Have you been missing Evil Dead’s Ash since we left him in the S-Mart homeware section at the end of Army of Darkness in 1992?* Then the faint sound of a chainsaw revving up over the pond at Starz will have likely got your heart racing. Ten-part series Ash Vs Evil Dead brings Bruce Campbell’s be-chainsawed, be-square jawed hero back to our screens.
And here in the UK, those screens can be as small as you like, Virgin Media On Demand customers can now stream the first five hits of gory goodness, with the rest of the series prepped for dishing out each Saturday.
We’ve already had a taster of the first five – and they’re very tasty – but can serve you some spoiler and calorie-free guts right here: knives (and pitchforks) at the ready.
Ash’s TV outing finds him still stuck in retail hell 30 years later as Ash Vs Evil Dead starts, all Deadite-free until an ill-advised (as ill-advised as the tree business in the first Evil Dead film? That ill-advised) reading from the Necronomicon with a lady-friend sparks his old milky-eyed pals to look him up, and maybe destroy mankind on the way… It certainly mess up his plans for the weekend, at least.
Along with Ash to tussle with the demonic is his brother-in-stellar-customer-service Pablo (Ray Santiago), their new colleague Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), confused cop Amanda (Jill Marie Jones) and the so far, so mysterious (but rest easy, it’s more than a cameo) Ruby (Lucy Lawless). Plus, y’know, lots of screaming and rotting folk who’re quick with the killing.
Ash Vs Evil Dead has already been renewed for a second season – so you know the guts are good. The show also re-teams and reforms Evil Dead’s original trifecta of grooviness: Campbell, director Sam Raimi, and producer Rob Tapert, who co-produce here with Craig DiGregorio on board as show-runner and executive producer.
What we’ve seen from Ash vs Evil Dead so far – screened in the depths of The House of Detention in Clerkenwell with popcorn, Deadites and faulty heaters, naturally – confirms it’s gory, it’s funny (sticking with the later film instalments’ wackier sense of humour and lack of evil trees), and it’s got nods to the original three films in abundance. The franchise’s signature combo of crazy camera lunges and enclosed spaces return. We left the cabin a long time ago, but Ash has a tricked-out caravan now – and has hung on to the chainsaw.
The execs over at Starz have honoured the film trilogy with this series – recognising, as Senior Vice President of Digital Mara Winokur puts it, that “fans throughout the world have been thirsting for the return of Ash”. Hell yes. And in allowing demanding UK fans to quench that thirst, Virgin Media’s Chief Digital Entertainment Officer David Bouchier hints at yet further satiation to come: “this long awaited and much anticipated series marks a step-change in our TV programming strategy […] By investing in original series and bringing more exclusive TV shows to Virgin Media customers, we are unlocking the power of the boxset”. A prospect almost as exciting as the results of unlocking the secrets of the Necronomicon. Which can be a good thing, especially as it’s given us another go around with Ash; a little older, a little rusty, but just as groovy. So tear into the first five on demand: hail to the king, baby!
*Okay, that’s where Ash was if we’re talking the original release. UK VHS viewers last saw him in a cave after the apocalypse. Either way, we’ve missed him, and we’re glad he’s back.