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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Army of Darkness (1992)

This movie was honestly such an awakening for me. I saw it before I saw either Evil Dead film and it was because I grew up watching Bruce Campbell in The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. When I watched it for the first time my first year of college, it briefly became my whole personality. Every single notification sound on my AOL Instant Messenger (...) was an Ash line. Someone logged on? "Well hellloo Mr. Fancy Pants." Get a message? "Gimme some sugar, baby."


I tried showing my parents Army of Darkness once. Probably during Christmas break. I don't remember if my mom watched it at all or stopped watching because of the gore (fair) but I remember my dad rolling his eyes and saying "okay, Shan" at the end of it. I felt so dismissed by that. Here I'd found a thing that resonated deeply with me and brought me joy and I got an eyeroll. (Not to say that everyone has to love everything their loved ones love, but I constantly shocked at the lack of curiosity some of my loved ones have had about things that mean a lot to me. I want curiosity, not judgment. Curiosity, not indifference.) I think that reaction was part of the reason that I am so protective of this trilogy.


This is one of my comfort movies. It's 80-ish minutes long (depending on which version you're watching). It's hilarious. And it requires you to check any highbrow ideas you have about yourself at the door. You can only really get it if you let go. Letting go like that is so difficult for me and in that way, this stupid movie brings out the best in me. The skeletons make me laugh so much I'm sure I sound insane but I love it so who cares.


In the abstract, I love that this movie flips the idea that some random modern schmo would be a pinnacle of manhood if they were magically transported to the Middle Ages. Yes, Ash was "The Promised One" but he's an idiot and mostly succeeded by accident or in spite of himself. I love that. (I should buy myself a copy of Big Trouble in Little China for that matter.)


I also love the theatricality in a Sam Raimi film. Those panning shots where the crowd reacts only once they're in frame? Come. On. It's like a chorus line's contagion. All the stooges violence. SKELETON ARMS STOOGING BRUCE CAMPBELL! Joy joy joy.


I have lived so much of my life being keenly aware of being observed and adjusting to people's opinions of me but when I'm watching a Sam Raimi movie, I could not care less. And that is the energy I want every moment of every day.


Medieval Manual for Melee

Coffee aged paper, ink



Takeaways:

-Mostly it just feels good to complete this. It was exactly the idea I had for it. Of all of the quotable lines of this movie, Ash teaching the army... polearm kata? complete with a silly meaningless chant? It's really up there.

-I really liked doing the medieval style with the "stained glass" for A Knight's Tale and this was equally fun. I wish I would have had time (energy? wherewithal?) to embellish it more (I imagined a full illumination) but the biggest lesson I have to learn right now is that done is better than perfect. Does it matter more that I have a perfect idea that's never executed or that I try something now and get rid of this silly backlog. I said when I wrote this blog initially that I wanted to stop caring what people think and I want to stop obsessing over perfection and this is that first step.

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