‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ answers the important question: Will there be blood?
From the horror movie franchise that coined the term “splatstick,” there’s one thing the new Starz TV series extension of the “Evil Dead” movies needs to get right: It needs to be bloody. And star Bruce Campbell is ready to answer fans, yes, there will be blood.
Original “Evil Dead” director and now show runner Sam Raimi joined walking antihero Campbell, co-producer Craig DiGregorio and new “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” actress Lucy Lawless during the Starz presentation Friday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills. And even though the audience was made up mostly of television reporters and critics, most of the questions were very fan-specific.
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For example, one of the earliest questions from the crowd asked the panel about the return of the “angry molesting tree” -- a tree that has appeared in the original 1981 “The Evil Dead” movie and the 2013 reboot. Will the heinous tree return to the “Evil Dead” world currently set 34 years after the first film? “I think you’re going to find things that will disturb you as much as that sequence in the original ‘Evil Dead,’ but they will be different or new,” Campbell said.
That’s a no. And it’s probably for the best. There’s only so much repeating shtick one franchise can handle. However, creator Raimi is aware that some of these odd “Evil Dead” staples are integral to the franchise, and more important, the fans expect it.
“It’s really important that we fulfill our obligations of the fans who asked us to make this movie or series,” said Raimi. “They have certain expectations after three feature films and 35 years of fans following, they want particular things. So it was very important to find a network that was willing to go to the limit, let us go anywhere we wanted with the humor, anywhere with outrageous horror, crazy amounts of gore. Which is one of the hallmarks of the ‘Evil Dead’ films. Because we have an obligation to the fans. And fortunately Starz really wants things, I don’t speak for them, but I believe that they want things that the audience can’t get on regular television and regular cable. It’s very unique, so this happened to be a unique marriage.”
So while plenty of fan service is expected and was hinted at on the panel, what of the new viewers? What does this series have that audiences can’t get from the current horror and zombie fare?
“This guy,” Raimi said, pointing to Campbell, “this guy is the main difference. We have a series that has a hero at its center fighting the monsters. Most shows, most of these movies have to do with the monsters being the stars, whether it’s ‘Dracula,’ or ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ or Freddy, or Jason, they’re all great. But we have a show that stars a monster fighter, one of us. And we can identify with him, I think.”
But, most important, will there be blood? “Evil Dead” was built on sticks, dirt, a skin-covered evil old book, and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Campbell acknowledged that is a topic that’s been addressed numerous times throughout his press days for “Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” and he wanted to make a point.
“People ask how much blood is there going to be,” Campbell said. “I went blind the other day shooting a scene. Picture that. Take a shower and open your eyes, right into the faucet.... I’ve been gagged once, and I went blind. That’s how much blood there is on the show.”
And now we know. “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” will begin Oct. 31 on Starz.
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