“Chopping up my evil clone… Maybe someday that will feel weird.”
There’s nothing and no one like Ash (Bruce Campbell). The Evil Dead series has been a college dorm room staple for years on end, playing the cult horror circuit and endearing itself to a legion of followers and fans alike. There hasn’t been a movie trilogy that blends horror and comedy quite like The Evil Dead and I venture to say there probably never will be.
Now, Ash is heading to the small screen, on Starz to be exact, and I for one couldn’t be happier. Ash vs Evil Dead not only captures everything about the films that fans love but expands on the universe in fun and different ways. Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season is out on August 23, and I’m telling you right now… You need a copy.
Ash (Bruce Campbell) is a stock boy once again and has his trusty chainsaw in storage back at his camper. During a drunken night trying to impress a girl he mistakenly reads from the Necronomicon and unleashes holy hell on earth. His store is destroyed and he gets two unlikely partners, his friend Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo).
At first Pablo and Kelly don’t believe what’s happening but then quickly learn to realize everything is real and they get on board. Kelly even watches her father become a Deadite as well as her step-mother played by a totally game Mimi Rogers. Following the trio closely is Ruby (Lucy Lawless) who thinks that Ash is behind the whole Deadite plague and Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) who was there first hand as her partner turned and she had to put him down.
The series doesn’t miss a beat and being a half hour, each episode is tight and action packed. I’m so glad that Starz didn’t push the run time to an hour. The half hour format suits the series so well and really amps up the intensity and quality. When Ash vs The Evil Dead was announced, I was very excited and then skeptical that the series could deliver on what the films have. I’m so thankful that the series not only takes what was awesome in the original films but even at times improves upon it.
By giving Ash two partners in crime in Kelly and Pablo, the series is grounded, letting Bruce Campbell punch every line and squeeze every bit of Ash-ness from the script. He’s over the top awesome and knows Ash inside and out at this point. Pablo is the perfect everyman who secretly looks up to Ash even if he knows that Ash is a mess. Kelly is the audiences entry point into this crazy world, being the sarcastic skeptic and then total ass kicker.
If you’ve never seen the film series, starting a show like Ash vs Evil Dead might seem like a pointless task, but it’s not. It’s accessible to the uninitiated, everyone can appreciate the over the top humor and crazy characters. Plus, Ash vs The Evil Dead plays out almost in real time, one episode they have to escape the store, the next they go to Kelly’s house, the next Pablo’s grandfather’s place, and ultimately ending up at the best finale this season… At the original cabin.
The only minor quibble I had with Ash vs Evil Dead is I would have like Lucy Lawless character to be fleshed out more. We see her after Ash and of course in the finale her true intentions are revealed, but throughout the run I just didn’t buy into her quest. Perhaps if she had more screen time it would have helped but as it stands, her journey felt like a cutaway from the main action.
Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete First Season arrives on blu-ray in an awesome transfer thanks to Starz and Anchor Bay. The detail and quality in this transfer is extraordinary, it really makes the series more film like and is leaps and bounds better than the broadcast version. The blacks are deep and there is some fine three dimensional work done, especially if you look at more of the action heavy moments. Details are crisp and even in the darker scenes you can see the details clearly. The gore looks great on blu-ray. Had to be said, sorry.
Bones features on this release include:
Audio Commentary on EVERY EPISODE! I was really impressed with this. Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Rob Tapert, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo and Lucy Lawless each provide different commentary tracks. I think it’s awesome that they did that much detail on every episode, it’s really rare to see these days.
Ash inside The World – This is a fifteen minute featurette that talks about each episode and talks about the production and filming. It’s great and worth watching.
How To Kill A Deadite – Bruce Campbell talks about the Deadites and basically how to put them down. He then goes and talks to people at a convention and asks them how they would do it.
Best of Ash – This is just a short promo ad for the series.
All in all, Ash vs Evil Dead is my favorite new series from last fall and I’m so happy it’ll be back for season two. If you are in any way a fan of the original movies and have yet to see the series, I think you’re crazy because it’s just so much fun. The quality is out of this world and the writing is smart and on point. You HAVE TO GRAB THIS SET!
Ash vs Evil Dead is out August 23 on Blu-ray!