Although the Region 3 Director’s Cut DVD of Army of Darkness was fantastic, it was still missing two great sequences and music which seem to only exist in the version shown on the SciFi channel. For the last 2 years, I have been working off and on to create a slightly extended version of the director’s cut which could incorporate all of my favorite elements.
I was able to obtain a copy of the SciFi version by recording it with the best setup I have - my digital 8 video camera connected to DirectTV via s-video and rca audio cables.
The elements I’m using from the TV version are -
-A sequence early on in the film where Ash and Arthur have a direct confrontation before Ash’s capture.
-Alternate audio when Ash enters the windmill and sits down. The day begins to pass away quickly as the old windmill creaks. The official DVD versions have music during this sequence. The SciFi version has no music, just sound effects. There’s something about the music-less version that I prefer, so it’s going into this cut.
-Sequence where Ash cautiously leaves the windmill when he hears his horse cry out.
-Alternate audio during the ‘Little Ashes’ sequence. The official director’s cut dvd has no music during this long sequence - making it a chore to watch. Strangely (yet appropriately), the SciFi version is scored with silly, Looney Toons-esque music.
-The line “Battlestations!”, which Ash yells before the beginning of the final battle.
-The music during the exchange between Arthur and Ash - “I was wrong to think you a coward”
Also - I’m using a few things from the theatrical version which isn’t featured on the director’s cut -
Music during the fight with the “She-Bitch”
All of these lines missing from the Director’s Cut will be present -
“Good, Bad - I’m the guy with the gun”
“…yeah, and maybe I’m a chinese jet pilot”
“Put your backbones into it”
“Women and children first”
As far as the multiple endings go - I’ll figure out how to make this a branching dvd.
**A Matter of Aspect Ratios
You may be wondering how I’m going to incorporate the standard 4:3 SciFi footage into the widescreen footage. Thankfully the SciFi version was transferred mostly open matte. When looking at the inferior quality versions of these sequences on an official dvd, it is clear that the SciFi version can be easily cropped in order to recreate a close approximation of the intended widescreen version.
inferior quality version from the official dvds-
unmodified SciFi version -
my tinkered around with version -
Unfortunately, not all shots in the SciFi version work out that nicely.
Here’s a shot that gave me a little trouble -
As you can see, Ash is located in an area that would force me to include the SciFi logo -
The inferior version from the official dvd is unattractively framed and doesn’t serve as a guide in how to appropriately crop this scene-
Here’s what I came up with -
Since this is a stationary shot, it proved easy to remove the SciFi logo. I just superimposed some fullscreen dvd footage over it. The footage I’m refering to is the other up-above shot when Ash runs out of the windmill screaming, “Oh dear God, it’s growing bigger!”
Edit* Currently there’s no telling when this thing will be truly finished.
If I could possibly find a copy of a workprint, then I will put any additional footage from that elsewhere on the disc as a special feature.
The final version of my edit will feature a smooth 24p framerate and 5.1 surround sound.
This cut uses -
Director’s Cut - MGM Region 3 DVD
Theatrical Cut - Universal HD-DVD/DVD Combo Edition
Television Cut shown on the SciFi Channel