Tuned In: ‘Evil Dead’ lives on Starz

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’: Bruce Campbell guarantees gore galore in new series.

Just in time for Halloween, Starz debuts the latest entry in the “Evil Dead” franchise that began at the movies in 1981. “Ash vs. Now Raimi and Campbell are back for the television series “Ash vs Evil Dead” which picks up where “Army of Darkness” left off — although for UK fans the third film had an alternative ending. “He’s the same moron he always was but it’s great to come back and play him when I have more acting experience now.Two-thirds of the way through the 1981 film “The Evil Dead,” one of the stars, a tall, handsome unknown young actor named Bruce Campbell, pauses in his flight from an undead former friend. Evil Dead.” The promotional campaign for the horror-comedy series is peaking ahead of its Halloween premiere this Saturday, and the network said this week it had already renewed the show for a second season. “Ash vs.

ET/PT), the arrogant, none-too-bright monster fighter battles his demons — literally — this time with Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess), who also knows a thing about iconic characters, as a mysterious antagonist. As the camera pulls in tight on his face, he looks down at the gun in his hand and says, with surprising sang-froid, considering the situation: “Shells. Stars including Bruce Campbell, Lucy Lawless, Jill-Marie Jones, Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo walked the carpet while VIP guests enjoyed an outdoor bar in front of the theater and hundreds of “Evil Dead” fans filled the street for a free Iggy Pop rock concert. Evil Dead”: Keep asking and you shall receive. “The fans have driven all this,” star Bruce Campbell told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. Don’t expect Ash, still a Michigan stock boy, to have grown humbler or wiser in the decades since he accidentally summoned demons and then battled the human bodies they possessed in The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1993), cult favorites known for their a mix of horror, comedy and blood.

Guests were also invited to explore a replica of Ash’s trailer from the show and step inside a gif booth that gave chainsaw-wielding fans a chance to dispatch a Deadite with their friends. The characters — led by Bruce Campbell’s horror icon, Ash Williams — are so thoroughly splattered with a syrupy, orangey substance that they look more like Halloween-themed Jackson Pollock paintings than blood-strewn victims, and at least one replica head is shown doing enough “Exorcist” spins to rival a roulette wheel. Campbell along with new showrunner Craig DiGregorio, adopts the same comic-horror tone of the most recent films, and rather than skirting the passage of time, “Ash vs.

The anticipation was palpable in the theater as the assembled army of “Dead” fans (many in costume) waited for their first fresh glimpse of Ash Williams on screen in 23 years. Campbell was in high spirits as he introduced his fellow cast members and praised Starz for reviving the cult franchise — making note of the premium cabler’s uncensored approach to the bloody horror-comedy series. “What you’re seeing is unrestricted content. And he’s 30 years older,” Campbell says. “This is really just not the guy who should be saving the world.” The creakier, corset-wearing Ash brings the demon-inhabited bodies, known as Deadites, “back by mistake.

You’re gonna see what Ash does for a living: he saves the world!” Campbell declared, joking that he couldn’t imagine ever doing the show on network television. Subsequent sequels did not slake the thirst. “They’ve been relentless for years,” said the actor, who reunited with original director Sam Raimi (the “Spider-Man” franchise) and producer Rob Tapert for the new series, which also stars Lucy Lawless. “The last ‘Evil Dead’ movie was 24 years ago. They haven’t shut up since,” Campbell said. “No matter what we say to them or what we give them, it will never be enough, and we’re very grateful for that.” In that spirit, the star and producers landed at Starz — where both Tapert and Lawless, who are married, previously worked on “Spartacus” — in an effort to stay true to their supporters. “It’s really important that we fulfill our obligations to the fans,” said Raimi. “But they have certain expectations. Starz showrunners including Bryan Fuller of “American Gods,” Steven DeKnight of “Spartacus” and Courtney Kemp Agboh of “Power” were also in attendance, along with Starz execs Chris Albrecht, Carmi Zlotnick, Glenn Curtis, Marta Fernandez and Jeffrey Hirsch.

A group of college students vacation at a remote cabin in the woods, where they unwittingly unleash demonic forces as they play a tape recording of incantations from an ancient book of the dead. And so it was very important we found a network that was willing to go to the limit, really let us go anywhere we wanted with the humor, outrageous horror, crazy amounts of gore, which is some of the hallmarks of the ‘Evil Dead’ films.” Campbell promises things will get messy. “People ask how much blood is there going to be. He works as a stock boy at Value Stop, he lives in the Mossy Haven trailer park, and he spends his off time cavorting with hookers, drinking, and smoking pot.

We’d be promoting Spider-Man, and the fans would say, ‘We want Evil Dead.’ ” The revival started as a film project, but the shift to a weekly TV series required more characters to surround Ash, whose weapons of choice still include his chainsaw hand and “boomstick,” aka shotgun. “You have to have a bigger universe. And his act — boyish but world-weary, arrogant but self-deprecating, a permanent twinkle in his eye — is central to nearly every moment; there would hardly be a show without him. Soon the Deadites — taking the human form of people Ash knows — are after Ash, his young work buddy Pablo (Ray Santiago), and the woman Pablo is crushing on, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo). This probably has a lot to do with the pleasure the extended first episode affords; like the films, it’s clever, engaging, brisk and, crucially, unpretentious.

In the store’s warehouse, Pablo witnesses Ash fight a possessed doll that springs to life, which gives Ash reason to explain the backstory of how he got his start with fighting deadites (scenes from the original “Evil Dead” get projected on boxes in the warehouse). “I’d say I’m a gift from God, but that would be giving the man upstairs too much credit,” Ash says following a fight with a deadite. “This is all me, baby.” Mr. The premium-cable show’s new characters illuminate Ash, Raimi says. “He’s such an incomplete person that it’s interesting to see him interact with people more,” Raimi says. “In the first Evil Dead movies, he’s just alone in his cabin breaking dishes over his head. We learn more about Ash – he works at a discount retailer called S-Mart – and we follow him through a time portal to the 1300s, where he leads the people of that time against the evil Deadite forces, including an evil version of himself. Campbell the last one standing), so there are supporting characters who seem likely to stick around and a subplot involving a Michigan State trooper (Jill Marie Jones) that’s still pretty thin after the two episodes provided to critics.

Because I think what’s going to happen is, this series will force us to make more movies, because people will go, ‘Oh, that’s only 10 hours of programming. The 10-episode first season of the show – produced by Raimi, Campbell and Tapert – premieres Halloween night on Starz with an installment that fans of the movies will likely welcome with open arms. Raimi lovingly piles on the familiar “Evil Dead” motifs, including the point-of-view shots that suggest invisible spirits rushing toward their victims — although here, instead of speeding across Appalachian hills, they’re moving through Michigan parking lots and trailer parks. Ash, now well into middle age, is living in a trailer while still working a retail job and trying to lie low, even if he acts with the swagger of a onetime high school football hero.

PBS debuts a two-hour “Live From Lincoln Center” special featuring the Halloween-ready themes found in “Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton” (9 tonight, WQED-TV). However, his hedonist tendencies get the better of him, and he once again unwittingly unleashes the Deadites yet again after he gets stoned one night and reads from the Necronomicon. Particularly nostalgic is a scene in which Ash is attacked in the warehouse of the big-box store where he still works by a small doll that latches onto his face and bites him in the nose. A couple of his younger co-workers become his new allies in the fight against the demons, while Lucy Lawless (“Spartacus,” “Xena: Warrior Princess”) plays a mysterious character named Ruby. The dead love to bleed, and the only way to stop them is through bodily dismemberment.” Expect to soak up the signature humor of the aging ladies’ man, too, Campbell says. “People like Ash’s one-liners.

Campbell gets to do a little of the twisting, squirming, mock-terrified dance he made famous in “Evil Dead 2,” when he was attacked by his own hand. Burton’s films (“Batman,” “Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”), is performed by a symphony orchestra under the direction of John Mauceri as clips from the associated films are shown. And this is one show that’s willing to throw everything at you. “Good or bad, you’re not going to see anything like this,” Bruce Campbell said. “This is not a cop show, a doctor show, a lawyer show. The French language series, with English subtitles, continues to be long on ambiguity and short on answers as back-from-the-dead people co-mingle with the living in their now-flooded mountain town. CBS’s “Limitless,” from Squirrel Hill native showrunner Craig Sweeny, earned a full-season pickup of 22 episodes while CBS’s “Code Black,” executive produced by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine grad Ryan McGarry, received an order for six additional scripts, which is often a precursor to a network ordering more episodes.

On Thursday CBS picked up comedy “Life in Pieces” for a full first season, and Fox did the same for the Rob Lowe comedy “The Grinder” and “Grandfathered.” On the other hand, NBC trimmed the order for “The Player” from 13 to nine episodes, which means it’s as good as canceled. This season networks seem to be choosing this form of a slow death for their doomed shows as opposed to immediate cancellation and removal from the schedule. New daytime TV shows sometimes get tested in large markets with Fox-owned stations but Pittsburgh doesn’t have a Fox-owned station so viewers here never saw tests of recent daytime shows “Hollywood Today Live,” “Boris & Nicole” or “Ice & Coco.” Many of these shows never continue after their brief on-air test runs, so it’s not like Pittsburghers are missing out on much.

But Pittsburghers will get to see a new series being tested by Sinclair Broadcast Group stations: “The Security Brief with Paul Viollis,” a crime-focused talk show hosted by Mr. PBS’s “Masterpiece” series “Sherlock” will return, airing a 90-minute movie special, “The Abominable Bride” set in 1890s London, at 9 p.m. Sunday, followed on Monday by the return of “Major Crimes” (9 p.m.) and “Legends” (10 p.m.). … NBC tapped writer Bryan Fuller (“Hannibal”) to revive the weekly anthology series “Amazing Stories,” but Steven Spielberg, who executive produced the 1980s incarnation, is not involved in this proposed new series. … CBS’s “Supergirl” soared in the ratings for its premiere Monday, benefiting from a “Big Bang Theory” lead-in and drawing almost 13 million viewers. … “Sesame Street” has added a new character with autism, Julia, who is not currently slated to appear on the TV show but is in an online story at http://autism.sesamestreet.org. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., praised the character’s addition, saying, “It’s great that autistic children will be able to see someone like them on screen.” Today’s TV Q&A column responds to questions about “Saturday Night Live,” “Bates Motel” and new sets on KDKA and WPXI. This week’s Tuned In Journal includes posts on “Supergirl,” “Sherlock,” “The Walking Dead” and National Geographic Channel’s “Breakthrough.” Read online-only TV content at post-gazette.com/tv.

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