Darkness [1993]

A movie that only true horror buffs could love, Army of Darkness is officially part 3 in the wild and wacky Evil Dead trilogy masterminded by the perversely inventive director Sam Raimi, who would later serve as executive producer of the popular syndicated TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Raimi's favorite actor, Bruce Campbell, returns as Ash (hero of the first two Evil Dead flicks), a hardware-store clerk who is magically transported--along with his beat-up Oldsmobile and a chainsaw attachment for his severed left forearm--to the brutal battlefields of the 14th century. He quickly assumes power (who else in the Middle Ages packs a shotgun and a chainsaw?), and unites his band of medieval knights against the dreaded Army of the Dead. Raimi gleefully subverts almost every horror-movie cliché as he serves up a nonstop parade of blood, gore, and vicious sword-bearing skeletons--an affectionate homage to animator Ray Harryhausen's classic Jason and the Argonauts. The frantic action is fun while it lasts, but even at 80 minutes Army of Darkness nearly wears out its welcome. You know that Raimi can maintain the mayhem for only so long before it grows tiresome, and fortunately this madcap movie quits while it's ahead. --Jeff Shannon

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