Listen up, you primitive screwheads: Ash vs. Evil Dead has returned to television for a second season, and it’s nastier than ever. This season’s first episode premiered last Sunday, and the cast appeared Thursday for a panel at New York Comic Con to talk alliances, buckets of blood, getting covered in snot, and why the show’s so special.
A Growing Family
Last season, half-demon antagonist Ruby (Lucy Lawless) made a pact with Ash (Bruce Campbell) to find the Necronomicon and destroy the evil it has unleashed. While the truce is certainly uneasy, Lawless felt that the characters could bond as the story unfolds.
“She gets a lot closer to both Pablo and Kelly,” Lawless said. “They don’t like her at first but she weasels her way into their hearts, and they weasel their way into hers.”
Ray Santiago, who portrays Pablo on the show, wasn’t having it.
“I hate Ruby!” he shouted to fan applause.
Lawless felt that she had become part of the cast family, however, when she was involved in a nasty stunt involving lots of fake bodily fluids.
“You know, when I was being powervomited on by demons, I feel like I’ve been baptized. I’ve finally arrived. It was like the most welcome shower of chowder you’ve ever had,” she said. “It’s great. But until you’ve been baptized by snot, vomit, or blood, you’re not in the family.”
It has yet to be seen whether the other new family member, Lee Majors, has been slimed. Majors plays Ash’s father Brock. The former 6 million dollar man has been honest about his connection to the Evil Dead franchise prior to joining the cast – he had none whatsoever.
“I watched (the first season) when they asked if I wanted to do it. I went through ten in a row so quickly. What a ride,” Majors said. “That thing is batsh*t crazy and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Night of The Living Dead and Spiderman?
The cast fielded questions from the audience, including a gem about the inspirations behind the first Evil Dead film. A fan asked if George Romero had any influence on the making of the first movie, and Campbell jumped at the chance to share a bit.
“I remember reading in the Reader’s Digest about this movie that was incredibly disturbing, where zombies were breaking into people’s cars and tearing their guts out. It was Night of the Living Dead,” he said to a great deal of applause. “Go back and watch it. The lead guy’s an African American, it’s so completely modern despite being from the late 60s. George Romero at the top of his game. He’s Ash-like, this frantic survival. I hope he’s remastered it 46 times so you can see it.”
Campbell also shared a story about Sam Raimi’s directing style, and how he’s meanest to the people he loves most.
“After a take, he’ll go, ‘Bruce, wow, that was great… if this was a miniseries.’ He directs through abuse and torment. I got to watch him abuse Tobey McGuire in Spiderman 2. I was like ‘Toby, that means he likes you!’ He’s a great director, I can’t wait to see what he does next. He directed the pilot (for Ash vs. Evil Dead) and all of the other directors are just going to have to play catch up.”
Pablo and Kelly
Ash is nothing without his sidekicks, Pablo (Ray Santiago) and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). The two have followed him from the first episode of season one and have saved him from many a tricky situation. At the end of last season, Pablo was infected by the Necronomicon, gave birth to Ruby’s demon children, and confessed his crush on Kelly. Kelly, for her part, seems unfazed by everything and continues to kick Deadite skulls in.
“There is an undeniable connection to the Necronomicon that I have, it’s like a bad relationship. I need a restraining order, I think,” Santiago joked. “(Pablo) will be tormented throughout the whole season. He’s trying to be the best sidekick he can be, but maybe he’s the hero he never knew he could be.”
After the panel STARZ revealed the world premiere of the second episode, and it was a doozy. Campbell even warned fans that they might have to watch through their fingers for one sequence. A handful of fans were unnerved by the pure vileness – they got up and left. Those who stayed for the whole sequence applauded loudly, whooping and clapping even over the episode’s next scene.
This season of Ash vs. Evil Dead looks like it’s going to be, as Mr. Majors put it, batsh*t crazy. The aforementioned sequence in a morgue is one of the goriest things to ever hit the small screen. Both episodes so far are action-packed, funny as hell, and chock-full of Bruce Campbell’s roguish charm.
Campbell has been vocal about fans pushing for the show to continue, and if the turnout at NYCC was any indicator, Ash vs. Evil Dead could be running for a decade. Raise your chainsaw hands and say it with me – “Groovy.“