Monday, October 3, 2016

RR Ash vs Evil Dead

It's that time of the year again! And what better choice than to start with this one for my...

Season 2 of Ash vs Evil Dead just started on Starz.

Let's have a look at the best outcome the Evil Dead franchise could have ever hoped for!

Friday the 13th series - Friday the 13th (2009)
Friday the 13th (NES) 
Book One (Wildstorm) - Book TwoFriday the 13th (Avatar Press)
Jason vs Leatherface / Freddy vs Jason
Elm Street series - A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (NES)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (WildStorm)A Nightmare on Elm Street (Avatar Press)
Halloween series - Halloween (2007) - HII (2009)
Halloween (Chaos! Comics)
One Good Scare - NightDance - 30 Years of TerrorThe First Death of Laurie Strode
Hellraiser 1
Final Exam
Black Christmas / Christmas Evil
Silent Night, Deadly Night series - Part 1 &2 - Silent Night (2012)
Santa's Slay
Jack Frost (1997)/Jack Frost (1998)
Pumpkinhead 1
Chucky series - Curse of Chucky / Chucky (Devil's Due Publishing)
Leprechaun series / Candyman series
 Re-Animator series
Hatchet 1Hatchet 2Hatchet 3
Hack/Slash: My First Maniac - Me Without You - Omnibus Vol. 1 - Friday the 31st
Series 1 (DDP)Hack/Slash Meets Zombies Vs CheerleadersHack/Slash/Nailbiter
Series 2 (Image)Son Of Samhain
Transylvania 6-5000/Transylvania Twist
Tucker & Dale / Cabin in the Woods
The Final GirlsKnights of Badassdom
Darkman seriesDarkman (NES)

Name: Ash vs Evil Dead - The Complete First Season 
Created by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy
Original run 2015-2016
Genre Horror comedy/Supernatural/B-movie television series

The King is back, baby!

The Evil Dead/Army of Darkness series is finally back! After being stuck in development hell for so long, and a quickly forgotten if-competent remake, Ashley J. Williams is back doing what he does best, fighting the armies of darkness!

Ash had already lost all of his friends back in the cabin, faced his inner demons and ended back in medieval times (not counting his other adventures fans enjoyed in the meantime like having a zombie dwarf for a sidekick in video games, having a ton of crossovers with other franchises like Darkman, Marvel Zomvies or Xena before getting married and even going to space in comic books or even that time he had a relatively awesome musical).

Now it's a couple of decades later and Ash has been trying to live most of his life away from Deadites... until the evil came back to bite him in his arse!

The series picks up some time after the original films. Although Army of Darkness was never directly mentioned on screen - because Sam Raimi wasn't able to get the rights back to the third film - it is part of the series' continuity and will finally be directly referred to starting from Season 2.

Ash is now working for the retail store ValueShop (which can either be seen as a stand-ing for AoD's S-Mart or they just plain replaced said store). He has two main co-workers there, Pablo Simon Bolivar and Kelly Maxwell. All his days of facing the undead seem far behind and Ash has been living a relatively quiet life aside from a few missteps (imagine any type of crazy adventures he might have had at those points).

One drunken night, Ash decides to read some passages from the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, the infamous Book of the Dead! Deadites ensues!

Now on the run, and trying to put a stop to a curse he unleashed once more, Ash enlists the help of Pablo and Kelly to put a stop to the Evil Dead once and for all. Our reluctant hero is forced to accept a destiny he's tried to avoid for the past three decades. Pablo wants our "El Jefe" of a Ash to meet his shaman uncle, "El Brujo" to get some clues. Oh, and they even unleash a dangerous demon along the way.

The FBI is also investigating the strange bodies they left behind and slowly closing in on our heroes.

Meanwhile someone pretending to be related to Professor Knowby from Evil Dead II (the man who originally read the passages from the Necronomicon that released the Deadites back in the cabin in the first place) is after Ash and the book....

Ash vs Evil Dead is such a fun series!

It's the perfect continuation of this cult classic B-Movie/horror comedy trilogy. It's really the best thing they could have come up with, after so many years.

A movie would have either felt short of expectations or a big letdown trying to both continue and conclude the original film series. A TV series allows for a lot more leg-room to both continue the films and provide an ongoing alternative much more appropriate for Evil Dead/Army of Darkness. (Just look at how fun and popular the various Evil Dead/Army of Darkness video games and comics have been these past decades!)

It's also a much more appropriate format to get iriginal film series producer Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi AND Bruce Campbell back. Even Sam Raimi's brother, screenwriter Ivan Raimi could come back for the show! (The only one really missing was hilarious slapstick comedian Ted Raimi, but that has been fixed with the show's second Season finally!)

The always Bruce Campbell is back in full form! He's never really ditched the entertainment industry, making several fun low-budget B-movie flicks and appearing on all kinds of shows over the years. But it's really as Ash that he truly shines! He's playing now a much more older Ash, with less delusions in his destiny but with as much energy as before. Yes he's older, and it's entirely part of the way he portrays Ash now. And it's hilarious!

He's mostly joined by Ray Santiago as Pablo and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly. Those two really grew on me over the course of the first Season. They really work well off Ash. Pablo's much more of a fanboy of Ash, almost like a stand-in for the audience, while bringing his own past and background to the fictional universe. Kelly's closer to the character of Mia from the remake, but she's definitively based off similar characters from 80s horror films.

The team is also joined by various other characters through the series, they come and go depending on whatever happens in these episodes. I really liked the FBI Agent that almost had a thing with Ash...

Oh, and then there's Xena herself, Lucy Lawless! Who's enigmatic, badass and a really great addition. Her character kept changing as the show went along, since much revolves around her.

This is pure Evil Dead-madness. Still rooted in horror like the first film, horror comedy/slapstick as the second film and even some adventure/swashbuckling like the third film.

Where the series really shines is that each episode's basically a mini horror tale on its own right. Less ongoing drama and more like smaller tales tied through an overarching narrative. Which keeps the show moving pretty fast.

Sadly they couldn't make any references to my much beloved third Evil Dead film, Army of Darkness. For copyright issues. But starting with Season 2 they will finally be able to do that. Plus the show could just as well get away with referencing any of the games or comics, it's that crazy and any sorts of adventures might have happened to Ash since the mid-90s!

It's bloody! It's gory! It's funny! It's hilarious!

The creatures effects are pretty impressive, lightly complimented by some CGi unlike the films at the time. Only some post-production visual FXs sometimes stand out, like the creepy dolls from early on the show. But it usually works nicely into giving the show a funny B-movie vibe since they're quite polished but pretty low-budget.

The ongoing narrative works fantastic for the series' mythos. Ash is such a fun protagonist to follow on an episodic format.

And we even got the chance to have original series composer Joseph LoDuca back to score the entire series! He returns doing exactly the type of score I would have expected from a 4th Evil Dead film. It's pretty similar if a bit more complex. With crazy modern tunes I didn't knew he had in him! And no Danny Elfman in sight, while I loved his themed from AoD his music worked better on Sam Raimi's Darkman than the Evil Dead series.

Seasons are pretty short, only about 10 episodes on premium cable network Starz, allowing for a tight plot without any filler episodes always leaving you wishing for more episodes!

Overall, Ash vs Evil Dead is the one true continuation of the original Evil Dead series!

For a really long time discussions seemed to point to either a sequel to the Evil Dead reboot or a crossover with between that and a continuation of Army of Darkness. I'm glad we finally received a proper follow up to Ash Williams' adventures against the Deadites!

This is an incredibly fun and addictive ongoing series following one "Chosen One" (and his sidekicks) against the armies of darkness! It's a really captivating show that always know when to end on a cliffhanger note and leave you wanting for more. 

Season 2 just started and I can't wait to see where this show will take Ash next and what kind of demons he will have to face along his path!

Highly Recommended series for anyone that enjoys a good television series or simply looking for more good B-movie horror comedy like we hadn't seen since the late 1980s!

I give it:
3 / 3 Necronomicons!

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