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Halloween Crossover Special Pt. 2: Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple & Army of Darkness

Hey there, Drinkers!

DON’T HATE ME! CALM DOWN! Yes, today’s BAAM does not technically include a beer but remember that this is a SPECIAL. Meaning: unusual, unique or different (in a good way). So before you judge me for being a terrible beer blogger, just turn off your brain for a bit and keep reading. And then read future posts because you still love me and this blog. Okay, now that that’s settled, let’s dive into the dramatic conclusion of my Evil Dead Halloween Crossover with We Recycle Movies.

A few days ago, we left off with the bizarre and campy Evil Dead 2, which left us with Bruce Campbell’s Ash transported to a medieval land. Well, the 1992 follow  up Army of Darkness ostensibly picks up immediately after that moment. But, in classic Evil Dead fashion, we are first treated to a two minute recap of the franchise while also completely ignoring the events of the previous films. Quite the feat, if you ask me. So with the canon reset and our location updated to a medieval desert/forested bog/department store, Army of Darkness moves forward. And that’s kind of the best way to describe this plot: it moves forward. The narrative is mostly a thinly-linked string of events with little-to-no continuity and a ton of sweet effects. Seriously, the stop-motion and puppetry in this movie are really on point. As Anne from WRM noted, Army of Darkness might be the greatest homage to Don Chaffey’s Jason and The Argonauts ever.

So many skeletons. For real.

So many skeletons. For real.

For the sake of clarity, we’re going to ignore the pervasive continuity and logic errors that plague this film/make it amazing. What I do want to talk about it is how this film is a major departure from the previous two films. Where the first film was simply a low budget horror homage film and the second a low budget camp horror, Army of Darkness discards much of horror’s tropes for those found in fantasy and adventure films. Aside from the obvious set and wardrobe adjustments, much of the visual style and dark tone are gone from this movie. There are no jump scares, the film is generally brighter than its predecessors and, most noticeably, the franchise’s signature ghost cam is largely absent. It actually only appears twice whereas it appears about 264 times in each of the two previous films. In terms of tone, this final installment fully embraces its camp absurdity. Bruce Campbell’s Ash is pretty much just Bruce Campbell with a healthy dose of crazy thrown in for good measure. He spouts off one liners, trash-talks everyone and makes out with random women. Because he can. The movie also just let’s Bruce Campbell play. And I have to say, he’s quite the slapstick actor.

Bruce Campbell's never-empty "Boomstick"

Bruce Campbell’s never-empty “Boomstick”

I have a lot more to say about this movie but there’s actually too much. What I will say, in summation, is that this movie is great fun. I mean, it’s a pretty terrible movie, but it’s one of those classic great terrible movies that will have you and your friends yelling at the screen in delight. But make sure you watch it with friends. Otherwise you’ll just be bored. And lonely.

Army-of-Darkness

Double the fun!

And how about BAAM’s first non-beer? Well, I have to admit that Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple was a bit of an impulse decision. Anne had a few spares in her fridge and it seemed appropriate, given the molesting trees in the first two movies (though they were absent in AoD…woops!). But it did make me feel better when I found out that the Boston Beer Company (the makers of the Sam Adams) are also the owners of the Angry Orchard label. That makes it better, right? Anyway let’s talk about this drank.

Angry Orchard is one of several cider labels that have become popular in recent years and the Crisp Apple is, as far as I can tell, their flagship. Since I was drinking out of a can (what have I become?!), I can’t comment on the color but I’ll say that the mouthfeel was light and highly carbonated. The nose strongly suggests apple (who knew) and the same goes for its principal flavor. There were some hints of booze in there, as most ciders do, but for the most part it was like drinking apple juice with the added benefit of alcohol. I will say that it was not overwhelmingly sweet and allowed for a healthy balance of apple and booze. I guess it’s worth noting that this was not a traditional English “dry cider” but it was quite crisp nonetheless. So for those who want something very easy to drink and aren’t the biggest fans of beer (though you should be), the Angry Orchard Crisp Apple is not a bad option. And now it’s time for a beer.

So there you have it, Drinkers. The odd conclusion to our Halloween Special. A classic, crazy movie with a little something different for me. Be sure to check out Anne’s perspective over on We Recycle Movies. If you like these holiday crossover specials, be sure to let us know and we’ll keep ’em coming. And even if you don’t, we’ll probably still do them. Sorry!

And as always keep drinking, my friends.

Tonight’s Tasting Notes:angry-orchard-crisp-apple
Angry Orchard’s Crisp Apple:
-Light, crisp, refreshing
-Strong apple flavor with a hint of booze
-Not too sweet, which is good

Army of Darkness:
-The oddball conclusion to the Evil Dead franchise
-No longer a horror movie
-Fully embraces its camp, becoming absurd

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Halloween Crossover Special Pt. 1: Alesmith’s Evil Dead Red & The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2

Happy (early) Halloween, Drinkers!

In the first of two installments, BAAM has teamed up yet again with We Recycle Movies to bring you another holiday special review! In part one of this devilishly delightful dual review, Anne from WRM and I watched the first two films from the original Evil Dead franchise while sipping on AleSmith’s appropriately thematic Evil Dead Red. Part two will cover the conclusion to the Evil Dead  trilogy and will be posted next week. So, without further ado, let’s dig up some corpses and get into it!

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Hey look! It’s makeup!

Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead  (1981) marks a special time in horror movie history. While it by no means created many of the stereotypes and cliches we now associate with the genre, it quite definitively solidified the tropes that are now almost laughable (as you can see from my review The Cabin in the Woods). It also walks the delicate line between true horror and classic camp. For those familiar with the franchise, The Evil Dead is now camp royalty but when apart from history, this film is more an astounding feat of independent filmmaking. Yes, the acting is poor, the writing even worse and it pretty much has no story, but I don’t really think that’s what this movie was made for. Rather, this film is much more about its visual style. The camera work, while quite jarring, is unique and perfectly captures (and enhances) the tone of the film. The same goes for the editing as well. It may not always make sense, or even be that pretty, but it services the rest of the film so well that you actually will find yourself nodding in approval, rather than shaking your head in disgust. The disgust comes from the blood, so don’t worry.

Which brings up another point: this movie (and this franchise) are not for the feint-of-heart. While all of the gore and other general creepiness is more humorous than upsetting, there is still a shocking amount of blood and guts and other mysterious body fluids. All of which end up on Bruce Campbell’s strong-chinned face. But like the film’s visuals, the movie’s shock-value also serves a purpose and services the story…sometimes. Yes, it’s all absurd, but at least it knows that about itself.

Yup...super gross

Yup…super gross

Since we’re on the topic of self-awareness (and gore), let’s talk about Evil Dead 2 (1987), which is arguably the strangest sequel ever. Okay maybe it’s tied with Mad Max 2 but that’s besides the point. Ostensibly taking place immediately after the events of the first film, Evil Dead 2 weirdly resets the franchise by boiling down the first movie into a two minute prelude that negates much of what actually happened. From there, the film takes a wild twist into campy insanity. Where the first film didn’t laugh too hard at itself, Evil Dead 2 fully embraces its own absurdity while still clinging to its recognizable visual style. What that translates to, essentially, is more blood, more guts, more demons, more possessed hands and more overall craziness (like when the entire cabin starts dancing and laughing).


As is probably quite obvious from the above clip, this movie be CRAZY.

Overall, what is important to take away from these movies, aside from their solidifying insanity and overzealous blood usage, is how visual style (and crafty production design) can really sell a movie. Without its distinctive style, it’s entirely plausible to believe that the Evil Dead franchise could have sunk into oblivion.

Groovy

Groovy

And what about your unusually appropriate beer, AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red? I have to say that AleSmith has unofficially become the preferred brewer of BAAM. I’ve reviewed five of their beers (including the Evil Dead Red) and not only are they all delicious, they generally pair very well with movies. And the Evil Dead Red did not disappoint. Pouring a spectacular, clear red with a thin khaki head, this brew was everything I wanted out of the style. It’s nose promised a complex mix of malt and fruit while its flavor was a striking balance of hop and malt. Most interestingly, this beer is decidedly hoppy but does not feature the kind of bitterness you find in most West Coast IPA’s. Rather, the hops are well balanced against mild-mannered malt notes with a few hints of sweet citrus. Truly a well-rounded and well-crafted beer. Looks like AleSmith has done it again.

So there you have it, Drinkers! Part one of our two-part Halloween special with our friend Anne over at We Recycle Movies. She’s a professional smart person, so be sure to check out her review of The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 for a better review. Be on the lookout next week for our review of the franchise’s bizarre conclusion in Army of Darkness.

And as always keep drinking, my friends. Happy Halloween!

alesmithevildeadred__84643.1380219397.1280.1280

Tonight’s Tasting Notes: 

The Evil Dead:
-Doesn’t really make sense
-Very bloody
-Striking visuals in every department

Evil Dead 2:
-Makes even less sense
-Even bloodier
-Really goes hard on the camp

AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red:
-Striking red pour
-Hoppy but not bitter
-Remarkably balanced & complex
*Bonus: ABV clocks in at 6.66%

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