The truth about Lilith
Road House revisited

Army of Darkness revisted - a yeoman effort with staying power

There were certain films in my youth that I watched more times than I can count.  Army of Darkness is one of them.  It was released when I was very active in medieval re-enactments and Dungeons & Dragons and everyone in my social set memorized the film.  In those days we did gaming get-togethers or hung out and inevitably a tape would go into the VCR to provide background noise.  Army of Darkness was the default choice because it has so many great, corny lines and requires so little effort to follow along.

It was the product of a different era, when Hollywood directors generally worked their way into the industry.  Start with short films, move onto TV or low-budget films (later including direct to video), and finally mid-grade films with a decent budget.

One of the reasons Hollywood is collapsing is that it has abandoned the system, instead plucking unqualified cast and crew based on diversity quota or political sentiment.  This is partly because the current generation takes its prosperity for granted, and so is careless with the wealth it inherited.

But in the 1980s, the old system was in place, and so you could get a guy like Sam Raimi, who cut his teeth on Super 8 cameras and slowly worked his way into the industry, all the while building a loyal production team, and honing his craft.  When Raimi was tapped for Spider-Man, it was the culmination of his work, and the resulting success of that film series shows it.

Raimi also has an interest in the subject matter of his films, and this also is readily apparent.  Like many writer/director/producers, he is a creature of various genres, and understands the conventions that the audience expects to be observed.  Again, this stands in stark contrast with the current "Fans will hate what we are doing with their favorite characters!" mentality.

I suspect part of that fidelity is the natural response of someone who has created characters of their own.  While Raimi's not hugely original, the Evil Dead franchise and Darkman films are legitimately his.  Thus, he knows what it is to have creative skin in the game.

As for the film, it's far more lavish than his other work, yet clearly filmed on a shoestring budget, and that's part of its charm.  It's not a serious work, but an exercise in fun, and the larger-than-life Ash - who combined hypermasculinity with working as a store clerk - is just fun to watch.

I should mention that Ash's shotgun was featured in my Geek Guns series.




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