Army of Darkness[a] is a 1992 American dark fantasy horror comedy film directed, co-written, and co-edited by Sam Raimi. The film is the third installment in the Evil Dead film series and the sequel to Evil Dead II (1987). Starring Bruce Campbell and Embeth Davidtz, it follows Ash Williams (Campbell) as he is trapped in the Middle Ages and battles the undead in his quest to return to the present.
The film was produced as part of a production deal with Universal Pictures after the financial success of Darkman (1990). Filming took place in California in 1991. The makeup and creature effects for the film were handled by two different companies: Tony Gardner and his company Alterian, Inc. were responsible for the makeup effects for Ash and Sheila, while Kurtzman, Nicotero & Berger EFX Group was credited for the remaining special makeup effects characters. Tom Sullivan, who had previously worked on Within the Woods, The Evil Dead, and Evil Dead II, also contributed to the visual effects.
Army of Darkness had its premiere at the Sitges Film Festival on October 9, 1992, and was released in the United States on February 19, 1993. It grossed $21.5 million total over its $11 million budget and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised Raimi’s direction, humor, visuals and Campbell’s performance, though criticism was aimed at the lighter tone compared to the previous films.
Despite not being a box office success in the U.S., it became a success on video release and later garnered a cult following from fans of the series, along with the other two films in the trilogy. The film was dedicated to The Evil Dead sales agent and Evil Dead II executive producer Irvin Shapiro, who died before the film’s production in 1989.