Ash, the cowardly hero from the Evil Dead film franchise returns once more to battle the evil deadites. Will the show suck or will it turn out to be groovy?
Ash vs Evil Dead: Series 1 Episode 1
‘Evil Dead’ was a low budget horror film released in 1981 which achieved cult status when it was released later on home video.
‘Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn’ arrived in 1987 and was more of a remake than a sequel and contained a higher level of humour which I found more enjoyable.
Finally, in 1992 another chapter entitled ‘Evil Dead 3’ but more commonly known as ‘The Army of Darkness’ was released. Again the levels of bloody horror was reduced whilst the humour was upped another notch.
The fans have been screaming for a fourth film ever since and both the director, Sam Raimi, and the main star, Bruce Campbell, have been teasing ever since.
Then in 2014 at the San Diego Comic Con, the US television cable network Starz announced that ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ would premiere the following year.
“Campbell will be reprising his role as Ash, the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. When a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons –personal and literal. Destiny, it turns out, has no plans to release the unlikely hero from its “Evil” grip.
Understandably, expectations are very high for this show amongst the hard core fans. I count myself as quite high up on the pole of fandom for this franchise. So how does it fare?
The quick answer is extremely well. Bruce Campbell slips back into the role of Ash, the cowardly hero, with extreme ease and it’s a joy to see this character bought once to life again.
But one man can’t carry the whole show by himself. The storyline introduces two new young companions who by the end of the first episode will be fighting by Ash’s side. They are Pablo Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo), two employees of the ‘ValueStop’, a small hardware store where Ash seems to occasionally work.
A secondary plot thread involves a young female police officer, Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), who is also attacked by the evil dead and loses her partner in the process. But it’s not yet known how her story thread will intertwine with Ash’s.
Finally Bruce Campbell’s old alumni from the ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ days, Lucy Lawless makes a fleeting appearance and I can’t wait to see how this will all come together.
The show felt just like slipping back into a comfortable old chair, the twenty three year wait was definitely worth it. Directed by Sam Raimi, the show features all of his trademarks such as the slapstick humour and the point of view shots of weapons flying through the air both of which featured frequently in the original films.
I’ll admit the show made me laugh out loud several times and the real highlights for me were the opening explanation of how the deadites have been resurrected once again and the last shot of the show which had me fist pumping the air with glee.
My only gripe with the show was the obviously low budget that does show through at times but this does kind of add to the charm, much like the three previous feature films that were also of a similar vein.
As I’ve already mentioned, this first episode was directed by Sam Raimi, who also was behind the original series of films. This of course means the show fits very well into the Evil Dead franchise. My only hope is that following directors can keep up the quality, style of humour and violence the ‘Evil Dead’ series is known for.
I bring this up as it reminds me of a 2007 show entitled ‘Reaper’. The pilot episode was directed by Kevin Smith and was a great opening episode but the subsequent directors didn’t/couldn’t match it and I felt the show suffered as a result and I stopped watching.
I really hope this doesn’t happen to ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ as we have another nine episodes to look forward to and Starz has already green lit a second season.
‘Ash vs Evil Dead’ airs on the Starz network every Saturday night at 9pm.
The first episode can be seen online for free at the official Starz website here