When you hear or read the words “this is bad” do you often shudder in fear? Does the combination of these three words instantly turn you off? What about the words, “This is so bad, it’s good.” Has your interest peaked? What about: “it’s so bad you’ll love it.”
This is the most accurate judgment of Starz’s brand spanking new series, Ash vs. Evil Dead, which is airing this Halloween.
Taking place three decades after the shenanigans of the original Evil Dead film installments, Ashley “Ash” Williams is living a rather peaceful, if not sloppy and nefarious, life in a trailer planted in dear ol’ Middle America. Hiding away from the evils that continuously tormented his life, this place seems most unlikely to attract attention from the evil spirits…or even any humans.
Despite his hideout, he keeps an assortment of eccentric, if not downright creepy, cast of characters to do his bidding. There’s an old lady who likes to get down and dirty with Ash’s nasty, and luckily unseen, chores. There’s also the welcoming Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago), and Kelly Maxwell, a witty and spirited woman who can win any verbal argument against Ash that will keep audiences well amused.
However, during a funky night of one armed, yet protected bathroom sex with one of the local townies who probably gets around herself (not a judgment call, it’s just a small town), we see that Ash is the same as ever. During this night of sexual escapades, Ash conveniently reads from the Necronomicon thus beginning our tale of demonic adventures. Yes, the reasoning is questionable and downright stupid, but this is our Ash, so it falls perfectly in line with the character and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
No longer trapped in a questionable cabin, Ash’s one-night of stupidity will now affect an entire town which involves: his friends, his one-night stands, The Force, and all the Kandarian demons that love Ash oh so very much. It also manages to introduce a band of fresh-face characters like Amanda Fisher (check out our interview with Jill Marie Jones), a Michigan State Police Officer who witnesses the pure terror and slight hilarity of a possessed soul who also happens to be her partner who she’s forced to kill in a most blood-splattering way.
Even though the pilot episode is only forty-minutes long, its script is so masterfully handled by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy that it makes use of every minute with re-introducing us to the Ash character, establishing new characters, and effortlessly blending cheesy horror, comedy, suspense and blood.
Spearheaded by Bruce Campbell’s Ash finesse, he carries the series with perfection and able to balance the ridiculousness of the character’s actions with a sense of sincerity.
The show is awful, but there’s a sense of magic to its terribleness that keeps you watching. Blame it on being entertaining, or charismatic, or Bruce Campbell himself. I think it’s something more, something that turns bad, over-the-top acting, into captivating television. Something called good ol’ fashion entertainment.
Ash vs. Evil Dead spits in the face of common sense. It laughs in the face of realism; not caring whether you think it sucks or not. This is a show for the fans, the fans who’ve begged for years for something more. Breathing life into the franchise again, it manages to be respectful of its origins, yet being a series that is so full of confidence and ego that it will appease old fans while sucking in new ones.