INTERVIEW — Bruce Campbell and “Ash vs. Evil Dead” Review
It’s taken more than two decades, but the Starz have finally aligned. Bruce Campbell is dusting off his boomstick and returning to his horror roots in the new 10-episode Starz series, Ash vs. Evil Dead.
Set 30 years after the events of Evil Dead 1 and 2, the series finds Ash living in a trailer, chasing tail and still working at the Valu-Mart (formerly S-Mart?) as a glorified stockboy. All hell breaks loose after a hilarious scene where an under-the-influence Ash once again releases the dead from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (The Book of the Dead).
Our hero is then joined by co-workers Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) on a bloody adventure as they battle evil and cross paths with state trooper Amanda Fischer (Jill Marie Jones) and mysterious drifter, Ruby, played by Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess).
Violent and hilarious, the series perfectly recaptures the tone of the original films as Campbell slips back into his goofy role without missing a beat. In the pilot alone, he delivers so many of his trademark one-liners, it’s as if he’s been stockpiling them over the years for this very occasion. The show is not short on blood either. By utilizing a mixture of computer generated and practical effects, the production achieves the films’ signature splatter and gore… and possibly improves on it.
As an enormous fan of both Bruce Campbell and the Evil Dead films, I can confirm that Ash vs. Evil Dead delivers what fans have been wanting for many, many years. We recently had the opportunity to interview Ash himself, the one and only Bruce Campbell, and ask him about returning to his grooviest role, fighting Deadites, and finally getting some sugar, baby.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “Well, you know, people have only seen four and a half hours worth of Ash. In this first season alone, we’re going to do five new hours of Ash. So I’m looking forward to finally seeing who Ash is. He has to be a leader… the character has to evolve. The story has to get bigger. I’m looking forward to Ash…not trapped in the cabin. It’s Ash getting out in the wild, you know, getting into suburbia… interact(ing) with
Ash vs. Evil Dead isn’t the first attempt to revive the Evil Dead franchise. Since 1992’s third and final installment, Army of Darkness, there have been numerous video games and comic book adaptations that lead to an unnecessary remake in 2013.
According to Bruce, the new series will have “no connection” to any of the characters or events of director Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “That was a director who had a whim, who goes, “I have this great idea. It has nothing to do with anything, but I want to do it.” I was like, “Yes, whatever.” So, no. No connection whatsoever.”
The events of Army of Darkness went curiously unmentioned in the pilot. According to Campbell, this can be attributed to two things: disappointing box office and legal red tape.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “The last three bombed. They were too expensive. They didn’t make any money.”
Considering his admittance of how much of a bomb Army of Darkness was, I asked Bruce if this exclusion of Evil Dead canon was intentional.
TOP GUN TRAV: “Are you guys not going to reference any events from (Army of Darkness) in the series?”
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “Correct.”
TOP GUN TRAV: “Correct in that you’re skipping over it? Is Army of Darkness not canon anymore?”
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “Correct in that’s not material that we can do legally, so we’re not going to do it. The three movies were made by three different companies… So it’s very complicated to put together. It means there are things we can include, things we can’t. But, you know, everything that Ash needed was in the first two movies anyway… so it’s all good.”
So for now, it seems, the series will only reference the events of the first two movies. However, Bruce credited the existence of Ash vs. Evil Dead to fans’ dedication and appreciation of all three films.
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “Thankfully, the fans have stepped up through all the DVD reissues. (Army of Darkness) became an American movie classic, you know, on AMC. And so fans drove it. They haven’t let it go, so they finally got it… We’re here and it’s a good day.”
After three films of doomed love, I asked Bruce when Ash is gonna get some sugar.
TOP GUN TRAV: “It raises the stakes when there is something for the hero to lose. Is Ash going to have a significant love interest in the series?”
BRUCE CAMPBELL: “Ash considers himself an aging Lothario. He’s not giving up on that. You’re going to see a little something-something from the old man!”
With an already green-lit second season, Ash vs. Evil Dead will be kicking ass (and possibly tapping it) for the foreseeable future. All hail the king, baby! 5/5
Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres Halloween night, Saturday, October 31 at 9pm ET on Starz.
Here’s the official synopsis for Ash vs. Evil Dead:
The 10-episode first season of the half-hour series features Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Burn Notice) as Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless (Salem, Spartacus) as Ruby a mysterious figure who believes Ash is the cause of the Evil outbreaks; Ray Santiago (Touch, Meet the Fockers) as Pablo Simon Bolivar, an idealistic immigrant who becomes Ash’s loyal sidekick; Dana DeLorenzo (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas) as Kelly Maxwell, a moody wild child trying to outrun her past; and Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow) as Amanda Fisher, a disgraced Michigan State Trooper set to find our anti-hero Ash and prove his responsibility in the grisly murder of her partner.