Army of Darkness (1992)

“Good. Bad. I’m the guy with the gun.”

Come get some.
“THIS! Is my BOOMSTICK!”

I’ve never claimed to be a good parent. I’m just around a lot. And, because I’m around a lot, I enjoy teaching my children to quote movies. For example, The Flower at about two, would often yell out:

Where’s the money, Lebowski?

The Barbarienne had a more complex speech:

Drainage! Drainage, Eli, my boy! If you have a straw, and I have a straw, my straw reaches acroooss the room and drinks your milkshake. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!

It’s adorable. But the pioneer of movie quoting was The Boy, of course, and there were so many phrases from this film we would quote around the house, you’d have thought we were a meeting of the Bruce Campbell Fan Club.

“All right you primitive screwheads, listen up!”

“Your primitive intellect wouldn’t understand alloys and compositions and things with… molecular structures.”

“Klaatu. Barada. Necktie.”

“Well, hello, Mr. Fancypants.”

“I live. Again.” (Usually said by me after waking up.)

“Like in the deal!”

“Hey, you got something on your face.” (Followed by throwing something on the person’s face.)

That said, I would’ve given the film a miss. It’s not a great film, really, just a whole lot of fun. But a movie that can still be a whole lot of fun after 25 years is actually pretty great, I’ve learned, again and again, and sometimes stupid, silly or wacky things can be transcendent, beyond just (say) The Marx Brothers, Chaplin and Keaton.

Oh, Embeth. You ARE good...
“I may be BAD. But I feel GOOD.”

There’s also a kind of low-budget jiu-jitsu that goes on, too. Since (almost) all special effects age into conspicuousness, a lot of things that seemed cheesy at the time for being low-budget or dated—like stop-motion and puppet skeletons—end up transcending their humble roots out of sheer appropriateness. By this time, of course, the Evil Dead “series” has gone from the sincere (and unintentionally campy) Evil Dead, to the crazy-but-still-oddly-effective-mix-of-horror-and-comedy sequel/remake Evil Dead II, to the action-comedy-with-some-horror-effects Army of Darkness, and the mugging skeleton puppets, Bruce Williams as a lich-ized version of himself (and similarly the beautiful/uglified Embeth Davidtz), mixed in with stop-motion-bat-winged baddies all just fits.

It’s an unusual film. Our hostess (April!) confessed to not really getting this one, and I understand that. It’s the Three Stooges Meet Night Of The Living Dead by way of A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court and if you’re into it, there’s little better in this world. If you’re not, it’s probably just crazy hash.

Needless to say, of course, we all loved it. I think The Boy and I were particularly impressed because we had seen it so much on the little screen when he was younger it bred that kind of easy contempt one gets for “things that are always on”. But there’s nothing like going back to something you loved and not being embarrassed by having loved it in the first place.

I SLEPT TOO LONG!
From the alternate ending (not shown this evening).

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