Why The Evil Dead Picked TV Over Movies

It’s the holidays, and we’re fully surrounded by jolly cheer and rampant consumerism, two things that play their fair share in the life of Ash Williams, the iconic Evil Dead protagonist played by Bruce Campbell. (Other things include murderous Deadites and a formerly ruthless appendage.) The has-to-be-amazing Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead is neck-deep in development, and Campbell has shared some stellar details about it, including the big question: why turn this into a TV series instead of the oft-discussed feature Evil Dead 4?

Campbell, who recently played an eye-catching Santa Claus on TNT’s The Librarians, sat down with EW to talk about this fangasmic horror series, and here’s how the creative team landed on the idea of small screening this story.

We realized if we made another movie, frankly, it would probably be too expensive. But in the format of a TV show, we could give people exactly what they wanted and expand the character and the story even more. Ash would probably have more dialogue in one season than in three movies. He’ll have to become a more fleshed-out character as well. And we never burned Evil Dead as a franchise out—it’s not like we did 13 of these movies. So we felt like, what the heck, let’s give it a try.”

It’s no surprise that the guys behind what is arguably the most complete horror franchise out there are smart enough to turn to TV for both financial and storytelling reasons. Campbell does admit/agree that The Walking Dead has done a good deed in popularizing horror, so obviously now is the best time for an Evil Dead series to have been conceived anyway. Might not have gotten that green light a few years ago.

Now let’s talk plot. For this series, Ash is a slightly moronic middle-aged guy living in a trailer and harboring the strangest form of PTSD known to man. No surprise, he’s working at a big-box store and is still talking mad trash as if he’s still a hero. He gets his time to shine again, though, when the Deadites return and he heads out on a road trip with two younger co-workers to stop them. I wonder if passengers in Ash’s car are said to be “riding boomstick.”

Those co-leads are ridiculously important at this point, as they have to share the screen with one of the biggest scene-stealers out there. Campbell couldn’t say too much about them, as they haven’t been cast yet, but he does say that one is “a male-bonding situation” and that the other is a “father-figure deal,” with what is assumedly a twenty-something female. I’m pretty sure Sam Raimi and producer Rob Tapert are going to find the best actors possible for these roles.

And as far as the explicitness goes, Campbell is quite reassuring, saying there will be a balanced mix of splatter and comedy. (Unlike that that 2013 remake.)

Humor may come out of it, but there’s nothing funny about a demon ripping somebody’s head off. And the beauty of Starz is there’s no content issues. Let’s face it: Fans want the carnage and the mayhem. So we intend to give them quite the explosion of viscera. Most of it directed at me, unfortunately.”

It’s impossible to imagine an Evil Dead story without some insanely cool special effects, and Campbell says there will also be a great mixture of physical stunts, miniatures, CGI and more to keep the fans constantly surprised. I’m only slightly more excited about the birth of my second child next year than I am for this.

Starz will bring Ash vs. Evil Dead to fans in late 2015. Necronomicons are going to be the “it” gift next Christmas.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.