. With the SCREWHEAD EDITION the colours of red, green and blue pop out and become much more rich and luscious. They have a striking and bold look to them. The environments and costuming suddenly pop much more and make this look way way way better than it ever has been done so far. The strength in colouring this time around makes a big difference and a more lifelike and full appearance to them. The facial detail with bruises, cuts, stubble and make-up all come in with much more clarity than before with other Blu-ray disc releases.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Universal Pictures brings us ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ – SCREWHEAD EDITION you get a pretty good 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. We also get very good clarity and fullness to their effects, and with a bit more balanced, loose and free when it came to dialogue, effects and composed score. It is thumbs up for the subwoofer with the sounds of cannons and catapults crashing with great effects. Flames feel a nice rumble also. It’s quite an impressive jaunt. Front channels do a marvellous job with chronicling the back and forth action in the film, cataloguing the final battle with ease. Rear speaker show a good deal of ambiance but get in on the fun with battle sounds, eerie winds and maniacal villainy when called upon. Dialogue is very clean and very clear throughout the film.
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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Creating the Deadites  [1080p / 480i] [1.78:1 / 1.37:1] [21:29] Here we take a look at how the visual special effects were made with Howard Berger and Greg Nicoter doing all the talking. Plenty of fun props and miniatures with obvious references to Ray Harryhausen are to be seen and admired, as well as going into a more detailed story of the special effects. It also features effects test footage, on-set footage and behind-the-scenes footage. We get to view some amazing black-and-white black ink illustrations, especially of the Winged Deadites and some skeletons. We also get to view several scenes from the film. It's a very cool featurette, and I am glad I go to view it. Contributors include: Howard Berger [Special Make-Up Effects], Greg Nictero [Special Make-Up Effects] and Bob Kurzman [Special Make-Up Effects].
Special Feature: Alternate Ending  [480i] [1.37:1] [4:42] Although it states it is the alternative ending, it really should be entitled “Original Ending,” which I suspect when Sam Raimi made the film it had the “Original Ending,” but I suspect after viewing it and viewed it as very downbeat, apocalyptic conclusion, which Sam Raimi was later forced to change, and some say it is arguably for the better. Well that is up to you to decide what ending you prefer.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [1.37:1] [2:03] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS.’ Curious to know why we were not allowed to see this trailer in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, very strange.
Finally, ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ – SCREWHEAD EDITION  the intentionally schlocky, campy ‘ARMY OF DARKNESS’ remains a totally cult classic in the Sam Raimi canon and finally makes its way onto this Blu-ray disc. Thanks to Bruce Campbell's perfectly-timed performance and the wacky visual effects referencing Ray Harryhausen, the horror-camp comedy continues to scare the laughs out of you while offering a totally fun and outrageous ride. This SCREWHEAD EDITION arrives with the same Audio/Video presentation as its predecessor, but makes up the difference with the bonus material. Fans might be tempted to make this upgrade. For everyone else, this is recommended for a Halloween special viewing experience. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso