Bruce Campbell

Ash vs Evil Dead finale Ep. 10 “The Dark One”

Ash vs Evil Dead

There was a lot riding on Ash vs Evil Dead. Rarely can films make the jump to the small screen and make a successful attempt. But this show repeatedly allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief. With such a great first season, there was plenty riding on the shoulders of the finale, but “The Dark One” delivered everything an Evil Dead fan could hope for.

Last week’s episode left off with a major reveal: Ruby is the writer of the Necronomicon and thus a big name in the world of Evil. She’s set the face of the book to suck on Pablo’s face like some sort of flesh version of Man in the Iron Mask. Ruby grabs her new pet and drags him with her into the dreaded cellar.

Ash makes up his mind to follow them, but he falls down the stairs and back to where we began: Ash about to read his “poetry” from a book of evil to a girl. The wiser Ash declines, but he soon spots Ruby sitting in the trailer with him. She offers him a deal that he can have his life back if she can have control over the demons. The truce is extended, but Ash declines.

Meanwhile, Kelly and Heather (that random hiker chick, if you don’t remember) are left to fend for themselves. Jelly being the more obvious threat is literally kicked out of the house by the house. Needless to say, Heather is pretty crap at being a hero and spends more time getting stabbed by things and getting attacked by couches than doing anything else.

While Heather is busy getting killed (to be fair, she lasted longer than I thought she would), Kelly has the sense to try and burn down the house, which incidentally is what happened to the real cabin from the original film. But the house finally has enough and lets Kelly back in.

Back in the cellar, Ash has his hands full. He spies Ruby chanting from her book and forcing poor Pablo to vomit up her demon babies for her. He tries to get Pablo back, but it soon becomes Ash vs Pablo then Kelly runs in to save the day to make it Kelly vs Pablo but then it’s really all about Ash vs Ruby.

Being the utter idiot he is, Ash finally succumbs to temptation and agrees to Ruby’s offer. She frees Pablo from his flesh-face prison and allows the Ghost Beaters to go on their way, despite Pablo and Kelly’s pleas to Ash.

The reports of the giant sinkholes are a clear signal that Ash fucked things up. Again. But where would we be if Ash actually learned a lesson for once? The closing scenes are interesting as it’s the only scene where both kids are in the back seat, away from Ash. If anything causes a strain on a relationship, it’s probably when one of your friends allows The Dark One to have control over all demons and evil.

So where does that leave things for season two? Will Ash become the new Buffy? Ash the Demon Slayer. It’s not too clear, but no one can out run their past and absolutely no one can out run evil. Even in Jacksonville.

The season finale of Ash vs Evil Dead left me feeling excited for season two – the same type of excitement I felt from episode one. The show sometimes became confused throughout the season when it couldn’t decide on a tone, but these can all be improvements to be made in episodes to follow. As far as film to TV adaptions go, Ash vs Evil Dead proves that good things can happen. The finale delivered such a strong final note, you can’t help but feel groovy.

Ash vs Evil Dead Ep. 5 “The Host”

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“Shoot first. Think never.”

Half-way through the season, and I finally can sum up this show in two words: shotgun bong. Only in the realm of Ash vs Evil Dead can this be perfectly right. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Last week, Ash was tripping on some fancy potion juice. He attacked Demon Kelly as she choked him in his stupor. Being the clever demon that it is, Kelly points the finger at Ash, who wakes up to find himself tied up in the Brujo’s garage.

The Brujo sets to work to exorcise the demon from Ash while Pablo and Kelly head back to the trailer. Pablo is too busy grumbling to notice how weird Kelly is acting. “I feel like I’m the sous chef of his exorcism kitchen,” he mutters. It’s here that Pablo eventually sees Kelly with the incredible shotgun bong. Demon Kelly tries coming on to the boy, but thankfully he’s too naive to fall for much of anything.

But this demon doesn’t take rejection lightly, and thus Pablo finally gets to see the dark side of Kelly. Thankfully she’s a pretty easy demon to wrangle and she’s tied up in no time in the Brujo’s garage in Ashs’s place. The exorcism scene here is pretty incredible. It’s super gross (of course) and includes plenty of laughs (as always). Dana DeLorenzo does a great job at being really difficult to look at, the special effects are also pretty good (minus some really questionable CGI vomit).

There are several reasons this exorcism is good:

  1. Regular Kelly is back. FINALLY. Her sarcastic humour and negativity is always appreciated.
  2. Ash finally is starting to get some of his mojo back.
  3. Pablo is ready to kick some Evil ass.

The characters are both going on a literal and figurative journey here. In five episodes, that’s quite a bit of character development. The writers have packed a lot in to keep the main three moving and interesting. While Demon Kelly wasn’t my favourite part of the show, it did open up a way for the characters to, as my dad would say, grow some hair on their chests.

By the time Ted Nugent begins playing, there’s a pretty good feeling that the group is ready to move forward feeling just a little bit more determined and prepared. I’m really quite looking forward to what’s next for the Ghost Beaters. This sub-plot of possession was okay, but I’m dead ready for some old-fashioned Deadites.

So what about Amanda and Ruby? Yes, they’re still in this. They had a pretty brief amount of face time this week. This plot-line is surprisingly super, super dull. I really hope that there’s some sort of pay-off in the end for dealing with these spots of boredom. Lucy Lawless single-handedly carries every scene she is in with Jill Marie Jones. And I really want to like her, but so far Jones’s acting has been pretty ‘meh’ as of late. Hopefully things pick up for these two because their story could be so great.

Ash vs Evil Dead ep. 3 the Ghost Beaters in “Books From Beyond”

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Well, that was quick.

The third episode of Ash vs Evil Dead was really over quickly. Just a brief 30 minutes is clearly not enough time to spend with Ash and the gang. Sure it’s one thing to fulfill all the fun and action viewers want, but it’s clearly a bit restraining for this show to be squeezed into a time slot so small.

From a show that absolutely nailed it straight off the bat, “Books From Beyond” was clearly a weaker episode. It was all too brief and it was obvious that this was a baby in the hands of new a new writer and director. This is how I feel about Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s fourth season: strange choices and never really quite hitting the mark with characters. We only see Kelly’s parents sporadically, but there was enough to care about them and what happened to them. Most of that was probably due to some fantastic acting, but I also don’t think the writing was as strong for character building.

Speaking of characters, viewers finally got to see some of Lucy Lawless’s character Ruby. She’s still pretty shrouded in mystery, but when she arrives at Kelly’s parent’s house, it’s clear that she knows what’s going on and she’s a lot more frightening than I thought she would be. If she can make Deadites scream, it’s probably best to hide under your bed when she comes around. One thing I know is that I cannot wait to see her and Ash together in a scene. Bruce Campbell and Lawless go bad to their Hercules/Xena days so it will be great to see some of that chemistry.

Back in the world of Ash, he and his two side-kicks arrive at the book store where Ash believes he can get some answers about the Necronomicon. Pablo is clearly psyched to be a part of a team and suggests that the trio go by the name “The Ghost Beaters” which Kelly and Ash both find unpalatable and rightly so… but I do hope this name sticks. This is inevitably going to go wrong as soon as he steps through the door and Amanda sees him.

The cop decides to take Ash down by herself, but not before Pablo and all his goodness decides to knock her out with a bone. With Amanda handcuffed and out of the way, the boys, along with a forgettable book shop owner, decide it’s time to get business settled with the evil. The owner has some information to share with them (and the audience) about how the book works. The book itself is not inherently evil, but instead works as a portal to evil. Ash’s brilliant idea is to summon one of the weaker demons to try and get some answers out of it.

The demo that is summoned doesn’t look anything like an Evil Dead creature. It sort of looks like if Guillermo del Toro made a movie in 3D, forgot to give people 3D glasses, then had it mate with a Predator. It was a really cool design, but just not very with the feel of the franchise. Plus I’m really not interested in the introduction of more demons when it’s clear that the Ghost Beaters already have enough on their plates.

While the boys are getting down to business, Kelly and Amanda have a chat. It’s really cool to see Kelly’s full belief in Ash even after everything she’s been through. This undying faith might not last long, but seeing genuine comradery in a show is really great. Kelly really is the star of this episode as she’s also the one to save the idiots from the demo they’ve raised. She hits the demo with the book after shouting “Go back to hell.” That seems to do the trick. And if that’s all it really takes, hopefully this evil business will be wrapped up pretty quickly and we can watch our characters go for a couple of beers instead.

Everything said, I still loved this weeks show. I crave this series week after week. And while “Books From Beyond” didn’t reach the magic of the first two episodes for me, I thought it was still intriguing and engaging. By giving viewers different relationships to study with some unusual settings, I think Ash vs Evil Dead is moving on at a fantastic pace. I really, really can’t wait for more.

Ash vs Evil Dead episode 102 “Bait”*


*now with two times the gore

Last week’s premier of Ash vs Evil Dead established an excellent premise, and last night’s episode “Bait” put those characters into action.

Ash and his co-workers Pablo and Kelly are still in Ash’s trailer in the aftermath of some series Deadite killing. After being subjected to some seriously terrifying scenes, Kelly insists on going to see if her father is alright. In “El Jefe,” Kelly’s dad was supposedly seen his wife, who had been dead for six-months. Their daughter heads out to their home to find them, leaving Ash and Pablo behind.

Ash, who would rather get the Necronomicon translated than chase after more Deadites, reluctantly agrees to follow Kelly when Pablo tells him that she’s run off with the book. Ash and Pablo (who are officially the two with the best chemistry in the entire show) hitch up the trailer to the Delta and head off to get Kelly. Along the way, the two are attacked by their former Value Stop boss who is now a Deadite. The two friends attempt to fend of their boss in what is in an incredibly hilarious scenes.

After arriving at Kelly’s parent’s house in a rather bloody state, they find that Kelly and her parents are perfectly fine. Her mother, who is totally (seemingly) fine for someone who was dead for six months, claims that she had amnesia and was in a homeless shelter for the past number of weeks. Kelly seems utterly sold on the story and so does her father. Ash, who is now the weary hero, is less easily convinced. But he and Pablo accept a dinner invitation extended by the family, and Pablo utters those words to guarantee that everything will go wrong:

“Everything is okay and we get a free dinner.”

The show begins to play with your mind as you watch the family sit down to eat. Just how much can you trust Ash’s judgement on all things evil and dead? Everyone else in the room seems convinced, but Ash isn’t fooled. He punches her in the face to reveal her Deadite form. Now Mimi Rogers (who plays Kelly’s mom) gives a really great performance. She managed to be normal, just a bit weird and then threw her performance into being something to be seriously afraid of.

One thing that “Bait” manages to do is establish Pablo, Ash and Kelly as one united group. The two kids have no other choice but to follow this man into the unknown. Awaiting them at the bookstore will be former State policewoman, Amanda. She’s following up on Ash’s trail rightly thinking that he is the man to blame for all the deaths going on in the area. Her strong sense of calm and determination will prove to be an interesting wrench to throw into the trio group’s mix.

Next week’s episode will show a bit more of Lucy Lawless’s character, who was only on screen briefly in a scene during the premiere. Episode three looks to bring a lot more of these story lines together. Unfortunately for Amanda, things don’t look to be getting any easier for her if the preview was anything to go by. But hopefully there’s plenty of what was in these two episodes (just lots of blood, please).

For two episodes in a row, the mood of the show has been set with some music that has been utterly spot on. While the music often used references Ash’s heyday in many forms, the best of these has to be each time the show embraces its Michigan roots. Any excuse to hear Detroit’s finest in anything will be alright by me.

I’m already finding that Ash vs Evil Dead is just as quotable as the trilogy that preceded it. The one-liners come thick and fast because above all, these first two episodes are entirely about embracing the ludicrous world Ash lives in. If there wasn’t the comedy aspect, some of the gore would most likely be a bit too much for casual audiences, but thankfully Ash vs Evil Dead keeps killing it in all the right places.

Ash vs Evil Dead is zany, gory and absolutely groovy

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“How does it feel?”

“Groovy.”

Man, oh freaking man, has Starz Ash vs Evil Dead gotten off with a literal bang. The new show, which premiered on Halloween night, brought back a familiar face, sex and a whole lot of gore. If the first episode “El Jefe” is anything to go by, viewers are in for a real treat.

Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is now three decades older than we last saw in him fighting off Deadites. He’s still smug with that charming smile, but he’s also a bit overweight and living in a trailer. He’s kept his nose (mostly) clean, but ruined everything by waking the demons once again during a night getting high with a date. His idea of impressing the lady is reading some “poetry” or rather some lines from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.

Cleaning up Ash’s mess as Michigan State Trooper, Amanda Fischer (Jill Marie). She and her partner go to investigate a house after reported noise complaints. Waiting for them is Ash’s date, who is now a Deadite herself. Amanda’s partner is quickly possessed. To save her own skin, she is forced to shoot her partner in the head. Until she can clear her name of murder, Amanda is forced to sit-out of the force and investigate on her own time.

At Value Stop, the modern day S-Mart, Ash is trying to grab his last paycheck before hightailing it out of town. There viewers are introduced to the immediately-lovable Pablo, an immigrant from Honduras. He has an undying fondness for his co-worker and is disappointed by Ash’s decision to leave. But before Ash can grab his paycheck and leave, Pablo points out the new worker, Ashley.

Ash attempts his charms on Ashley. She tells him his mother has died only six months before. Ash, wanting to remain on the upper hand, leaves to take care of business in the backroom. Here he faces another Deadite when he is attacked by a possessed doll. He’s saved by a bewildered Pablo, who tells Ash the story of someone his shaman uncle used to talk about. A man called El Jefe or the boss will be the only man able to rise against evil, and Pablo believes fate has found its man. Ash, refusing to take any responsibility, heads home to leave home.

But Ash can’t out-run evil. Ashley receives a call from her father, saying that her mother is back. Panicking, she acquires the Pablo’s assistance. The two head over to Ash’s trailer to ask him one more time for his film. The final scenes from the movie are some great throw-backs to the original trilogy. Fans of the Evil Dead films will have plenty of fun picking everything out. But the ending shows Ash with his two new cohorts by his side. And it all promises to be one hell of a season.

Nearly every day now there’s an announcement of another show or movie being remade, rebooted or remolded is announce. But what Ash vs Evil Dead does well is breathing new life into the story (or dead, if you want to be cheeky). This is a sequel that many fans probably actually wanted. If you go with the theatrical ending of 1992’s Army of Darkness, there is a great open-ending to the film franchise. And with the ever-growing affection for Bruce Campbell, it was only natural that fans genuinely wanted to know what happened to their hero.

On a production note, the practical effects are simply amazing in the first episode. It’s great to see so much of the spirit of the original films come through in the show. Much of that could also be do to the fact that original creator and director Sam Raimi came back to his roots to direct the first episode. There’s much of the old Three Stooges slap-stick humour in the show and it’s genuinely fun to watch a show, well, be fun. It will be dead-interesting to see where the rest of the season goes with the plot line.

Ash is back in a big way, and, damn, is it groovy.

Six things to take away from MCM London Comic Con

Another weekend and another comic convention. This time it was the almighty MCM London Comic Con. There were really high expectations after last weekend’s London Film and Comic Con, and sadly this one at the Expo centre. Yet, there are many things to be talked about and many exciting things to be looking forward to in the coming year.

Here are the top five things we can take away from this weekend:

1. The Power Rangers are still amazing

A lot of people still really love the Power Rangers, and I mean really.

The Rangers were a huge part of my childhood. My sister and I used to play in our old pool and pretend to fight Rita and Goldar. That was many, many years ago and I have since given up hopes of becoming the Pink Ranger. While it took me a while to remember references like “zords” and “Bulk and Skull”, many many people hadn’t forgotten. The four rangers who made an appearance (red ranger Austin St. John, blue ranger David Yody, yellow ranger Karan Ashley, black ranger Walter Emanuel Jones) were so down to earth and thankful for the fan base that allowed them to savor their years on the popular television show. The four of them had personality for days. And the Q&A was the most feverish that I had seen so far.

There was one moment that was so incredible and genuine that it brought tears to my eyes. Strangely it wasn’t from any of the fans telling their stories, but from blue ranger David Yost. The actors were asked what it was like after the show ended, and Yost told of his struggle with his identy. He told his story of how he had come out gay, but had tried to suppress who he was. Eventually he suffered a mental breakdown and moved to Mexico for year. You could feel the truth hang in every word when he said that, like in the show, being yourself is important. It was truly the most important moment of the weekend.

2. Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons are one of the great pairs of the comic world

The world is currently bloated with super hero films and comic book adaptions, so something different from that world is truly a breath of fresh air. Guardians of the Galaxy is possibly the most recent example of offering audiences characters they might not be familiar with. The Secret Service might just be the sequel to that success. Creators Mark Millar (Kickass) and Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) sat on a panel to introduce their newest project – a new comic series will be adapted into a companion film – Kingsman: The Secret Service. The story follows a chavy London boy who is taken in to become a spy. The two were had plenty of excitement to go around about the story. They promised plenty of light-hearted and old-school style spy stories that include exploding pens and plenty of household items that aren’t what they seem.

The film stars Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson and newcomer Taron Egerton. The film is set for a February 2015 release date and will certainly pack a lot of punch.

3. Welcome to Purgatory will be next year’s more ridiculous film – in the best way possible

This upcoming film is about three people who travel together to purgatory, only to discover that Heaven and Hell have been destroyed. Their adventure to set things right will be the catalyst for the rest of the movie. The panel was filled with cast members and crew like Jack O’Halloran (Superman I & II) and director Gene Fallaize. They had plenty of surprises set for the crowd including pre-recorded cast videos from the ever chin-tastic Bruce Campbell and James Buckley (The Inbetweeners) and a . With such an eclectic cast, it’s promising to be one of the most interesting off-the-wall films made next year.

Oh, and there was a special cast announcement. The grandiose Brian Blessed will be joining the cast as the guardian Paul, and there really was quite a fanfare when he came on stage. The entire cast seemed to drive the point home that they were really looking forward to their work on set. Welcome to Purgatory is still in pre-production with a release date set for late 2015.

4. Daniel Radcliffe is an amazing gentleman

Now Radcliffe was the main draw for many people this weekend. The actor’s appearance was announced only earlier in the month as a sort of last-minute surprise to promote his upcoming film Horns. His stay was really short, but he made an impact even on a quick panel. Most of the early questions focused on his new work, but when the Q&A was opened to the crowd, the questions went in a thousand and one directions. Radcliffe kept his composure and was able to answer even the silliest of questions (what is your favourite animal from Harry Potter) with grace and great thoughtfulness (the basilisk because it reminded him of when his father read him the book when he was young).

The young actor has proved himself time and time again to be not only an enjoyable actor to watch, but a talent worth listening to.

5. Amber Benson might just be a vampire

Morganville: The Series is a new project that might be the future of how many people consume media. It is a YouTube-based webseries that adapts the popular Morganville Vampire series to the small screen, or the computer screen rather. You know that book series you loved as a kid and always hoped it would be adapted? Thanks to platforms like YouTube and sites like Kickstarter, projects that were once faint dreams can come to fruition, and that is the story behind the success of Morganville.

Possibly the most astounding things about this project is how damn beautiful Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) has remained. She plays the head vampire in the series, and I’m not too sure if she’s not a real vampire herself. The first episode of Morganville: the Series airs October 27th on Geek & Sundry.

6. It’s time for Japan to move on to bigger and better things

Now I understand fandoms. They’re a great thing, but there is a time and season for everything. One of the biggest faults with this weekend’s convention was that there was simply too many things trying to go on at once: video games, video makers, comics, nostalgia signings, regular signings, manga, anime, cosplay, films. All great things with massive fan bases, but it was almost too much of a good thing.

While the organisers tried to make the stalls sectioned off, much of the merchandise was mixed together. That doesn’t exactly make things easy for people only interested in one thing. The crowds were massive on Saturday and it was very difficult to maneuver around. Queues for signings were in the way of getting to the main theatres. I had to crawl past loads of manga before I even got to what I was interested in looking at. There was a specific area for Asian works. I think anime and the like has just gotten so popular it is time for a separate convention (perhaps there already is one, so enlighten me). There was a whole lot less “comic” and a lot more…of everything else.

For the summer round of comic cons, I’d would greatly recommend the London Film and Comic Con (which will be moving to Olympia from their home in Earls Court), but depending on the guests – I would say skip MCM London unless you’re prepared for a younger crowd and enjoy getting your eyes poked at with fairy wings which surprisingly happens a lot. This is a convention on a bigger scale and it seems to be struggling with the crowds.

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