In this sequel to the Evil Dead films – The Evil Dead (1981) and Dead By Dawn (1987) – a sarcastic discount-store employee (“Name’s Ash. Housewares”) is time-warped – along with his immense ’73 Oldsmobile – to a medieval castle beset by monstrous forces.
Initially mistaken for an enemy, Ash (Mel Gibson lookalike Bruce Campbell) is soon revealed as the prophecised saviour who can quest for the Necronomicon, a book that can dispel the evil.
Unfortunately, he screws up the magic words while collecting the tome and releases an army of Ray Harryhausen-esque sword-fighting skeletons, led by his own Deadite counterpart.
What follows is a thrilling, yet tongue-in-cheek battle between Ash’s 20th Century tactics – he has his trademark weapons, a chainsaw and a Remington shotgun – and the minions of darkness.
The dumb and tunnel-visioned Ash is admired by a local lovely (Embeth Davidtz) and emerges as a genuinely tough foe when cornered. But all he really wants is to get back to his job selling housewares at S-Mart).
This infinitely quotable second sequel (and final instalment) abandoned its gore-laden roots almost entirely in favour of some truly unforgettable comic scenes.
Michael Earl Reid