I can vividly recall sitting on the living room floor watching E! when the trailer for Army of Darkness came on…blown away is something of an understatement as to how I felt after seeing it. Remember when E! would go a couple of hours and then repeat its earlier programming? I didn’t move a muscle as I wanted to make sure to record that trailer so I could show my friends.
Sadly since they hadn’t seen the first two Evil Dead films they were…less…than excited about what I showed them (Trust me, this is something I’ve struggled with a lot). But I can assure you I was at least there on opening night to help cheer on Ash against his battle with the Army of Darkness. Of course when it came to home video I was the first in line at our local video store to get my hands on a copy of the film and a wonderful lime green keychain as well…that I carried around for about five years, until the words on it had been rubbed off from said keys.
So I think you can picture my absolute thrill when our friends from Scream Factory were kind enough to send me the Army of Darkness: Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray to review.
For those few unfortunate souls who’ve not had the pleasure of seeing the Evil Dead trilogy I’ll give this brief recap, of course consider this a SPOILER:
Ashley ‘Ash’ J. Williams after having confronted and mostly beaten back the Evil Dead…losing his hand in the process…in a remote cabin in the woods is hurled back into medieval times to face the Army of Darkness.
Now the problem with all of this is Ash is about the last person you would want to count on being a hero, even if he now has a chainsaw to replace his missing hand, he shows frequent bouts of cowardice and has an ego the size of…the Moon. But to be absolutely fair he also has an uncanny knack for fighting the hordes of Deadites, or the Evil Dead which is of course what the Army of Darkness is composed of.
To be totally honest though Ash has probably the worst luck of any person alive, so when he arrives in the medieval age he finds himself at the end of dispute between Duke Henry the Red (Richard Grove) and Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert) and taken prisoner where he is thrown into a pit to battle against deadites as a punishment for being a supposed spy for Duke Henry and for the amusement of Lord Arthur’s people.
So it is with the aid 20th century technology that Ash wins his freedom and also goes on a quest to to reclaim the book of the dead, the very tome that caused him such strife in the first two Evil Dead films. With it Lord Arthur’s Wiseman (Ian Abercrombie) will be able to find a way to send Ash back to his own time. Naturally as you saw in the trailer up top, he manages to mess that up and releases the Army of Darkness.
Can Ash find a way to protect humanity against such a vile force of darkness? Will he be able to save the beautiful Sheila (Embeth Davidtz)? Or…will he just take a portal back to his own time and forget about those he has put in danger?
You’ll just have to find out for yourself when you pick up Scream Factory’s Army of Darkness Blu-Ray on October 27! Now I know what you might be thinking:
“Hey, Vic! Hasn’t there been a ton of Army of Darkness releases over the years?”
How did you get down here in the Retroist Vault!
“Just answer the question.”
Yes. There have been many versions of Army of Darkness. I own them. All of them. But this is Scream Factory we are talking about and they love to pack their releases with commentaries and making of features…did I forget to mention this Collector’s Edition include three Blu-Ray discs?
Yep. Three different versions of Army of Darkness with special features like:
DISC ONE (Theatrical Version, 81 min.) – 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.78:1), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & 2.0
The brand 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 Opening With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Sam Raimi And Bruce Campbell
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
A 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)
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.
Never before seen Storyboards For Deleted Or Alternate Scenes
Vintage The Men Behind The Army Featurette (19 min.)
All that for $26.97 if you hop over to Scream Factory’s Official Site and Pre-Order your own copy, what better way to get in the mood for Halloween than watching a fun over the top horror/action/comedy like the Army of Darkness?