(aka The Army of Darkness (1993) (USA: original script title), Army of Darkness, The Ultimate Experience in Medieval Horror (1993) (closing credits title), Army of Darkness: Evil Dead 3 (1993), Bruce Campbell vs. Army of Darkness (1993) (UK: video title), Captain Supermarket (1993), Evil Dead 3 (1993), Evil Dead II: The Medieval Dead (1984) (USA: working title), The Medieval Dead (1993)

directed by Sam Raimi
U.S. 1993

The Movie: 7
It's been about a year since Optimum released their Region B edition of Army of Darkness. For those of us who do not have the means to watch such a presentation Universal's new offering has been long overdue. Has it been worth the wait? We shall see.

Army of Darkness is the third installment of Raimi's Evil Dead series. It may or may not be the best, but it certainly is the most fun, and difficult to imagine without its star. By the way, in case you haven't noticed the resemblance between Bruce Campbell and the comic book Superman, (Darkman and Spider-Man) director Sam Raimi even gives the actor a forehead curl briefly.

Army of Darkness could be thought of as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court meets Ray Harryhausen, spurred on by relentless wisecracks, the likes of: "Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things, right now: Jack and shit... and Jack left town." Raimi's Evil Dead series feature the same protagonist, "Ash", and his fight with the Deadite demons who have been accidentally released into our universe through the Book of the Dead, the Necronomicon.

In this third installment, Ash (Campbell), a former hardware salesman, is transported back to the fourteenth century, along with his gun, his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and a chainsaw that he felt necessary to cut off his right hand with. No sooner than Ash arrives, he is taken prisoner by one side in a civil war and thrown into the pit to come face to face with a Deadite. After he manages to extricate himself from this mess, Lord Arthur's men come to believe that Ash is he who was foretold that would rescue them from the terrors of the Deadites. But all Ash wants is to return to his own time, and he's more than a little cavalier about attending to certain rites of passage to get there. The rest of the movie relates how Ash goes into the forest, encounters multiple miniature versions of himself who torment the hell out of him, retrieves the Necronomicon, carelessly unleashes the dead, and, returning to the castle, leads the defense against the Army of Deadites. There's even room for a fling with Sheila (Embeth Davidtz).

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: February 19, 1993

Reviews       More Reviews      DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL - vs. Anchor Bay - Region 1 - NTSC - vs. Universal - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

This is for the THEATRICAL CUT of the film.

Thanks to Mark Wilson for all of the NTSC screen captures and Rob Dunkley for the PAL screen captures.

(Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND vs. Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD vs. Universal  - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2  - PAL

Anchor Bay

Region 1  - NTSC

Universal
Region 1 - NTSC
Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:17:09 (4% PAL SPEEDUP) 1:20:42 1:20:51 1:20:53.682
Video 1.78 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.26 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.78 Original Aspect Ratio 16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.65 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.21
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  24,416,806,689 bytes

Feature: 20,334,907,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.91 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay - PAL

.

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay

 

Bitrate:

Universal

Bitrate:

Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DTS ES 5.1,
THX Certified on both Widescreen and Full screen versions
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
THX Certified

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 4277 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4277 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps /
24-bit)
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surroun
Subtitles None None Spanish, English (captions) and none English, French, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1


 

Edition Details:
• Men Behind the Army - 18 minute short

• Original Ending ( 4 minutes)
• Full-screen and widescreen anamorphic formats

Two versions of the film are included on the 2 Disc version of this release: the 77-minute US original on disc one, and the 92-minute director's cut on disc two.

 

DVD Release Date: November 11th, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
 

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen
anamorphic - 1.78:1
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical trailer
• Original Ending
• Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes Featurette, "The Men Behind the Army," Narrated by Bruce Campbell
• Full-screen and widescreen anamorphic formats

DVD Release Date: July 9, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, Dolby
• Production notes
• Theatrical trailer
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: August 18, 1998
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size:  24,416,806,689 bytes

Feature: 20,334,907,392 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.91 Mbps

Codec: VC-1 Video

Edition Details:
Extras (SD):
• Creating the Deadites – in HD (21:29)
• Alternate Ending – in SD (4:42)
• U-Control: Production Photos
• D-Box Motion Enabled
Additional Extras (SD)
Exclusive to Blu-ray:
• BD-Live 2.0

Blu-ray Release Date: September 15th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION Universal Blu-ray - September 2009:

Image: 8/9
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other
Blu-ray discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

As you can see at a glance, the
Blu-ray image is much better than any of its previous DVD incarnations in all those ways that we have come to know and love: it's brighter (without being artificially brightened), more vivid, sharper and more highly resolved with color that is at once more natural and, more than likely, more accurately representative of the DP's intentions. Nighttime scenes seem lit by moonlight, as they should be. There is a depth you can't beat with a stick, or a chainsaw. I found no blemishes, dirt or scratches. It's like they found an unused print in a vault somewhere. Still, I think I see some oversharpening of the image where edges are just a little ragged. Interior scenes can sometimes be a bit fuzzy, and there are moments (as Ash is sucked into the vortex and when he first peers into the Pit) that simply fall apart at the seams.

Audio & Music: 7/6
For a B-movie, Army of Darkness receives a pretty good uncompressed 5.1 sound mix. Surrounds are well panned, as when arrows whistle through the air, or when Ash is being chased through the woods. The music opens up the soundstage some, but not hugely. In fact, a good deal of what is assigned to the surrounds is fairly subtle, though detailed, providing ambience, a sense of space and general mayhem.

Dialogue is clearly articulated, if a little boxy. Bass is well controlled and not exaggerated for the sake of LFE, and, while we might have wished for more thud when Ash's Olds comes crashing down from the heavens or when the castle is rammed, there's plenty of weight when the door of the windmill is under attack. I imagine this is about as good as it gets for an Evil Dead.

Operations: 7
The menu is laid out like other Universal
Blu-rays. Arrows tell you which way to direct your remote. The chapter menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to approach those functions from that point.

Extras: 3
And now for the bad news: Universal's single layer Blu-ray makes room only for the Theatrical Cut (which you might well prefer). Unlike Optimum's UK
Blu-ray, there is no Director's Cut, not even in SD. The U-Control PIP pertains only to occasional and dimly presented production photos. The alternate ending (which I personally think sucks) is presented in pretty good quality SD, even if 4;3. None of the other extras that appeared on this or that DVD are here – not, for example, the piece about Campbell, "The Man Behind the Army." There is one redeeming feature: a new retrospective look in HD at the movie's animatronics and make-up effects guided by two of the gentlemen in charge of make-up: Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero, who openly acknowledge their use of Harryhausen effects – and pretty good ones at that.

Recommendation: 7
Despite what may be some oversharpening of the image, the thing that keeps this Blu-ray from being a hands-down (one of them anyhow) must own is the absence of the "Director's Cut". The picture quality, for the most part, is awesome, the sound better than expected. I find the movie a mindless, but far from mind-numbing hoot and a half. Knock yourself out, or cut yourself in pieces, whichever is your preference.

Leonard Norwitz
September 6th, 2009

ON THE DVDS: The Universal edition is brighter, but appears to suffer from some color manipulation (overly red skin tones etc. ). The Anchor Bay Region 1 version is slightly sharper with better contrast and an overall tighter image than its Region 2 PAL counterpart, but also has some overly red tints to it.  

The R2 release is a Pal variant of the R1 theatrical cut (Identical screen format and extras but R2 also has DTS sound) packaged with the directors cut (Identical everything to the R1 Anchor Bay except in PAL format).

The Universal has better shadow delineation in darker scenes. The Anchor Bay Region 2 PAL has some color saturation. The Anchor Bay Region 1 has 5.1 sound as opposed to the Universal 2.0. So as far as the Theatrical version goes it appears the Anchor Bay Region 1 wins this battle although each version has strengths in certain areas. I draw the line at contrast boosting and do not like either's color manipulation, but feel the Anchor Bay Region 1 Theatrical version of the film to DVD has less manipulation than the Universal theatrical version and does not have the saturation of the PAL version.    - Gary W. Tooze





DVD Menus

(
Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - TOP

2) Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM



1) Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - TOP

2) Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM


1) Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - TOP

2) Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM


1) Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - TOP

2) Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM


1) Anchor Bay - R2 - PAL  - TOP

2) Anchor Bay - R1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Universal  - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray  - BOTTOM

More Blu-ray Captures


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Anchor Bay (tie)
Menu: -

 

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2  - PAL

Anchor Bay

Region 1  - NTSC

Universal
Region 1 - NTSC
Universal
Region FREE -
Blu-ray




 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...