Recommendation – Ash Vs. The Evil Dead
I’m going to limit myself to five points because I could write 10,000 words of pure, fan boy gushing joy on how much I loved the first episode of Ash vs. the Evil Dead. Five points. No more.
- Bruce Campbell as Ash is so damn much fun to watch. I’ve seen him do serious stuff (Lucky McGee’s The Woods comes to mind) and I’ve seen him in stuff that isn’t necessarily his speed (Burn Notice, anyone?) but when he darkens the hair, dials up the smarm and gets in the same room with Raimi and Tappert, he is just the most enjoyable dude in the world to spend time with. No one does what he does with such specificity and with such joy and it doesn’t matter is he’s stabbing a Deadite in the neck with a bottle or hitting on girls at last call he is just all charm and all joy and all smarm and I love him I love him I love him.
- Who’s almost as much fun to watch and brings almost as much joy and smarm and good old fashioned charimsa to the proceedings as the almighty Bruce? Lucy Lawless. That’s freakin’ who. Lucy Lawless for President. Lucy Lawless for Emporer. She’s the freakin best.
- Sam Raimi. Instead of gushing over the man’s career I’m going to talk about A Simple Plan for a second. In that film with Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thorton, he shows why he is every bit a contemporary with the Coen Brothers (you could seek out Crimewave which the three made together, but I don’t recommend doing that). He’s odd and quarky and works on three levels at once and the only reason he’s not considered a national treasure outside of the genre community is that he wallows in genre where the Coens went a different direction. If you watch A Simple Plan (which you absolutely should) you’ll see a filmmaker taking every moment, every scene and exerting creative control in the service of an amazing story. In other words, you’ll see an artistic vision from start to end. You’ll also get some blood and some heartbreak and a little bit of off beat humor but most of all you’ll see a guy capable of telling the hell out of a good story that could have gotten away from other directors and making every bit his vision appear on the screen. In Ash vs The Evil Dead he’s jamming, hard, on a song he knows by heart and absolutely killing it.
- That hero shot in Ash’s trailer when he first fights the Deadites? Name me a better hero shot that’s not in the Indiana Jones films. I dare you.
- I watch a lot of stupid horror movies and it takes someone with talent to take gore, scares and all the tropes of the genre and make them fun. It’s a trick not many can pull off. I could point you to at least three recent releases where they try to be gory and fun and fall on their faces, hard and I think it’s because Raimi and crew make it look so effortless. It’s not, it’s damn hard and while he could be off making something else, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have Ash vs The Evil Dead on my TV. It’s better than I dared hope for.
Last thing and this isn’t a point so I’m allowed. Like most people with a passing interest in genre I’ve met Bruce Campbell several times and one time a good friend of mind almost killed a baby. True story. It was at a Barnes and Noble in Omaha, Nebraska and Bruce was promoting “Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way” (which is fun but I perfer If Chins Could Kill). The signging had two interesting elements. One, it was full of the oddest people I’ve yet to meet in a public gathering up until that point. One dude showed up with a gold lamme bust of Campbell’s head, no joke. It was where I saw my first Star Wars tattoo and when I said “I’ve never seen a Star Wars tattoo” before was then offered several other examples, including the Millenium Falcon on some dude’s hairy ass. The second thing notable about the signing was once your book was signed you then exited directly through the lines of people waiting to pay in this book store. It was poor planning.
My friend meets Bruce, is suitably nervous and shaky and after he meets his B-movie idol is a little shaky on his feet. He trips on his way out and plows into the line of people waiting to pay for books, including a woman pushing a baby in a stroller. The kid was fine and my friend was fine but it’s a running joke till this day, “Bruce Campbell almost make you kill a baby.”
I think he’d appreciate that.