HAIL TO THE KING, BABY! This weekend coming, US TV network Starz will finally release Ash vs Evil Dead, the upcoming TV series sequel to Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell’s much beloved trilogy of classic horror/comedy flicks. We’ve already seen how the one-handed Ash’s latest adventure kicks off, but Raimi sat down with ShockTillYouDrop to dish up a whole lot more details on the project. Check them out below.
What prompted Raimi, Campbell and co-producer Rob Tapert to make a TV series now after years of non-starts for Evil Dead 4? Especially since we just had a remake of the original movie – in which the three of them were also involved as producers – released just in 2013.
“I guess I finally opened up my ears to a lot of the fans’ requests. I would make a SPIDERMAN movie and they’d say, “That’s fine, but can you please make EVIL DEAD 4?’” They didn’t care. I’d make SPIDERMAN 2,” they’d go, “Enough of this. Make EVIL DEAD with Bruce Campbell.” So we tried to sate that fan request. I said to Bruce and Rob, “Let’s remake ‘EVIL DEAD’ with Fede Alvarez, my friend. He’s super-talented and that will finally give the fans what they want.”
So we did that and they really loved his movie and I loved it, but afterwards, I still heard that, “Now we want your EVIL DEAD with Bruce in addition to Fede’s movie.” So I went, “Oh my God. There’s no quieting them. Why am I running from it anyways?” I mean, maybe it was out of fear a little bit. They seemed to like these movies and I didn’t want to make one that they didn’t like. I didn’t know if I had much to gain, but they were so insistent we finally said, “Alright, let’s just do it.” So my brother and I sat down and we started to write a feature. Then that’s a long story, but it eventually turned into a TV show.”
How is making a TV series different to making those original movies?
“Well, back then, we were on a really tight budget, like no budget. This one, we actually had department heads, a makeup department and a mechanical effects department. So I would liken this budget more to the budget of EVIL DEAD 2. So we didn’t have to do everything from scratch and we got to hire professionals to do an excellent job in each of their specific departments. That’s about where it was budget range.”
While the first Evil Dead was a straight-up, low-budget “cabin in the woods” horror, its sequel took on a bit more of a comedy slant with Campbell hamming it up brilliantly. Then with the 3rd film, Army of Darkness (in which Campbell’s Ash time-travels to medieval times) it became a huge fantasy epic with horror elements, while recent remake was pure gory horror. With such a varied approach to all franchise installments, what tone will the TV series be taking then?
“Well, that’s a question we had to ask ourselves, “Which EVIL DEAD are we going to make the sequel to?” That was part of the confusing thing. It’s like, the fans want another EVIL DEAD, but which one do they want? Because they’re as different as you say.
I think we thought, “Well, we don’t know, but here’s what we’d like to see. We’d like to see something that had a little bit of the humor of EVIL DEAD 2 and Ash’s character of EVIL DEAD 2 but the horror of EVIL DEAD 1, the more serious, intense stuff that scared the audience. So we tried for kind of a blend of those. So Ash’s character is big and funny, but the evil is taken seriously and hopefully, it’s intense.”
Raimi admits that one of the main reasons for doing Ash vs Evil Dead is just to work with Campbell again, who has been his lifelong friend.
“[He is] a pretty good incentive for me. It’s great to be working with him again because we grew up together. We were in high school together, did high school plays, made Super 8 movies together as kids, and that’s where our careers started. We went on to make our first feature film together and many features beyond that, so this is a return to the character that was in our first feature film, so it’s very exciting to come back to it.”
While Raimi is directing the pilot episode, acts as co-producer and was involved with the initial story of Ash vs Evil Dead, he won’t be the one penning the weekly episodes though. And handing over his baby, so to speak, is not exactly easy.
“It’s a learning experience. I have to learn to let go and let other creators work with the material that I wrote originally. They’re bringing their own great ideas and their own visuals and their own concepts and it’s exciting to watch.
It’s really in the hands of the showrunner, Craig DiGregario, who’s here, and his staff of writers. In fact, there is a team of writers working right now. I don’t know what they’re up to, but they’ve got things on the board, ideas for season two up. Really, even though my brother and I started with a concept for the series, I had to leave and do pre-production on this pilot and then I had to be away for weeks and weeks while the writers were writing, so really, you do have to hand that torch off and hopefully, they’ll come up with something great as the season goes forward.”
And apparently what they’ve come up with is pretty good if initial reactions to the show’s pilot episode – which aired for the audience at New York Comic Con – is anything to go by. That positive buzz has continued and just kept building up, and as a result, it’s been reported (via Variety) that a few days before it’s even debuted, Starz has already renewed it for a second season! Groovy!
Carmi Zlotnik, managing director of Starz, had this to say about the preemptive renewal.
“One season isn’t enough to satisfy the fans’ two decade-long appetite for more Ash. The early fan and press support, along with the international broadcaster demand for more story have made it clear that the adventures of Ash Williams can’t end with season one.”
That season one kicks off on Stars on Halloween, this coming Saturday, and will see Campbell joined by a cast that includes Jill Marie Jones, Ray Santiago and Lucy Lawless.
Last Updated: October 29, 2015