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New York Comic Con: Ash vs Evil Dead panel and premiere recap

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Matt Klitscher/Starz

One thing we didn’t learn in the course of Saturday’s New York Comic Con panel for Starz’s new show, Ash vs Evil Dead? That actor Bruce Campbell is a highly entertaining panelist. Because, hey, everyone knows that anyway.

Here, however, is what we did glean from the surprise world premiere screening of the show’s first episode and subsequent, Kevin Smith-hosted Q&A with cast members Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Ray Santiago, Dana DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, showrunner Craig DiGregorio, and Sam Raimi, the director of the original Evil Dead movie trilogy who also oversaw the premiere. 

1. Campbell’s Ash will see a lot of “action,” in every sense. In fact, the premiere finds the Deadite-battling stock-boy enjoying sexual relations with a new lady friend who turns into a ghoul because — as we discover in flashback — a stoned Ash has previously read aloud from the Necronomicon to impress a previous female acquaintance. It is perhaps worth pointing out that all of this (and more!) occurs before the show’s opening title credit.

2. According to a half-joking Raimi, the initial impetus for the show came from Evil Dead producer Rob Tapert. “Rob said, ‘I’ve been doing a lot of work on TV and their standards have lowered quite a bit,'” explained the director. “‘So, maybe we should do a TV show.'”

3. The show will not feature any references to Lawless’ role in Xena: Warrior Princess. “This world is so perfect, you can’t be throwing anything else into the mix,” said the actress. Lawless also revealed she is playing the daughter of Necronomicon-studier Professor Raymond Knowby — a character featured in the first two movies — and will team with Jones’ cop to hunt down Ash and his “goober friends,” played by Santiago and DeLorenzo.

4. Campbell, whose previous TV credits include the lead role in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and a supporting role in the longrunnig Burn Notice, is nervous about the show’s chances of success. “Every time I star in a TV show, it lasts one season,” the actor explained. “Ever time I’m second fiddle, it goes on for a f—ing decade.”

5. Asked about which of the Evil Dead films the show most resembles, Raimi said that he believes the tone to be, “somewhere between Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. But it has some of the horror of Evil Dead 1.”

6. Showrunner DiGregorio’s favorite part of the entire first season “involves a deli slicer.”

7. For contractual reasons, the show is currently unable to feature any characters or mythology introduced in Army of Darkness, although Raimi suggested that could change in the future.

8. Raimi explained that the show’s retro look and style reflects the fact that Ash “hasn’t grown as a character in the last 30 years.”

9. The long-suffering Campbell deadpanned that he has come to dread receiving Evil Dead scripts, because of the amount of physical harm they portend for himself, and has now given up reading them altogether.

10. Unable to wreak direct vengeance upon Raimi for his tribulations, Campbell has taken to vandalizing the director’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, a vehicle which has appeared in all of the Spider-Man filmmaker’s movies and has a starring role in the TV show. “If you can’t kill Spider-Man, you kill Spider-Man’s loved ones,” explained the actor. “I learnt that from you, Sammy.”

Ash vs Evil Dead premieres on Oct. 31. You can see the show’s trailer, below.

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