This “Collector’s Edition” for Army of Darkness brings together all versions available and a great selection of bonus material, that I believe also ported over from previous releases, to go along with great video and audio transfers. This is probably one of the best Shout Factory releases which is no small feat.
Army of Darkness
Genre(s): Horror, Comedy, Fantasy
Shout Factory | R/Unrated – 81 min. / 96 min. / 88 min. / 90 min. – $34.99 | October 27, 2015
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Plot Synopsis: Back to do battle with the hideous “Deadites,” Ash (BRUCE CAMPBELL), the handsome, shotgun-toting, chainsaw-armed department store clerk from S-Mart’s house wares division. Demonic forces time warp him – and his ’73 Oldsmobile – into the Dark Ages, where he romances a beauty (EMBETH DAVIDTZ) and faces legions of the undead. Can Ash save the living from the evil dead, rescue his girlfriend, and get back to his own time?
Quick Hit Review: Army of Darkness takes a sharp turn in tone over the previous two installments which some fans have found jarring but for myself, this probably is my favorite of the trilogy. The movie is far more comedic and takes advantage of star Bruce Campbell’s more zany antics (at times he even reminds me of Jim Carrey… when Carrey was actually funny) and while the effects haven’t particularly aged well, there’s a certain nostalgic element with the stop motion that takes one back to something like Jason and the Argonauts (which was Sam Raimi’s intention).
Army of Darkness is an all around fun flick that, although different from its predecessors, is still worth a watch; though check out the first two beforehand.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
This impressive 3-disc set comes housed in a standard Blu-ray amaray case. Included is a matted slip cover with custom artwork. The inner cover matches but can be reversed to reveal the original poster artwork.
Medieval Times: The Making of Army of Darkness (1:36:34; HD) – This feature-length making-of documentary takes viewers behind-the-scenes on how the movie came to be and includes interviews with Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Bill Moseley and many, many others. It’s easily one of the better features put together by Shout Factory.
Original Ending (4:37; HD) is what is referred to as the Rip Van Winkle or Planet of the Apes version (and seen in the director’s cut).
Alternate Opening (2:58; HD) – This one opens with dialogue by Ash recapping events up to AoD. An optional commentary with Raimi and Campbell is available.
Deleted Scenes (11:06; HD) – Here we get a selection of scenes either edited to removed due to various issues. These are in rough form. As before, there’s an optional commentary with Raimi and Campbell.
Also available is the Theatrical Trailer (2:05; HD), some TV Spots (1:56; HD) and the U.S. Video Promo (0:32; HD).
Audio Commentary – Director Sam Raimi, Actor Bruce Campbell and Writer Ivan Raimi sit down for a low-key yet informative track talking about this cut of AoD and providing some insights into how the film was made.
On-Set Video Footage Compilation (4:40; SD) is some raw footage from the set.
Creating the Deadlites Featurette (21:29; HD) shows how some of the effects were created for the army.
Behind the Scenes Footage (53:54l HD) is more fly-on-the-wall video showing how some scenes were filmed.
Vintage “Making of” Featurette (4:51; SD) is an older promotional feature with on-location interviews with members of the cast and crew.
Extended Interview Clips (5:02; SD) – Here we get more comments, made for the vintage featurette, with Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Producer Rob Tapert.
Television Version (1:33:03; SD) – For the completists out there, this edited cut is available to watch.
This disc also includes the International Theatrical Trailer (2:08; HD); Still Galleries (28:16; HD) with rare behind-the-scenes photos; Still Gallery (4:05; HD) of props and rare photos; Storyboards (7:37; HD); The Men Behind the Army (18:58; SD) featurette; and a Special Thanks (0:50; HD) name scroll.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Shout Factory, through their Scream Factory line, releases Army of Darkness onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given a nice 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture has good, albeit not great, detail throughout and colors appear to be well balanced without seeming pumped up. There is some natural grain but it’s not overbearing and the transfer itself looks clean free of major dust or debris.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The movie comes with both 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks, either of which are more than satisfactory and certainly and upgrade over any of the DVD releases. Dialogue is generally clear and comes through the center channel while the front and rears are mostly used for ambient noises and side action, though these aren’t entirely dynamic. Even though the depth could be better, this still is a nice transfer.
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Overall, this “Collector’s Edition” for Army of Darkness brings together all versions available and a great selection of bonus material, that I believe also ported over from previous releases, to go along with great video and audio transfers. This is probably one of the best Shout Factory releases which is no small feat.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.