Army Of Darkness – Screwhead Edition Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover is pretty awesome, I must admit. I wouldn’t normally like an over the top, bigger than life bullshitty kind of cover, but this one is perfect. Ash, the hero, stands comically hunky, ready for the Deadite army and to defend the damsel in distress. It’s classic, just like the movie, so I take it with the grain of salt that I keep nearby for watching the movie.

The menu is pretty standard, so nothing to write home to mama about.

Features: 5/10

  • U-Control Production Photos – Photos don’t do much for me, but if you like to see some old school movie making, special effects, etc, this is the album for you.
  • Creating The Deadites – The writers, and special effects gurus who put the crazy antics of our man Ash on the big screen way back in the day do interviews and discuss how it was done. They reminisce about the long hard days and nights, looking back at a day and age when making a movie with tons of special effects meant no CGI, just back breaking creativity and lots of plastic skeletons.
  • Alternate Ending – I have only ever seen the “American” ending, so this is a good little extra to tag on the disc. As for my British husband, well, the European ending is THE ending and should have been an option on the menu, “Watch movie with original European ending” or “Watch movie with original crappy American ending.”
  • BDLive – There’s nothing here to see people, move along.

The Movie: 8/10
I’m not a long time fan of the Evil Dead series. That just means that my opinion isn’t glossed over with many years of glowing love for the franchise. That doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE Army of Darkness. It’s a blast. It’s crazy bad in so many ways, and yet completely and utterly a joy. Yes, I said it’s a JOY. I know it sounds fluffy, but trust me on this. If you are someone who doesn’t have youthful memories of Ash in the woods with his friends fighting the evil drudged up with incantations from the Book of the Dead, well, you might not be inclined to watch Army of Darkness at all. If you appreciate a kick ass old school hero who has a chainsaw for a hand and drops into the 1300 hundreds through a portal from hell or to hell (I’m still not sure) get it, watch it, enjoy!

Ash worked in an S Mart store, in Housewares. That makes him an “everyman”, which is exactly how he comes across SOME of the time. His wise cracking ways, one-liners like “Give me some sugar babeeee.” and often psychotic acting style mix things up a bit. Don’t expect anything other than a version of comic book action coming to life when you sit down to Army of Darkness, and the campy Bruce Campbell that comes with it.

There is a damsel in distress, which annoys the crap out of me, but I see why it’s such a friggin’ fantasy for dudes who would want to battle an army of skeletons, save the world from evil, all vicariously through the tales of an S Mart employee on the big screen. I don’t think it flies in the 21st century, but then again, there are still lots of stories out there about women who are put in the position of being helped, saved, assisted by some brave and noble guy….it’s a fantasy dudes, give it up.

The special effects are so bad sometimes you have to remind yourself of the time 1992, and the budget, 11 million. it sounds like a lot of money, but by the standards of today’s CGI price tags it’s astonishingly low. I think they got their money’s worth on this film. They worked hard for all in-camera effects, some stop frame animation, mixed with basics like slow motion, puppetry, rear projection with action in front, and lots more tricks of the trade. This is why it’s so charming. Yes, charming. I know it’s a boring over used word, but this time I mean it.

I have to give credit to the simple story telling, basic effects, bumbling but effective hero, pouty chick, often questionable costumes and props, because it all adds up to a fantastic movie watching experience. I loved it. The classics stand up to the test of time, and I have no problem giving Army of Darkness some extra scoring love just for being what it is….kick ass movie lover indulgence.

Audio & Video: 9/10 (By Ascully)
Before I start with the audio/video portion of this review I have to say bare in mind that this is an almost 20 year old low budget movie. That said Army Of Darkness Screw-head edition looks quite good on Blu-Ray if not a little uneven. Some of the shots particularly the outside vista shots near the start of the movie look stunning but other shots look murky and almost low def. There is also strong use of DNR and a slight sharpening effect that makes the movie look a little unnatural, overall though I don’t think the transfer is as bad as other reviews might lead you to believe, but I am sure this is not the last version of this movie we see on a HD format.

Audio fares a lot better than picture featuring a uncompressed DTS-HD Master audio soundtrack that really restores the old stereo track and brings Army of Darkness to life. The sound is quite rich and way better than any other release you may have listened to. Overall this is the best presentation of Army Of Darkness to date but I am sure fans who buy this now will be double dipping somewhere down the line.

Value: 7/10
It’s not a bad value to get your cult favorite on Blu-Ray for around 18 bucks….however, if you are looking for lots and lots of extras that have been offered through the years on standard DVD, you won’t find them here. You might have to pay for an older version AND this new one to get all the details of how this classic was made. I’m not a die hard fan of the series, but my husband is so we MUST own it. I’m sure he’s not alone in his need to have it on the shelf for spontaneous Deadite viewing. 🙂

Overall Score 8/10