It’s Ash Wednesday and you know what that means. Actually, a recent informal poll I conducted revealed that quite a few people don’t. No worries. We’re not about to get religious on you here at Cinema Blend (in fact, we try to avoid religious matters as much as possible). Instead we’re going to give you a different reason to celebrate Ash Wednesday.

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series has long been a favorite of ours. The cult movies blend horror and comedy in a way that entertains and pokes fun at its own low budget accomplishments. Where else can you see a guy chop off his own hand with a look of both pain and victory, and then replace that hand with a chainsaw so he can combat the evil forces that forced him to chop of the hand in the first place?

Of course, the hero of these movies is Bruce Campbell - or, as he reminds us in My Name Is Bruce, a character played by Bruce Campbell. A character named Ash. Get it? Ash - Ash Wednesday? The connection is pretty obvious, don’t you think?

For those who aren’t celebrating the real holiday of Ash Wednesday, we suggest you start your own celebration by watching one of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies. My suggestion, as always, is go ahead and jump to the third picture, Army of Darkness. It’s self-contained and includes some of Ash’s best quips and moments. For those of you who are giving up something for Lent, you can use Ash’s sacrifices (his hand, various women, and - depending on which ending you watch - just about everything) to help inspire you with your own sacrifices. Not that we really need an excuse to watch Ash take on primitive screwheads with his boomstick, but the holiday name just begs for this new tradition.

Now, to make this a bit more DVD oriented, how will you watch your movie? The best version of Army of Darkness was a limited DVD run that you haven’t been able to get for a reasonable price for quite some time. The two-disc limited edition included both the theatrical and director’s cuts of the movie - both of which are available in other releases, just typically not together. The awesome “Book of the Dead” editions of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II are still out there in stores though, so you can get those for your collection. No high definition options have been talked about yet. Frankly, I wouldn’t want them. This is a movie that gets a lot of character from a grainier presentation.

If you’ve watched all three movies more times than you care to mention, you might celebrate Ash Wednesday by watching them again with the commentary tracks on. Bruce Campbell is an ideal movie commenter, giving some cool information and typically asking Sam Raimi good questions that listeners would actually want to hear.

Happy Ash Wednesday - now give me some sugar, baby.

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