“Hail to the king, baby!”
The Deadites are back and hellbent on destroying mankind, and only one man stands in their way – Ashley J. Williams, aka Ash. May God help us.
It’s been 23 years since we last saw Bruce Campbell as Ash on the big screen, in 1992’s Army of Darkness. After a much darker reboot of Evil Dead in 2013 (in which Campbell had a cameo), the wise-cracking, chainsaw-wielding Ash is back, this time on the small screen in Starz’ Ash vs. Evil Dead. For fans of Campbell’s lovably arrogant character, the news of this continuation of the Evil Dead saga could not have been more welcome. When creator Sam Raimi abandoned ideas for a 4th film due to its overambitious scale, television seemed like the perfect medium to bring Ash back for more gore-filled adventures, and Starz the perfect network to show it in all its blood-soaked glory.
Due to legal reasons prohibiting the producers from referring to Army of Darkness, the story picks up after the events of the first two Evil Dead films some three decades later with Ash as a stockboy, having managed to avoid any sense of responsibility or maturity. But with the return of the Deadites, destiny calls upon Ash once again. Luckily, in addition to his ever-trusty boomstick and chainsaw hand, Ash has some help this time around. Joining him are Jill Marie Jones “Amanda”, Dana DeLorenzo “Kelly” (pictured above)., Ray Santiago “Pablo” and Xena herself, Lucy Lawless, as Ruby. Also on hand are Sam Raimi, director of all three Ash Evil Dead films, Robert Tapert and Campbell too, as executive producers. Raimi also directed the pilot, which he co-wrote with his brother, Ivan.
So, what continues to make Ash such a beloved character after more than twenty years? Well, there are few actors as consistently charismatic on screen as Bruce Campbell. From his TV roles in Xena, Hercules, the short-lived Jack of All Trades, and the more recent USA series, Burn Notice, to his big screen roles in Maniac Cop, Bubba Ho-Tep and the Spider-man films, Campbell always lights up the screen with his charm and sense of humor. And for anyone who’s seen him speak at Fangoria conventions or, as the Gore 4 was lucky enough to attend, the premiere showings of the Evil Dead musical off-Broadway back in 2006, Campbell always manages to entertain the crowd. As for what Ash has been up to for the past 30 years, as he explained to the Newark Star-Ledger’s and NJ.com’s Stephen Whitty, “he’s been doing jack.” (Read the entire interview here.) What Campbell especially likes about the role of Ash is that in an era where everyone is either a superhero or has some special abilities, Ash is the epitome of the ‘everyman.’ He is as far from a hero as you can get, but in this series, perhaps he will get a bit closer.
Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres on Starz on Halloween night, with the first of ten half hour weekly episodes. As fans of Starz’ Spartacus are well aware, the network isn’t prone to holding back when it comes to violence and gore, so fans can gleefully look forward to blood-drenched screens. And Starz has already picked up the series for a second season in 2016, so Ash won’t be disappearing anywhere for sometime. In an era where a show about a zombie apocalypse is the most popular on TV, and a revival of perhaps the greatest series in TV history, The X-Files, is imminent, the return of Ash and the Evil Dead makes this truly the grooviest of times for us horror fans.
Until Halloween befalls upon us, enjoy this goreriffic trailer: