Finally after waiting 23 Goddamn years it happened- we got Ash back! In that time Bruce Campbell has been to space and back, fighting aliens, starred as Elvis Presley and even starred as himself! It's been quite a ride and quite a career. Last year news broke via Sam Raimi himself that a show based on the classic Evil Dead movies was going to be made. Man, it was a long wait but the season pilot was worth it. And you know what?- a TV show just makes perfect sense and is way more intriging than another sequel. I mean why wait 2 years for a 90 minute movie when we can wait half that and get 500 minutes more Evil Dead universe? Groovy, damn right it is!
Below is a recap and tid-bits of the first episode- and after each subsequent show new articles will be going up. Why am I doing this? Well i've been a huge Evil Dead fan since I first caught the original in 1990 when it was re released on VHS tape. Back in England Evil Dead was banned for its all out gore and violence. What the Government failed to understand was its comedic overtones- hell even BBFC tyrant James Firmin who would cut and snip movies just to be perverse was reportedly in fits of laughter after he viewed the movie for a British certificate.
So Evil Dead finally made it to British video stores in all its cut glory 9 years later. Myself who just can't accept censorship hunted down a bootleg copy and finally a friend found a rare original VHS copy. We watched with anticipation and were not disappointed, but you know what? Even this copy had some cuts. At last in this day and age we live with a little more freedom over horror movies and Evil Dead has been long uncut. Sure a younger generation may have it much easier now, but just remember how hard it used to be to track down that 'legit' bootleg that was actually uncut.....
THEY CALLED THE PILOT EL JEFE
El Jefe is Spanish for The Boss or The Chief and of course this is in reference to Ash Williams. El Jefe has been thrown around in Latin America for a number of year's and even Fidel Castro has been given the nickname. The name works in both ways in this episode as a very unhero like Ash is still swinging for the girls and behaving like a boss of sorts. And of course by the end, Ash must become the chief of his team in order to take on the Evil Dead.
YOU MAN THING, YOU
So you think just because once upon a time you had to fight off demons in a cabin and saw your friends and girlfriend possesed and murdered that you can't still get on with your life? Well OK it's been a fair few years but Ash isn't in a mental ward or receiving ongoing help by a therapist. Nah, Ash is wayyy to thick skinned for that. Instead he's single and looking for sex at any opportunity. He uses his fake plastic hand (lost of course in Evil Dead 2) as a turn on for the girls. Within minutes of the pilot episode, Ash was busy having a quick one in the restroom of a dive bar with a woman he had just met. He drinks, he drives and he shags- a little thing like demons that want to swallow his soul was never going to get in the way of that.
STARZ WAS THE ONLY CHOICE FOR THIS SHOW
Heads turned when Ash vs Evil Dead was announced that it would air on Starz. Many complained without much back up that Starz was the wrong choice because in simpleton ideas, 'that channel sucked'. However Starz gave the crew on Ash vs Evil Dead all the freedom they needed. From running times, to no adverts in between that needs to be repeated in caps- NO ADS IN BETWEEN, and of course going to Starz meant that we got what we all want plenty of the red stuff. The pilot featured as expected tons of it. Now a rival channel like AMC is doing a pretty good job with The Walking Dead where we have been welcomed to every conceivable death that a human or zombie could ever face. And kudos to them for that. But if you want to upgrade your show to full adult, then Starz is the only way to go. How many sex scenes have you seen in The Walking Dead? I count one and a half. The first season between Lori and Shane in the backwoods and the half star I'll give to Glenn and Maggie's often messy antics, around Season 3.
Secondly how many swear words do we get in that show? The odd shit has execs running for cover- but Ash vs Evil Dead already had more than its fair share of the F word. Now hold onto your horses, this little rant isn't about a show having more worth because we see more sex, violence or bad language, it's about one thing: Freedom, yeah remember that word from the 4th line of this heading? Oh, and The Walking Dead just in case anyone is ready to attack this piece, kicks ass!
THIS EPISODE KICKED RETRO ASS
To be successful we knew that Ash vs Evil Dead had to have a balancing act so that anyone who had not watched any of The Evil Dead movies could slip into this show, but also the episode had to serve the hardcore fans too. And it seems that the pilot succeeded on both accounts.
Fans would have been jumping in their seats when we saw Sam Raimi's beaten old car, a 1973 Yellow oldsmobile known to everyone simply as the classic. The car has made an appearance from the original Evil Dead to Hollywood blockbuster Spiderman- if Raimi directs, the classic makes it.
The doll scene ( see below) featured a re-ennactment of Ash smashing plates over his head (Evil Dead 2), only this time it was plant pots. And no fan worth their blood could have not noticed Ash's blue shirt towards the end of the episode.
There was also the head spin, made so famous by the early Evil Dead movies- and of course right at the end the Holy Grail was revealed to us in all places, Ash's trailer, when he took hold of the Chainsaw.
The final connection and best was saved for last when Ash, in reference to being back in the 'saddle' again looked straight on and uttered those immortal words- GROOOVY!
COME ON, WE ALL LOVE KILLER DOLLS
The killer doll scene was just in simple terms, a classic. It happens when Ash is at work and just needs to get away but accepts that he will be stuck there for the rest of the day as he hangs on for his pay check. But alas the deadites have arisen and are now in his world. The lights go out in the stockroom and Ash is none too pleased, but then things take an even more bizarre turn when he hears noises from the packaged box of dolls. Whisper it, but one is alive! Bursting out of the box, the 10 inch doll attacks Ash bites him claws at him and is on its way to kick more Ash butt when sales assistant Pablo splats the little monster to death, which instantly makes him believe in everything Ash has to say.
A BIG WELCOME TO THE NEW GANG
Ash is gonna need a lot of help to keep the deadites, dead- and this came in the form of his work colleagues. A guy and gal. The guy is the naive but lovable Pablo and the gal is Kelly who works the tills. Pablo is right beside Ash even before all hell brakes loose and you get the feeling that Pablo needs Ash more than he needs him, but what the hell, he did kill a devil doll, right? Kelly has just lost her mother and if the pilot snippet of her father on a cell phone is anything to go by, could lose him too. At first distrusting of macho womanizer Ash she learns quick time in his trailer full of deadite action that Ash isn't such a bad guy after all. On a last note is the female cop who survived a deadite assault but ended up with a hole in her hand and patrol force that thinks she's wacko gonna hook up with our lovable trio?
COPYRIGHT REARED ITS UGLY HEAD ONCE AGAIN
It was copyright that meant that Evil Dead 2 is one of the most misunderstood horror sequels of all time. Because new footage had to be used to explain the events of the first Evil Dead film, most folks believe Part 2 to be a remake of the first movie. Just go read a review anywhere for Evil Dead 2 for confirmation. Of course Part 2 is a continuation of the first movie.
28 year's later and it's the same deal, this time with Universal who first refused the name S Mart Ash's workplace and then the existance and footage from Army of Darkness aka Evil Dead 3. That's why when Ash recounts his story to Pablo he does so without mentioning his Army of Darkness story. Hopefully in later episodes that can be worked on. You'll notice too that even though Ash appears in the same hardware job as in the end of Army he appears to be working for a different company. But only hardcore fans would have remembered that and whatsmore, Ash could have found a new job in the same sector in 20 years right? But for continuation, damn copyright already!
WE'll ALWAYS BE SUCKERS FOR SOME BLOOD
Let's end on a high note, Ash vs Evil Dead is clearly comedy horror we all need our fix of lashings of gore from this show and Starz did not let us down. Plenty of gory deaths, blood spillage, eye sockets squeezed come on it's one of the reasons we come to this show and something tells me we are going to experience much more in the coming weeks. We still have a whopping 9 episodes left. Till next time, keep groovy and stay safe in this world of deadites!