Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


ARMY OF DARKNESS (1992). Director: Sam Raimi.

A sequel to Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 has hero Ash (the charismatic Bruce Campbell) falling through a time warp and winding up in the middle ages. There he learns that the only way he can get home is to find the Necronomicon (a mystical book that was actually invented by H. P. Lovecraft). Along the way he encounters more demons, tiny, giggling duplicates of himself, an evil doppelganger, witches, flying creatures, and living skeletons. The movie is busy but by no means should it be confused with a decent fantasy, sword and sorcery, or horror film; it's a travesty in every sense of the word -- and an effort to sit through for the most part due to its monumental silliness (as opposed to genuine humor). There's no real story and no real characters. Director Raimi, who co-scripted with his brother, seems to have been trying to turn star Campbell into some kind of slapstick comedian. Campbell can handle everything the script throws at him with aplomb, but he deserves better. And so do horror-fantasy fans. There's some acceptable stop-motion work, but none of it is of Ray Harryhausen quality, and there's nothing in this that compares to the climax of Jason and the Argonauts. Some effective, amusing moments, but much of this is just clumsy and foolish. Pretty much a moron movie.

Verdict: Full of sound and fury ... *1/2.

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