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February 09, 1995 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-09

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday, February 9, 1995 - 3

MelRose Place

Ash's 'Army of Darkness' a decidedly better variety of the evil dead

By Kirk Miller
Daily Arts Writer
"Hail to the king, baby."
If anyone but Bruce Campbell

Be my valentine,
pretty please?
They say February is the cruellest
month, and I've figured out why. It's
this Valentine's Day thing. It changes
people. It makes them do things they
wouldn't normally do. For example, I
was talking to my friend Matthew the
other day, and I asked him how things
were with his boyfriend Doug. "Fine,"
he said. It didn't take long to elicit a
truthful response from him-my expe-
elence with men (especially gay men)
being so extensive- and then hecame
to the inevitable conclusion.
Him: I guess I have to end it.
Me: Mm hmm.
Him: (whining) But it's right be-
fore Valentine's Day!
Me: So?
Him: So, I want a Valentine.
Me: You're going to stay in this
dead-end relationship, with this
schmuck who's bad in bed, just so you
can have a date on Valentine's Day?
Him: Well ...
See what I mean? That's why ev-
eryone breaks up between March and
November, because the Holidays are a
crappy time to be alone. We have this
attitude because we're brainwashed by
merchandisers. Holidays=gifts, gifts=
love, therefore holidays = love.
Not that I think gifts are bad! But
on Valentine's Day it gets a little out
of hand. Every corner of your neigh-
borhood Hallmark store is overflow-
ing with ridiculous gifts you would
only find in February, like stuffed
cupids and ugly pastel conversation
hearts (which taste like chalk, if you
ask me). And everything is in some
sickening shade of red or pink. The
whole damn store looks like it's been
hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.
I was at the mall on Saturday, about
to enter V ictoria's Secret. BeforelIcould
even get past the buy-two-get-two-free
panty table, I was assaulted by
Valentine's Day themed undergar-
ments. They obviously had a surplus of
the red satin Miracle Bra - for those
who just want to add a little color to
your cleavage. But if you're really in
the spirit, you can select something a
little more festive, with perhaps a heart
pattern (what's the point if it's dark?).
Above it all was a sign which read
"Make his heart beat a little faster."
Who was the flaming heterosexual who
came up with this winner of a slogan?
Merchandisers have gotten out of
control. You could probably go to the
Home section of Sears and buy the
handyman in your life a heart-shaped
drill bit. (I'm not sure of this - veri-
fication would require me going in-
side Sears, and that's something I'm
not willing to do, even for you, dear
readers. A girl's got to have some
standards.) Suddenly you have to de-
fult on your student loans in order to
auy a dozen roses, and that doesn't
tven include delivery.
And I'm not saying this because
"m dateless on Tuesday evening. I'm
ot saying this because the only card
,'m guaranteed is from my grandma.
Well, OK, maybe I am, but those
tren't the only reasons.
I'm saying this because we need
' fight it. Single people everywhere
need to band together, and let mer-
chandisers know that we're not going

t. take it. In one unified voice let us
shout "No, I'm not going to buy your
st-apless push-up red satin-and-lace
bil with heart-shaped cups!"
On Tuesday night let's all just
ki= k back and relax. I'm going to put
or, my mud mask and do a little exfo-
liating, microwave some Smart-pop
p'pcorn and watch TV. Maybe I'll
gi e myself a home perm.
Did I just say "home perm"? I must
be orainwashed. Do I really want to
sp nd my Valentine's Day like that? I
could windup looking likeMarciaClark.
On second thought, forget rebel-
lion. It's no good - look how it ended
in i Les Miz." So who's going to take
me. gut? That's right, it's the first annual

Home
Entertainment
Center
spoke that line in a movie, it would
just be another misogynist male pig
movie hero taking what he wants from
his helpless oppressed woman love
slave. So thank God it is Campbell

spouting this off in "Army of Dark-
ness" and not some throw back to the
Nick Adams / Joe Don Baker era of
male protagonist persecution in the
movies. This is sexism at its taste-
lessly ironic best.
Imagine "Planet of the Apes" with
Jim Carrey's physical humor replac-
ing Charlton Heston's egocentric
brooding on man, and you might get
some sort of approximation where
"Army of Darkness" is coming from.
"Army" is the third film in Michigan-
native Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead" se-
ries, but this is the first to really focus
on Campbell's character Ash. '
"Army of Darkness" wasn't quite
-- - /4K-:

the disappointment it was made out to
be when it was released a year late and
80 minutes long. It may have lacked
some of the visual wizardry and gross
out value of the first two, but it was
worth the time and effort for one
reason, and that was Campbell (who
will be presenting the film at 7 p.m.
Saturday in the Natural Science Au-
ditorium as part of the 25th anniver-
sary of the Ann Arbor Film Co-op).
Some of the "Three Stooges" style of
violence wouldn't have translated if
Campbell hadn't been the master of
rubbery faces and physical comedy.
Hey, Bruce is Brisco County style.
If you missed the first two films or
are unfamiliar with Raimi's other
work ("Darkman" and the new "The
Quick and the Dead," which deserves
to be seen if only to see Sharon Stone
in a surreal western. Yee-haw!) then
the plot is a bit confusing. Campbell
plays Ash, a happy camper who acci-
dentally opened the Book of the Dead
and released many foul creatures on
him at an isolated cabin. When he
manages to find the spell to reverse
the evil dead opening, he also acci-
dentally sucks himself into a vortex
and lands back several hundred years
before, still facing the same damn evil
dead with little more than a small
medieval army and his chainsaw for
help.
The rest of the film plays between
an uninspired medieval fantasy hom-
age (like "Jason and the Argonauts")
and a kinder, gentler "Evil Dead."
Raimi's failure is not using the come-
dic bits enough, allowing monoto-
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nous scenes of skeleton warriors to
storm a castle to dominate. However,
the irresistible Ash takes his smug-
ness of the first two films to a new
height.
"Gimme some sugar, baby," he
commands his new love interest, later
pulling the ultimate guy cop-out with
his "That was just pillow talk, baby."
But oh the bitter irony! For it is
Ash's arrogance that reawakens the
army of darkness when he tries to get
back home. There are some wonder-
ful bits of parody here, as "Wizard of
Oz" and "Don Quixote" references

abound, but after the reawakening the
film starts to look forced.
By the time it descends into a
showdown between the skeleton army
and the good guys, it seems a little too
much like a '70s cautionary sci-fi
fable, like "Omega Man" or "Planet.
of the Apes." Oddly enough, the origi-
nal ending of the film had Ash wan-
dering the beach, seeing the destroyed
Statue of Liberty and ranting "Damn
you, damn you all to hell!" in his best
Heston imitation. While that might
have been amusing, the new ending is
the best two minutes of the film.

I-
Wesiside I
ea s ,FOrs l , E, 3, rTI
Bookshop JOEL U.SARENiA
since 1975

Bruce Campbell illustrates how the evil dead just like to beat up on 'ya.
TEST TOMORROW?
BLUE NOTES TODAY.

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