Army of Darkness (also known as Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness) is a 1992 American dark fantasy comedy horror film directed and co-written by Sam Raimi, co-produced by Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell and co-written by Ivan Raimi. Starring Campbell and Embeth Davidtz, it is the third installment in the Evil Dead franchise, and continuing from Evil Dead II, and follows Ash Williams (Campbell) as he is trapped in the Middle Ages and battles the undead in his quest to return to the present.
The film was produced as part of a production deal with Universal Pictures after the financial success of Darkman. Filming took place in California in 1991. The makeup and creature effects for the film were handled by two different companies: Tony Gardner and his company Alterian, Inc. were responsible for the makeup effects for Ash and Sheila, while Kurtzman, Nicotero & Berger EFX Group was credited for the remaining special makeup effects characters. Tom Sullivan, who had previously worked on Within the Woods, The Evil Dead, and Evil Dead II, also contributed to the visual effects.
Army of Darkness premiered at the Sitges Film Festival on October 9, 1992, and was released in the United States on February 19, 1993. It grossed $21.5 million total over its $11 million budget, and received positive reviews, though notably less than the first two films. Since its video release, it has acquired a cult following, along with the other two films in the trilogy. The film was dedicated to Irvin Shapiro, who died during the film's production in 1989.
|Army of Darkness|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sam Raimi|
|Produced by||Robert Tapert|
|Music by||Joseph LoDuca|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$25.5 million|
After being transported to the Middle Ages, Ash Williams is captured by Lord Arthur's men, who suspect him of being an agent for Duke Henry, with whom Arthur is at war. He is enslaved along with the captured Henry, his gun and chainsaw are confiscated, and he is taken to a castle. Ash is thrown in a pit where he kills a Deadite and regains his weapons from Arthur's Wise Man. After demanding that Henry and his men be set free, as he knew it was a witch hunt, and killing a Deadite publicly, Ash is celebrated as a hero. He grows attracted to Sheila, the sister of one of Arthur's fallen knights.
According to the Wise Man, the only way that Ash can return to his time is through the magical Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Ash then starts his search for the Necronomicon. As he enters a haunted forest, an unseen force pursues Ash into a windmill, and he crashes into a mirror. Small reflections of Ash in the mirror shards come to life, with one becoming a life-sized clone, after which Ash kills and buries it.
When he arrives at the Necronomicon's location, he finds three books instead of one and has to determine which is the actual book. Attempting to say the phrase that will allow him to remove the book safely – "Klaatu barada nikto" – he forgets and tries unsuccessfully to mumble and cough "nikto". He then grabs it and rushes back, while the dead and his evil clone resurrect, uniting into the Army of Darkness.
Upon his return, Ash demands to be returned to his own time. However, Sheila is abducted by a Flying Deadite and later transformed into one. Ash becomes determined to lead the humans against the Army, and the people reluctantly agree. Using knowledge from textbooks in his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 and enlisting the help of Duke Henry, Ash successfully leads the medieval soldiers to victory over the Deadites and Evil Ash, saves Sheila, and brings peace between Arthur and Henry. The Wise Men tells him how to return to the present by giving him a potion after reciting the phrase.
Back in the present, Ash recounts his story to a fellow employee at an S-Mart department store. As he talks to a woman who is interested in his story, a surviving Deadite, allowed to come to the present because Ash again forgot the last word, attacks the customers. Ash kills it using a Winchester rifle from the Sporting Goods department and exclaims "hail to the king, baby" before passionately kissing the woman.
In the film's original ending, Ash miscounts the amount of potion needed to be able to correctly return to his own time. 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 in tone, and a more optimistic ending was filmed and ultimately incorporated into the theatrical cut.
Plans to make a third Evil Dead film had been circulating for a number of years, even prior to the production of Darkman. Evil Dead II made enough money internationally that Dino De Laurentiis was willing to finance a sequel. Director and script writer Sam Raimi drew from a variety of sources, including literature with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, The Three Stooges, and Conan the Barbarian. Evil Dead II, according to Bruce Campbell, "was originally designed to go back into the past to 1300, but we couldn't muster it at the time, so we decided to make an interim version, not knowing if the 1300 story would ever get made". Promotional drawings were created and published in Variety during the casting process before the budget was deemed too little for the plot. The working title for the project was Medieval Dead, before it was later known as Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness. The title "Army of Darkness" came from an idea by Irvin Shapiro, during the production of Evil Dead II.
Initially, Raimi invited Scott Spiegel to co-write Army of Darkness because he had done a good job on Evil Dead II, but he was busy on rewrites for the Clint Eastwood film The Rookie. After the good experience of writing the screenplay for a film called Easy Wheels, Sam and his brother Ivan decided to co-write the film together. They worked on the script throughout the pre-production and production of Darkman. After filming Darkman, they took the script out and worked on it in more detail. Raimi says that Ivan "has a good sense of character" and that he brought more comedy into the script. Campbell remembers, "We all decided, 'Get him out of the cabin.' There were earlier drafts where part three still took place there, but we thought, 'Well, we all know that cabin, it's time to move on.' The three of us decided to keep it in 1300, because it's more interesting". Campbell and Tapert would read the script drafts, give Raimi their notes and he would decide which suggestions to keep and which ones to discard.
The initial budget was $8 million but during pre-production, it became obvious that this was not going to be enough. Darkman was also a financial success and De Laurentiis had a multi-picture deal with Universal and so Army of Darkness became one of the films. The studio decided to contribute half of the film's $12 million budget. However, the film's ambitious scope and its extensive effects work forced Campbell, Raimi and producer Robert Tapert to put up $1 million of their collective salaries to shoot a new ending and not film a scene where a possessed woman pushes down some giant pillars. Visual effects supervisor William Mesa showed Raimi storyboards he had from Victor Fleming's film Joan of Arc that depicted huge battle scenes and he picked out 25 shots to use in Army of Darkness. A storyboard artist worked closely with the director in order to blend the shots from the Joan of Arc storyboards with the battle scenes in his film.
Traci Lords was among the actresses auditioning for the film, saying in 2001, "I didn't get the part but I clicked with Bruce [Campbell]," with whom she would later work as a guest star in the TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Principal photography took place between soundstage and on-location work. Army of Darkness was filmed in Bronson Canyon and Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park. The interior shots were filmed on an Introvision stage in Hollywood. Raimi's use of the Introvision process was a tribute to the stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen. Introvision uses front-projected images with live actors instead of the traditional rear projection that Harryhausen and others used. Introvision blended components with more realistic-looking results. To achieve this effect, Raimi used 60-foot-tall Scotchlite front-projection screens, miniatures and background plates. According to the director, the advantage of using this technique was "the incredible amount of interaction between the background, which doesn't exist, and the foreground, which is usually your character".
Shooting began in mid-1991, and it lasted for about 100 days. It was a mid-summer shoot and while on location on a huge castle set that was built near Acton, California on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the cast and crew endured very hot conditions during the day and very cold temperatures at night. Most of the film took place at night and the filmmakers shot most of the film during the summer when the days were longest and the nights were the shortest. It would take an hour and a half to light an area leaving the filmmakers only six hours left to shoot a scene. Money problems forced cinematographer Bill Pope to shoot only for certain hours Monday through Friday because he could not be paid his standard fee. Mesa shot many of the action sequences on the weekend.
It was a difficult shoot for Campbell who had to learn elaborate choreography for the battle scenes, which involved him remembering a number system because the actor was often fighting opponents that were not really there. Mesa remembers, "Bruce was cussing and swearing some of the time because you had to work on the number system. Sam would tell us to make it as complicated and hard for Bruce as possible. 'Make him go through torture!' So we'd come up with these shots that were really, really difficult, and sometimes they would take thirty-seven takes". Some scenes, like Evil Ash walking along the graveyard while his skeleton minions come to life, blended stop-motion animation with live skeletons that were mechanically rigged, with prosthetics and visual effects.
While Dino De Laurentiis gave Raimi and his crew freedom to shoot the film the way they wanted, Universal took over during post-production. Universal was not happy with Raimi's cut because it did not like his original ending, feeling it was negative. In this ending, the potion Ash is given causes him to oversleep, and when he wakes up he is a futuristic, post-apocalyptic wasteland. A more upbeat ending was shot a month later in a lumber store in Malibu, California. Then, two months after principal filming was finished, a round of re-shoots began in Santa Monica and involved Ash in the windmill and the scenes with Bridget Fonda. Raimi recalls, "Actually, I kind of like the fact that there are two endings, that in one alternate universe Bruce is screwed, and in another universe he's some cheesy hero".
Raimi needed $3 million to finish his film, but Universal was not willing to give him the money and delayed its release due to a dispute with De Laurentiis over the rights to the Hannibal Lecter character which Universal needed so that they could film a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. The matter was finally resolved, but the release date for Army of Darkness' was pushed back from summer of 1992 to February 1993.
For the film's poster, Universal brought Campbell in to take several reference head shots and asked him to strike a sly look on his face. They showed him a rough of the Frank Frazetta-like painting. The actor had a day to approve it or, as he was told, there would be no ad campaign for the film. Raimi ran into further troubles when the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an NC-17 rating for a shot of a female Deadite being decapitated early on in the film. Universal wanted a PG-13 rating, so Raimi made a few cuts and was still stuck with an R rating. In response, Universal turned the film over to outside film editors who cut the film to 81 minutes and another version running 87 minutes that was eventually released in theaters, still with an R rating.
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. The 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. The score was released during the MondoCon in Austin, Texas on October 3 and 4, 2015, on Vinyl, over Mondo Records.
Army of Darkness was released by Universal on February 19, 1993 in 1,387 theaters in the United States, grossing $4.4 million (38.5% of total gross) on its first weekend. In total, the film earned $11.5 million in the US.
The film currently holds a 72% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 46 reviews, which made its critical reception above average but much lower than The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, which received 96% and 98% respectively. On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 57 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "The movie isn't as funny or entertaining as Evil Dead II, however, maybe because the comic approach seems recycled." In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin praised, "Mr. Campbell's manly, mock-heroic posturing is perfectly in keeping with the director's droll outlook." Desson Howe, in this review for The Washington Post praised the film's style: "Bill Pope's cinematography is gymnastic and appropriately frenetic. The visual and make-up effects (from artist-technicians William Mesa, Tony Gardner and others) are incredibly imaginative." However, Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C+" rating and wrote, "This spoofy cast of thousands looks a little too much like a crew of bland Hollywood extras. By the time Army of Darkness turns into a retread of Jason and the Argonauts, featuring an army of fighting skeletons, the film has fallen into a ditch between parody and spectacle."
Army of Darkness won the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film (1994). It was also nominated for Best Make-Up. Army of Darkness was nominated for the Grand Prize at Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival, and won the Golden Raven at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in 1993. The film also won the Critics' Award at Fantasporto, and was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award in the category of Best Film in 1993. It was also nominated for Best Film at Sitges, the Spanish International Film Festival.
In March 2013, shortly before the release of Evil Dead, a reboot and loose continuation of the franchise, Raimi confirmed that the next Evil Dead film will be Army of Darkness 2. Campbell confirmed that he would star as an older, but not necessarily wiser, Ash. At a WonderCon panel in March 2013, Campbell and Fede Alvarez, director of the reboot, stated that their ultimate plan was for Alvarez's Evil Dead 2 and Raimi's Army of Darkness 2 to be followed by a seventh film which would merge the narratives of Ash and Mia. On October 18, 2013, Campbell once again confirmed in an interview with ComicBook.com that he will be reprising his role as Ash in the sequel. Fede Alvarez posted a status update on his Twitter account that Raimi will direct the sequel. Campbell later commented that the rumor about him returning is false.
In July 2014, Campbell stated it was likely the planned sequel would instead be a TV series with him as the star. The ten-episode season of Ash vs Evil Dead premiered on Starz on October 31, 2015, with the pilot co-written and directed by Sam Raimi. Due to legal issues with Universal, the events from Army of Darkness could not specifically be mentioned in the first season. In addition to Campbell, the series stars Dana DeLorenzo, Ray Santiago, and Lucy Lawless.
Army of Darkness: Defense (2011, by Backflip Studios)
Army of Darkness comics are based on the film of the same name published originally by Dark Horse Comics, and later by Dynamite Entertainment who initially published them through Devil's Due Publishing.
The stories follow the adventures of the Evil Dead series, Ash Williams, and has included a number of crossovers with a wide variety of characters such as Marvel Zombies, Darkman, Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Dracula, Xena, Danger Girl, and Re-Animator.Army of Darkness Roleplaying Game
The Army of Darkness Roleplaying Game is a role-playing game published by Eden Studios, Inc. in 2005.Arthur Suydam
Arthur Suydam (born May 18, 1953) is an American comic book artist. He has done artwork for magazines including Heavy Metal, Epic Illustrated and National Lampoon, while his comic book work includes Batman, Conan, Tarzan, Predator, Aliens, Death Dealer, and Marvel Zombies.Ash Williams
Ashley Joanna Williams is a fictional character and the protagonist of The Evil Dead franchise. Created by Sam Raimi, he is portrayed by Bruce Campbell and is the only character to appear in each entry of the series, including an after-credits scene appearance for the remake-continuation film. Throughout the series, Ash has to face off against his loved ones inside an abandoned cabin as they are possessed by "The Kandarian Demon", an evil and powerful entity. In 2008, Ash was selected by Empire magazine as the 24th greatest movie character of all time, and in 2013, was voted by Empire as the greatest horror movie character ever.Backflip Studios
Backflip Studios is a mobile game developer and publisher based in Boulder, Colorado, United States. It was founded by Julian Farrior, Dale Thoms and Tom Blind in April 2009. In August 2009, it was announced that the company had raised US$145,000 in funding to continue developing for the iPhone OS. Backflip Studios is best known for their free iOS game Paper Toss, which has been downloaded over 50 million times. They are also widely known for Dragonvale, with over 10 million downloads. In 2013, Backflip Studios sold a 70% stake in the company to Hasbro for $112 million in cash.Bruce Campbell
Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22, 1958) is an American actor, producer, writer and director. One of his best-known roles is portraying Ash Williams in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead franchise, beginning with the 1978 short film Within the Woods. He has starred in many low-budget cult films such as Crimewave (1985), Maniac Cop (1988), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), and Bubba Ho-Tep (2002).
In television, Campbell had lead roles in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993–94) and Jack of all Trades (2000), starred as Autolycus (the King of Thieves) in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess (1995–99), Sam Axe on the USA Network series Burn Notice (2007–13), and reprised his role as Ash Williams on the Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015–18).Campbell started his directing career with Fanalysis (2002) and A Community Speaks (2004), and then with the horror comedy feature films Man with the Screaming Brain (2005) and My Name Is Bruce (2007), the latter being a spoof of his career. He can also be seen as the role of the father in The Escort (2015).Buffyverse role-playing games
The Buffyverse role-playing games - the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel role-playing games - are complementary, officially licensed role-playing games (RPGs) published by Eden Studios, Inc. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Core Rulebook was published in 2002, while the Angel Corebook followed in 2003. Both games use a streamlined (or Cinematic) version of Eden Studios' popular Unisystem game engine, also featured in CJ Carella's WitchCraft and All Flesh Must Be Eaten, two of Eden's better-known original product lines. In both games, players are able to take on the roles of characters from the respective television series or create wholly original characters as they and their group see fit, effectively building their own Buffyverse series in the process.
Both games have been hailed for their sleek, accessible ruleset and their "Drama Points" system, which gives players a greater degree of control over the flow of the story, allowing them to call upon heroic bursts of energy, plot twists, and other convenient developments as necessary. The Angel role-playing game won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game in its year of release. Following the success of the games, Eden Studios went on to release other successful licensed products based on the Cinematic Unisystem engine, including a 2005 game Army of Darkness Roleplaying Game, based on the cult film Army of Darkness.
In October 2006, Eden Studios announced that, following settlement of their accounts with Fox and license negotiations, they will cease producing new Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel game books or supplements. Support will continue in online forums and web sites.Dallas Derby Devils
The Dallas Derby Devils (DDD) is an all-female flat track roller derby league in Dallas, Texas and surrounding area of Ft. Worth, Texas. Founded in November 2004, the Dallas Derby Devils is the original North Texas roller derby league with a current roster of over one hundred active skaters, making DDD one of the largest flat track derby leagues in the south United States. The Dallas Derby Devils are an original member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).The Dallas Derby Devils have completed sell-out home seasons since 2006 featuring the five home teams that comprise the league; The Death Row Rumblers, The High Seas Hotties, The Slaughterers, The Suicide Shifters, and The Wrecking Crew. Skaters of these five teams make up an All-Star Travel Team for the Dallas Derby Devils called the Army of Darkness, that compete in interleague play against other WFTDA member leagues.
Since 2008, league games are held at the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas.The Dallas Derby Devils is a skater-owned and skater-operated Domestic Non-Profit organization.Dynamite Entertainment
Dynamite Entertainment is an American comic book publishing imprint of Dynamic Forces that primarily publishes adaptations of franchises from other media. These include licensed adaptations of film properties such as Army of Darkness, Terminator and RoboCop, and licensed or public domain literary properties such as Zorro, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland, Red Sonja, Tarzan (as Lord of the Jungle) and John Carter of Mars (as Warlord of Mars). It also publishes superhero books such as Project Superpowers.
Creators who have produced Dynamite's books include Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Matt Wagner, Garth Ennis, Howard Chaykin and Frank Miller.Eva (comics)
Eva ("The Daughter of Dracula" or "Daughter of The Dragon") is a fictional comic book character created and published by Dynamite Entertainment. She is a vampire hunter who is the daughter of Count Dracula. She first appeared in Dynamite's Army of Darkness comics during the Ash vs. The Classic Monsters storyline.Evil Dead
Evil Dead is an American supernatural horror comedy film franchise created by Sam Raimi consisting of four feature films and a television series. The series revolves around the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, an ancient Sumerian text which wreaks havoc upon a group of cabin inhabitants in a wooded area in Tennessee (later confirmed to be Elk Rapids in Michigan).
The protagonist, Ashley Joanna "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell) is the only character to appear in every installment of the original trilogy, with the exception of his main love interest Linda, who appears in Army of Darkness during only the prologue. The original trilogy includes The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987), and Army of Darkness (1992), all written and directed by Raimi, produced by Robert G. Tapert, and starring Campbell. The franchise has since expanded into other formats, including video games, comic books, a musical, and a television series.
The franchise was resurrected in 2013 with Evil Dead, both a reboot and a loose continuation of the series directed by Fede Álvarez and produced by Raimi, Campbell and Tapert. Before the television series, Ash vs Evil Dead, was announced, at least three other installments of the franchise were in development: a sequel to the 2013 reboot titled Evil Dead 2, a direct sequel to Army of Darkness starring Campbell and directed by Sam Raimi, and finally a seventh film which would merge the narratives of both film series.In July 2014, Bruce Campbell stated it was likely that the planned sequel would instead be a TV series with him as the star. On November 10, 2014, Starz announced that a ten-episode series titled Ash vs Evil Dead would premiere on their cable network in 2015. The series was renewed for an additional twenty episodes and starred Bruce Campbell as Ash and was executive produced by Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert. Since the show was announced to the public, there has been no news of further films in the franchise.Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash
Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash is a six-issue comic book limited series that was released in November 2007 and ran until March 2008. It was published by Wildstorm (DC Comics) and Dynamite Entertainment. Based on the original Freddy vs. Jason 2 film treatment by Jeff Katz, the story serves as a sequel to Freddy vs. Jason and the Evil Dead trilogy. The comic book series was written by James Kuhoric and illustrated by Jason Craig.Kevin Sullivan (wrestler)
Kevin Francis Sullivan (born October 26, 1949) is an American professional wrestler and booker, perhaps best known for his role in World Championship Wrestling.Marvel Zombies (series)
Marvel Zombies is a comic book metaseries published by Marvel Comics. The series features zombie versions of Marvel Universe superheroes and supervillains who have been portrayed as both protagonists and antagonists through the different limited series within the metaseries.Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness
Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness is a five-issue 2007 comic book limited series published by Marvel Comics in association with Dynamite Entertainment, an intercompany crossover in which Ash Williams, hero of the popular Evil Dead film and comic book, finds himself in the Marvel Zombies setting, a world of flesh-eating zombified Marvel Comics heroes.
The crossover is continuous with the Marvel Zombies prequel Marvel Zombies: Dead Days and explains events happening in the prequel (such as information regarding the zombified Sentry, which initially spread the plague).
Prior to the release of the first issue, Newsarama published a preview, revealing the birth of the zombified Avengers, Ash's descent into the Marvel Zombie universe, and the infection of Spider-Man.Sam Raimi
Samuel M. Raimi (born October 23, 1959) is an American filmmaker, actor, and producer, primarily known for creating cult horror Evil Dead series, and directing the Spider-Man trilogy (2002–07). He also directed the 1990 superhero film Darkman, the 1995 Revisionist Western film The Quick and the Dead (1995 film), the 2000 supernatural thriller film The Gift (2000 film), the 2009 supernatural horror film Drag Me to Hell, and the 2013 Disney fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful.
Raimi has also produced several successful television series and founded the production company Renaissance Pictures in 1979.Shop till You Drop Dead
Army of Darkness: Shop till You Drop Dead is a four-part comic book spin-off published by Devils Due Publishing & Dynamite Entertainment, continuing the comic book saga of The Evil Dead series. The story takes place exactly where its predecessor Ashes 2 Ashes finishes, only there is quite a bit of time hopping involved to keep things confusing.
Ash returns from Egypt, believing the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis destroyed for good. However, the evil tome has managed to hitch-hike all the way back to S-Mart and wound up in the hands of Mister Smart himself, Ash's cheerfully irritating boss. When Deadites infest the aisles and consumers start consuming, Ash must team up with his fellow co-workers to start the ultimate wage slave war against evil.The Brothers of Destruction
The Brothers of Destruction were a professional wrestling tag team in WWE, composed of storyline half-brothers, The Undertaker and Kane. They feuded and teamed together on and off from 1997, winning three tag team championships (two WWF Tag Team Championships and one WCW Tag Team Championship).
Sam Raimi filmography
Renaissance Pictures productions
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