RJ Bayley Reviews: Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness

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What most fan films do is either pay homage to the source material, like Halloween Awakening, or they mash up numerous characters and concepts from the same genre, like the magnificently titled FAN FILM SAGA PART 1: ICONS OF HORROR | Freddy Krueger vs Jason Voorhees vs Michael Myers vs Ghostface vs Leatherface vs Ash Williams.

Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness does something a little different, taking the chainsaw-handed Ash from the iconic Evil Dead franchise and mixing him with the superheroes of Marvel comics. Admittedly, there is an Army of Darkness comic and the superheroes here are from the Marvel Zombies horror universe, but it’s still a unique pairing for a fan film.

The film isn’t without faults: Gwen Stacy’s reaction to Spider-Man’s possession of Iron Man’s gauntlet like it’s a wedding ring is baffling. Wolverine is miscast and David VonHippchen’s Ash isn’t a patch on FFSP1:IoH|FKvJVvMMvGvLvAW’s depiction.

There’s lots to enjoy however. There’s some nice nods to the heritage of the properties like the first person evil force and Ash’s slapstick holding Wolverine back by his head. There’s some really cool moments as well, with Wolverine’s mid-punch claw retraction being especially impressive. And Ash replacing his severed hand with Iron Man’s gauntlet? It’s an awesome idea that was crying out to be depicted in live action

The fight between Ash and Wolverine is the centrepiece and there’s some really good editing that cleverly gets around not having a live chainsaw clashing with hand-mounted metal spikes. There’s nice comedic moments that say something about the characters in the battle too. This is a film that wants to be cool, and cool it is.

Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness is a concept that’s crying out to be further explored in fan films – this is a good starting block.

★★★

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