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Blu-ray Review: Army of Darkness – Screwhead Edition

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It's hard to say no to another edition of Sam Raimi's comedy/horror cult classic, Army of Darkness. The brand new Screwhead Edition is the film's first release on Blu-ray.

Army of Darkness is the sequel to the comedy/horror classic Evil Dead II and continues the adventures of Ash (Bruce Campbell). After discovering a great evil in the wood and being attacked by a wild (yet quirky) horde of undead (and even having to kill his possessed girlfriend), Ash is dropped into medieval England, where he finds that he evil he experienced in his own time is gaining strength in the Middle Ages. In order to get back home, Ash strikes a deal with the locals, where he must venture into a creepy cemetery and retrieve the Necronomicon.

Unfortunately, the recovery mission doesn't go as smoothly as planned, and Ash unleashes the forces of the dead. In order to fix his mistake, get back to his own time, and save his medieval girlfriend, Ash teams up with a group of medieval screwheads — complete with epic one-liners, boomsticks (retails for about a hundred and nine, ninety-five… shop smart, shop S-Mart), gory she-bitches, chainsaws, and corny special effects filled with awesome.

The picture quality here is phenomenal. It is so crisp and clear — the light colors have absolutely no blemishes, and the dark colors are deep and true. I've never seen this movie presented with such perfect picture and sound quality. This version makes all previous editions, even the DVD edition, look gritty and low quality by comparison. The picture is so clear that it emphasizes how corny the special effects are — which I think adds to the overall experience of the film and keeps it true to Raimi's original intent.

I was particularly impressed by the sound quality. I felt like I was completely enveloped in the universe of Army of Darkness. Danny Elfman's "March of the Dead" theme has never had the same kind of power and pure epic sound to it than in this release. I could see the speakers shaking with intensity at nearly every note. It was the most amazing Army of Darkness viewing experience I have ever had. With a 1080p high-definition presentation in 1.85:1 widescreen and master audio in 5.1 surround sound, it's easy to see why. There are even Spanish and French subtitles available. 

However, I was very disappointed in the selection of bonus material here. While viewers do have the option to turn on interactive production stills during the movie, which is kind of fun, there's not much else. Viewers have the opportunity to go online and get other film information, but it's not very complete (and frankly, this involves too much effort). The disk includes the alternate ending, the theatrical trailer, and a feature on the creation of the "deadite" special effects. The feature is really interesting and includes some great interviews with special effects experts and some hilarious and informative footage from the original filming. It's really interesting to see all of this, but I would have liked to have seen more of the original footage since some of it has obviously survived. There aren't even interviews with Sam Raimi or Bruce Campbell here. Some fans may think that this would be unneeded because they have talked about Army of Darkness so many times, but if I'm going to plop down extra money for this Blu-ray, I would have liked to have more.

It's difficult to say whether or not the Blu-ray edition of Army of Darkness is worth it, especially with so many other editions out there. If you are looking for flawless video and audio quality, then the Blu-ray is the perfect choice, but if you want bonus features, the items available here are practically the same as the others out there. Despite the lack of additional material, I couldn't help but stare in awe at how gorgeous this movie looks.

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