You know who’s freakin’ awesome?
Henry The Red.
I’m talking about Henry The Red, Duke of Shale, Lord of the Northlands and leader of its peoples.
AKA Mister Fancy Pants.
And since we were just treated last week to a new teaser trailer for the upcoming second season of ASH VS EVIL DEAD, it’s put ARMY OF DARKNESS back on my mind.
When we first meet Henry the Red in the opening moments of ARMY OF DARKNESS, marching with his men to their certain death with a stranger in tow – this self-professed braggart Ashley J. Williams, it doesn’t take long for us to realize he’s one of the good guys. King Arthur is ready to sentence them all to the pit merely for starting a war at a time when evil is lurking the land and claiming it’s peoples. It’s obviously a misunderstanding as Henry also reiterates that this same evil has taken aim at his people as well.
But alas, Ash is mistaken as one of the Red’s men and forced into the pit to meet his doom at the hands of a witch from hell! I love that mere moments after meeting Ash, Henry is immediately on this guy’s side; cheering for him on the sidelines with each blow he lands on the pit-witch and wishing well on his new-found friend. When Ash emerges victorious from the pit, he forces King Arthur and his men to let Henry the Red go. One of my favorite moments of the entire movie is Henry laughing right in the face of one of his captors as he rides off and thanks his “generous hosts.”
War aside, Henry is a leader with principles. Him and Ash understand and respect each other almost immediately, despite meeting in the middle of this outlandish circumstance. And above all, for saving his life, he owes Ash a favor.
So, later on, it’s rather exciting when the tide is turned against the battle on the deadites with the arrival of King Henry and his men. I mean, seriously, could anyone get a more bad-ass re-introduction into a movie than Henry the Red? He comes bursting back onto the scene, swinging his flail in slow motion and obliterating skeletons to a bunch of ashes! It’s awesome.
And when the battle is done, there’s that great moment of “chicken” between Henry and Arthur, both waiting to see which of them is going to react first. As they head towards each other at full speed, their troops waiting in the wings with anticipation, they shock everyone by embracing in a hug and declaring peace among both of their peoples. It’s pretty rad, but realistically, King Arthur was being a bit of a stubborn twit in this rivalry, so I got to give it up for Henry the Red for being the sensible one.
And credit where credit is due, technically Ash brought peace back to the medieval times. (Don’t worry. He’ll stupidly unleash it again before we know it.)
I’ve seen ARMY OF DARKNESS, and all the EVIL DEAD movies for that matter, countless times and I always smile, laugh and cheer whenever Henry The Red is on screen. Easily one of the coolest characters of the EVIL DEAD franchise. And even cooler is Richard Grove, the fellow that played him! He happens to manage one of the best used bookstores in the Los Angeles area, the Illiad in North Hollywood. Drop by and say hi to him and the store cat Henrietta, and give him your respect! We’ll do the same here with this hashtag.