Ashy Slashy’s Taking Over Universal Studios by R.C. Murphy
Just when you thought it was safe to enter a theme park alone, Universal Studios announced that this fall, Ash vs Evil Dead will join the ranks of great horror franchises the park has adapted for their Halloween Horror Nights event in Hollywood and Orlando. Starting September 15th, horror fans will have the chance to walk through not only the AvED haunted maze, but also the long-standing The Walking Dead maze, as well as haunts for The Shining, American Horror Story, and Jabbawockeez. Tickets are available online now.
Below is the official description for the maze. Hopefully they’ll fully utilize the franchise, instead of picking one or two setups and repeating them in two dozen rooms, as they have in the past with mazes like A Nightmare on Elm Street.
The Ash vs Evil Dead maze will transport guests into the town of Elk Grove, Mich., where they will encounter Deadites – people or objects possessed by evil demons – that have been unwittingly unleashed by Ash Williams – again. Throughout the maze, guests will come face-to-face with disturbing characters and iconic comedic and gory scenes from seasons 1 and 2 as they desperately try to escape all things evil…before it’s too late.
The STARZ Original Series Ash vs Evil Dead is a follow-up to the original The Evil Dead movie, which has long been regarded as a cult classic since its debut in 1981. Starring Bruce Campbell, who reprises his role as Ash Williams, the series has amassed a huge fan base and was renewed for a third season by STARZ. Catch up on the STARZ APP.
Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims of their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.
Additional details about Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit Halloween Horror Nights’ official site.
So, who’s planning a road trip to get their pants scared off?
Much like Bruce Campbell the second he hit the San Diego Comic-Con stage, I cannot and will not contain my giddy fangirl squeal over Lee Majors joining the cast for AvED’s second season. A few scant years ago, Campbell told fans he would play Ash again when monkeys flew out his backside, and now he’s got the Six Million Dollar Man playing his pops on TV. Campbell did look a tad sheepish when someone toward the panel’s end brought up that very statement. I’m sure many, many fans are grateful he was wrong.
A surefire way to make a buck at the con over the weekend was to either sit on the panel with Campbell, or sic your children at him from the front row. The star first bribed his costars to say the right things, even Majors and the panel moderator. Then once the questions started, he paid three children to take off their DC villains costumes and get jobs. Yes, folks, Bruce Campbell took several moments to stop and parent someone else’s kids after discovering the first, a ten year old, watched the show. Pro tip: Don’t be that dad. You can see which one in the panel footage Starz posted.
On to the juicy details. Really juicy. Creator Sam Raimi says season two has more intensity. Which in their language means more blood. Good thing Starz is cool with whatever these good people want to put on screen. Campbell praised the cable network for staying hands-off. If Raimi, Tapert, and Campbell attempted to revive the franchise with another film, it wouldn’t have happened, according to the star. Sam Raimi elaborated on the Starz topic. “They want to provide something that’s not just out there, but can’t be found anywhere else on television, anywhere on cable. They want it to be a unique experience so that nobody is providing anything like it.” Well, ain’t that an understatement? Not seeing many networks lining up to show Campbell’s ass or someone smoking weed from a shotgun.
Lucy Lawless returns as Ruby. This season she’s finally a fleshed-out character and in need of Ash and his team. Or as she put it, “…fully in this ferocious second season.” While, yes, Ruby played a large part in season one, they created her as they went. Lawless said the character didn’t even have a last name until episode nine. Having Ruby along will make things a little more balanced for Kelly. We can expect to see some, “girl power thing,” from the ladies this season.
Ted Raimi rejoins the Evil Dead crew. He plays Chet Kaminski, Ash’s childhood friend. When discussing why they brought Ted back, Campbell said, “This is stupid. Where’s Ted? We’ve got to torment someone else on this show.” Aside from the apparent 30 year-old Kick Me sign on Ted’s back, he brings a fun dynamic to the crew missing in the previous season. The energy they had during the panel was insane. Except Majors. He seemed content to take it all in quietly. I don’t blame him. Those panels are overwhelming the first time around. Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago were likewise awestruck when they sat after being introduced.
Ash vs Evil Dead returns to Starz in October. In the meantime, slake your bloodlust with the trailer.
There wasn’t much left at stake personally for Ash at the end. I really wanted him to feel more in this episode, and while he did show huge growth adding his team into negotiations with Ruby at the episode’s end, it’s sugar coating on Styrofoam.
We say goodbye, again, to Amanda. Her deadite counterpart crashes the party inside the cabin after Pablo has that thing latch onto his face. True to form, she is the one to deliver the infamous, “I’m going to swallow your soul,” line during her final fight with Ash. Before DeadAmanda is cut in half, Ruby takes Pablo and the Necronomicon into the basement. Things get freakier from there.
Doomed to his own ill-advised plans, Ash goes into the cellar alone to save Pablo. Okay, Kelly could have probably talked him into a group effort, but the cabin shook Ash into the basement where Ruby gave him a vision of the night he read from the book again to unleash more evil and get laid. This is where it gets a bit clunky. We’re to believe now that the Dark Ones are down to one Dark One who wishes not to unleash evil, but control it to maintain universal balance. All the vital information about Ruby’s scheme is dumped in this daydream. Then she attempts to make a deal with Ash, one we all realize he’ll probably take at some point just to screw things up even more. It ruins the surprise.
I don’t know why Heather was ever present, other than to give them someone other than tiny demons to kill in this episode. She’s meat. Don’t get attached. She sure isn’t attached to any body part by the time the cabin literally chews her up and spits her out in a gush of blood and chunks. The wave knocks Kelly down, honestly just dirt on a turd sandwich at this point. Kelly has been thrown around, had an eye pop on her and Heather, the guy she likes looks like he’s auditioning for a remake of The Mask, she’s locked out of the cabin, and the savior she’s supposed to rely on isn’t a team player. Eventually, she sets the cabin on fire, injuring it enough for it to unlock the doors.
In the basement it’s quite beautiful. I mean, that’s what everyone says when witnessing the miracle of birth, right? Unless it’s Pablo birthing demons by vomiting huge, wriggling, uterus-looking things. The demons which crawl out are played by children. They are evil. Evil children are evil. Why do people insist on tormenting me by adding demonic children to things I enjoy? Ash fights one child demon, the others flee.
Most of this episode is fight scenes. It keeps the awkward story bits from getting too much attention while highlighting an aspect from the films everyone loves—Bruce Campbell getting hit a lot. The final fight sequences all boil down to one thing: Ash has to make a decision. Either he can kill Ruby and wait to see how the chips fall with Pablo’s possession and the unleashed evil, or he can take the deal and trust Ruby to do as she says. He tries to get the best of both worlds, ensuring safe passage for Team Badass and a little money to help them on the way. It’s not as much cash as he wanted, but they have gas money. Yes, Ash just handed the future of mankind to an evil woman for a couple bucks and a trip to Jacksonville, FL.
Ruby totally reneges on the deal, too. There’s sinkholes popping up all over the area as Team Badass trundle off into the sunset. At least we know there’s still evil to fight in season two.
Does it feel like the honeymoon is over? For me, the shine on the blood-encrusted gold rings AvED slipped on fans’ fingers dulled. Why? The formula. The movies series used the formula well—Ash arrives, evil, death, and chaos follow. In the end, our main man walks away, dirty, tired, possibly maimed, and alone. Though they negated the alone part physically, Ash is mentally alone on this trip. Breaking the formula down to fit the series means each episode is pretty predictable. We can only have so much fun watching Kelly and Pablo take two gallons of blood to the face for five minutes in each twenty-something minute episode. While they do tend to mix up the fights and gross-out gags, it’s not enough to make us sit up and go, “Oh.”
When did horror television become about maintaining the same instead of breaking boundaries? This franchise, most of all, was the last I expected to play it safe. Showing Bruce Campbell’s butt in the first episode is not living dangerously.
When we left the gang, they’d killed deadites in a restaurant and left with a bonus team member—Amanda. We catch up with them in the middle of a misty forest, discussing the merits of Ash allowing the others to join him, though he’s still hesitant considering the formula and everyone except Ash dying as a result. Now would the show really kill off Pablo, Kelly, and Amanda? I want to say no, to give it something more to hold over the films—and also give them a solid base for the future considering season two was green-lit before episode 101 aired.
But here we are. Again. With Ash doubting his team even as he leads them to meet with his old pal Lem’s militia group in order to gear up for the final battle with evil. Before they even make it into the camp, they find a gutted corpse, an injured man babbling about an attack, and masked militants who shoot first, ask later. Luckily, it only applies to the injured man, who they think is, “…one of those things,” and their leader makes his head the consistency of oatmeal.
Ash talks his way into an actual meeting with the armed brain trust—that’s sarcasm if you can’t tell. Before they get to haggling for the good guns, evil arrives in the form of DeadLem, who’s mostly naked and possessed. The militia think he’s been gassed by Big Brother. If that’s a demon’s name, then they’re so on point. Unfortunately, these goons are slow on the uptake. Don’t get attached. Most end up dead. The others survive, but only to run away once they realize they’re way out of their element.
Lem’s attack, times with the team’s arrival, make the militia nervous. Ash and Amanda are handcuffed together, then dumped in another section of the compound. Why not, say, a jail cell? It’d be easier to keep captives captive if they’re not left to wander through endless tunnels, one of which surely leads outside. It does give them time to discuss Ruby, who isn’t dead, but rises from the ashes and reclaims her car. No worries, DeadLem somehow finds his way into the labyrinth to stalk the handcuffed—and flirting—duo. I’d hoped they would forego forcing one of the women on the team into Ash’s bed, but there it is, Ashmanda. DeadLem makes several attempts to blow up the pair. At last Amanda gets one over on the deadite. Ash thanks her by almost kissing her, until they’re interrupted by the cavalry.
Kelly and Pablo escape captivity after DeadLem’s meeting-time attack. The militia spread out to find them, though they manage to hide pretty much in plain sight alongside the dirt road leading to the compound. The big plan? Steal a gun, a gas mask, and take over the compound with Pablo posing as a militia member. The plan works, up until they miscalculate the number they’re against and get nabbed mid-theft. They’re dumped in a truck, but the vehicle goes nowhere. A deadite wipes out the guys holding them. Pablo takes out the deadite with the militia’s truck. Kelly makes sure it’s really dead after testing the new-to-her semi-automatic rifle. She unloads the gun into the deadite. Pablo is covered in blood. Off they go to save the day and interrupt a kiss which I believe should never happen if they wish to maintain the integrity of Amanda’s character.
The team catches—and releases when they leave—the militia, then pilfers whatever they may need for the fight at the cabin. Ash gives a rousing speech about how much he appreciates everyone.
Then Ash ditches the team. Because, formula. Or he was abducted. But my guess is he ran to save them. Annoying since it’s been his stance since the get go and they negated actual character growth by perpetuating his distrust. “But he’s protecting them!” A group who a minute before he leaves calmly pumps a deadite full of bullets. No hesitation. No worrying about the human it once was. They put the deadite down, saved the militia, and helped Ash secure weapons. They’ve earned trust, but the show’s writers are stuck on the notion that Ash’s appeal is his swagger and lone wolf routine. His appeal is the ability to adapt to any situation, even if that situation requires competent backup.
Ruby also has a weird connection to the deadites, one which is teased yet again after Ruby and Amanda arrive at Brujo’s farm, only to find the funeral pyre burning as well as the idols. The remaining idols inside the house react to Ruby with similar curses to when they faced Eligos. Hell, even Brujo has something to say when he jumps from the pyre as a deadite to attack Ruby. How is she a double crosser? Did Ruby make a pact with the deadites? Is she the real reason why the book was at the cabin? We may not find out. Ruby and DeadBrujo fell into the fire. Amanda didn’t bother sticking around to see if her new friend survived. The second Amanda realized Ash’s POS rustbucket backfired on a nearby road, she steals Ruby’s car—minus Ash’s hand, which wandered off—and follows.
Unconcerned with potential pursuit, the gang stops for a bite. Ash attempts to dump his baggage early, telling Pablo and Kelly they can’t go to the cabin. They call BS, no amount of danger will keep them from seeing this through now they’ve been dragged in. Kelly lost her family; and Pablo has no one left aside from his awkward feelings about Kelly and a half-hearted friendship with Ash—neither have anything left to lose. Pablo proves his mettle by telling Ash, “If I were a deadite, it’d be an honor for you to cut my head off.”
It’s an honor they all may experience soon if Ash doesn’t stop finding danger in the most mundane spots.
We already know Ash isn’t the most stellar guy. After he offers to pay for the gang’s food, he tries to back out. Pablo and Kelly call him on it and he moves on to hitting on the waitress, promising her the best sex of her life to work off the bill. He’s not even concerned when Nancy points out her menacing husband working in the kitchen. Ash just wanders to the bathroom to await his next easy conquest.
The woman who walks in isn’t the woman he wants to see. Amanda and Ash fight again, with her still assuming he has a direct hand in the deadites and the deaths they cause, not that he’s a doorknob with his libido doing the thinking ninety percent of the time. It isn’t until the other State Police officer she calls in is killed and transformed into a deadite that Amanda suddenly realizes, nothing the doorknob does actually makes these things; the monsters just show up, kill people, and make a mess. The man she wants to hold accountable is actually the only one with the skill to kill them.
After Amanda sees Team Badass in action, she wants in. Of course she wants into their oh-so exclusive club. Who wouldn’t? Oh, say, anyone who wants to live to see old age? Ash doesn’t have a good track record for keeping companions alive.
There may be a snag in the plan to reach the cabin. At the restaurant, Ash runs into an old pal, Lem. Lem has joined forces with the local militia. When the deadites hit the fan, Lem bolted into the forest behind the restaurant. He’s put in a call for backup. Hope there’s extra bunks at the cabin, looks like the gang will have company. The other snag? Kelly may not be ready to say goodbye to revenge killing. After everything, she lives for the confrontation with evil. During the main fight for this episode, she uses a meat slicer to carve away DeadNancy’s face. She’s seriously into the kill. If they bury the Necronomicon, all her anger will have nowhere to go.
I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Kelly’s possession by evil. Eligos may be gone, but the weakness her revenge creates will make her an ideal target to become the Big Bad come the season’s end.
If you aren’t an adult, this show isn’t for you; neither is this review. Also, show spoilers everywhere.
As far as plans go, it isn’t a bad one. Brujo tells Eligos to take a hike, they get back to sorting out Ash’s mental mojo, then the newly awakened El Jefe cruises to the cabin to bury the friggen book. Easy as Ash getting laid.
Except they still have the wrong person hog-tied and awaiting whatever exorcism ritual requires a knife and chicken carcass. Going out on a limb, here, but I assume the Catholic Church did not approve this method. Despite the gag in his mouth, Ash tells everyone exactly what he thinks of them, the plan, and Keligos’ taunts when Brujo and Pablo can’t see. They brush his anger off as the demon talking. Compiled with Keligos’ compelling performance as a helpless victim, Ash is about to learn first-hand what a blood ritual looks like.
Annoyed by the request, but still fulfilling it, Pablo fetches the ritual supplies and gets out of Brujo’s hair. For a guy who spent a good chuck of his life avoiding the dark and spooky family business, Pablo sure wants to be in the thick of the mess a lot. Keligos has other plans to kill time. Her original plan is to get drunk. Failing to locate the booze, they decide on plan b—Ash’s grass stash. They just need a pipe. Pablo is off to play gopher once again. At some point he has to grow more of a spine. It feels a tad imbalanced—Kelly loses her parents and is possessed, Pablo gets brains and blood splattered over his face and a hot girl practically begging to get him in bed, but she’s the emotionally stronger character. Why pick on Kelly?
If anything positive can be said about the possessed woman, she’s resourceful. Bored with waiting for Pablo and a pipe, she uses the boom stick’s barrel to smoke.
Things get super awkward when Keligos seduces Pablo. Really, she just wants him to quit paying attention so she can blow his head off. Not exactly the method Pablo has in mind, either. He hesitates. Kelios loses her patience for the second time and attacks Pablo. The creature design for the hybrid Kelly and Eligos creature is elegant almost. They didn’t take her so far from human, she looked like a deadite, but made sure to bring Eligos’ distinctive grin onto her face. The effect is startling when it first happens.
Things aren’t going right in the Brujo’s shack, either. Ash isn’t reacting the way he should when approached with blessed items. While Brujo prepares the blood sacrifice, Ash dismisses with the gag, telling Brujo the truth—Eligos is in Kelly and probably about to kill Pablo. Shots fired in the trailer.
Ash and Brujo rush to the trailer. Pablo has Keligos cornered, boom stick aimed at her head. He can’t pull the trigger. They all scuffle over the shotgun. There’s yet another hole in Ash’s trainer, but Brujo subdues Keligos without any human injuries.
Take two on the exorcism. Eligos doesn’t react to any mojo spell, totem, or blessed item. The only time it reacts to a ritual component, it’s to vomit leeches fat with Brujo’s blood near Ash’s feet. They’re getting nowhere fast. Eligos takes to beating Kelly to make the men react.
Pablo and Brujo chat outside. Pablo tells his uncle he’s sorry for leaving so long ago and hiding from the mystical side of their family. While they’re out of the way, Kelly begs Ash to put her out of her misery before Eligos kills her. She even asks him to make sure there’s a cross on her grave. Tisk, tisk, Eligos. Wrong religion.
Things heat up when Pablo struts into the shed and demands Eligos take possession of him instead. Not one to ignore such a ripe morsel, Eligos reaches through Kelly’s mouth to grab Pablo. Unlike other mouth-exiting gags, they didn’t feel the need to waste time making Kelly’s mouth do weird things. Most of the shot following Eligos as it emerges is straight-forward.
The demon claims one last victim—Brujo, startled by how quickly Eligos jumps to and fro, is impaled through the chest when he dodges an attack. His death is not unavenged. Ash uses the not-so-wise words he told himself in the vision quest to finally find the right timing to blow Eligos’ blue-goo filled head to smithereens.
Kelly wakes from the ordeal with another headache and a gap in her memory from the time they reached the ranch. Ash fills in some of the blanks after ensuring she has ice for her head. They burn Brujo’s body on a funeral pyre. Pablo makes a lot of promises to the dead guy. In return, Brujo’s spirit flings a red-hot necklace at Pablo’s feet.
For the first time in the history of history, Ash apologizes for his part in the whole raising the ultimate evil fiasco. Pablo tries to brush the apology under the rug. Kelly tells him not to, Ash owes humanity an apology, not just the people stuck in the fight with him. They can’t walk into the final stage of the battle—the trip to the cabin—without all hands on deck. The hand Pablo started for Ash magically finished itself at some point. Trying it on, the first thing Ash does is high-five his team, then flip them the bird.
Keep it classy, Ash. And keep your backside in gear. Ruby and Amanda haven’t given up the hunt. Their method to navigate just takes a little longer than Amanda likes or has the patience for. The slow-moving hand GPS isn’t her only problem. Ruby is actively dodging Amanda’s questions, and not even that well, to be honest. What isn’t the deadite slayer telling her new buddy?
Poor Lionel is having a bad day. His store is wrecked by evil winds accompanying a spell he did right, only for Ash to botch. Does he get thanks for a job well done? No. He gets a glass shard to the eye and a demon using him as a meat puppet to attack Amanda Fisher. I guess in a way having Amanda handcuffed in place counts as a reward.
Then Ruby happens.
In typical Ruby style, she attacks DeadLionel, impaling him with a lamppost. Pinning DeadLionel to the wall gives Ruby time to snoop around the shop. She also fills Amanda in on her side of the whole Evil Dead story. According to Ruby, Ash is a stone-cold killer who mowed down her entire family—mom, dad, and her sister Annie. Something about her story tickles DeadLionel’s funny bone. Before he says something to contradict the tale, Ruby decapitates him and stomps on his head. Completely oblivious to Ruby’s true intentions, but enjoying her methods, Amanda agrees to team up with the undead slayer to track Ash. But how? He’s in the wind. Ruby has a friend who can help—Ash’s possessed hand which he severed in one of the most memorable fights in the franchise. Seems the little fellow has an internal tracking power, making it move the closer they are to Ash. It’s not GPS, but it’ll work in a pinch.
The ladies may not have far to go to catch up. The Evil tracking Ash catches up with him, Pablo, and a severely concussed Kelly on the road to Pablo’s uncle’s. A dust cloud storms down the road, chasing the trailer Ash tows, tossing passing vehicles into the air. In the nick of time, the car turns into the Brujo’s driveway. The talismans around the property protect it from the evil dust storm. Not from Ash’s incompetent swagger.
Uncle Brujo knew Pablo would return. Not sure much could prepare him to deal with Ash as the sole Jefe available to deal with the local evil problem, but he’s game if Ash is. “When evil shows up, it blows up,” Ash tells the gang—it’s his new slogan if he is indeed this whacky Jefe thing Pablo and Brujo talk about all the time. There’s a long road ahead if Ash will become the hero they need. The Brujo says the light inside the hero-to-be is too dim, and quite frankly, Ash is a gigantic failure.
The trip they must take is an intimate one, which leaves Pablo to take care of Kelly. She’s probably going to need more than the standard, “Take two of these and call me in the morning,” seeing as she’s hearing voices in her head and all. None of the guys know. She’s really not inclined to tell them, either. You guys remember Eligos, the faceless fun n mental mindgames demon the gang summoned in the last episode? Yeah, he’s taken residence in Kelly’s brain and body. Rut roh. Pablo does his best to make sure she’s comfortable. While she rests, and is consumed by evil, he rifles through the storage shed for hand-making supplies. He creates a pretty nifty mechanical hand before Keligos electrocutes him, knocking him out.
In Brujo’s ramshackle shed, Ash is given a hearty dose of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic meant to draw Ash into himself to find the answer to their troubles. It takes a while for the potion to kick in, but once it does, whoa. We’re treated to an odd TV montage acid trip sequence, followed by footage from Evil Dead and a map tracking Ash’s nomadic life from ValueStop to ValueStop. At last Ash drops into a freshly dug grave. His eyes are sewn shut. Vaguely Ash-like masked men roam around, searching for our hero-to-be. Brujo, as a voice from above, instructs Ash on how to control his trip. The minute Ash has a grip on things, he travels to Jacksonville, FL. But not the real city, just an idealized version Ash saw on a postcard. He’d planned a trip to the city thirty years prior. A trip he was supposed to take right after visiting the cabin where he obtained the Necronomicon.
Eli the lizard, who can talk in this vision, verbally abuses Ash until they work out what’s in Ash’s subconscious that can point them to a solution to the evil problem. It all has to go back to the beginning, Ash and the book. Great news for long-term ED fans, they get to see the infamous cabin again.
Ash is vulnerable, trapped in the vision quest. He’s ripe for Eligos to screw with mentally. The demon hijacks Ash’s trip and drags him mentally back to ValueStop, where the possessed Little Lori doll waits to finish their fight. But this is Ash’s vision. He’s the head honcho in charge. Ash changes the vision, attacking Eligos. In reality, he’s strangling Kelly’s possessed body. Unaware of the real situation, Pablo whacks Ash over the head to save Kelly.
Well, that’s a strange turn of events. How will Keligos fit into the new plan: Bury the Necronomicon at the cabin in the woods? Will Pablo trust Ash after the attack? Is this the delay Ruby needs to finally catch up with her prey?
Yo, where are you going? ID, please. The show we’re discussing uses profanity and contains adult situations.
Kelly still thinks she’s going to bat her eyes and get Ash to help. Man, she’s not paying attention. Ash is out to care for numero uno. In order to save his bacon, and by default everyone else’s, he’s gotta figure out what’s actually written in the Necronomicon. Thirty years schlepping the thing around and he didn’t think to do this before the end of the world is nigh? Man, and I thought I procrastinated hardcore. Kelly gives up simply asking for help and steals Pablo’s motorcycle so she can save her dad.
Oh and Pablo says she took the Necronomicon.
Cue a miraculous cleanup for Ash and Pablo, then we join them on the road. They’ve picked up a hitchhiker—Mr. Roper. Well, he’s DeadRoper now, and he still hates Ash with the fire of no less than ten-thousand suns. Most people do. He’s not unique. What is unique is the in-car fight between DeadRoper, Ash, and hapless Pablo. Pablo thinks he can learn to fight like Ash. He takes one hit, all Ash needs to get into Fight Mode. Pablo, “…but I just got hit; I don’t know what to do!” You’ll learn, Pablo, or you’ll die. He makes a valliant attempt to save Ash, smashing a bottle over DeadRoper’s head. Yeah, that’s not going to work. But it does give Ash something he can partially hack the Deadite’s head off with before pushing it out the window for an oncoming car to behead. Now they have to clean up again. Will someone test to see just how much blood a moist towelette can remove? For science.
Amanda Fisher is on Ash’s trail, following the weird breadcrumbs to what was once his doorstep. His neighbors have nothing nice to say. Nothing useful, either. Amanda finds the business card for the book store Ash is trying to get to, thanks to the severed arm he left behind. Not his own. Her chase for clues ends abruptly when the state police arrive, shooing her away because she’s still suspended. That’s okay. She’s got the card and saw the police sketch of Ash. It’s a no-brainer from here on out. Just like the Deadites Ash offed.
At Mr. Maxwell’s place all is . . . comfy and cozy? Well, crud. Ash and Pablo look like asylum escapees, covered in DeadRoper’s blood and wielding weapons. Surprise, Mrs. Maxwell wasn’t dead. (Liar) She had amnesia after the car accident. (Pants so on fire) But she’s slowly remembering everything again. Yeah. Right. Ash sees through her game. But is he just paranoid or is Mrs. Maxwell really DeadMom? They should stay for dinner and find out.
Ash oozes charm at dinner. No, wait, that’s the roast beef oozing. Never mind. Just when the schtick has hit the, “Maybe she’s not a Deadite,” point, Ash takes matters into his own fist. One shot to the jaw does the trick, bringing DeadMom to the surface. There’s a couple weird boomstick point-of-view shots, which I actually don’t hate despite the camera jiggling, during the fight. As usual, the physical action is astounding. The gore which comes as a result of the fighting is just as wonderful, done primarily with practical effects with a little digital to augment—which is how you do it, folks. DeadMom kills Mr. Maxwell. Then she and Kelly vanish.
Kelly runs upstairs to hide and figure out what’s going on with her family. DeadMom is there, pretending to be regular ol’ Mrs. Maxwell. Maybe they can find a way to help? Yeah, no. DeadMom attacks when Ash and Pablo join them in Kelly’s childhood room. Poor Pablo tries again to jump into the fray, stabbing DeadMom in the head. No good. It’s gotta be decapitation. And the only thing they have handy capable of severing heads ends up stuck in a wall at one point. Get control of your chainsaw, Ash. Sheesh. He does, of course, unleashing about five gallons of blood on Pablo and Kelly.
They bury Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell in the front yard. Kelly officially joins Team Badass. But, uh, what about the book? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Pablo had it the entire time. That’s okay. They’re back on the road again, on the way to the bookstore. They better hurry. Amanda is waiting.
You guys remember Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness, right? If not, please educate yourself on some of the most hilarious cinema featuring murderous corpses. Well, some of them were corpses. Others were possessed. Either way, the Deadites are a force to be reckoned with.
Ash, our debonair hero, thought he’d put those suckers to bed thirty years ago. Flash-forward to present-day. He’s fat, hiding it with the most ridiculous girdle worn by man, and hornier than a chihuahua on Viagra. The opening sequence for the series is literally everything diehard Evil Dead fans want to reintroduce Ash. At the drop of a woman’s undergarments, he’s able to get laid—his sole goal in life, it seems. The mood is soured when his for-now lover’s face morphs into a Deadite. Hard to keep going after that, huh?
But why is Ash seeing Deadites at every turn? Well, see, he wanted to get laid by the blonde artsy woman with words tattooed around her wrists not long before the show’s timeline starts. StonedAsh managed to focus through the haze long enough to grab the nearest book—the Necronomicon. Whoops. So they read from the friggen book, of course, and here we are, smack in the middle of Deadite Country.
Elsewhere, two State Police officers are dragged into Ash’s mess when they’re called to a domestic dispute. Only, the house is abandoned. People had been there, judging from the table-load of drugs and booze left behind. Oh and the corpse crouched in a corner, hands still raised to fend off whatever scared her to death, could be a clue. I don’t know. I wasn’t a cop before turning undead.
Amanda Fisher and her partner, Carson, find one other person in the house—Ash’s blonde date who read from the book. You know where this is going, right? Fight time. Blondie cranks her head around 180* and dislocates her shoulders before launching at Carson. Amanda takes some wicked-huge scissors to the hand. Then things get really out of hand, ending with Carson and the blonde woman without heads. That escalated quickly. Later in the episode, we learn that Amanda is out on leave pending an investigation into the shooting and a psyche evaluation, because how many people say their partner went crawling on the ceiling before attacking them? A kind, and kinda hot, stranger—played by Lucy Lawless—more or less tells Amanda she’s not nuts. A fact Amanda confirms by going back to the crime scene, where she finds Carson’s shirt fibers on the chandelier.
Over at ValueStop, Ash attempts to swindle Mr. Roper out of his paycheck and possibly, maybe, forgetting Ash is supposed to work that day so Ash can run like a scared rabbit into the sunset before the Deadites find him. But first, he has to make a fool of himself in front of the new woman Pablo brought in to work with them. Hello, Kelly. I like your lack of accepting misogynistic nonsense and skill with a wrist lock. That’s how you introduce a female character, ladies and gentlemen. Take note.
Ash’s plans to bolt come too late. The Deadites are on his trail. In a scene calling back to Army of Darkness with the army of MiniAshs, he fights a possessed doll, only to be saved by clueless Pablo. Well, not totally clueless. Pablo’s brujo uncle warned about a man who would be the only one capable of defeating the evil dead, El Jefe. Putting two-and-two together, Pablo figures out Ash is that guy. Cool. They’re saved. Except Ash still wants nothing to do with the hero biz. He’s out of that game. Paid the ultimate price.
They’re only hope gone, Kelly and Pablo don’t know what to do next as things get weirder around the store. Kelly receives a video call from her father, with guest star—her undead mother! Off to save Mr. Maxwell. But first, a pit stop.
For a man living in a trailer, it sure is taking Ash a long time to skedaddle. He’s gotta think about Eli, man. Poor bearded dragon didn’t ask for any of this. He just wants to chill and eat. But it’s a good thing Ash is so ill-prepared to leave. Pablo’s pit stop requires the man himself to fight Kelly’s Deadite mother. Yeah, Ash isn’t on board with that plan, either. He doesn’t get much of a choice. The Deadites are in the trailer park, changing his weird, yet kind neighbors into joke-cracking killers. One grabs Kelly, strangling her through the trailer’s window.
He’s always been a sucker for a woman in need. Ash flings an ax at the Deadite, severing its arm. The trailer starts rocking—and not for any goodtime reasons. Cue the quick change into GoodAsh. Admit it, you all swooned when you saw the blue shirt. Bonus badassery, a foot-trigger, spring-loaded shotgun storage compartment in the trailer’s floor. I want one of those. But Ash loses a point for admitting he needs to do cardio.
There’s one more Deadite fight, this time with sweet as cream Vivian. She’s silly enough to stand between Ash and . . . wait for it . . . are you sure you’re ready? The chainsaw. They knock each other all over the trailer. Ash ends up, yup, on the ground. Pablo is pinned to the wall with a knife in his right shoulder, leaving Kelly to fend for herself against something she’s never seen before. Her bravery flees, though she manages to hold DeadViv at bay just long enough. For what? For the most awesome moment in the show. Pablo flings the chainsaw to Ash using his foot. Angels sing. The engine revvs. DeadViv is so excited her head just flies off.
Brace yourselves Zombie Survival Crew. Light Blue Brigade First Lieutenant Ted Raimi knows what it means to battle the undead and will mince no words when addressing the Zombie Survival Crew troops.
Now, some might find Commander Raimi’s warning a bit chilling. But the bald truth is that this commander is demonstrating true leadership with a no-holds-barred assessment of the threats we’re all preparing to face.