Thursday, January 18, 2018

Evil Dead Season Two- the Ashpansion!

This one is a bit late, even taking into account the on-disc release date, but since the next season isn’t due to begin until next month, I don't feel too guilty.

Rob, Sam, Bruce and the gang continue to provide laughs, action and terror.

It’s amazing that they can stay close to the source material, providing constant references and homages, but in new and interesting ways to keep it from being repetitive.

The reason it is amazing, is that all three original Evil Dead films only clock in at not quite two hundred and seventy minutes, or less than four and a half hours of continuous run time.

With two seasons of Ash Versus Evil Dead (and a third on the way) the show has already reached over six hundred minutes.  That’s ten hours, or more than 2.2 times more carnage, blood and goofiness than where it all came from.

It works because they continue to mix what made all three of the original films work together. Because those three films were different from each other, (a scary film with some dark humor, a gore fest inspired by the Three Stooges, and an undead action comedy) you’re never sure whether to laugh or scream at the series, which is a wonderful thing.

Those combinations lead to some insane mood shifts.

Normally, Bruce’s reactions keep the humor in every scene, but remove him, and things take a turn.

When the Classic got stolen (and possessed) Bruce’s screen time was in full buffoon mode in a bar trying to lure in the thieves.  The scenes of the car mowing its way through the teenagers were like a Troma version of Christine with better effects.

And once Ash went into the asylum things took a turn.  With our normally loudmouthed hero beaten down, and then silently turned against his allies, even the puppet scenes had an element of terror...

Dana Delorenzo’s turn as a fellow lunatic in the asylum instead of her normal Kelly role was flat our horrifying.

It’s interesting how Ash’s sidekicks have developed, in contrast to the norms of the genre.  Pablo (Ray Santiago) is the heart and the emotional core of the team. 
While Kelly is the toughest one with the foulest mouth (and is awesome at it) and ends up the most like a classic action hero.

Thanks to time travel (courtesy of some legal clearances on Army of Darkness) we get to return to the famous cabin once more and see Lucy Lawless as both a pragmatic and lethal ally, and a wholly evil opponent.
She handles both with her usual grace and skill.

Season two brings in new faces, in a different Linda (Michelle Hurd) her short lived family, plus what may be the big bad of the whole franchise in Baal (Joel Tobek) another element that is more horror than humor.

It also brings two old faces. Ted Raimi returns to the franchise in a new role as Ash’s wastrel friend, and also returns to an amazing turn in the role that almost killed him due to dehydration, Deadite Henrietta.
Plus Ellen Sandweiss returned as Ash’s sister Cheryl from the original film!

Lee Majors as Brock Williams was a sight to behold. 
Seeing “Steve Austin” as incorrect and as gross as Ash normally is was hysterical and amazing.  Somehow between moments of insane blood and gore, they squeezed in a smattering of back story and emotional bonding between him and Bruce...
Granted the smattering is overwhelmed by the spattering, but that’s why we love this show!

After all, there’s something to be said for a team that can start with the idea of a demonically possessed colon, and somehow have it vary between the most revolting thing ever shown on the screen…and laugh out loud Mr. Bean style slapstick.

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