Giving the Fans What They Want

Television: ‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’

After more than 30 years, chainsaw-wielding Deadite slayer Ash Williams is back on the small screen Starz’s “Ash vs. Evil Dead.” Hail to the king, baby.

If you’re not familiar with this immature monster hunter portrayed by Bruce Campbell, he’s the anti-hero of the “Evil Dead” trilogy of films. Ash and a group of friends stay in a cabin in the woods, they find a Book of the Dead — you get the idea.

I watched the première episode on Halloween with a group of friends. As fans of the films, we cheered and clapped at every Ash quip and over-the-top Deadite death.

The plot’s ridiculously simple. It’s been a long time since Ash has faced the armies of darkness — he’s a bit overweight, he’s living in a trailer park and working at Value Stop. To impress a woman, he reads from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and all hell breaks loose — literally.

Campbell steals the show. He’s the whole reason this revival works — his self-deprecation, his facial expressions and his one-liners are all perfect. He knows exactly what the fans want, and he gives it to us. From the opening scene where Ash squeezes himself into a girdle, I knew I was hooked.

Of course, there are other cast members, but they don’t have a lot to do in this first episode. Pablo (Ray Santiago) is Ash’s friend, co-worker and sidekick. Kelly (Dana) is looking for payback against the Deadites. Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) is a police detective whose partner is murdered. Ruby (Lucy Lawless) is ... well, I don’t really know who she is yet. I guess we’ll find out.

I’m sure these characters will be fleshed out, since the show has already been picked up for a second season.

This episode was directed by Sam Raimi, the creator of the franchise, and it’s got that classic mix of campiness and gore from the films. Fight scenes range from a ridiculous battle with a tiny doll to a truly terrifying Deadite with a spun-around head that will give you nightmares. 

If you’re an “Evil Dead” fan, you need to watch this show. If you appreciate a good mix of horror and comedy, give it a shot. 

“Ash vs. Evil Dead” airs on Starz on Saturdays at 9 p.m.