Franchises of All Time
The "Evil Dead" Films
Army of Darkness (1993)
Evil Dead Films
The Evil Dead (1981) | Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (1987) | Army of Darkness (1993)
Army of Darkness (1993)
Film Plot Summary
This comedic horror film was a continuation of the previous film. It began with a short flashback about hero Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) who was being held captive in 1300 AD. He remarked: "It wasn't always like this. I had a real life once. A job." He worked as a clerk at an S-Mart store (with the slogan, "Shop smart. Shop S-Mart"). He and his girlfriend Linda (now played by Bridget Fonda) had driven to the remote small cabin in the mountains. He described the backstory:
Ash was compelled to chain-saw off his own possessed hand in the living room, and was then propelled in a whirling timewarp (with his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88) back to medieval times of 1300 AD England. He was surrounded, captured by medieval armored soldiers, and thought to be either: (1) "the one written of in the Necronomicon. He who's prophesied to fall from the heavens and deliver us from the terrors of the Deadites," or (2) "one of Henry's men." After his chain-saw and sawed-off shotgun were confiscated, Ash was led in shackles to the castle of Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert), where he was thought to be helping another enslaved man, Arthur's warring enemy Duke Henry the Red (Richard Grove), Duke of Shael, Lord of the Northlands. Sheila (Embeth Davidtz), the sister of one of Lord Arthur's knights, was told by Arthur that her brother had been slain in battle against Duke Henry. She personally assaulted Ash, accusing him of being the murderer ("My brother's death shall be avenged"), as he was brought forward to a demon-infested death pit of Deadites. As the pit was opened, Henry exclaimed: "What hell-spawned thing lurks there?" One unlucky guy was thrown in first - with the sound of a spash and a geyser of blood spewing out of the hole.
Although Ash professed that they had the "wrong guy," a rock to his temple thrown by Sheila sent him teetering at the end of pit where he was then pushed in. Ash battled to survive against the first pit Deadite (Shiva Gordon) who lept out at him and repeatedly punched him in the face, until Lord Arthur's Wise Man (Ian Abercrombie) tossed down Ash's confiscated chain-saw weapon, and he was able to lop off the Deadite's head. A second threatening Deadite was impaled by a spike-wall, as Ash pulled himself up to the rim of the pit, and then challenged Lord Arthur and anyone else: "Who's next, huh?" He ordered Duke Henry and his men freed and to take some horses and flee, and then used his sawed-off shotgun to shoot off the tip of Lord Arthur's sword. He then held up his intimidating, miraculous weapon after demonstrating its powers, and rattled off its features: "This is my boomstick! It's a 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line..." He told his awed audience, after holstering his weapon on his back: "Now, let's talk about how I get back home."
Ash was treated like a hero and a king - and now Sheila was begging his forgiveness, although he was wary ("First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me. Blow"). The Wise Man informed Ash that only the "unholy book," the Necronomicon, had the power to send him back home, but "Only you, the Promised One, can quest for it." When confronted by another old hag Pit Bitch Deadite (Billy Bryan) that attacked several guards and screamed: "You shall never obtain the Necronomicon," Ash first challenged ("Yo, she-bitch, let's go!") and then vanquished it by shooting the monstrous creature over his shoulder with his boomstick. The Wise Man further warned Ash: "If the Necronomicon fell into the hands of the Deadites, all mankind will be consumed by this evil." Ash still was determined to quest for the book, to return home. He constructed a mechanical, armored-metal gloved hand (to take the place of his lopped-off right hand), proclaimed it "Groovy!" and then prepared for the retrieval of the book. Now that he had been proclaimed the Promised One, Sheila had a romantic interest in him, and he succumbed to a kiss from her, requesting: "Gimme some sugar, baby."
The next day, Ash started his search for the Necronomicon in an "unholy place" - a cemetery, where the Wise Man instructed Ash to recite three magic words to retrieve the book -- "Klaatu barada nikto" -- from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). As he rode there through a haunted forest, he was pursued by unseen, evil forces. After seeking refuge in a windmill, he crashed into a mirror, and the tiny reflections of himself in shards of shattered glass emerged. The mini-versions of himself mischievously fought against him, and he fell on a hotstove where he had to lever his face off with a spatula. When he slipped and fell, they tied him up Gulliver's Travels-style. After swallowing one of his own pixie shard-piece reflections when it dove down his throat, he drank hot kettle water to rid his stomach of the irritant, but found that it was sprouting a head from his own shoulder - and emerging as a full-sized doppelganger clone. He engaged in a fight with it, ending when he shot at his own evil double self and declared: "Good, bad. I'm the guy with the gun," then chained the clone to a table and dissected it with his chainsaw before burying the pieces. As he threw the chopped up remains of himself into an open grave that he had just dug, his decapitated head spoke: "You shall never retrieve the Necronomicon. You'll die in the graveyard before you'll get it."
He rode to the cemetery where the Necronomicon was allegedly located. At the graveyard in a "Let's Make a Deal" parody, he faced a dilemma regarding three look-alike books - and chose the wrong one. The erroneous book, with a turning, 'black-hole'-like center, vacuumed him into itself, until he had to literally pull himself out with an elongated face. The second wrong book choice caused the enraged book to attack and flap at him like a bird. It was now obvious that the third book was the correct choice, but he had to remember the exact "words." When he delivered an incorrect magical incantation before opening the book (forgetting the final word: "Klaatu, Barada, Nikto"), and substituting mumbled N words: "necktie," "nectar," and "nickel," etc. for the real third 'N' word ("It's definitely an 'N' word"), a skeletal Deadite 'army of the dead' (similar to Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion creatures in Jason and the Argonauts (1963)) was unleashed and emerged from the ground. They rose from the gravesites, grabbing at him with skeletal hands and arms. Ash grabbed the book, raced for his horse, and rode back to the castle in a panic.
Lightning struck Ash's doppelganger grave double, causing his body to rise up from its grave ("I live again"). His resurrected zombie self united the Deadite army of skeletal soldiers and prepared to lead them in an attack. Back at the castle, Ash presented the Wise Man with the Necronomicon and demanded to be sent to his own time, but was told that everyone was doomed because he had mispronounced the words of the incantation, and awakened the Army of the Dead: "The evil has a terrible hunger for the Necronomicon, and it will come here to get it." He realized he was being looked upon as a cowardly traitor by the medieval people and that they would be killed, even though he could save himself. After hearing that Sheila still had faith in him as the people's savior, the 'good' Ash (the Promised One) began to be persuaded to unite the medieval people to fight and defeat the skeletal Deadite army - especially after Sheila was grabbed and kidnapped by a Winged Deadite (Nadine Grycan), and flown back to the cemetery. There, Ash's evil doppelganger, repulsive zombie self attempted to kiss Sheila - he used the same line: "Gimme some sugar, baby" and caused her to become a Deadite (she bragged: "I may be bad, but I feel good"). Ash challenged the sixty fearful, remaining and reluctant medieval soldiers to courageously remain and fight with him, when he dared: "I'm through runnin.' I say we stay here and fight it out," and then proposed having Duke Henry's men join them in the battle.
Ash used the contents of his car's trunk (a Chemistry 101 textbook with instructions) to make explosives (then attached to arrows), and outfitted his car with a steam-powered chopper blade on its front to mow down the Deadite Army of the Evil Deadite clone leader. Duke Henry's men arrived to help bring victory as the almost-vanquished forces of Lord Arthur struggled to fight off the skeletal soldiers and protectively defend against the taking of the Necronomicon book. In a hand-to-hand fight with Deadite Sheila, Ash told her: "Honey, you got real ugly." Ash also engaged in sword-play against his own clone, who quipped after having its decayed flesh burned off: "I got a bone to pick with you." The skeletal clone falsely claimed that it had acquired the book, just before being catapulted into the sky and exploding into hundreds of pieces. With victory, Sheila returned to her normal self and hugged Ash. The two former enemies, Lord Arthur and Duke Henry, also hugged each other in a gesture of peace ("We're brothers and a new kingdom shall be born!").
In the film's conclusion, Sheila kissed Ash farewell before he returned to his own time (after he drank a potion and recited the three words exactly) -- to his job at the S-Mart. He was relating his incredulous tale about his adventures in Medieval England to a bored co-worker (Ted Raimi) and to a sexy red-headed co-worker (Angela Featherstone): "They offered me the chance to lead them, to teach them, to, to be king" -- but presumably, he hadn't pronounced the words properly to return to his own time. Suddenly, a She-Demon Deadite (Patricia Tallman) attacked him in the Housewares Department. To save his pretty co-worker from harm, Ash threatened with his shotgun ("Lady, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to ask you to leave the store...Name's Ash. Housewares....") as she countered ("I'll swallow your soul!") before he killed the creature ("Come get some!"). The impressed co-worker embraced Ash, as he mused in voice-over: "Sure, I could've stayed in the past. I could've even been king. But in my own way, I am king." He then told his co-worker before passionately kissing her: "Hail to the king, baby!"
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
The third of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, a horror comedy, with a countless variety of references to other fantasy and adventure films (Jason and the Argonauts (1963), King Arthur's court films, Gulliver's Travels, swashbucklers, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) with its "Klaatu Barada Nikto" incantation, and The Time Machine (1960)).
A much more manic, slapstick, and campy version (and with slightly less gore) when compared to the first two films. Originally had the working title of "The Medieval Dead" to fit with its sword-and-sorcery theme.
With the tagline: "Trapped in time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas."
With a production budget of $11 million, and box-office gross receipts of $21.5 million (worldwide).
Duke Henry the Red
Pit Deadite # 1
Evil Deadite Ash
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