Stan Against Evil star John C. McGinley described the upcoming third season, which premieres on Halloween night, as “subversive and fantastic.” In an age where there’s no shortage of ambition with niche comedies, IFC’s horror comedy is ready to take one giant leap forward. We saw it firsthand. While on set for a day of filming, we witnessed guest stars David Koechner and Eddie Pepitone smashing up a miniature Willard’s Mill while dressed as a Giant Mothman and Gorilla, respectively.
Those are just two of the ridiculously fun monsters that Stan (McGinley) and Evie Barrett (Janet Varney) will have to face as their lives in Willard’s Mill continue to be one endless nightmare after another. “There’s so much real horror, how about a little fake horror?” series creator Dana Gould says, pitching some much needed escapism from our current nightmarish reality. Let’s see what fun is in store for Stan Against Evil season 3, shall we?
Reconciling The End of the World
Every action in the season two finale had a steep consequence. Stan was finally able to bring his wife back from the dead. Unfortunately, it cost him his own life. As we said in our season 2 finale review, Evie is the real savior of Willard’s Mill, rescuing Stan and comforting him as he accepts the finality of the death of his beloved wife Claire in an emotional scene. That shoot was fittingly scheduled as the final scene on the last night of production on season two.
“Every once in a while it rained, and we shot the rain because it was perfect,” McGinley says of the scene. “And that was as ambitious as a horror-comedy emotionally could even want to be, and it wasn’t lost on Janet or myself, so we ripped into it with as much kind of joy and actor stuff as we could.”
The episode wasn’t about to end on a sentimental note, though. Messing with travel travel unleashed hell on earth, and Stan Against Evil Season 3 picks up right where they left off.
As season three begins, Stan and Evie are forced to traverse their own personal hells in order to save Willard’s Mill and restore reality. “[Dana Gould] didn’t use the old fashioned crutch of using a bad dream and waking up and the whole thing didn’t happen,” McGinley says, “He geniously lets us navigate through our own hell and then the show can continue.”
For Stan, that means going against his instincts… which are usually wrong.
“Everything that Stan’s ever done in his life has been wrong,” McGinley says. “Everything’s added up to things not working out. He tried to save his wife. He couldn’t. He tried to save Evie in the first episode this year. He’s failing at that. And so the guy has to go against every instinct he’s ever had. Is he nimble enough, is he cerebrally agile enough, or is it a lost cause? And so that’s kind of what season three is about.”
“I see the show as if it was a book in three parts,” Gould says. “We’re at the end of part one. And we get to go to a new stage in the life of these people in Willard’s Mill.”
Monsters of the Week
When we were on set during production of season one, Gould talked about how shows like Kolchak the Night Stalker and The X-Files influenced the “Monster of the Week” type episodes he hoped to make. Now having firmly established his own horror universe, Gould is directly parodying The X-Files (and paying homage to Kolchak) in a season three episode titled “The Hex Files.” It “kisses the edges of legality,” Gould jokes.
“I like to describe the show as ‘The show that likes the same stuff you like,’” says Gould. “We have a horror show, so we have to have an X-Files episode.”
A fake Mulder and Scully is just the beginning. Gould name checked Peter Jackson’s 1989 puppet comedy Meet the Feebles as inspiration for a puppet-themed episode. The show will also channel Godzilla with Koechner (Anchorman) as Evie’s ex-husband turned Giant Moth and Pepitone (a standup legend) as Lenny a man who dresses like a Gorilla and shouts all over town dueling it out.
Says Varney of the range of different tones and styles of episodes we’ll see throughout the season: “It feels like there’s more playful stuff that has a chance to happen between all the characters. There’s just some really bananas stuff that happens this season. So it feels very, very ambitious. There’s a lot of just silly fun that reading the scripts this year I was giggling and going like, ‘I can’t believe we’re going to do this.’”
Other guest stars for the season include Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite) who will play Nurse Pickles, “a stern, no-nonsense nurse who may not be as helpful as she seems.” Then you have Scott Adsit (30 Rock) will play “Bill, an apathetic demon-plumber who becomes intertwined with the Miller household.” Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad) joins the cast for an episode as Zach, “a character in a popular fictional vampire show who makes a connection with Stan’s daughter Denise.”
“Fortunately, most of these people are our friends. We just call them up and ask if they want to do our little show in Atlanta,” Gould says. “The casting director in L.A. had it pretty easy, because it was just like, ‘Okay, Chris Mintz-Passe is going to do this. David Koechner is do this. Maria Bamford wants to do this.’ So maybe it’s like a little unexciting, but we’re very lucky that we have such a talented group of people that are willing to come down and sort of goof around. And you get to, you know, get fitted for fangs or a wear a giant moth outfit.”
With those big names coming through Willard’s Mill, we expect Stan Against Evil to be at its absolute funniest in season three. McGinley also praised the costumes and concepts for the monsters.
“We made the monsters quite a bit scarier,” he says. “I thought they represent a much more real and profound threat to Janet and me.”
Where and When To Watch
Stan Against Evil season 3 premieres on Halloween night at 10 p.m. on IFC. You can binge seasons 1 and 2 on Hulu.
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