Blending almost nonstop violence with humorous parody, Sam Raimi’s latest excursion into horror-kitsch should prove a crowd-pleaser for the mall trade and perhaps a mite beyond. Cult thesp Bruce Campbell’s ubiquitous presence performing outre antics and expert F/X are further come-ons for the under-30 crowd.
Although “Army of Darkness” is a loose continuation of the “Evil Dead” films, it seems more like an irreverent “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
The Yank, however, is equipped with a chainsaw for an arm and a ’73 Oldsmobile instead of a steed. Using these, he helps Arthur slay an army of attacking skeletons. Those already inured to violence will cheer him on, and those who think nonstop gore is funny will be amused.
Whisked from his country cottage by some evil force, Campbell and his car are plunked down in the midst of an Arthurian war, where Campbell is post haste thrown into chains. But thanks to his shotgun and chainsaw, he fights his way to freedom and ingratiates himself with Arthur.
The only way for him to get back to California is by retrieving a sacred book. On his quest he runs across various obstacles, including the evil dead (who turn the maiden he’s sweet on into a witch).
Wizardry and special effects abound, but pic’s most spectacular part is an enormous medieval battle between the attacking army of skeletons and Arthur’s knights, helped by Campbell, defending a castle.
In the version shown at Sitges, the hero miscalculates the time he wants to travel ahead in space and arrives at the end of the 21st century only to see a planet in ruins.
Campbell said at the fest that this ending will be changed and the pic will lose 10 minutes for its U.S. release. This will enhance, rather than dilute, pic’s impact.