“Hail to the King Baby” was the last line, or was it? At the end of Evil Dead (2013), after the credits, Ash (Bruce Campbell) appeared and said “Groovy”. Was this another universe or was Ash watching to see if Mia (Jane Levy) could join him in battling the Deadites? I may be reaching here, but if you really wanted to stretch it, I could have asked the question, how did Rip van Winkle Ash get back from the future and return to work at S-Mart? These questions, as well as a few others, are part of the appeal of a franchise that has endured for over 30 years. An independent horror film that revitalized itself with a re-written sequel and birthed a Ray Harryhausen third act made certain horror fans would never forget these films (like horror fans ever really forget). At the center of it all is fandom’s sheer will that Ash’s story continues.
On Halloween night, fans of the Evil Dead series got a true piece of candy in Starz’s premiere of Ash vs Evil Dead. We find our reluctant hero exactly as we left him plus a few more grey hairs and an extra 30 pounds. Ash is starting to see the Deadites again and can’t quite figure out why. After examining the Necronomicon, which he keeps in a foot locker inside his trailer home, he discovers that he is at fault for bringing the Deadites back into our world. I have to applaud Tom Spezialy, Sam Raimi, and Ivan Raimi for their well written reason as to why the Deadites return. Being a fan of the original films, it is a great nod to what has come before. Yet, if you aren’t a fan and just tuning in, bear with with this pilot because it is 26 minutes before you even get taste of what the hell happened to this guy.
The TV adventures could have started off with Ash getting back into the mix with snappy one liners and rescuing babes. Fear not, as you do get the one liners, but this time there are more characters and story to play with. The woman who inadvertently helped Ash unleash the Deadites gets into trouble and a police officer, Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), gets in over her head when the Deadites kill her partner. Ash’s co-workers, Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) see some serious Deadite action and need Ash’s help to resolve their own problems. Pablo talks to Ash about being El Jefe, a hero, to stop the evils of the world. He is also in need of help to woo Kelly. Kelly has a possible resurrected/ Deadite mother and needs answers the Necronomicon may possess. Ash, well, he wants to get out of town and possibly hook up with Kelly. Thus, a monster slaying triad is created. Instead of just one guy chainsawing through the monsters, we know have three.
Bruce Campbell is still on top of his game and hasn’t lost an inch off his awesome chin in playing Ash. For fans of the Evil Dead films, we know each and every look that Campbell can deliver. It is part of his charm that no one can else can bash themselves over the head or punch themselves in the gut like he can. Our Ash may be a little older and wider, but Campbell uses his age for new jokes we haven’t heard before. Who else could strap on a girdle and then check out his own ass in the mirror? Fear not, Evil Dead fans, Ash is still our guy.
Within the first few minutes of Ash vs Evil Dead, you are either in or out on this TV series. Another film would have been great, but here we can take our time and develop the side characters of this new series. Before, Ash’s adventures were a one-man battle against an onslaught of evil, now there is more at risk. We still have to see who Lucy Lawless’ character is and how she, too, can see the Deadites. These new adventures are just another chapter in the on-going Evil Dead story. Am I ready for more? “Let’s go”. Within the first few minutes of Ash vs Evil Dead, you are either in or out on this TV series.
Within the first few minutes of Ash vs Evil Dead, you are either in or out on this TV series.