You Let Our Child Watch What!? Army of Darkness

Geek Culture

Image: Rennaisance PicturesImage: Rennaisance Pictures

Image: Rennaisance Pictures

There comes a time in the life of any good GeekDad when the decision has to be made: When is the right time to introduce your kids to the classics? Some of them are easier than others. With the popularity of Star Wars: Clone Wars on TV right now, it’s almost vital to start our kids on the original trilogy as early as practical, just to get them started down the right (Han shot first) path. But some of the classics are a little harder to judge.

Our family loves Burn Notice. My wife and I considered it the best way to get our kids into the work of geek icon Bruce Campbell, and it’s worked well. We’ve just been waiting for the right time, the right age, to serve them up the genius of Army of Darkness however. Funny thing: they’re not too squeamish — they’ve seen Jaws at least 30 times. But the horror/monster thing can sometimes be a different animal. However, after talking it up for a while, they convinced us tonight should be the night. We rented it in HD on our Apple TV, and sat down to the experiment.

It was a tremendous success! It was almost like watching it again for the first time, getting to experience it through their eyes. Of course, for 9- and 11-year-old boys, the best things were the one-liners and the extensive kicking of Deadite butt. The cheers that went up as Ash’s explosive arrows started blowing up the skeletons were raucous. As is true for any geek, the quotable lines will be repeated over and over in the following days. And the truly wonderful slapstick comedy sucked them in. Suffice to say, my wife and I are quite proud.

In hindsight, there’s only very mild language (thought late in the film, I could swear I heard a sneaky f-bomb slipped in one fighting scene). The Deadites really aren’t scary at all — and in fact are often quite funny, especially the skeletal foot soldiers in the final battle. There is also the very slightest hint that something naughty happened between evil Ash and Sheila that ended up turning her bad as well, but nothing happens on screen, and it’s very easily ignored.

Indeed, for what might have been billed as a horror film first and a comedy second when it was released, it’s as mild as any PG film these days. I also have to say the HD version on Apple TV looked really, really good. Indeed, a quick search tells me it has been re-mastered and released in a special Screw-Heads Blu-Ray DVD. That just went on my Christmas list.

So, to sum up: the 9-year-old says “It was cool!” The 11-year-old says “It was vintage Bruce!”

And me? That’s easy: “Hail to the King, baby!”

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