Celebrating The Evil Dead and looking ahead to Season 3 of Ash vs. Evil Dead
This February, Ash Williams – everyone’s favorite hardware store clerk/chainsaw-limbed demon hunter – returns to carve yet another bloody swath through the hordes of the damned. Ash vs. Evil Dead is entering its third season and, like the previous seasons, promises to up the ante in all things gruesome and hilariously tasteless.
Who’d have thought that a show where its protagonist gets his head jammed up a disemboweled corpse’s ass would be a hit with critics and viewers alike? I sure as hell didn’t, and I love that kind of shit.
Season 2 ended with Ash and his team of misfit demon bashers thinking they had given Evil its final ass-kicking, but naturally, high ratings can bring anything back from the dead. Not that myself and the millions of other fans mind; we’ve waited well over two decades to see a proper follow-up to the original Evil Dead trilogy. And since we were all expecting a mere feature-length film, it’s safe to say that we got, and are still getting, way more than we could have wished for.
My love for The Evil Dead began with the original film, which I first saw back when I was a teenager in the late 90s. Back then they still had VHS movie rental stores, and my brother and I rented the first two movies on a couple of beat up cassette tapes. I doubt my first viewing would have been as memorable if the picture quality had been more up-to-date.
In this case, the grainy and deteriorated film stock added amazingly to the movie’s horrifically bleak atmosphere. In the right circumstance, decay can add to the experience. It certainly made it so that I can’t watch the original Evil Dead without adjusting my TV picture settings to make it look more VHS-esque.
After that, The Evil Dead become my golden standard for horror. It wasn’t my favorite horror movie; that position was filled by John Carpenter’s The Thing, but it still established my favorite horror tropes. Such as a claustrophobic cabin in the woods under siege by undead Lovecraftian fiends. The sequels were technically better, and who could ever doubt that Evil Dead 2 is one of the finest and weirdest horror films ever made, but the original will always be nestled deeper in my heart than the others.
Fans would wait decades for a proper revival of the series, and until then, all we had were a couple of disappointing videogames, a lot of spin-off comics, and a pretty good remake released in 2013. But our prayers were properly answered in 2015 by Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead. Instead of a movie, which we all expected, we got an ongoing and completely unhinged television epic that expanded the mythos of the original trilogy.
Horror has been having a sort of renaissance in the past few years, especially on television. There are nearly half a dozen American Horror spin-offs, The Walking Dead, and of course the superb 80s love letter, Stranger Things. There is no shortage of horror, but most of it is just so damned serious. In contrast, Ash vs. Evil Dead feels like The Three Stooges but with blood and gore splattering people’s faces instead of pies. Although the show does have its fair share of serious moments, usually involving characters being forced to grow and adapt upon witnessing their loved ones, their worlds, get completely defiled by the ultimate in demonic evil.
Then there’s our hapless hero, Ash, who usually comes off as a lovably cocky asshole but often is forced to confront the man he could have been and the life he could have had if he and his dumb friends hadn’t found the Necronomicon in that creepy cabin all those years ago. All he wants is to get drunk and bang as many women as possible, but destiny cock-blocks him at every turn. Except for one time, and that results in Ash finding out he has a sassy daughter in Season 3.
Will Ash finally come closer to reclaiming the life he could have had before it was waylaid by evil? Or will he get jerked around some more for our sick amusement? Find out in late February, 2018.
Image credits: New Line Cinema/Starz