When Army of Darkness released theatrically in theaters in 1993, it was technically a bomb, earning only $4.4 million opening weekend on an $11 million budget. The relentless fan following would amass in the decades that followed, but the reality is that Ash vs Evil Dead is a rare gift. The trio behind the original Evil Dead trilogy, Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert, reunited to unleash the biggest love letter possible to fans; a brilliantly paced series that not only keeps continuity of previous films in high regard, but folds in new mythology and expands the universe in mind-blowing ways.
In breaking with the previous seasons’ premiere dates coinciding with the Halloween period, season 3 is scheduled to commence on Starz on February 25. It’s a move that’s stirred up series-ending rumors, but I tend to think of it as kismet, since it falls very close to Army of Darkness’ 30th anniversary. So you now have fair warning to catch up ahead of the premiere (season 1 and 2 are now available on Netflix, you primitive screwheads). Ash vs Evil Dead is an absolute must watch, and here’s five reasons why:
Ash is foretold in an ancient book
Ashley J. Williams fate was forever intertwined with the Necronomicon and Kandarian Demons when he and his friends played the tape recorder at that cabin in the woods decades ago. Yet, at the end of Evil Dead II, the reveal that Ash was the chosen one to defeat the deadites, as foretold in an ancient book, raised questions that still haven’t quite been answered. Why Ash? What exactly is the prophecy in full? Season 3 promises to provide answers, finally.
We love seeing Ash in compromising positions
Ash fighting deadites is a cornerstone of the entire franchise; Ash has dismembered, sliced, and bludgeoned his way through piles of the evil dead over the years. Yet the cast and crew still manage to find the most creative ways for Ash to go head to head with Kandarian evil. Sometimes even head to rectum. How do you top that? Perhaps by turning Ash into an evil puppet? Never doubt that Raimi and the writers will always find a way to top even the most outlandish of demonic battles.
Admittedly, prior to the inaugural season premiere, I was skeptical to learn that Ash would have partners in crime. Ashley J. Williams was always a bit of a lone wolf, whether through his selfishness or through his inability to keep loved ones safe, he just worked better alone. Until we got to know Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), and then I learned just how wrong my skepticism was. Not only has it been fun to see how their relationship with Ash has changed him, but now it’s hard to picture this world without them in it. Pablo as the heart, and Kelly as the fiery brains, the trio balance each other out in ways that lends depth to a series and emotional investment.
The nods and throwbacks to the original trilogy
For a series that spans nearly four decades and now exists in a fast-paced series, the Evil Dead universe has grown exponentially vast. There are new levels of demons to contend with beyond the deadites. Yet, the cast and crew behind the series never ever forget its roots, paying homage in both small and epic-scaled ways often. To do that while keeping it fresh is an impressive feat. From the return of Ellen Sandweiss as Cheryl in season 2, the return of Henrietta, to keeping the minute details of the original cabin in place during the season 1 climax, Ash vs Evil Dead knows how to fan service better than any other.
It’s the only way to get more seasons
Duh. It took a long time to get a follow up to Army of Darkness, and that’s because the theatrical release didn’t perform well. So I look at this as the last chance to find out what happens in Ash’s long winding story. Whether that means this is the final season or there’s a still a couple more left to tell ultimately depends on whether we support the show. It’s a small, obvious thing, but it’s worth it.