Last night on a sun drenched strip of Hollywood Blvd. STARZ hosted its Los Angeles premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead. Throngs of Deadites, celebrities and privileged press gathered at the TCL Chinese Theater to witness a deadite plague 23 years in the making. I had the honor of joining in on the fun. As I entered one of the most famed theaters in the world I couldn’t help but be excited. I’ve been waiting for over two decades to see the Iconic Bruce Campbell once again don the chainsaw and reprise the role of Ash Williams. I wasn’t sure just what to expect as the original crew of Sam Rami, Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell revived one of the most beloved horror trilogies, this time to the small screen courtesy of STARZ. Well it wasn’t on the small screen that night, but you get the jist. I mean all of the elements are in play here, but this time it’s coming at us in a ten episode series.
I’ve watched every promo and trailer since its announcement last year and even though it wasn’t coming back on the big screen, each one got me ever more excited. As I sat waiting for the lights to go down and episode one of the series to begin I couldn’t help but feel just a twinge of nervousness. Could this series even come close to the original films? Did Bruce and Sam have it in them? Would newcomers Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana Delorenzo and Jill Marie Jones be up for the task? The next forty minutes of the series’ first episode was about to answer some of those questions.
The show picks up some twenty years after Army of Darkness (the last film in the trilogy) and our aging every man hero Ash Williams lives his days in a rundown trailer and working at a local Hardware store, so pretty much where one might expect to find the loud mouthed braggart. The series doesn’t drag on and spending exurbanite amounts of time with backstory. If you don’t already know Ash, the character is immediately recognizable as a lovable loser. That one uncle we all have, the one who you kind of feel sorry for but he just tells a great story. Within just a few minutes we watch as Ash, in a pathetic attempt to get a little tail, gets a bit to stoned and in attempt to impress his young concubine dusts off the Necronomicon and recites some fancy “poetry”. Here comes the Sam-o-Cam and the deadites are back. As the evil force starts to reek havoc around him, Ash is reluctantly joined by two of his co-workers, Pablo (Ray Santiago) who looks up to our dim-witted Hero and has a crush on their other counterpart, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) a wild child with a past. The first episode also introduces us to Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) a state trooper who loses her partner to the deadites in blood soaked scene that harkens back to the originals and she makes it her mission to find out just what the hell is going on. We also get a quick glimpse of Ruby (Lucy Lawless) a mysterious stranger who has a blood soaked axe to grind with good ‘ol Ash. The first episode wastes no time letting us know just where the series is about to take us. It’s full of blood, guts and that ridiculous slapstick humor Rami is known for.
The premiere episode was directed by Rami himself, and the gang seems to be having as much fun on screen as the audience did at the premiere. A whole lot of hooting and hollering, oh and a lot of blood, thankfully all of the blood stayed on screen (we are talking about Evil Dead fans here; we are like a pack of rabid dogs). And If you were wondering, there is a lot of it. Being on STARZ gives the creators of the show the ability to do what they want and you will be ever so thankful they did. It’s bloody good fun! If you were worried let me put that to rest and if the rest of the season is half as fun as the first episode we are all in for a treat. It’s great to see Sam and Bruce back together working on the same property that launched their careers, it’s just now they have 36 more years of experience to bring to the table and it shows. The first episode of the series is everything fans could hope for. It’s gorious! Pardon my pun but its 2 in the morning and half a bottle of wine later. Have no fear Ash is here. So polish up your Boomsticks and gas up those chainsaws because STARZ new original series Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres this Saturday October 31st.