Retroplex Cinema: The Evil Dead (1981) / Army Of Darkness (1992)
The Evil Dead (1981)The Evil Dead is a 1981 horror film, as if you didn't know, which has become one of the biggest cult classics in the last 30 years since it's release. It spawned two sequels, The Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness, and numerous merchandising items over the years. The plot is simple: Five friends go up to a cabin in the woods, where they find unspeakable evil lurking in the forest. They find a tome called the "Necronomicon", Book of the Dead, and the taped translation of the text. Once the tape is played, the evil is released. One by one, the teens are possessed. With only one remaining, it is up to him to survive the night and battle the evil dead. (Synopsis from IMDB.com) it's gory, it's sometimes funny, it's good fun!
Release & ReceptionBecause of a large promotional campaign, the film performed above expectations at the box office. It grossed a total of $2,400,000 worldwide, nearly eight times its production budget. Initially it opened in 15 theaters and grossed $108,000 in its opening weekend. Word of mouth made the film a sleeper hit and it's box office numbers slowly grew, making $600,000 domestically but over 2 million overseas! Not bad for a film that originally received an X Rating for being so violent and what many people called "video nasty", a term used to describe pornographic films of the time. It would become a huge cult hit on video and now years later of course it's a cult classic.
Upon its release, contemporary critical opinion was mostly positive. Bob Martin, editor of Fangoria, reviewed the film before its formal premiere and proclaimed that it "might be the exception to the usual run of low-budget horror films. The Los Angeles Times called the film an "instant classic", proclaiming it as "probably the grisliest well-made movie ever." Modern critics continue to review the film well and it currently holds a 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It would go on to spawn a sequel and a third film in the series, Army Of Darkness, which may be even more popular than the original!
Army Of Darkness (1992)Army Of Darkness is a modern classic in every sense of the word. It had cheesy special effects for a modern film, it had a huge built in following from The Evil Dead, and Ash is a character that is now engrained into society with other classic cult heroes. The Army Of Darkness flat out rocks. Chances are you have seen this, but if not heres the plot: In this sequel to the Evil Dead films, a discount-store employee (our hero Ash) is time-warped to a medieval castle beset by monstrous forces. Initially mistaken for an enemy, he is soon revealed as the prophecised savior who can quest for the Necronomicon, a book which can dispel the evil. Unfortunately, he screws up the magic words while collecting the tome, and releases an army of skeletons, led by his own Deadite counterpart. What follows is a thrilling, yet tongue-in-cheek battle between Ash's 20th Century tactics and the minions of darkness. Awesome right?!
Multiple Endings & MerchandiseThe film has become known over the years for it's many multiple endings appearing on various DVD's and such releases. The original ending, preferred by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell themselves, in which Ash oversleeps in the cave and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future, was restored to the film for the UK VHS release, which also had the S-Mart ending put in as a post-credit extra. This scene has been restored on the Army of Darkness: Director's Cut Region 3 DVD released by MGM, the "director's cut bootleg edition" DVD and the double-disc DVD, which also featured the S-Mart ending of the film. The S-Mart ending was shot for the American release; the studio wanted to end the film on a high note for the character of Ash. Raimi believed Ash to be more of a fool, which is why he liked to torture him so much in his films; Ash being a goof and drinking too much potion was in his character.
The film has also spawned lots of merchandise over the years. Action figures, t-shirts, comic books, video games, and much more. The film has inspired people to dress like Ash and the famous quote "Give me some sugar baby" has been said many times by fan boys at conventions over the years. Many people have hoped for a direct sequel to Army Of Darkness and they may finally get their wish, as recently Sam Raimi has said that he will begin working on Army Of Darkness 2 very soon!
Take a look at some pictures of action figures, comics, and more and check out the original trailers for both films! Thanks for checking out this edition of Retroplex Cinema and go see the new Evil Dead in theaters now!