When discussing the evolution of the horror genre, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise cannot be overlooked for its contribution. Evil Dead was 80’s supernatural horror at its finest. I don’t think I’ve seen something quite as odd and disturbing as someone being defiled by a demon-possessed tree. But it was more than that, Evil Dead challenged the convention that people could resist or fight against overwhelming evil. Ash may have survived, but he did so at the expense of everyone and everything he ever loved or held dear. It was very Lovecraftian and depressing which is what made it such a great film. To this day, it’s one of my favorite horror movies.
Then Evil Dead 2 hit the scene. This gem took all that dark, horror stuff and said “let’s make it a horror-comedy instead.” It worked beautifully. I wept with laughter when Ash, having to cut off his own possessed hand, plops it down on a stack of books with A Farewell to Arms on top.
Army of Darkness was the crown jewel in Raimi’s franchise. It was cheesy, gory and awesome all at the same time. It was Army of Darkness that made me realize Bruce Campbell’s status as a B movie superstar and solidified the character of Ash as a cultural icon. And that was it. No more Evil Dead movies for decades until the reboot. While it’s being discussed, I’d like to say that there are very few reboots or remakes that I think are just as good as the original. This is one of them. And though it was refreshing to return to the world of Evil Dead as it was re-imagined by its creator and produced by its most memorable star, I wanted more Ash.
The Army of Darkness comics were fantastic and kept the story going, but much like the Serenity comics that came out after the Firefly series, it just didn’t feel the same. But Starz released Ash vs. Evil Dead and all that changed.
The story picks up 30 years after Army of Darkness and centers around Campbell as Ash. Bruce doesn’t miss a beat. He picks up right where the character left off in Army of Darkness and runs with it. He plays the character exactly as you’d expect. Ash hasn’t changed in the 30 years since the events surrounding Army of Darkness. He’s still rude, crude and socially unacceptable. It’s the sequel I always wanted only better because it’s a series now.
During a drunken binge, Ash releases the demons in the Necronomicon which he has been keeping in his trailer for the past three decades. He finds help in Pablo played by Ray Santiago and Kelly Maxwell played by Dana DeLorenzo. Lucy Laweless plays Ruby, the sinister author of the Necronomicon. She kicks a lot of ass so you can get your nostalgia fix for Xenia while you’re at it. The first 2 seasons are the horror-comedy gorefest fans of Evil Dead have always wanted.
Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 Premiers February 25, 2018. The first two seasons are up on Netflix so there is still time to binge what you need to catch up on.