Ash is back, baby — and despite moving to TV, he won’t be pulling any punches.
In Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell reprises his role as the stock boy, aging lothario and chainsaw-handed monster hunter who has spent the last 30 years avoiding responsibility, maturity and the terrors of the Evil Dead. Now, when a Deadite plague threatens to destroy all of mankind, Ash is finally forced to face his demons — personal and literal.
“It would be silly of us to rip the fans off by doing a watered-down version of the series,” Campbell said Friday at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour. “If this came out as a movie, it would be unrated. … The beauty of working with Starz is we have no content restriction whatsoever.”
Having the freedom to keep the extremely bloody carnage and mayhem infused into the show was part of the criteria of finding a home for the series. “It was very important we found a network that was willing to go to the limit and really let us go anywhere we wanted with the humor, outrageous horror [and] crazy amounts of gore, which is one of the hallmarks of the Evil Dead films,” said executive producer Sam Raimi.
“How much blood is there going to be?” Campbell said of the frequently asked question. “I went blind the other day shooting a scene. That’s how much blood there is on the show. I’ve been gagged once and I went blind.”
Even amid gallons of blood, though, Ash vs. Evil Dead finds a great balance of humor and heart that’s unlike most zombie projects on TV and film, said Raimi. “Most zombie films or TV shows have to do with the monsters being the stars,” he said. “We have a show that stars a monster fighter, a hero, one of us. We can identify with him.”
The project also stars Lucy Lawless, making a return to Starz after starring on Spartacus, playing Ruby, a mysterious figure who is myopic in her quest to hunt down the source of the recent Evil outbreaks. The only problem is she believes that Ash is the cause of it all. “She’s a bad bitch and she’s stalking Ash Williams,” Lawless said. “She’s got a big chip on her shoulder and a hot obsession.”
As for Ash Williams’ future, Campbell seemed open for more. “This season will force us to make more movies,” Campbell said, noting that even 24 years after making the last film, the fans have always asked for more. “No matter what we say to them or what we give them, it will never be enough, and we’re very grateful for that.”
Ash vs. Evil Dead will premiere Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 p.m. ET on Starz.