Happy 20th birthday, Army of Darkness!
Well, don’t I feel old today?
When I was in third grade (dating myself….this was 1990), there was this show hosted by Robert Englund that came on USA Networks on Friday night either before or after The Ray Bradbury Theater called Shadow Theater. I, like every kid from the 80′s, loved all things Freddy (and Ray Bradbury was a personal hero), so I watched the shows every Friday night. Anyways, Shadow Theater was basically a magazine show where Robert chewed the hell out of the scenery and showed clips from horror flicks. (Yes, I know AOD came out in 93…I’ve checked the math…..just stick with me, I’m making a larger point).
So one night, I’m chilling watching the show, and Robert shows a clip from a movie called Evil Dead 2, that had just recently been released on VHS. He shows my ten-year old mind what it believes is the greatest thing it’s ever seen. He shows me this:
As I picked my jaw up off the floor, I remembered the poster for this movie and being scared shitless of it back a couple years previous.
But this clip settled it.
I knew I have to see this movie.
And I did. And it was glorious!
Forget Freddy, forget Jason, put Pinhead to the side for a bit, the Tall Man can stay where he is, but Evil Dead 2 trumped them all. I loved this movie. I would re-enact the hand scene for the amusement of my step-brother when he came to visit (when I was still naive/young enough to love him). This guy, Ash, played by some dude named Bruce Campbell — he was the horror movie version of an action hero! This crazy bastard got the shit kicked out of him, came back, kicked some ass himself, and got the shit kicked out of him again…..only to cut his own hand off and replace it with a CHAINSAW! Talk about using life’s lemons to make lemonade, this guy was harnessing M. Scott Peck’s treatise on The Power of Positive Thinking to it’s fullest! Nothing stopped him.
Except the ending, yeah?
The ending left him realizing that he was a monumental failure of epic proportions, hopelessly stuck in the past, and being cheered on as a messiah figure when he was anything but.
That really bummed me out. But it was an amazing ending.
So a few years later, I see a preview for this movie called Army of Darkness. I think it looks cool.
It’s not advertised as a sequel to Evil Dead 2, and I have no idea it is, until I read in the Johnson Co.’s Things You Never Knew Existed catalog about it. They had an AOD shirt for sale, and in the description it said “The sequel to Evil Dead 2!!!”
I’m there on opening night. Me and my dad.
I get a free mini-poster.
The movie is amazing! Ash kicks ass and finally gets a happy ending. The theater breaks out into applause, and someone smokes pot in the bathroom.
I sucker my mom into taking me to see it again the next day with my best friend, whom I watched part 2 with so many times before.
I am the coolest kid ever, so ahead of the curve I feel left behind. All the other children are watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and that shit, they don’t know anything about the Evil Dead series.
Army of Darkness bombs at the theater.
Years later, it finds it’s market and it’s now a cult favorite among any internet forum.
Normally, this kinda band wagon thing would turn me off of liking something.
But it doesn’t in this case.
Because I was there first.
Hail to the king, baby.
Thanks for the memories, and happy birthday, Army of Darkness.