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Face-Off: Evil Dead 2 Vs. Army of Darkness

04.01.2013by: Mike Catalano
I'm so glad that I can finally respond to the kind comments I received for our last Face-Off. It seems that the majority disagreed with the Face-Off's outcome, claiming that Billy's voice was much scarier than Ghostface's. And to that degree, I understand and agree! That is why Billy won the "Scary Tone" category. However, one win in a Face-Off category does NOT automatically produce a winner! There are four more categories to take into consideration people! And whoever has the most category wins, takes the Face-Off! Hence, I still stand by my decision that Ghostface deserves to be the overall winner. If you don't like that, well, go sit on a rocking chair in your attic!

Today's happy Face-Off begins a week sure to be filled with loads of Evil Dead homages and I can't think of a better way to start off a horror-iffic week! So let's strap a chainsaw onto our wrists and dive head-first into the darkened basement for EVIL DEAD 2 Vs. ARMY OF DARKNESS! Whoever wins, it's sure to be f*cking bloody regardless!

Chainsaw Carnage
E.D.2 is where the famous chainsaw first comes into Ash's hand (and then replaces it). And once that saw is started, the red stuff flows in gloriously goopy amounts! When Linda's headless corpse returns swinging the saw, the odds are quickly tipped against her as the roaring chain gets shoved into the center of her noggin-less neck and proceeds to slice right down. Then Ash slaps her still talking head into a vice and presses that chainsaw down! Gut-wrenching and glorious at the same time!
Ash's chainsaw hand gets confiscated by a bunch of knights in the beginning. However, he is soon reunited with his killer appendage when he needs it the most while trapped inside the pit of death. The chainsaw is tossed down to him, he leaps up and heroically reconnects to it in mid air. From there, Ash proceeds to swing that chain around with glee, chopping up one ugly freakin' demon. He also puts his weapon to work in dismembering his pain-in-the-ass double.
Blood Spewing
I wonder if Sam Raimi had a bet with someone to see how many times he could have gore and grue splattering across the screen, on walls, and in Bruce Campbell's face. You almost have to laugh! Check that, you do have to laugh with glee at how over-the-top it is. Whether it's sawing up Linda or hacking a demon with an axe or lopping off his own hand, the blood spewage just don't stop! And you gotta love the ocean of red that explodes from the basement trap door as Jake and his overalls are ripped to shreds by evil Henrietta.
Shockingly, Army of Darkness is way lighter on the red stuff than its predecessor. There is one nice eruption of blood that shoots forth from the pit of death when an unfortunate victim is thrown down there. Other than that, most of the chopping and sawing happens off screen. I guess it's tough to eviscerate a bunch of gooey gore when the majority of bad guys you're fighting are reanimated skeletons.
Laughs
Evil Dead 2 has to be one of the funniest horror films ever conceived. The sight gags and deliveries are a glaring sign of both a genius filmmaker and character actor in the making. Bruce Campbell's every expression whether he's kicking ass or being terrorized is a comedic gem to behold. And the ridiculous manner with which the "evil dead" torments and kills always solicits sadistic smiles. A highlight would definitely be the room that laughs in Ash's face. Inspired and mind-numbingly hilarious!
Army also ranks very high on the horror humor. In fact, I always consider this flick more of a comedy than a horror. Ash's one-liners here come at a rapid fire pace and always hit the mark. The Three Stooges bit that goes on with the skeleton hands is a laugh blast. I am pleased that this one is truly Bruce's one-man show because he is beyond gifted at all forms of comedy. The fact that he's willing to take whatever crap is thrown at him and still be a believable hero is what solidifies his status as a gifted horror icon. The Gulliver's Travels bit with all the "mini Ashes" is a comedic masterpiece.
Supporting Players
Ash's deceased ex, Linda, is a hoot as an undead, headless corpse. And Annie projects a nice scream queen swagger as the new potential love interest. Bobby Joe's most memorable bit comes when she swallows Henrietta's eyeball. Jake is just a big oaf in overalls. And Ed just comes and goes real fast without making much of an impression. At least Henrietta kicks complete, bloody ass.
At least Ash had some strong support with him as he travels back to medieval times. Marcus Gilbert as Lord Arthur is a stalwart sidekick that bravely follows our hero into battle. And let's not forget the beautiful Embeth Davidtz who exudes an ideal combination of sizzle and strength as the love interest. Plus, Bruce Campbell literally supports himself as "Evil Ash" during the initial "Goody-two shoes" scene as well as the battle at the end.
Ash
E.D.2 marks the metamorphosis of Ash into the iconic monster fighter we all know and love. However at first, we still get the frightened screaming Ash that was left over from the first Evil Dead. It isn't until Ash is pushed to the brink of insanity and he chainsaws off his possessed hand that our true hero emerges. And the freshly pissed off Ash is a sight to behold as he hacks and stabs his way through any possessed piece of shit that comes at him.
The Army of Darkness Ash is a true hero for the ages. All grinning, quipping, and kicking ass. He's even a suave mofo, sweeping Embeth Davidtz's character off her feet. It seems that battling the Evil Dead through two films has hardened and chiseled his character into a mighty ultimate warrior. I'm dying to see this Ash back to battle the deadites one more time!
Army of Darkness
Wow! That was one helluva comeback by Army of Darkness! I bet you thought at first that Evil Dead 2 was going to run away with this mutha. This was a comeback of Ash-sized proportions for Army. And I'm sure you're all going to enjoy spitting your opinion bullets below. I'm already boarding up my cabin's windows and doors from the onslaught of E.D.2 lovers that are sure to come screaming forth from the dark woods. And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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