Friday, September 28, 2007

Evil Dead 4

It's the movie everyone wants to see, let's all just go ahead and admit it. Even now, close to thirty years after the original 'Evil Dead' and almost fifteen years after the release of 'Army of Darkness', Sam Raimi is still getting asked, "Will you ever do another 'Evil Dead' movie?" (His response is always a charming, gracious "We'd love to, but first we'd need an opening in our respective schedules. And funding. And a script.")

My thoughts on the sequel, before launching into a description: It'd need to be set fifteen years after 'Army'. Bruce Campbell is fifteen years older than he was, and there's no point in trying to hide that. You can't just pick up where 'Army' left off. I think, at this point, that it's safe to assume at least a little familiarity with the series on the part of the fans--if you're going to see 'Evil Dead 4', you've probably already seen the first three, and that'll be especially true when it goes on to DVD and joins three evergreen DVD sellers. And third, I think the series deserves a happy ending. Something big and spectacular (not that I didn't love the end of 'Army of Darkness' or anything.) So, with that in mind, 'Evil Dead 4'...

The story picks up fifteen years after the end of 'Army of Darkness', with Deadite forces having overwhelmed most of the world. Demonic possession has reached an all-time high, the United States government has fallen, and humans have banded together into small, insular city-states for protection. A mysterious wanderer approaches the largest and most successful of these city-states, the kingdom of 'S-Mart', the shining light of humanity in the war against demon-kind, ruled by the wise and just King Ash...

On arrival, he's greeted with suspicion and distrust, but is taken before Ash and his closest advisor, Scott. The stranger explains that he is from the future, from a time when there is but one outpost of humanity remaining on Earth. Ash's reign now exists only in legend, as the last Golden Age of the human race. But these last humans have unlocked the key to time travel using the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, the Book of the Dead (of the dead). Although the Book is indestructible, they have been sending warriors back in time to try to stop the Necronomicon from ever having been written, ensuring that the demons never get a foothold into humanity. Each time, they've failed, but they've managed to make some changes to history--Scott's very existence is one example. Originally, he would have been at the cabin with Ash when Ash found and fought the Deadites for the first time. They also prevented Ash from oversleeping and awakening in a dystopian future London. But now, they are too few to send back another. So their last gamble is to come to this time, and persuade Ash, the most legendary warrior in history, the slayer of the Deadites, to travel back and stop the demonic tome from even existing.

Ash is uncertain. He has responsibilities as a king, and as protector of its people. Also, he admits to himself, without the Deadite invasion, what would he be? Just another schmuck? For all the difficulties of being a king, and of fighting demons, it is good to be the Man With The Crown sometimes. And he'll apparently be remembered as the last Golden Age of Humanity, also a plus. He decides to take a night, and think it over.

That night, Deadites attack. Ash goes into battle with them and repels the invasion (a sight gag here would show him selecting from a rack of different weapons to fit onto his right arm), but Scott is killed. He consoles Shelly, and the two of them realize they've lost so much...Scott, dead. Linda, dead. Cheryl, missing. He decides. No matter what the cost, this has to be stopped. The spell is cast, and Ash hurtles back in time...

...to the decadent kingdom of Atlantis, ruled by a cruel-yet-sophisticated king. (There'd be parallels between him and Ash, suggesting that if Ash had "let himself go", this would be what he'd wind up like.) Ash arrives, and is immediately taken by the King's Guard. He finds himself on trial, accused of being the head of the "Cult of the Deadites", which has been gaining power of late. Ash protests, insisting that he's actually there to fight the cult, but the King's High Priestess has the word of prophecy on her side, the King trusts her implicitly...and she's also Cheryl, Ash's long-lost sister. Despite Ash's protests, he's sentenced to trial by combat in the gladiatorial arenas.

Naturally, trial by combat proves to be not as fatal as Ash's enemy hoped, and the mercurial King takes him into his confidence. Ash takes the opportunity to talk to Cheryl privately, only to find out that she's the Queen of the Deadite Cult--the demonic entity knew that others were attempting to undo the creation of the Necronomicon, and sent Cheryl, its first possessee, back in time to guard it. The time of prophecy is near, though. Soon the seas will run red with blood, the book will be written, and humanity's end will be assured.

Sure enough, the Deadite cult marches on the palace. Ash and the King's Guard do battle with the cultists, but the King dies, and with his death, Atlantis begins to sink into the sea. Blood-red rain pours from the sky, Cheryl begins to chant a summoning ritual, and the tome's destined author appears at its appointed time. The scribe of the book descends from his pale horse, carrying the blank tome. It reaches a single skeletal finger out towards the water, and it becomes clear that the book is the Necronomicon Ex Mortis...the Book of the Dead, by Death...

That's when Ash steps in. Unafraid, unencumbered by common sense, he charges in for a final battle, Ash vs. the Grim Reaper, for the fate of humanity...and yeah, that goes about as well as you'd expect. Only Ash's superhuman ability to withstand punishment keeps him alive, but he does fulfill his destiny. He keeps Death distracted for those few vital minutes until the continent sinks fully under the waves. The book plunges into the blood-red sea, its pages defaced for all time. Humanity is saved. And Ash goes under, drowning in the blood-red waters...

...and is pulled back out. And not only that, his watch is still ticking! That's right, ladies and gentlemen, even total immersion in this tank of salt water doesn't stop the Amazing Ash Watch, and it's only $49.99! And if you act now, we'll throw in the Groovy Ash Hand Blender, that straps right onto your wrist! Call now, operators are standing by! Now, we'll go to Ed, and see if he has anything more on that Fantastic Ash Glove...

Still disoriented, Ash looks around. He has both his hands again, his friend Scott is by his side, and as they go to another studio, he realizes that he's working in some sort of infomercial. Men in suits crowd around, looking for his opinion on all sorts of business matters, and he figures it out--this is history now, and he's gone from being the King of the Last Golden Age to a glorified Ron Popeil. For a moment, he wonders if it was worth it...and then he sees Linda off-stage, watching him work. And knows that it was.

2 comments:

Kate said...

I would totally watch this somebody made it. Ash vs. the grim reaper? Awesome!

Jerry Wayne Powers aka The shadow said...

I would love to make this movie if only I could get the money man keep this in the people who mader the cult film fans hand and I do mean hand lol.