UHD Review – Army of Darkness (Scream Factory Steelbook)
Director – Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell)
Starring – Bruce Campbell (Bubba Ho-Tep, Evil Dead II), Embeth Davidtz (Matilda, Thir13en Ghosts), Marcus Gilbert (Doctor Who, Rambo III)
Release date – 1992
Rating – 4/5
UHD version – 4.5/5
Most of my close friends have heard these stories, but my childhood was an unusual time for me. The woman who gave birth to me has serious mental issues and used religion to deal with them. However, her mental issues made her fanatical about religion and when I was only a few months old, she abandoned me. My father was able to find me safe and sound. Fast forward a few years and she was back in our lives for a short time. I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time and she made me sit down and watch several movies over and over because she believed they contained hidden messages from God or bullshit. Honestly, I liked a few of the movies she made me watch, so I didn’t mind.
One of the films was Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II. I watched this tape so much in my youth that it stopped working after it got snowy in some places. I love this movie and it was a stepping stone to the other Evil Dead movies. In fact, the original Evil Dead trilogy was the first movie I bought on DVD when Anchor Bay was still a thing. One of my favorite DVDs in my collection was Bruce Campbell’s Anchor Bay release against the Army of Darkness. It was a great release and I loved the artwork. I’ve watched it countless times in my life and I’m always looking for an excuse to watch it again. A few days ago, Scream Factory sent me the UHD Steelbook release of the movie for me to check out and I was happy to do so. Thank you Scream Factory!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Ash who finds himself in medieval times after using the Necronomicon to stop the evil that was unleashed in Evil Dead II. Now the king’s sage suspects he is the chosen one predicted in the book to stop the dead. He is sent on a journey to retrieve the book and place the incantation to stop them. However, he forgets the words and accidentally unleashes the hordes of dead on the castle and the innocent lives inside. Instead of fleeing, he stays behind to train the people and fight the dead in hopes of returning to his time. **Spoiler alert**
Army of Darkness is one of the craziest entries in the Evil Dead series, but it’s not as clunky as it sounds. It’s a fun mix of horror and fantasy that other movies would never bet on. Director Sam Raimi took a big risk on this movie and it paid off. In fact, it might not be the most beloved entry in the Evil Dead series, but it’s easily the most popular with many non-genre fans hailing this film for blending different genres.
The acting in this one is top-notch. Bruce Campbell never disappoints, and it was the beginning of the personality Ash is now known for. In the first Evil Dead movie, it’s more or less a last girl. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is a bit of a baby. In Evil Dead II, he starts to be a bit smarter, but he’s still a sweetheart who can carry slapstick humor. However, Army of Darkness shows him as the evil one we know and love. It has catchy dialogue and always carries the scene it’s in. Embeth Davidtz and Marcus Gilbert are great, as well as Sheila and Lord Arthur. In fact, the whole film is well acted. We have Patricia Tallman from Tom Savini’s Night of the Living Dead, horror legend Bill Moseley and the iconic Evil Ash, and even a cameo from Bridget Fonda to name a few.
This one’s story is unlike any other Evil Dead movie, but would be a major focus in the comic book series that would soon follow. The Evil Dead reboot would be somewhat of a homecoming, but this story will always stand out among fans due to how different it is from the other movies. The Necronomicon’s backstory is explored in more detail here with more lore and deadites added to the fold. We have warrior clans, knights, castles, dungeons, deadites, love and slapstick. The movie has perfect pacing and really works.
Finally, the film is full of practical effects. It’s not a gory movie, but we do get blood, drawings of fantastical creatures, and plenty of skeletons with rotting flesh. The practical effects are phenomenal and still look great to this day. All in all, Army of Darkness is a radical sequel to the classic Evil Dead II that fucking works. Fans of the genre don’t get much fantasy horror, but this one is fun for the whole family. The release of the Scream Factory Steelbook is a beauty and a must for fans of the franchise.
DISC ONE (THEATRICAL CUT – 4K UHD):
NEW 2022 4K scan of original camera negative approved by director Sam Raimi, cinematographer Bill Pope and editor Bob Murawski
In Dolby Vision (HDR 10 Compatible)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
DISC TWO (THEATER CUT – BLU-RAY):
NEW 4K 2022 scan of original camera negative approved by director Sam Raimi, cinematographer Bill Pope and editor Bob Murawski
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Medieval Times: The Making of “Army Of Darkness” – A feature length documentary with over 20 people interviewed, including star and co-producer Bruce Campbell, actors Ted Raimi, Bill Moseley and Patricia Tallman, and many more…
Alternate opening with optional commentary by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell
American Video Promotion
DISC THREE – (DIRECTOR’S CUT – BLU-RAY):
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
Audio commentary with director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell and co-writer Ivan Raimi
Additional behind-the-scenes footage of KNB effects
Create the Deadites – Vintage Featurette
Vintage “Making Of” Featurette
Excerpts from extended interviews with Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Robert Tapert
DISC FOUR – (INTERNATIONAL CUT – BLU-RAY):
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0 (international cut)
TV version with additional footage (standard definition)
International theatrical trailer
Stills galleries with rare behind-the-scenes photos of production designer Anthony Tremblay, visual effects supervisor William Mesa, and special effects makeup artists Tony Gardner and KNB EFX, Inc. (over 200 stills)
Gallery of rare props and photos from the collection of super fan Dennis Carter Jr.
Storyboards for deleted or alternate scenes
The Men Behind the Army – Vintage Featurette