It doesn’t take much more than a minute of the trailer to realize that, nearly thirty years later, the Evil Dead franchise has lost none of its penchant for gore. It’s only a matter of seconds — when we see the aged Ash squeezing himself into a leather girdle — to realize it’s lost none of its sense of humor.
Stars of the new Ash vs. Evil Dead series on Starz Bruce Campbell and Lucy Lawless joined executive producers Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and showrunner Craig DiGregorio at the San Diego Comic-Con panel. In addition to announcing the Oct. 31 premiere date, it was revealed that the series will be 10 half-hour episodes, which panel host Scott Aukerman called “the five-hour movie we never knew we’d get again.”
Here are four reasons why old fans will not be disappointed after waiting nearly 30 years for a sequel to Army of Darkness, and why new fans should keep their Halloween night open to catch the premiere.
1. Starz Isn’t Squeamish
“They really wanted us to go to town, no-holds-barred,” said Sam. “Really deliver the gore, the laughs, the insanity of the Evil Dead movies. I think they wanted us to push it.”
“You have to go quite far to find the line with Starz,” added Lawless, citing the numerous orgy scenes from her previous work with the network, Spartacus. When asked if there were any orgies in Ash, Campbell joked, “Yes. Just not during filming.”
2. Ash Hasn’t Changed
Sam called him a “lame blowhard.” DiGregorio called him a “lovable a–hole.” The best Ivan could muster was, “He’s not very good at [having relationships with people].” Which is always what has made Ash so compelling. “He’s one of the most flawed heroes you can have in a show or a movie,” said Campbell, which is why he loves to play him. “You’ve got to have the boomstick,” he continued. “It’s mandatory. He’s still missing his hand, so he’s got to have the chainsaw at the end of his hand. It’s mandatory. What do you do with a chainsaw? You cut the living s–t out of any Deadites who come near you.”
3. Two Words: “Blood Keg”
The original movies are well known for the copious amounts of blood that made it to the screen and the series will be no different. Campbell said they had a “blood keg” and a “blood mortar” (“An air mortar filled with anything you want to put in it — some visceral thing after you blow a demon’s head off”). Lawless’s favorite device is the “pus rig.” She refused to divulge anything more, only that, “You’ll see it. Oh, you’ll see it!”
4. If It Succeeds, There Will Be More… Maybe Much More
“How many seasons would you like to see? Give me a number!” asked Campbell polling the audience. “Ten? You’re out of your freaking mind.” But maybe seven? “Nothing would please us more than to be able to bring this to you years from now.” Campbell said it’s the fervor of the fans that made this series happen in the first place. And if it goes long enough, Sam said there may even be a crossover with Ash and the heroine of Fede Alvarez’s 2013 remake. “Like a father/daughter thing?” asked Campbell. “No!” shot back Raimi. “Now that I hear that, the plan is off.”
Ash vs. Evil Dead premieres Halloween, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. on Starz.