Why Ash vs Evil Dead Pretends Army of Darkness Never Happened
Why is one of the most popular entries in the Evil Dead franchise never referenced on its own TV show? We've got your answer right here.
Klatuu…verata…uh, you know the rest.
Army of Darkness was my first introduction to the weird and wonderful Evil Dead universe. I remember watching it on late night cable once, unaware that it was the third installment of a horror franchise that was rooted in lots and lots of blood. On its own, Army of Darkness is a wacky yet entertaining movie, and even though I wouldn’t necessarily call it a horror film, it still has a good amount of cheap thrills.
Army of Darkness is also the first time we met the Ash Williams we know and love today. Yes, Evil Dead II is when we were introduced to Ash as a source of comic relief, as that installment introduced us to the humorous side of the franchise. But whereas Evil Dead II has the zaniest and most manic personality of the film trilogy, Army of Darkness is a straight up comedy in comparison.
So why is it that you’ll never, ever hear or see references to the most quotable film in the Evil Dead trilogy on its own TV spinoff, Ash vs Evil Dead, which has been on the air for three years now?
When we sat down with Bruce Campbell before Season 3 premiered on Starz, we asked him what, exactly, is up with that. Here’s what the legend himself had to say on the matter.
“That was a conscious decision by us to not include certain scenarios, characters, props, events that would have gained us unnecessary partners in the business sense,” Campbell says. “We have a lot of elements that we own free and clear of other partners, and if you make a TV show you don’t always want to dash in with a lot of partners both creatively and economically…So, if people are saying, ‘Why are you avoiding that?’ We consciously made a decision that with Ash, a chainsaw, a book, a shotgun, time travel, and a Delta ‘88, you’ve pretty much got what you need.”
Ah. Looks like it has to do the business end of things. (Figures.) After doing a little more research, we see that Campbell all but confirms this again in an interview he had with horror site Arrow in the Head back when Season 2 was set to hit the airwaves in 2016. “People have always asked, ‘Where is Army of Darkness?’ Like, we don’t really need Army of Darkness.” Campbell said. “That was sort of our take on the whole thing. You’ve got to be careful referencing certain movies, because then you have to make deals with certain partners that might own those certain movies.”
“Certain partners” being the De Laurentiis Company, who helped finance the half the movie’s $12 million production fee, maybe? Just a wild guess.
So now, with this major question laid to rest, I’ll leave you with a reel of deleted material from Army of Darkness. This includes two of my favorite Evil Dead sequences ever – the film’s original intro and the alternate windmill scene. Enjoy.