From Thea’s Dungeon

This Episode’s Unearthings: Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness

Since the recent Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness got me in the mood….

Any horror fan worth their salt has seen The Evil Dead movies. These films, directed by Sam Raimi (of recent Spider-man fame–and The Grudge 2, Boogeyman infamy), are genre classics…so if you haven’t seen them, watch them immediately! You are missing out.

Deadite Numero Uno

I had my introduction to The Evil Dead when I was 14–living in Japan at the time, when Star Channel (equivalent of HBO) did a triple feature, culminating in the glorious Captain Supermarket (Japanese title for Army of Darkness). I was completely hooked.

The Evil Dead follows five young, attractive college students driving up to a secluded forest cabin for a weekend of fun. Although none of them have ever been to the cabin before, they got it for cheap and are excited to get their party on. After crossing an dilapidated old bridge, they finally arrive, and discover the cabin has some strange stuff. Ash (our protagonist, played by a young and hot Bruce Campbell) and Scotty explore the cabin cellar, and find a freaky looking book and a recorder. Thinking it’s a cool gag, they bring both upstairs and decide to play the tape recording, which actually is a recitation of one of the passages in the scary looking book. As it turns out, this is no ordinary book, but actually is the Morturom Demontothe Book of the Dead. This, unfortunately for the college kids, causes the awakening of vicious demonic forces–the titled Evil Dead. The rickety bridge they crossed to get to the cabin has been destroyed, and there is no escape. Starting with Cheryl, then Shelley, then Linda and Scotty, each of the friends is possessed by the Evil. And Ash is in a buttload of trouble, trying to fight each of them off.

The Evil Dead was filmed on a shoestring budget, but was incredibly successful in terms of critical review and in terms of profitability. Even with the lower production value (i.e. you can see the pole holding up possessed!Cheryl when she is levitating), this is still one awesome scary flick. From this 1983 success, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made names for themselves…and were able to continue, by popular demand, Ash’s story in…

Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn

The Necronomicon

Legend has it that it was written by the Dark Ones. Necronomicon ex Mortis, roughly translated, “Book of the Dead”. The book served as a passageway to the evil worlds beyond. It was written long ago. When the seas ran red with blood. It was this blood that was used to ink the book. In the year 1300 AD, the book disappeared.

Armed with a bigger budget and with a new production company, Evil Dead II is a kinda-sorta remake/sequel to the first film, with better special effects, a more fleshed out storyline, and the addition of that trademark crazy slapstick humor. The movie begins with Ash and girlfriend Linda driving out to the cabin in the forest, and from there, things take a similar path. Ash finds and plays the recorder, the Evil comes and possess Linda. Who Ash promptly kills (by way of shovel decapitation) and buries. Unfortunately for Ash, the unleashed Evil finds and possesses him until dawn, then he returns as good!Ash–but passes out until dusk. He tries to escape, but the bridge has been destroyed, as in the first film. He has no choice but to go back to the cabin, where a possessed reanimated Linda attacks him, and bites him on the hand. Ash makes sure to fully incapacitate Linda by way of chainsaw. From this point, things get even more out of hand–literally, as Ash’s hand becomes possessed, and he’s forced to cut it off. Objects in the cabin become possessed and start mocking Ash–in a hilariously creepy scene (complete with those great weird camera shots Raimi loves), it’s apparent he is being driven to insanity.

Ash goes a little crazy

While all this madness is going on Annie, the daughter of the professor (that owned the cabin and who left the tape recorded translation), makes her way to the woods. She has a few loose pages of the Necronomicon (the Book of the Dead), fresh from the dig, and wants to show her father. Lucky for Ash, Annie’s extensive research in the Castle of Candar and the origins of the Necronomicon (*chortle-snort*), she finds a way to open a whirling vortex to banish the evil from whence it came. And it works. Unfortunately for Ash, he and his Delta ’88 are sucked into the vortex as well, and end up back in 1300 A.D. England.

Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness


If I had to pick a favorite of the three, it would be a close call between Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness…but I think Army of Darkness wins out. Certainly, my 14 year old self was completely enamored with this movie. This third film opens up with Ash a prisoner, trudging along in chains as he is believed by the knights of King Arthur to be one of Duke Henry’s men (a rebel Scot). He’s thrown into a pit by his captors, where he fights and destroys two deadites (the medieval name given to the possessed evil creatures, as seen in the first two movies).


Tired of all the crap he has been through, Ash demands to go home. The wisemen wizards of the time tell Ash that he is their savior and that his job will be to rid the world of the Evil deadites, but Ash isn’t having any of it. When the wisemen tell him that the only way to get Ash back to his rightful time is a spell in the Necronomicon, Ash agrees to go get the book on the condition that as soon as he returns, they send him back. The wisemen tell Ash that in order to retrieve the book, he MUST say the three magic words in the right order, else he will unleash the greatest evil the world has ever known…and naturally, Ash can’t quite remember the three words when it comes time. Unwittingly, for the third damn time, Ash unleashes the Evil that is the Army of Darkness.

“Okay. The words. Say the words. KLATOO!…VERATA!…Uh…Necta…uh… Nectar…Necktie…uh…NICKtphhh!”

Once the evil has been unleashed, Ash isn’t THAT big of a douche…and he stays to help fight the Evil Army (which is being headed by FreddyKrueger!EvilAsh), with the help of some 20th century chemistry.

This last installment has it’s share of gore and horrific elements, but it is less of a straight horror film. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this one, I still laugh my ass off, every time. This is the movie that gives Bruce Campbell his golden glow–as wisecracking, cheesy one-liner, boomstick and chainsaw weilding Ash. The wonderful humor, the Three Stooges shoutouts, and the homage to Jason and the Argonauts with the Ray Harryhausen skeleton battle sequence at the end make this movie one that is close to my heart.

Captain Supermarket!

Recently, I bought Army of Darkness on USA dvd–and was completely taken aback as the version that I had grown up with has a completely different ending! As I grew up and watched this movie in Japan for the first time, I assumed that what I had seen was what the US version would entail–well, nope. The endings are drastically different, and I have to say I much prefer the one I grew up with (naturally).

Evil Dead: The Musical

Recently, The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn have been brought to the stage in form of a musical. The play features song and dance numbers (complete and utter cheeseball), and for the diehard fans the first three rows are the “splatter zone”. Where the audience gets–you guessed it–splattered by the onstage blood and body parts.

Originally it played in New York in an off-Broadway production, and has since moved to Toronto (where, if you are lucky enough to live close by, it will be running until June 14 at the Diesel Playhouse).

AND starting Friday the 13th of June, Evil Dead: The Musical will be at the Willows Theater in Martinez, California (San Francisco Bay area). Since I live in Los Angeles, I have already bought my tickets and I cannot wait to take a trip up north to watch the play! Naturally, I will be in the splatter zone. Wearing a completely white outfit.

So, as a parting gift, I leave you one of the wonderfully cheeseball songs from the musical, titled… “What the F*ck Was That?”

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  • kmont
    May 15, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Oh me lord, I had no idea Army of Darkness had two predecessors. And I’ve seen AoD a few times, but retain no concrete knowledge of it. I would watch it again though. LMAO every time, that I do remember.

  • Thea
    May 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Kmont–Yep, if you love Army of Darkness you need to check out Evil Dead and Evil Dead II!

    AoD is definitely one of those must-watch-when-on-tv movies. I don’t care if anything else is on or if I have something else to do, if I stumble across AoD, it must be watched in its entirety! Freaking hi-larious good fun 🙂

  • Katie(babs)
    May 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Tree sex. ick.

  • talia
    May 15, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    “kyaputen supa-maketto!”

    oh my GOSH i had no idea it was CALLED THAT! hahahaha that made me giggle.

    wow reading your review made me want to go back and watch army of darkness all over again.

    i will never forget “boomstick” or “i’m bad but i feel GOOOOOOD” or, most importantly, our discovery of the multiple endings!

    i still thought the supermarket ending was the best though.

    i NEED to watch the prequels though.

    “batte, beratu, *cough cough*”

    I LOVE IT! haha

  • Thea
    May 16, 2008 at 7:27 am

    kyaputen supa-maketto desu!

    I am in love with that poster. Why are there dolphins in the background? The Campbell soup! Why is there a bald guy going MOOOOOOONN!?

    And yes by far the two best lines are the classic boomstick (“shop smart. shop s-mart”) and “I may be bad….but I feel….GOOOOOOD” Hahahaha!

    Next weekend. Evil Dead marathon. It’s on. 🙂

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