Back in November, splatstick horror fans were blown away by the groovy news that Bruce Campbell would return to his cult franchise with the ten-episode half-hour Starz series “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” and now the big-chinned one has given Entertainment Weekly the skinny on the new show.
Apparently, when we find one-handed hero Ash 23 years after the events of Army of Darkness, he’s still working a big-box store job (ala S-Mart) and living in a trailer park when a Deadite resurrection prompts him to take a road trip with two young co-workers… and his boomstick.
“It’s a threesome, which is a good number,” Campbell jokes. “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.”
Those concerned that the show would veer too far in the serious direction–as the 2013 Evil Dead remake did–need not worry, as slapstick comedy is still the name of the game, but like the three previous movies in the series, the demonic threats are no joke.
“Something we’re doing is taking the horror parts very seriously,” promises Campbell. “And it’s going to cause Ash—this crabby middle-aged man who doesn’t want to get dragged back into this—a lot of problems. He’s not the Ash he used to be… 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… He continues being a trash-talking know-it-all who doesn’t really know anything.”
Campbell also waxes poetic about landing Starz as the home for the series, hinting that he and his production partners Sam Raimi (who will direct the pilot) and Robert Tapert will retain a high degree of creative control, which means no limit on blood spillage… and no commercials.
“The beauty of Starz is there’s no content issues,” says Campbell. “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. We want it to taste exactly like the ‘Evil Dead’ movies, and I think with the setup with Starz we can do exactly that. We also don’t have to cut to a stupid Dodge commercial.”
Finally, Campbell swears that despite a heavy reliance on computer effects in horror these days, “Ash vs. Evil Dead” will still retain that handmade feel with loads of practical effects, including some of that great herky-jerky stop-motion animation.
“[CGI] still ain’t cheap, and it takes a long time to do,” he says. “I have a hunch we’ll do what we’ve always done—a kind of combo platter, which is better for the audience anyway.”
“Ash vs. Evil Dead” is expected to unleash hell on Starz in late 2015.