The date is October 15, 2016 as I make way across the Rock and Shock annual #horror and metal convention floor in Worcester (for you non-New Englanders, that is pronounced "Woo-stah," bub), Massachusetts. An already incredible year to be attending this morbidly-wonderful east coast gore fest, I made my way to the coloring corner with one mission in mind: Don’t drink all the wine today. OK, well I suppose I had two missions in mind, the remaining task being not to blow my upcoming interview with Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago of STARZ hit show and classic reboot #AshvsEvilDead.
Guided to my very own super special table in the kid's coloring corner, my master alchemist-partner/manager/tech-guy sat me down to begin prepping my material for the interview. At this point I was assured by his overall patronizing instructional speech that if I managed to keep my eye on the prize and focus on prepping for this incredible and exclusive interview, I would be rewarded with my third overpriced and iced cold glass of wine, (a.k.a. anti-anxiety elixir). As my professional alcohol-handler walked off to catch some candid photos of the endless line for the Ash vs Evil Dead signing, I couldn’t help but notice the energy of not only the happily waiting and patient crowd, but the intensely personal and gracious energy emanating from the actors of STARZ series Ash vs Evil Dead, Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago.
Time was running out for everyone in line as the stars pressing schedule of episode screenings and a Q&A was rapidly approaching. Before I had a chance to feel sorry for the patient fans I watched as DeLorenzo stepped away from the booth, leaving Santiago to [literally] man the meet and greet himself while she walked up and down the line introducing herself, signing autographs and taking photos with fans. Suddenly, I felt a tremendous pressure lift off my body; no I did not soil myself, but thanks for your concern. I just meant I was simply relieved when I witnessed their humble graciousness, appreciation for their fans and genuine enthusiasm.
After finishing my final draft of my question cards and happily accepting my reward wine, Chemist-Chris and I made our way back over to the private break area to set up for our interview. With 10 minutes remaining for the stars before their next event, we quickly set up and went to work. As a native New Yorker and someone who enjoys the benefits of being hearing impaired, talking loud and fast was absolutely no issue for me.
Cliched as I may have made my first question, I had to know if these two crazy kids were ever a fan of the original trilogy before I went on any further; their presence on the show just seemed far too natural for them not to be. Immediately giggling and calling me out for such an obvious question, I knew this interview was going to be butt loads of fun and the conversation saucy and effortless. With the natural fit to the cast of this awesome reboot, they were indeed fans of the originals just as i had suspected. Discussing our favorites of the trilogy, all three of us had a surprisingly separate answer. My favorite was the original The Evil Dead, Santiago choosing the goofy follow up Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn and DeLorenzo finishing us off with her finale favorite Army of Darkness. A valid point, DeLorenzo mentions that this was her favorite of the three because it was the first she saw of the trilogy. Forthcoming with her notion that people tend to lean towards the first film in a series they watch, it certainly applied to the three of us in this case.
Me: What was it like to work alongside Uncle Bruce though?
DeLorenzo: “Coming into something that’s that loved and that big of a franchise can be intimidating.”
She continued to explain,”... [he] made us feel welcome at the start.” Quickly spewing out his signature humor and exuding a lax feeling of acceptance, the two rising stars were able to fit perfectly into the Evil Dead family. Already fans of #TheEvilDead franchise I couldn't help but wonder if Ash was their favorite character. The co-stars had a quite different answer than I expected when they blurted out each other's names in perfectly candid unison. Although the answer was not what I was expecting, it certainly explains the onscreen chemistry these two share that makes their characters seem more real than not.
With energy and wit uncanny to those of their characters, it was questionable at times if I was speaking with Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo, or if I was actually hanging out with Kelly and Pablo in some alternate universe, just waiting for a kandarian demon to make a cameo at this convention so we could kick some dead ass together. Exuberant, assertive and adorably fierce, DeLorenzo bore a striking resemblance to Kelly, while Pablo (I mean Santiago) elaborated on his inner relationship to his on screen persona.
Ray Santiago: Pablo lives in me…the nerdier side of me.
Apart from all the laughter and blood splatter, working on the set of Ash vs Evil Dead is anything but an easy job. Working briskly, the actors sometimes have only one or two takes to film an entire scene while working long days. Despite the overall absurd, witty and capricious nature of the series, they must remain engaged and meticulous even when choking back unscripted laughter. DeLorenzo and Santiago recall one scene in particular that was more strenuous than the rest and not just because of the fast paced dialogue and filming.
The shotgun scene was difficult to shoot. We had to be consistent with the shotgun continuity wise, we just kept tripping up.
In lieu of using a lightweight prop, the shotgun seen in this scene was actually real and significantly heavier than an airsoft prop.
DeLorenzo: It was really heavy. Trying to smoke the fake weed was tough.
An issue I could wholeheartedly understand and empathize with, smoking fake marijuana is no walk in the park, folks. (On another note: I would like to formally offer myself to the set and crew of Ash vs Evil Dead as their official stunt lungs in order to maintain the technical and herbal accuracy of the series. I specialize in bong rips and stamina, just so you know).
Me: Season 2 is already upon us, what can we expect from the remainder of episodes? Who will die this season? Will be see more of our favorite LSD/spirit-guiding lacerta, Eli?
Never one for releasing spoilers, I asked Dana and Ray to sum up Season 2 with one word each to give us a tidbit of insight without dropping too much. According to DeLorenzo, we can expect craziness, while Santiago let one of my favorite words slip: nudity. Who do you get to see naked? You're just going to have to watch to find out. In regards to our philosophical lacerta friend Eli, he may just pop in for us, hopefully with some more words of wisdom and a more savory future than Ash’s former reptilian compadre — the poor guy just couldn't bear to go without ol' Ash.
Me: Who will die this season?
Spoilers, now why would you want to know that? Don't be silly. We won't tell you whose days are numbered, but I will totally tell you all about the painstakingly hilarious ways that DeLorenzo and Santiago have imagined for their characters to get snuffed out. According to Dana DeLorenzo, she wants nothing more than the hilariously traditional Evil Dead death and hopes it be at the hands of Pablo and Ash and their signature weapons: chainsaw arm and a trusty broken bottle.
A bit more of an animated ending envisioned for Pablo, Santiago went on to describe his ideal death scene for Pablo. It includes an homage to Ash’s possessed hand from Evil Dead II with the classic franchise audacity that us viewers can't get enough of.
He begins his vision with some Deadite fellatio and proceeds to elaborate on his gruesome vision.
An unexpected vision for sure, however, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to see this all play out with someone on the show, just maybe not one of our beloved main characters.
Ash vs Evil Dead airs new episodes on STARZ every Sunday night at 8pm ET. With fresh talent among the legendary names like Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless, Ash vs Evil Dead is a prized horror-comedy gem for The Evil Dead veteran fans and newcomers alike. If you love gore, raunchy slapstick comedy, and seeing actors perpetually covered in grotesque bodily fluids, then I urge you to get with the program and catch up on what you missed (if you aren't already a dedicated Deadite fan).
Ash vs Evil Dead is a rarity among reboots as it leaves so little to criticism and fulfills all promises to entertain in true Evil Dead sense. If you weren’t already a fan, then I would just like to say, you’re welcome. After reading my insanely awesome writeup on this bumbling tale of heroism, I leave you with one final word to describe this classic reboot: groovy.
Haven't gotten your fill of STARZ Ash vs Evil Dead's Kelly and Pablo? Check out this short clip from our private interview:
Are you a fan of the Evil Dead franchise? Let us know your thoughts on Ash vs Evil Dead in the comments section below!