Blu-ray Review: Ash vs Evil Dead - Season One

Starz' TV extension of the Evil Dead saga is as horrific and silly as the films that spawned it.

By , Columnist
The Evil Dead series has had a remarkable history. What started out as something the UK press dubbed a “video nasty” subsequently became a bona fide movie classic in the comic horror genre. Now Starz' TV series Ash vs Evil Dead continues that trend by bringing the story up to date without loosing any of the qualities that made the original film so controversial and influential.

At the center once again is Bruce Campbell, reprising the title role of Ashley Williams. Yet, Campbell shows no signs of tiring of the character who has defined him for the past 35 years. Hamming it up to the max, he takes the edge off what quickly becomes a bloodbath by using his age as an opportunity to turn on the sleaze. Whether he's hitting on much younger women or having deliberately fake-looking intercourse, its impossible to take the Ash or the show seriously.

Ash_vs_Evil_Dead_1 (Custom).jpgScenes where Ash wields his trusty chainsaw are what dedicated fans of the franchise want, though, and they won't be disappointed. Even The Walking Dead would be hard -pressed to match this show for the amount of blood spilled. Every episode has at least one hissing, spluttering demon that Ash inevitably dismembers. The effects are more sophisticated than those in the 1981 movie but they leave equally little to the imagination.

packshot (Custom).jpgAs co-creator with Ivan Raimi and Tom Spezialy, Sam Raimi gets things going by directing the first episode. This reveals that Ash is now working in a dead-end job as an assistant in a discount store. He soon discovers that he has accidentally released another demonic presence by reading from the Book of the Dead when drunk.

What follows is a rambling series of events in which Ash, initially with reluctance but subsequently with glee, takes on the task of killing the Deadites he has unleashed. In this he is aided by former co-workers Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) but these characters are basically foils for Campbell's goofy self-parody.

Moreover, the series' ongoing storyline isn't much more than an excuse for a string of gruesome decapitations, albeit with a few surprises and truly unsettling make-up creations along the way. Nonetheless, viewers will tune in to see Campbell and as with previous chapters in the Evil Dead saga, it's his silliness that makes this stomach-turning assault on good taste bearable.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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