By Cameron R. Flatt, E23 Reporter

When the “Evil Dead” remake was announced in 2011, it reignited hope in the series’ fans for star Bruce Campbell and director Sam Raimi to return to their horror-comedy trilogy (“Evil Dead”, “Evil Dead 2”, and “Army of Darkness”). There were rumors and “official” confirmations for some sort of Evil Dead 4, Army of Darkness 2 or a crossover between the remake and the original. Then our prayers were finally answered by a special announcement at the 2014 San Diego Comic that proclaimed the coming of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, a ten episode Starz original series.

Obviously, with ludicrous levels of build up and expectations behind it, this series could easily add the long list of unsuccessful, nostalgia fueled retreads (see “Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, “Tron: Legacy”, “Terminator: Genisys”, and all of the 21st century remakes/reimagining of horror classics). Good news everyone! Every episode of “Ash vs Evil Dead’s” first season has managed to capture the twisted personality and warped imagination that inspired nearly everyone working in horror today.

With the show currently in its second season, all evidence points to it being a financial and critical success, but a majority of people I have talked to are either not watching it or not even aware it exists at all. What follows are my reasons for horror fans everywhere to be binging on “Ash vs Evil Dead” right now.

Bruce Campbell has definitely aged, but his charisma is still alive and kicking. 

There are a near infinite number of awesome elements in the series at hand, but they would all prove meaningless without its leading man. “Evil Dead” is nothing without Bruce Campbell and Bruce Campbell is nothing without “Evil Dead”. You probably know him from smaller parts here and there (Burn Notice or the gym coach from “Sky High” for example), but his career never topped the role of Ash Williams.

Most actors in his shoes would show up for this job ready for an easy pay check, but Campbell’s performance in the series demonstrates that he is truly appreciative of his origins and puts every bit of his talent to work. He still nails every one liner, his face still emotes like no one’s business and his energy is still that of an up-and-coming twenty-something. Bruce Campbell, have my adopted babies.

Sam Raimi is the only one with the proper level of insanity to make more “Evil Dead”. 

“Evil Dead” would have never happened without director Sam Raimi refusing to make a movie that was like anything that had come before it. He did whatever it took to bring his vision to life and threw the rule book into a flaming pit of Hell.

It was his passion that fueled the entire trilogy and it was that same passion the brought the franchise to television. Raimi wrote and directed the first episode and stayed on as a producer. This ensured that nothing was lost in the transition to a new medium and is the foundation for everything that makes this show thrive.

Gore galore and so much more. 

Convincing blood and guts are not enough to make a good horror film, but effects that land right between ridiculously over-the-top and unnervingly realistic are a staple of the movies and a lack thereof would make the show feel like a watered down cash in.

Thankfully, due to the unrated nature of a prescription channel like Starz and a budget that would have probably stopped 1981 Raimi’s heart, there is no absence of Deadite limbs and decapitated heads flying this way and that. And it is all pulled off through a beautiful blend of traditional practical effects and computer generated images. A fantastic example of this is the first demon they summon to help them and, of course, ends up causing bloody hijinks.

The high budget didn’t do away with the campy charm. 

“Camp” in this context means that a work of art intentionally embraces its lack of quality in a humorous fashion and is characteristic of horror and comedies of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The “Evil Dead” trilogy is a definitive example and a modern budget might have been counterintuitive for this style. Thankfully, all that cash simply gave the creative team more room to reign down mayhem and the cheeky jokes, hammy acting and outlandish scenarios are still allowed to act as the heart of the story.

The supporting cast is the breath life into this corpse. 

My first reaction to Ash having an entourage was skepticism and doubt. The idea of adding two young characters as back up seemed like an attempt to draw in the millennial crowd and could have gone so badly. Fortunately, an extremely rare occurrence came to pass and I was wrong because the writing and acting for Pablo and Kelly are both spot on.

Pablo is the surrogate for fans with his wide-eyed admiration of Ash while being genuinely concerned that his old age might hinder his ability to fight evil. Kelly, on the other hand, will not stand for his constant misogyny and overly inflated ego, serving as a sassy foil to fuel plenty of fantastic banter and bickering. These two are the show’s emotional center and, when events turn for this worse (and in this series, things get really bad), I actually found myself caring if they made it out ok.

What it all boils down to is that “Ash vs Evil Dead” maintains what we all loved about the movies while also bringing new and improved elements to the table. Bruce Campbell steals the show and our hearts (just as he always has), Sam Raimi is back as conductor of this crazy train, the signature gore was not lost in the switch to TV, the camp levels are all turned up to 11 and the new cast members keep us invested and Ash on his toes. Now you have no reason not to marathon through this classic-in-the-making on October 31st.

I appreciate you reading my article. No seriously… I reeeeeally appreciate it ….. handsome. Stop by my twitter sometime and maybe we can have a drink and talk about what you liked about my opinions, or hated, or whatever. You can find me anytime, day or night, @Cameron_Flatt. ‘till next time.

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