#17: Army of Darkness — dir. Sam Raimi
For most people this seems like a no-brainer. Of course, you’d pick Army of Darkness, the most quotable, ridiculous, chin-smashing, chainsaw-armed film out there. Bruce Campbell’s career is pretty much leveraged off this film. I love it so much, especially how it grew from serious balls-to-the-wall homegrown horror into this zany slapstick mess.
But the thing is, I fucking LOVE Sam Raimi. He’s one of my favorite directors. He’s got a genuine style and flair, and yet he’s worked successfully in many different genres. Some of my favorite films are The Quick and the Dead, A Simple Plan, Drag Me to Hell. The original Evil Dead was a genuinely gruesomely fucked up film. And then he sort of rekerjiggered it with a Three Stooges backbone to create Evil Dead II, which almost beat this out as it genuinely bridges the gap perfectly between hilarious and horrifying. Probably a little more hilarious if I’m being totally honest. Which is why I ultimately landed on this.
I can watch Army of Darkness like I would listen to a favorite album — Weezer’s Blue Album, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Alice in Chains’ Dirt. It’s like comfort food. It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination. But it is fun as hell. It takes the film nerd in me and just jams him in a fucking locker and then stuffs its own mouth with popcorn. I loved this movie so much that it ended up being responsible for one of the best Christmas gifts I ever got. My brother bought me a refurbished PS2 for like $40 so that he could buy me the Fistful of Boomstick video game for it. It was a terrible fucking game, but it was an amazing gift.
I’m kind of deprexcited at the rumor of Army of Darkness 2: Evil Dead 4. It’s a rumor that’s been running wild for years, so grain of salt, but I’m sad because of My Name is Bruce. Bruce Campbell is awesome as Bruce Campbell when he’s not trying to be BRUCE CAMPBELL. If that makes any sense. He’s sort of traded on this Ash persona for decades now. And he doesn’t need to? Because he’s awesome as it stands. And I feel like My Name is Bruce was his attempt to cash in on the fanboyism of his legend. It was his attempt at JCVD. But I kind of secretly hope that Army of Darkness 2 ACTUALLY BECOMES like JCVD. I don’t mind revisiting old heroes if they realize they are too old for this shit. And then they mean it. John McClane at this point IS actually too old for this shit. The entirety of the Expendibles are too old for this shit.
Sadly, it’s because I secretly desire the Bruce Campbell of Bubba Hotep to be the hero of Army of Darkness 2. I want him tired and pissed off and then trying to recapture glory without being a sad joke or trying to market that. And I think it could work, because even after the emo Spidey debacle, Sam Raimi is still Sam Raimi at heart, that dude who helped his buddies the Coen Brothers find their mark.