Category Archives: Ash vs. Evil Dead

Evil Dead: A Retrospective

I’ve been an Evil Dead fan since about 1994. I remember my buddy Scott showing me Army of Darkness very late one night when I was sleep-deprived and pretty punchy. I thought it was goofy but fucking hilarious. I was already a fan of horror and started talking about the movie to my buddies, who told me it was actually the third part of a series called Evil Dead.

This was before the days of streaming video, so I hit up the local Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Second Cinema and more looking for Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. I came up short everywhere I looked, but I did not give up. I took to the internet and Evil Dead fans looking to bootleg their copies which, at the time, were very hard to find.

I loved Evil Dead in a way that was different than my love of Army of Darkness. Evil Dead was made by a couple crazy college kids, going rogue and making a movie against all odds on a limited budget and borrowed equipment. The movie gets even better as you know the obstacles they faced and the ways they worked around those obstacles. The commentary should be required listening to anyone looking to make films.

Evil Dead 2 was similarly goofy. It bridged the gap perfectly between the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, being a legitimate horror but with some really goofy, funny moments.

I was such a fan of the series and of the community that was trading VHS copies of the films that I decided to give back to the community. I started and participated in several newsgroups about the movies and sent off many bootlegs of the movies to strangers across the country to share the love. I collected copies from other countries which sometimes included a few random different scenes and shots in them. At the time, these differences were painstakingly documents in websites and communities with screenshots or even low-res, horrible videos of them. This was the internet in the mid-to-late 90’s, and it was a rough time in the world of online video.

During this phase of my fandom, I also came across a video copy of Within the Woods. At the time, this was the crown jewel of Evil Dead fandom. It was the movie Bruce and Sam made to get money for Evil Dead. It had several similarities with Evil Dead of course, but also several differences. The video was low quality, but just fascinating to watch the beginning of the idea that spanned many decades of film.

During this time, I created a website devoted to Army of Darkness. It documented the differences between the various versions of the movie in different countries or shown on random cable channels that may have had elements added or removed or re-arranged. As an aside, I am also thankful for the movie series for this. I was in high school while I made this website and it turns out I really enjoyed it. And I was good at it. I went on to make websites for a living. Now, 20 years later, I’m still making websites and I love my job. I am thankful for the community back then and the passion that led me down this road, and in a very real way I credit these silly movies for that.

I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a remake. But I have realized in my life as a horror fan who has seen several thousand remakes, that even the worse remake doesn’t ruin the original. I watched the remake and enjoyed it, although for me, it was ultimately more forgettable than the original. This may just have to do with my age and place in my life when I watched it. It was a good, modern take on some of the elements of the original.

I’d given up hopes of seeing Ash again decades before the announcement that Starz was bringing Ash back. I couldn’t believe that over 20 years since Army of Darkness, we’d see Ash back on our screens.

And yet, here he was.

Ash vs. Evil Dead was not perfect, but for what it was, it was brilliant. It was clear it was made for the fans of Evil Dead and Ash. They did not disappoint with the insane blood and gore from part 2, the goofiness of part 3, and even brought back Cheryl from the original movie. I’d hoped for more of course. I would’ve loved to see all the original cast back in their roles in some way.

We got an expanded mythology with a lot more information on the Necronomicon and Ruby and the dagger and the Knights of Sumaria. Over the course of 3 seasons, we got 15 additional hours of Ash and the Evil Dead. That’s far more than the original 3 movies ever gave us.

But all good things must come to an end.

This week, the series ended. Part of the show were summed up admirably. Ash finally acted like the hero we always wanted to see. He embraced his destiny and acted selflessly to save his friends and his daughter. We’ve always loved Ash as a reluctant hero of course, but I also loved seeing him finally act like the hero he’d accidentally been all this time. The last chunk of season 3 seemed very much like a “thank you” to the fans, bringing back our old favorite lines, even if they were sometimes shoehorned in.

The series ends with Ash waking up at some point in an undefined future, with his Delta that had been retrofitted as a tank and looking at a post-apocalyptic world. I don’t know if this was an intentional reference to the original ending to Army of Darkness when he wakes up in a similar predicament, but the similarities were too big to ignore.

For now, Ash’s story comes to a close. As does Brandi’s, and Pablo’s and Kelly’s. We don’t know where their fate lies. It does make me wonder if they thought a season 4 was surely coming, because there are still a lot of loose ends here.

I don’t know if we’ll see Ash again. I hope in 10 or 15 years, we’ll see him return and pass the shotgun and chainsaw on to the next reluctant hero and we’ll get the sendoff Ash, and the fans, deserve. I shouldn’t hold out hope, but I choose to hope anyway.

For now, that’s the end of Ash’s saga. And how does it feel? Groovy.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×10 “Second Coming”

Season 2 comes to a close with the return of several characters we thought were dead, and the death of characters that were also already dead.

The thing I loved about the original series of movies was the continuous ramping up of the absurdity. The over-the-top violence and gore and comedy from Army of Darkness had its humble beginnings as a straight-up, serious horror movie in Evil Dead. Evil Dead 2 split the difference, offering straight horror with some absurdly bad-ass moments and lots of comedy.

The TV series seems to be continuing the same path. All season, we’ve seen the blood and gore continue to ramp up, as well as the gross factor. In this episode, we got a little too close to Henrietta. As a horror movie nerd, not a lot makes me recoil in disgust, but this scene did it for me. Bravo to the writer who asked themselves the question, “what if Henrietta breast-fed Ash?”

The finale certainly skated the line between nostalgia and wondering if the writers had gone through their entire bag of tricks. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but since we saw a fight between Ash and Henrietta nearly 30 years ago, do we need to redo the fight exactly? The answer, of course, is yes. As long as you can balance out the references to the original with a new take on it.

Ash and crew return to a hero’s welcome with a parade and cheerleaders. Just as Season 1 ended in victory, so did Season 2. But Ruby’s reappearance in the crowd means maybe we shouldn’t get too comfortable yet. Will Season 3 Ruby be friend or foe? We’ve got a long wait to see.

Overall, Season 2 is better than Season 1, and gives me even more hope for the seasons to come.

And if you watched the episode and didn’t hang on tight for the post-credit scene, I recommend you do that.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×09 “Home Again”

Just when I think I couldn’t love Ash vs. Evil Dead anymore, it turns out I was wrong. There’s always more love for me to give to the series.

I love the buddy/traveling aspect of the show, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing better than returning to the cabin and Ash going it alone for a while. So far each season has had a return to the cabin, and I hope this trend continues until the series ends. The cabin is where the story started, and it’s where the story should end.

Throwbacks galore in this episode. Enough for even those filthy casual fans to catch. They perfectly recreated the “Little Ash” scene from Army of Darkness with a new spin on it.

The cabin is so perfectly recreated, and we get another Evil Dead alumni reprising their role. This time it’s Ted Raimi as Henrietta.

One of my favorite aspects of this series is the perfect balance it carries between expanding the mythology but also revisiting old themes and throwbacks. This episode featured a lot of throwbacks, but also traveled back to the past to introduce us to Dr. Knowby, who previously we’d only seen in a few tiny flashbacks.

Next week is the Season 2 finale, so we’ll find out if this time traveling saves Pablo or undoes this evil. Will we see the old crew return to the cabin? Will Pablo come back? I, for one, can’t wait to find out.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×08 – Ashy Slashy

As usual, this post will contain many spoilers.

Is anyone surprised that Ash isn’t quite as insane as it looks? His strange hunting outfit certainly didn’t fool this fan, although it look like Ba’al was adequately convinced.

Our limited time at the insane asylum looks like it’s coming to an end, and I for one couldn’t be happier because it looks like next week, they’ll be back in the cabin. Where it all started. Where we belong. Not only will we see the return to the cabin, but also the return of the Delta.

I was not sad to see Ba’al go, but he was not the only one to fall this episode. The other death left me a little sad, but excited to see what the loss of a friend has on Ash moving forward.

Let’s have a drink for our fallen Pablo. May he rest in pieces.

I’ll leave you today with a deleted scene of the summoning of Ashy Slashy.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – 2×07 “Delusion”

After last week’s surprise cameo and non-stop action, we take a second to catch our breath and relax. For a second.

Is Ash losing his mind? Was this whole thing just a bad dream? Is he truly insane and imaging it all after killing his friends in the cabin that fateful night? I guess the only ones that know the truth are Ash and his puppet.

While Ash vs. Evil Dead circles across this internet are calling this a boring filler episode, they’re only 1/2 right. This set up Ba’al as a tough mofo and featured Lucy Lawless in a nurse’s outfit. I mean, how bad could that be?

Ash vs. Evil Dead 2×06 “Trapped Inside”

Oh baby, this review will contain spoilers.

I nerded out hardcore at Ash vs. Evil Dead episode 6. It had been spoiled for me that Cheryl would be making her return, so unfortunately I missed the fun of the big reveal. What I did not miss, however, was the amazing attention to detail paid by the amazing AvED writers.

First off, check above for the make up. They paid tribute to the original movie with the forehead bandage and cheek scratches, although maybe goring them out a little bit. After all, 35 years have passed so maybe they’re infected? She should try some antibiotics.

Another nice touch was the art desk in Cheryl’s room. Who could forget Cheryl’s clock masterpiece before the Book of the Dead took over her drawing hand to ruin it?

And I think¬†“I’m gonna make like a tree and fuck you” may be the best quote from anything Evil Dead related. Movies and series combined.

Generally speaking though, I think this episode really encompassed the general feeling and tone I’ve loved from the Evil Dead movie series and continued into the TV series. Throwbacks and references to the original, bizarre and sometimes hacked together continuity, fun and silliness combined with “true” horror.

Cheryl was the original deadite and I, for one, was thrilled to see that same deadite reprise her role. Will we see more from other lost souls from the movie series? I’d love to see Scotty or the original Linda. How about Annie or Bobby Joe? Those may not have the same impact as Ash’s sister, but we fans would love to see them.

I was a bit worried that the TV series would not live up to the original movie series I’ve loved so much, but these last few episodes have put all those remaining worries to rest.

Evil Dead in Videogame

So it looks like Ash will be a character in a new Family Guy mobile game (source). ¬†But this is hardly the first time we’ve seen Ash starring in a video game.

It all started in 1984 if you can believe that. This was in a time before most major consoles, so the game was instead played on Commodore 64. I don’t recommend playing it as it will forever taint your opinion of Evil Dead, but you can at least watch this guy play it.

Ash took some time off after that and didn’t reappear officially until 2000 with Evil Dead: Hail to the King for PlayStation.

Many games use Ash as inspiration for the characters, notably Doom, but it’s good to see the real Ash back in the game.

Ash vs. Evil Dead

I’ve been an Evil Dead fanboy since the mid-90’s. My friends mocked my obsession with the series and how I quoted Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 2 relentlessly. At the time, I maintained an Army of Darkness website and knew Bruce Campbell’s personal email address. I’d reach out to him occasionally to “interview” him for my site or just tell him I enjoyed watching him in whatever obscure thing I found of his that week.

I attended horror and comic conventions to hunt down the short films Bruce and Sam Raimi made in high school and college, including the short that started it all, Within the Woods. I made friends with fans in other countries who could ship me different versions of the films with small differences from their American counterparts. I bought foreign posters on eBay and hung them around my small apartment in Chicago when I was in college. I dreamed of Evil Dead 4 and the return of Ash, but at some point I had to give up on the dream and realize it’d never happen.

When the series was announced, I felt like a fucking high schooler again. I was just as excited as I would’ve been if they’d have announced Evil Dead 4. Maybe even more excited. Bruce and Sam were involved, and that’s all I needed to know.

The series picked up right where Army of Darkness left off in the sense of tone and pacing. The series makes no mention of AoD of course, but just as the absurdity ramped up through the course of Evil Dead 1-3, the absurdity ramped up an appropriate amount in the series.

While the series takes some missteps (like showing the “force” as it chased Ash’s car through the country), generally speaking I’ve enjoyed the expansion of the mythology and the story of how Ash hasn’t really grown or matured throughout the whole demon-killing process.

Let’s just hope they get back to the cabin soon.