Evil Dead may not be, in the strictest sense of the term, science fiction. It’s definitely horror, but there are some sci-fi tropes thrown in for good measure, like time travel. Regardless of its strict definition, all three films—Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Army of Darkness—kick a lot of ass and we love them. While we got Fede Alvarez’ remake in 2013—it’s definitely not the same, lacking that smart alec, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and sarcasm—we’re getting more, though this time it’s bringing back perhaps the most recognizable, iconic chin in the world, Bruce Campbell. And it’s going to be on TV.
Starz is developing ten episodes of Ash vs. Evil, a half-hour horror-comedy series, to debut later in 2015, and Campbell sat down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about the upcoming return to the character he last played in 1992.
The new series picks up with modern day Ash, and time has not been good to him since his last adventure. He lives in a trailer park and works a dead end job in a big box store, similar to his gig a S-Mart. But when the Deadites rise again, he goes on a road trip with two young co-workers and his boomstick (and hopefully his chainsaw), and only he can save the day. We may be boned.
Part of why they chose to go the TV route, instead of another film, is for financial reasons, as well as the freedom to develop the character across ten episodes rather than a single movie. Campbell also credits the massive popularity of The Walking Dead with popularizing TV horror, and for paving the way for the crazy amounts of gore you can now show the tube. Though this is Starz we’re talking about, blood and nudity and violence is their bread and butter.
Over the course of the franchise, Ash changes from film to film, and given how much time has passed, you know this isn’t going to be the same guy we remember from more than 20 years ago. Campbell compares him to a cranky, crotchety old man pulled out of retirement, and adds:
Ash has survivor’s guilt. You could have a heyday with his PTSD. He’s a war vet. He doesn’t want to talk about it, and he’ll lie about that stump on his hand to impress the ladies. This is a guy who’s got some issues. He’s emotionally stunted. But he’s the guy you want in the foxhole next to you. That’s the funny thing—he’s kind of an idiot, but man, if I had to go to battle, I’d want to be next to that guy, because he’ll bring it if he has to.
Ash also isn’t going to be the only one battling evil this time around, and the series is going to revolve around a trio, which is going to be extra hilarious for the old curmudgeon. Campbell says:
It’s a threesome, which is a good number. Since it’s not cast yet, it would be silly to fully describe them. But they’re supposed to be two very good counterparts. One is a male-bonding situation; the other is father-figure deal, since Ash could have a daughter the same age as this character. Hopefully we’ll pull Ash out of his loner-veteran mode and get him back into being a human being again.
And speaking of humor, that’s one of the things fans love so much about these movies. So many horror-comedies are terrible, missing the point entirely, but the Evil Dead movies nail the campy laughs while also delivering on the scares and gore. Talking about this part of the franchise, Campbell explains:
There’s jokey horror and horror-horror. When there’s a presence in the room, it has to be dealt with because it’s an extremely dangerous and volatile situation. Humor may come out of it, but there’s nothing funny about a demon ripping somebody’s head off. And the beauty of Starz is there’s no content issues. Let’s face it: Fans want the carnage and the mayhem. So we intend to give them quite the explosion of viscera. Most of it directed at me, unfortunately.
Hopefully Ash vs. Evil will live up to the high standards and expectations of the franchise. As we learn more about this, you can bet we’ll share it with you fine folks.