The recently announced Evil Dead TV show was the honest-to-goodness Evil Dead news that franchise fans had been given in years. After an eternity of speculation about a sequel, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert revealed that they were giving us a TV series.
Now, Campbell has spoken to EW about the details, motivations, and why this is very much a continuation of the original movies.
“This is an opportunity to do something with full street cred,” he said. “[Fan reaction to last year’s Evil Dead remake] was all, ‘Yeah yeah, that was nice, fellas, but we still want the real deal.’ This is it. Sam’s back. I’m back. [Executive producer Rob Tapert’s] back. Love it or hate it, this will be the real deal.”
“Something we’re doing is taking the horror parts very seriously. We’re not making fun of the horror aspects. And it’s going to cause Ash—this crabby middle-aged man who doesn’t want to get dragged back into this—a lot of problems. He’s not the Ash he used to be….the beauty of Starz is there’s no content issues. Let’s face it: Fans want the carnage and the mayhem. So we intend to give them quite the explosion of viscera. Most of it directed at me, unfortunately.”
Campbell hints that the years since Army Of Darkness haven’t been easy for ol’ Ashley J Williams. “Ash has survivor’s guilt,” he explains. “You could have a heyday with his PTSD. He’s a war vet. He doesn’t want to talk about it, and he’ll lie about that stump on his hand to impress the ladies. This is a guy who’s got some issues. He’s emotionally stunted. But he’s the guy you want in the foxhole next to you. That’s the funny thing—he’s kind of an idiot, but man, if I had to go to battle, I’d want to be next to that guy, because he’ll bring it if he has to.”
However, despite his troubles, Campbell tells us that he’ll still be the same Ash we’ve always known “He continues being a trash-talking know-it-all who doesn’t really know anything. He’s the ultimate anti-hero. He’s a guy with no appreciable skills. He’s not a former Navy SEAL, he’s not a former CIA or FBI. He’s no special anything. He’s just a guy from S-Mart, you know? And think that’s part of what people relate too. All these super hero movies—I rather relate to a garage mechanic who gets into a sticky situation. That’s what I look forward to playing—a guy with horrible flaws. In Army of Darkness he can’t memorize three words and he’s responsible for the deaths of a 100 people—this is your lead character.”
He also stresses that involvement of Raimi was absolutely crucial. “Mostly we had to get Sam. That was the bottom line. I wouldn’t take it seriously if they didn’t get Sam, and neither would the fans. So we’re on the right road. And any other incoming directors would be apprenticing under his style and method. Like Fargo the TV show—there are rules about how you shoot that show, about how it’s supposed to look. So in our case, once they learn the system, the Evil Dead way, we can really have a blast with it.
“We’re going to get him as much as we possibly can. He’s a director of gigantic Hollywood movies, so we’re pretty fortunate for him to bless this project, and get it started, and do the pilot, and let people know we’re back and up and running. And Sam really shines in post-production. He loves the editing room. So he’ll have his hands on this whether he’s physically there or not, and he will certainly get us going. We’re just as concerned as the fans [about making it right], it’s not like we don’t care. We’ll be all over this thing like a cheap suit.”
All this sounds very promising indeed. A couple of years ago we would have been very cautious, but with the original team involved and the proliferation of excellent movies being turned into excellent TV series, we’re getting a little cautiously optimistic…
You can buy The Evil Dead Trilogy on Blu-ray for £15.10 at Amazon.co.uk. Keep up to date with the latest horror news with the new issue of SciFiNow.