There are few horror franchises that masterfully blend gruesome horror with goofy comedy (without it being terrible) the way that Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series does. It’s also one of the only horror franchises where the character that fans love and follow sequel after sequel is the hero rather than the villain.
Spanning a film trilogy, a 2013 remake, a TV series sequel and another reboot due out later this year, there’s no stopping the deadites, nor is there a limit to the overall grooviness of the series’ lead Bruce Campbell. And while he’s officially retired from playing the character, he remains a producer on the reboot, and he’s very much the face of the franchise.
Its most bold endeavor was perhaps 1992’s (although released widely in 93) Army of Darkness. So, in honor of its recent 30th anniversary, we wanted to take a look at 30 fun facts about Army of Darkness!
1. Writer/Director Sam Raimi originally wanted this third installment titled “The Medieval Dead”, but the studio refused. He then settled for “Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness”, but the studio dropped the “Evil Dead 3” portion so that movie could pass as a standalone.
2. Following the success of Darkman (which grossed $48.8 million on a $14 million budget) in 1990, Universal was willing to give Sam Raimi a budget to make another Evil Dead movie.
3. Sam Raimi co-wrote the script with his brother Ivan Raimi, who had also worked with him on Darkman and would go on to co-write with Sam on Spider-Man 3, Drag Me to Hell, and Ash vs. Evil Dead.
4. Another early draft of the script saw Ash losing an eye and would have shown more of Ash’s personal life at college and work.
5. According to Bruce Campbell, the idea to send Ash back to the middle ages was floated back during production of Evil Dead II, but they had neither the time nor money to do it then.
6. Traci Lords originally auditioned for the role of Sheila, but lost out to Embeth Davidtz
7. Tobacco smoke was constantly pumped through a tube up through Bruce Campbell’s pants and shirt so that the chainsaw was always running.
8. Despite being set in medieval Europe, the film was shot entirely in California, both in soundstages and out in the Mojave Desert.
9. The production itself was reportedly very harsh, with temperatures being very hot in the daytime and very cold at night (typical with deserts). And because of how long it took to properly light everything, not many hours were left of sunlight to shoot.
10. Bridget Fonda (Linda) was originally supposed to have much more screen time, but her scenes were cut, leaving her with what is largely considered a cameo.
11. Sam Raimi’s brother and frequent actor Ted Raimi appears in a total of 4 different roles in the movie: the warrior who doesn’t want to die, the “you can count on my steel” man, another warrior with an eye patch, and a clerk at S-Mart.
12. S-Mart is an actual grocery store chain in Mexico.
13. According to Bruce Campbell, one of the biggest challenges was having to remember the fight choreography for monsters that weren’t actually there on set.
14. Embeth Davidtz (Sheila) reportedly almost quit acting after this movie, because between the prosthetics, night shoots, and fight scenes, she had a very difficult time on the production. Although she later admitted, she was very proud of her work in the film.
15. During the final swordfight scene, Bruce Campbell was cut on his face from a pin on his cape. He was rushed to a doctor, and the doctor wasn’t even sure which wound was real because he had so many fake wounds all over him from makeup and prosthetics.
16. While shooting the rock pelting scene, Sam Raimi threw potatoes at Bruce Campbell as a joke for one take, and this one was the used in the final film.
17. The “gimme some sugar, baby” line wasn’t in the script. Sam Raimi reportedly came up with on set while shooting.
18. The film’s original ending saw Ash ending up in a post-apocalyptic England, but it was deemed “too depressing” by test audiences.
19. An issue of Fangoria can be spotted in one scene. This was a thank you from Sam Raimi because the magazine had featured the original Evil Dead and helped popularize it.
20. Charles Napier shot a scent as Ash’s supervisor at S-Mart, but it was cut from the final movie.
21. Producer Dino De Laurantiis gave Sam Raimi and crew complete creative freedom during production, and then Universal took over during post-production, largely due to a dispute they were having with De Laurentiis regarding the rights to Hannibal Lecter.
22. As a result, Army of Darkness was caught in the middle while Raimi needed extra funds to finish post production.
23. Because of all this, the film’s release date was pushed from summer 1992 back to early 1993, something which frustrated Bruce Campbell greatly.
24. While the film was scored by Joseph LoDuca (who scored the first two movies), Danny Elfman came in to write the “March of the Dead” theme used for the movie.
25. There was a planned Evil Dead 4, which would have seen robots fighting deadites in the post-apocalyptic world from the original ending. But after Army of Darkness underperformed, any ideas for another sequel were scrapped.
26. Grossed $21.5 million on an $11 million budget. So while it technically doubled its production cost, this doesn’t include marketing costs, so Army of Darkness was ultimately considered a flop.
27. Army of Darkness has a total of four different versions, each with differences in runtime and even the order of some scenes. These versions include: the US theatrical, European theatrical, Director’s Cut, and the US TV version.
28. Sam Raimi kept making edits in order to get the film a PG-13 rating, but the MPAA wouldn’t budge and still gave it an R.
29. It also remains the only major studio film that Bruce Campbell was the lead of. All of his other lead roles have been independent projects, and any studio film he’s appeared in, he was a side character.
30. Won the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, and was nominated for Best Makeup as well, but lost to Addams Family Values.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
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