“Ash vs. Evil Dead,” the first installment in the Evil Dead franchise since “Army of Darkness” in 1992, will premier on Starz Saturday, October 31 at 9 PM. The original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Bruce Campbell, along with Craig DiGregorio, are filming in New Zealand and have ten half-hour episodes already in the can. They also have a larger storyline that will carry them through multiple seasons.
When asked during their ComicCon panel why they were producing a cable television program instead of another movie, Sam Raimi explained that as they wrote the next movie it kept getting longer and longer. They needed more time to get Ash out of the fix they had left him in (The original ending of “Army of Darkness” had Ash sleeping late and waking up in a post-apocolyptic nightmare). They also wanted more time for Ash to get in and out of various predicaments. They jokingly referred to the 10-episode first season as a “Five-hour movie.”
“Ash vs. Evil” takes place in the present day, 30 years after we last saw Ash (reprised by Bruce Campbell). A plague of Deadites (The evil, possessed zombies he and his friends summoned in the first movie) arrive, bent on destroying mankind. In order to save the world, the aging, demon-killing stock boy must travel back into the terrifying universe of the Evil Dead.
Lucy Lawless joins the cast as Ruby, Ash’s nemesis and the daughter of Professor Knowby. Her father was the archeologist who discovered the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (Book of the Dead) and originally owned the cabin where the book was hidden, which was where all of the trouble started. Ruby believes Ash is responsible for unleashing the evil into the world (and she is quite correct). Bruce Campbell told Cherry Davis, our reporter on the ground, that Lawless brings a much-needed ass-kicking quality to the show. Ash and Ruby are joined by a cast of fresh new sidekicks and even more people with an axe to grind.
The first episode was written by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy and directed by Sam Raimi. That makes me a little curious about who wrote and directed the additional episodes. I’m also wondering how the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 reappears after falling through a time portal into the middle ages in Army of Darkness. I suppose these films require a little suspension of belief. We have high hopes for “Ash vs. the Evil Dead” and it certainly looks like it will live up to our expectations.
As Bruce Campbell mentioned in an interview with IGN at the San Diego Comic Con, “Ash needs four things. He needs the chainsaw, he needs the shotgun, aka the “boomstick,” he needs one-liners, and lots and lots of blood.”
Cherry Davis of Geek Out with Cherry in Los Angeles contributed to this post.