Sam Raimi Kept Stealing Skeletons to Make Army of Darkness


Army of Darkness is a comedy horror film where Bruce Campbell Bruce Campbell’s harder than he’s ever done in his career before or since and spends a not insignificant amount of the film’s runtime punching skeletons. Skeletons director Sam Raimi kept stealing the effects crew because he wanted Bruce Campbell’s world to be all skeleton all the time.

For anyone unfamiliar with Army of Darkness, first of all, go watch it if only to see Bruce Campbell shotgun skeletons in half while dropping, just, a legendary amounts of one-liners.

For everyone else you probably remember that the film’s climax see’s Campbell, in character as the chainsaw-limbed deadite-punching hero Ash Williams, kicking the living fuck out of a seemingly infinite supply of skeletons. Well technically 175 skeletons.

How did we get such a precise number you ask? Well according to the special effects crew that’s how many rubber skeleton puppets they had on hand and Sam Raimi insisted on using every single one for every scene featuring them.

Specifically according to Howard Berger, who handled creature effects for the film, literally every time he asked Raimi how many deadites he wanted in a scene the director would clarify how many skeleton puppets they had on hand. To which he’d respond, “about 175” prompting Raimi to say –

“Okay, lets go with 175.”

As you might imagine having to use literally every single skeleton they had available for every single scene just wasn’t possible since many scenes called for them to be punched in half by Bruce Campbell, exploded into pieces (by Bruce Campbell) or run over in a custom-made skeleton-destroying car by, you guessed it, Bruce Fucking Campbell.

Eventually the special effects crew took to just hiding the skeleton props from Raimi who’d just tell his crew to track them down and throw them at Campbell. Largely because it was really funny to watch Campbell wrestle with a rubber skeleton puppet.

Still though these things were tough to make and every time Bruce Campbell suplexed one in half they had to go ahead and remake it. Which admittedly did add some charm to the puppets, with the hastily made repairs actively making some deadites looked erm, deader than other.

The thing is though, this was still really fucking annoying so what the effects team eventually did was just lock the skeletons away so Raimi could only use them when they were around. Makes sense right? Well not to Raimi who just broke into the garage where all the skeletons were stored and then had Campbell run them over in his car.

And to be clear, we mean that literally because the car Campbell drives in that film is actually the car Raimi lost his virginity in and puts into every film he makes as a running gag. Which mean Sam Raimi stole a bunch of skeletons to have his friend run them over in his old fuck-mobile.

What a legend.