This has been a favorite of my family’s for years now. It’s such a delightful mix of slapstick and deadpan humor, along side some good creepy horror elements. Technically the third in a series of movies concocted by Sam Raimi and co, though it’s unnecessary to see those movies before viewing this one. I did watch Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 before I got to this one. But either I’ve changed enough, or the times have changed enough, or some combination of those for them to be fairly unpalatable to me. But Army of Darkness so far is still enjoyable to me.
One of the best things are the special effects. In the Evil Dead movies it’s quite obvious they are on an extremely limited budget, but the deadites are just excellent. Quite frankly, not a lot of those looks change that much into this film though I know Raimi had access to quite a bit more funds. A melding of zombie and demon, and an attitude of sadistic pleasure in torturing their victims both physically and mentally are what drive the movie. I enjoy a dash of dark humor in movies such as these, and that dark humor is what keeps Army of Darkness enjoyable and the Evil Dead films less so these days. The first one in particular takes itself far too seriously for my tastes. But Army glories in that dark humor – Ash often tends to take the lazy and selfish paths and the movie punishes him for those same tendencies. The scene where he arrives at the alter to spirit away the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis is notable. The words Klaatu Barada Nikto need to be recited before removing the book from the alter, and despite his cocky fit towards the wiseman earlier of course Ash has forgotten them. And thus Ash causes an army of deadites to resurrect in his fleeing wake.
Perhaps some of my enjoyment of this film is my certainty that Ash isn’t really viewed as a hero in the movie. Sure, he’s a reluctant hero that saves the day. But he is by no means an admirable figure. My rose colored glasses of nostalgia and enjoyment of the film’s many one-liners perhaps makes me unable to view it that critically. And part of this is almost certainly informed by the recent TV show Ash vs the Evil Dead (cancelled just earlier this year), where you can abundantly see what kind of man Ash turned into.
The beer for this film was Surly’s Pentagram, an excellent dark sour. Though not as potent of a sour as last night’s Changeling, it’s still got a good punch and a dark fruity taste to go with. Big bottle and a bit pricey, but certainly worth it.
So, tonight was planned to be a double feature. However, due to streaming issues it turned out to only be the 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead (since I own that one). If I have time I’ll get to the other movie I wanted to watch with this later.
I don’t know why I always forget this movie is a Snyder film – it certainly has a feel that his films have. And much like his films, there’s only really a surface film here. Which is fine, if that’s what you are looking for! I find this a to be a good zombie romp, but it is by no means a deep film with any metaphorical context (contrast to last night’s Train to Busan, which had some obvious and well thought through messaging interwoven through its flesh eating action).
I tend to divide movies I don’t feel I wasted my time on into two categories – ‘good’ and ‘entertaining.’ Some movies definitely manage to hit both. This one is firmly in the entertaining camp – what lots of other people would probably refer to as a popcorn flick. The action is slick, got some nice dark comedy moments (I believe this was the film that originally got me into Richard Cheese, with the nice use of his cover of Down With The Sickness inserted over a montage). I rather enjoy the inclusion of the zombie baby, though the entire sequence of Andre tying down Luda despite her quite obviously turning into a zombie is incredibly disturbing for a variety of reasons. Please, if the zombie apocalypse ever actually comes into fruition just put me out of my damn misery.
And the intro to this movie as the world plunges towards death is superb, one of the best intro scenes I can remember – the chaos and confusion, and sense of horror is great. I remember the first time I saw this movie being highly disturbed by a scene very early on, while Ana is in her car and pulls up behind a bus. I’m not quite sure what it was – maybe the way you can’t quite see what’s going on through the translucent but not transparent glass as the zombies pin their hapless victim down, or how long the camera focuses on the poor soul’s struggles. It doesn’t have the same impact now, but the memory remains. What more can you say about it? It’s a solidly executed zombie flick, but just a surface level film. Mindless entertainment, but sometimes that’s exactly what you are looking for.
Tonight’s beer is a large bottle of Boulevard’s Changeling. Billed as a dark sour, it is definitely not lying, with a long and lingering sour punch with each sip. A little funky underneath and a touch malty, with very light fizz. A little pricey but worth it, would absolutely buy again.
It bears mentioned immediately up front that this isn’t a Halloween film, though it will pop up with almost any Halloween movie list this year. Probably because of the timing of Dia de Muertos and the skull imagery. I knew this beforehand, but decided to watch it within my October film fest for a few reasons. I had wanted to see, but hadn’t gotten to it before now. And I knew it would be a happier film, and I deliberately sprinkled a few less violent or jump scare filled films within my planned schedule.
And goodness, I haven’t shed this many tears while watching a film in a long time. Happy tears, for the most part, but still a lot of them. It felt good to cry with just the sweetness of it all. Pixar has a history of hitting heart strings just right, particularly within me as I get older, and they nailed it with this movie. And quite honestly, I feel on the edge of tears frequently lately so it was cathartic as well to be able to let them out in happiness and sweetness. The film is also gorgeous, so much color and life in every shot!
And I loved the story. Both complicated and simple, the pull of what you want to do with your life vs your family. Some of my tears were certainly bittersweet, as while the film resolves happily I couldn’t help but all those that had to make this choice and never got the resolution Miguel receives. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want the film to end any other way. It’s just hard to forget friends’ stories of less-than-happy endings while watching.
Tonight’s beer accompaniment: Odell Brewing Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour. A very nice sour, not so sour that it pulled an especially strong face from me but still decidedly a sour (not a tart or sweet overkill, which I’ve had a couple beers try to pull and call themselves sour before, for shame) (not that tart or sweet is bad, but if you call yourself a sour you should be SOUR damnit!), with a nice trailing and mellow sourness to follow that initial blast.
While I do intend to mostly focus upon cool phenomenon in the natural world, as I said before my curiosity and interests vary greatly. And truth be told, the reason I convinced myself to FINALLY reboot this blog with the worldbuilding focus was I came up with a side project. For reasons that should be clear to you, reality is incredibly depressing lately (no, I will not going into it here at this time. Maybe later). I need something to distract me more fully, and hopefully cheer me up a bit. I also like trying new things, especially food and drink. And I love Halloween.