Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hail to the King: Army of Darkness

Let's face it: Anyone who knows B-movies has seen "Evil Dead."

This symbolic franchise from legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi launched his career.

The story is simple: Take on group of horny teenagers, add a spooky cabin, sprinkle in some voodoo and black magic and...voila! Cult classic.

The blood is over the top, the creatures are sadistic and witty, and the camera is all over the place.

It's B movie at its best.

So what happens when the same movie gets a sizable budget to work with?

"Army of Darkness"

Bruce Cambell--aka the biggest B-movie star in history--stars as Ash, a rough-around-the-edges clerk from S-Mart (sporting-goods dep.). He's just been dumped in the Dark Ages in the middle of two angry kingdoms duking it out.

Like any good time traveling hero, he is immediately siezed and thrown "into the pit". After one of the funniest monster fights in the history of film, Ash earns the reverence of the "primates" and starts his adventure to get home.

Now I could go on and on about the Book of the Dead, the damsel in distress, the deadite army, and of course, the twin Ash, but I don't want to ruin what is one of my all time favorites.

From a purely objective point, this movie is bad. And it knows it. And it loves it.

The camera work is brilliant, because you can do anything when you don't have money for big rigs.

The special effects are in the "Jason and the Argonauts" range, though the multi-layered images tend to get fuzzy after the third or fourth plane.

The action sequences are, for lack of a better term, KICK-AWESOME (it's my own terminology. Take it, chew it, love it) Bruce Cambell, sans one hand, uses a chainsaw and his trusty boomstick (12 gauge Remington with a hair trigger) to mow down the dissidents of the dark realm.

"Army of Darkness" brought me into the world of B-movies and kept me there despite all the pain and misery such films can cause. The outright humor and over-the-top attitude make this flick a classic in every sense of the word.

Like all good B-movies, "Army of Darkness" is about a character with a square jaw. Namely: Ash.

Ash is the epitome of B-movie action hero. he spouts off one liners (Hail to the king, baby; Groovy) while fearlessly taking on demons and skeletons. He is so BA that he sawed off his own hand when it "went bad".

For those of you not in the know, Ash is a carryover from Bruce and Sam's earlier films "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead 2". These were essentially the same movie with different characters. That isn't so much a bad thing, as both were attrociously amazing and earned their place at the top of the B-movie food chain.

What makes me sad is the fact that, while Sam went on to direct "Spider-Man" and "The Grudge" (shudder), Bruce has only gone as far as "Hercules," "Brisco County Jr," and "Man With the Screaming Brain." Sometimes there's just no justice in tinsel town.

If you haven't seen "Army of Darkness" or the "Evil Dead" movies, go do it now. If you are reading this blog and enjoying yourself, you'll get a kick out of these items.

I'd rate them being-named-king-of-a-small-island-nation-and-having-a-thousand-Kate Beckinsales-as-your-harem.

Yeah, it's good to be the king.

"Hail to the king, baby."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's good to be the King!