A date night from my early courtship: me doubled over in giddy delight at this goofball classic, my bride-to-be kicking the back of her seat in oh-God-will-this-end agony. The final (?) chapter of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy is a mash-up of everything a kid of the 1970s loved about after-school TV: Ray Harryhausen, the Three Stooges, sword-and-sandal epics, movies with dudes in armor. It’s held together by Bruce Campbell in slantwise square-jawed lunkhead mode as Ash, who survived The Evil Dead’s assault by tracking shot in the Tennessee woods to wind up sword-fighting skeletons in medieval times, armed with his trusty “boomstick,” Raimi’s trusty Oldsmobile and an arsenal of action-hero witticisms.
Some prefer the morose alternate ending, which promised a futuristic sequel that so far hasn't come. I’m too fond of the release version, with Ash’s thrillingly ridiculous final stand in a suburban department store turned supernatural ninja battlefield. Even without the Book of the Dead, this is a movie that never fails to raise my spirits.