HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MY NAME IS BRUCE

CAST

Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Grace Thorsen (Calvin Marshall)
Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Ben McCain (Black Scorpion)
Ellen Sandweiss (The Evil Dead)
Dan Hicks (Maniac Cop)

In the mining town of Gold Lick, Oregon, Jeff (Taylor Sharpe), a young fan of B movie actor Bruce Campbell, and his friend Clayton (Logan Martin) go out to a cemetery to meet two girls, Big Debbie (Ariel Badenhop) and Little Debbie (Ali Akay). Jeff removes a medallion off the mausoleum, unleashing the Chinese god of the dead, Guan-Di (James Peck), who kills Clayton and the Debbies while Jeff flees.Meanwhile, Bruce Campbell is finishing filming for the fictional Cave Alien II, and is promised a birthday surprise from his agent, Mills Toddner (Ted Raimi). Bruce meets Jeff, who kidnaps Campbell and takes him to Gold Lick in hopes that his hero can save the town from Guan-Di. Upon arrival, Bruce assumes it’s his birthday surprise from Mills, and thinks it’s all a movie, despite a lack of cameras and a script, and agrees to “help”. He learns about Guan-Di in the town’s hall and during a dinner party, Bruce gets on the good side of Jeff’s mother, Kelly (Grace Thorsen), who had initially been irritated by Bruce’s behavior.
After gearing up at Gold Lick’s gun shop, Bruce and many citizens of Gold Lick go out into the woods to take on Guan-Di, which Bruce still thinks is part of a movie. Bruce then finds out that it’s all real and flees Gold Lick, angering the townspeople, disappointing Kelly and upsetting Jeff. As part of a running gag, an Italian painter (also played by Ted Raimi) constantly repaints the population sign every time someone dies, including himself. Bruce returns to his caravan to find that everyone, including his own dog, hates him a lot. He has a restraining order placed upon him by his ex-wife, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss), and finds that his “surprise birthday present” from Mills was just a singing prostitute named Kasey (Janelle Farber). Bruce is then called by Jeff, who informs him that he’s going to take on Guan-Di alone in spite of Bruce’s retreat.
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Kasey takes Bruce back to Gold Lick, where he is treated with contempt and tries to reconcile with Kelly. To rescue Jeff, they both drive to the old cemetery, in which they set up dynamite at the mausoleum and try to lure Guan-Di inside with one of Jeff’s cardboard cut-outs of Bruce, which Guan-Di doesn’t fall for. After kissing Kelly, Bruce decides to sacrifice himself (with bean curd playing a significant role in luring Guan-Di) and the dynamite is blown up. He emerges from the debris alive, and hangs the medallion back onto the mausoleum wall to ease the spirit. Guan-Di then also comes back to life, and at the very last minute, it turns out the whole scenario was a movie. Bruce argues with Ted Raimi about the cliched ending and turns it into a happy ending, which involves Bruce and Kelly married, living in a nice house with their son, Jeff, who is accepted into Harvard University. After the movie ends, Bruce asks “What could be a better ending than that?”, after which Guan-Di appears and attacks Bruce.
How can you not like Bruce Campbell! A man with hundreds of b-movies under his belt…..and proud of it!And that is basically what this is, a celebration of persona. Pure tacky trash is what this film is! And  it’s good! It’s cheesy! It’s cringe worthy! It’s…..Bruce Campbell. He really shines in this movie, gladly mocking his life in cinema.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE GRUDGE

CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
William Mapother (Powers)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
KaDee Strickland (American Gangster)
Grace Zabriskie (Armageddon)
Bill Pullman (Independence Day)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ryo Ishibashi (Blue Tiger)

MV5BMjAyNTM0Njg1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE2ODcyMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,989_AL_The Grudge describes a curse that is born when someone dies in the grip of a powerful rage or extreme sorrow. The curse is an entity created where the person died. Those who encounter this evil supernatural force die; and the curse is reborn repeatedly, passed from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror. The following events are explained in their actual order; the original film is presented in a non-linear narrative.
MV5BMjE1Mzc5ODAzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1404,1000_AL_The Saeki family lived happily in suburban Tokyo, but housewife Kayako Saeki fell in love with her college professor, Peter Kirk, obsessively writing about him in her diary. However, her husband Takeo discovered the diary. Believing Kayako was having an affair, he became mentally disturbed and murdered his wife by pushing her off the stairs, snapping her neck to a 90 degree angle and crushing her throat. He then drowned his young son Toshio – who witnessed the act – in the bathtub to cover his tracks, along with the pet cat, Mar. Takeo hid the bodies in the attic and closet, before Kayako’s ghost murdered him by hanging him with her hair in Toshio’s bedroom. Peter came to the Saeki house to speak to Kayako after receiving a letter from her, only to find her corpse. Shocked, he fled the house, killing himself the next day by falling over the balcony of his building complex in front of his wife. The Saeki family rose again as ghosts due to their rage and sorrow, notably Kayako, who appears as an onryō ghost, leaving the curse on the house.
MV5BMjI2ODc1MjUxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzA2ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1467,1000_AL_The present timeline starts a few years later with the Williams family moving in from America. While husband Matt is thrilled with the house, his wife Jennifer and dementia-ridden mother Emma feel uncomfortable. Jennifer is quickly consumed by the curse. Matt returns home to find the house trashed, Emma upset, and his wife dying. Matt and Jennifer are killed by Toshio. Yoko, a careworker, arrives at the house the next day to find Emma alone, and encounters Kayako, who attacks her. Concerned about Yoko’s disappearance, her employer Alex sends another careworker, Karen Davis, to take over the care for Emma. At the house, Karen is shocked when she finds a seemingly alive Toshio and Mar in the closet, contacting Alex for help.
MV5BMTQ0MjU5OTA1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzk0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1734,1000_AL_Alex finds Emma dead in the house and Karen in a state of shock after her first encounter with Kayako, and summons the police, including Detective Nakagawa. Nakagawa and his partner Igarashi explore the house, finding the bodies of Matt and Jennifer in the attic along with a human’s lower jaw. Matt’s sister Susan disappears after being followed and attacked by Kayako, and Alex is killed when visited by a Kayako-possessed Yoko missing her lower jaw. Karen begins to be haunted by Kayako herself, informing her boyfriend Doug of the situation. She researches the origins of the house, eventually confronting Nakagawa, who explains three of his colleagues investigating the Saeki deaths all were consumed by the curse. That night, Nakagawa goes to the house and tries to burn it down, but is killed by Takeo.
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Karen races to the house upon learning Doug has ventured there to look for her, experiencing a vision in which she sees Peter visiting the house and finding Kayako’s corpse. Karen finds Doug paralyzed by fear, and attempts to flee the house with him, only to witness Kayako as she drags herself down the stairs and crawls on Doug, causing him to die of fright. Karen spots the petrol and manages to ignite it with Doug’s lighter just as Kayako is about to kill her. Karen is whisked to a hospital, but learns the house survived the fire. Visiting Doug’s body, Karen realizes she is still haunted by Kayako, who appears behind her as the camera circles to reveal her wide staring eye.MV5BMTY4ODkzNzcxNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzU0ODcyMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1235,1000_AL_Ju-On already ranks as one of the scariest movies ever made, and The Grudge is a worthy attempt which has some pluses and minuses over the original. The story is certainly easier to follow and more is explained, although it refuses to be told in a linear fashion. This adds to the uneasiness we feel while watching it, but is less confusing than the previous version.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DRAG ME TO HELL


CAST

Alison Lohman (Big Fish)
Justin Long (Waiting)
Lorna Raver (Freeway)
Dileep Rao (Avatar)
David Paymer (Howard The Duck)
Molly Cheek (Spider-Man)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Alexis Cruz (Stargate)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)

In 1969 Pasadena, California, a couple seeks the aid of the medium Shaun San Dena (Flor de Maria Chahua) saying their son (Shiloh Selassie) has been hearing evil spirits’ voices after stealing a silver necklace from gypsies. San Dena aids the family by carrying out a seance, but they are attacked by an unseen force that pulls the boy into Hell. The medium says she will encounter the force again one day. In present-day Los Angeles, bank loan officer Christine Brown hopes to be promoted to assistant manager over her co-worker Stu Rubin. Her boss, Jim Jacks, advises her to demonstrate that she can make tough decisions to get a promotion. Christine is visited by an elderly gypsy woman, Sylvia Ganush, who asks for an extension on her mortgage payment. Though empathetic with the old woman’s crisis, Christine denies Ganush an extension to prove herself to her boss. Ganush begs Christine not to repossess her house and kneels in front of her. Christine gets scared of the woman’s bizarre pleading as she is helping her to stand up and calls security, who take Ganush away while Ganush blames Christine for “shaming” her and vows to take revenge. Jim compliments Christine on how she handled the situation.
When Christine goes to the bank parking garage to drive home, Ganush attacks Christine in her car, rips a button off Christine’s coat and uses it to place a curse on Christine. Later, Christine and her boyfriend Clay Dalton meet the fortune teller, Rham Jas who tells Christine that she is being haunted by an evil spirit. At home, Christine is attacked by the spirit and has nightmares about Ganush. At work the next day, Christine snaps at Stu and has a projectile nose bleed that soaks her boss in blood. She runs away and Stu secretly takes a file off Christine’s desk.

Christine goes to talk to Ganush but learns that she died the previous night. Christine returns to Rham Jas, who explains that as long as Christine is the owner of an accursed object, she will be haunted by a powerful demon called the Lamia (loosely based on the Greek child-eating demon) that will torment her for three days before taking her to Hell for eternity. He suggests a sacrifice to appease the demon. Desperate to stop the attacks, Christine reluctantly sacrifices her pet kitten. At a dinner party with Clay and his parents, she is again tormented by the Lamia, but this time through the use of illusions, which frightens the Daltons.Screen-Shot-2015-03-20-at-1.01.31-PMChristine returns to Rham Jas who says that Shaun San Dena will risk her life to stop the demon for a fee of $10,000. San Dena prepares a seance to trap the Lamia’s spirit in a goat and kill it, and then allows the Lamia to inhabit her body. Rham Jas tries to persuade it not to steal Christine’s soul, but it vows never to stop until Christine dies. Christine then places San Dena’s hand on the goat, causing the spirit to enter its body. San Dena’s assistant, Milos, attempts to kill the goat, but is bitten by the goat and becomes possessed, attacking the members of the seance. San Dena banishes the Lamia from the seance, but dies in the process. Christine thinks the medium has overcome the Lamia, but Rham Jas explains that she only managed to drive the spirit away until the next day. Then he seals the cursed button in an envelope and tells Christine that she can get rid of the curse by giving the button to someone as a gift, thereby passing the curse on to that person.

Christine decides to give the envelope to Stu in revenge for his stealing her work, but changes her mind after seeing how pathetic, tearful and panicky Stu is when he meets her. With guidance from Rham Jas, Christine learns that she can give it to Ganush even though she is dead. Christine digs up Ganush’s grave and jams the envelope in her mouth just in time before dawn. Christine returns home and prepares to meet Clay at Los Angeles Union Station for a weekend trip to Santa Barbara. She gets a message from her boss telling her that she landed her dream position after Stu confessed to stealing her work and was fired. At the station, Christine also buys a coat that she has been wanting as a sign of a new beginning. Clay, planning to propose, reveals to Christine that he found the envelope containing the cursed button in his car. Christine then realizes she mixed up her envelope with another that she gave to Clay when she accidentally dropped it. Horrified, Christine backs away and falls onto the tracks. As a train barrels towards her, fiery hands suddenly emerge from the tracks and drag Christine into the neverending flames of Hell, as a horrified Clay watches from the platform above with the cursed button still in his hands.This is the kind of film that Raimi was born to make, and it has his stamp and particular brand of chaotic and bizarre black humour all over it. Raimi is an absolute master of manipulation, and the scares and laughs come thick and fast, with plenty of gross-out moments. Projectile nose-bleeds, talking possessed goats, cat sacrifice and flying eyeballs are all on the agenda. Drag me to Hell is a film that has been skilfully created to make you jump, giggle and cringe in equal measure, and turns out to be one of the most enjoyable films in its genre for many years.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS – GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN

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MAIN CAST

Lucy Lawless Spartacus)
Renee O’Connor (Boogeyman 2)

GUEST CAST

Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Matthew Chamberlain (King Kong)
Anthony Ray Parker (The Matrix)

 The episode opens with Xena and Gabrielle running into Joxer, who has a package for Xena. It contains the talking head of Orpheus. Orpheus’s head informs Xena that Bacchus has decapitated him, and that he must be stopped. They arrive at a nearby town, and Gabrielle goes to a party and dances with a group of Bacchus’s bacchae: female vampires created by Bacchus. Meanwhile, Xena defeats two bacchae. Elsewhere, Bacchus plots to turn Xena into an eternal Bacchae.
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The next day the protagonists go to the cemetery next to Bacchus’s catacombs to collect dryad bones. These bones are the only thing capable of piercing a bacchae’s heart and killing them. Xena kills one of the skeletal, winged dryads and procures a sharp bone. Gabrielle then turns into a bacchae; she had been bitten the previous day at the party. Gabrielle escapes into the catacombs and the group gives chase. They find Gabrielle, Bacchus, and a large group of bacchae in the middle of a ceremony. Gabrielle is about to drink Bacchus’s blood from a cup and become a permanent bacchae, but Xena knocks the cup to the ground with her chakram. A fight ensues and Xena attempts to kill Bacchus, but he informs her that only a bacchae can kill him. Xena lets Gabrielle bite her, becoming a bacchae, and then kills Bacchus, after which all of Bacchus’ bacchae servants, as well as Xena and Gabrielle regain their humanity.
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I felt that the episode was innovative and strange and that several aspects were notable including: Orpheus’s head being paraded around on a scarecrows body; the use of a techno soundtrack; and Gabrielle being seduced by the Bacchae. An all around classic.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MAN WITH THE SCREAMING BRAIN

CAST

Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Tamara Gorski (Hercules: TLJ)
Ted Raimi (Xena)
Antoinette Byron (Rebel)
Stacy Keach (The Bourne Legacy)
Raicho Vasilev (Spartacus)

Image result for man with the screaming brainBruce Campbell plays William Cole, the wealthy CEO of a U.S. drug company who travels to Bulgaria with his wife, Jackie (Antoinette Byron) in the hopes of diversifying his company’s financial interests. Cole is a stereotypical ugly American who constantly complains about the lack of Americanization of the former communist country. They’re driven to a hotel by a taxi driver, and former KGB agent, named Yegor Stragov (Vladimir Kolev), in which Yegor gives William a ring to give to Jackie. While William is at the construction of a subway, Jackie secretly cheats on William with Yegor.Man-with-the-Screaming-Brain-14William gets back to the hotel and bumps into the hotel maid and gypsy, Tatoya (Tamara Gorski), who kills men that date and dump her. Jackie then comes in, catches William kissing Tatoya and dumps him. William chases Tatoya, who had taken William’s money and ring (which is revealed to be Tatoya’s that she gave to Yegor when they dated), and Tatoya knocks him in the head with a pipe outside the hotel. Yegor witnesses this and so Tatoya kills Yegor with his own gun.A vengeful Jackie has Cole’s life support plug pulled in hospital, and then goes to Gypsy Town where Tatoya lives and attempts to kill her, only to have Tatoya kill her by throwing her down a flight of stairs. Meanwhile, William wakes up in the warehouse of a Russian scientist named Dr. Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov (Stacy Keach), and his idiotic assistant Pavel (Ted Raimi), who had taken damaged parts of William’s brain and replaced it with healthy tissue from Yegor’s. When William runs out of the warehouse, he discovers he can hear Yegor’s voice in his head, and they both plan to “get the woman that killed us both”. Jackie, who had also been picked up by Dr. Ivanov and Pavel, has her brain put inside a robot, and so she escapes and also plans to exact revenge on Tatoya.William/Yegor and Robo-Jackie chase Tatoya around town. William gets involved in a car crash with his foot underneath a car and Tatoya makes another attempt to kill William by setting the leaking car gasoline alight. Jackie saves him and is presumed dead in the explosion. After avoiding some bar punks that believe William “raped Tatoya on her wedding day”, William/Yegor begin suffering brain damage due to their cells not able to coexist in the same head. Jackie, who had survived the explosion, appears and attempts to kill Tatoya by throwing her off a bridge, until Jackie stabs her brain, causing her to malfunction, and has Jackie thrown off the bridge. William chases Tatoya through the subway construction and the sewer and finally kills Tatoya by dropping her in sewer river, after obtaining the ring back. William and Jackie then confess their love for each other before Jackie’s batteries finally die, as does William due to the brain cells of him and Yegor. Pavel brings William, Jackie and Tatoya’s body back to Dr. Ivanov to fix them, as he had earlier found a way to make William and Yegor’s brain cells coexist in the same head. The movie ends with William back in the U.S. six months later, still sharing his body with Yegor’s brain. He goes to a brain trauma benefit with Jackie, whose brain had been transferred into Tatoya’s body.Man-with-the-Screaming-Brain-11This is exactly what you expect from the Mighty King Of Chins.A Mad story about a Mad Scientist,played with Brilliant humour by Stacy Keach who brings Bruce back to life after He is attacked by a Crazy Woman. Funny,imaginative and Really Silly….in a good way that is.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: TALES FROM THE CRAPPER

CAST

Julie Strain (Repossessed)
Lloyd Kaufman (Super)
Jorge Garcia (Lost)
Trey Parker (South Park)
James Gunn (Tromeo and Juliet)
Ted Raimi (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ron Jeremy (Orgazmo)
India Allen (Round Numbers)
Debbie Rochon (Slime City)
Eli Roth (Scream 4)
Trent Haaga (Terror Firmer)

Tales from the Crapper is a film that only one studio in the world could deliver. The one that has brought us innovative and original real independent films for 30 plus years now: Troma. This is truly a very special film because it manages to be certainly not my favorite of the Troma-productions, but released on a disc that because of what I just said is one of my most valued and favorite DVD’s. Not only counting the countless Troma discs I own, but counting my entire collection of films. The film itself is the result of an ill fated plan to produce a television series to be directed by a director who was trusted with a substantial amount of money (especially for Troma) to make something wonderful and delivered a lot of unfinished and incomphrehensible material before quitting (or being fired, I am not sure which at this moment). In order to prevent having to shove a vast investment down the toilet Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz decided to get together a team of directors and actors and use the material as the backbone of one movie.

Image result for tales from the crapperOne movie that really consists of two, in the nice old Tales From The Crypt anthology fashion, hosted by the Crapkeeper played by Mr Kaufman himself. But, as I said, not quite my own favorite of all their movies. That is greatly due to a weird sense of discipline at the various sets, forgetting about the hard Troma rule of “no booze on the set” which was discovered by a furious Lloyd and other less respectable emplyees that Troma had at the time of the filming of the added scenes. All this made it all but impossible for Mr Kaufman to make a worthwile product in the editing room. But Lloyd Kaufman is a genius, and with the troubled added scenes to an already misshapen startproduct he crafted not much less of a masterpiece.
Image result for tales from the crapperThe film itself is as good as circumstances would allow the most brilliant filmmaker to slice together and it is certainly highly entertaining, totally confusing, loaded with those elements that made Troma great and certainly unique and one of a kind. As a film itslef, though, not as brilliant as many other Troma productions. The genius of Independent Cinema however made the DVD of this film so much more than a release of a film with some extra’s. The film is, when push comes to shove, actually only a part of the entire dvd that in its whole is a document of the difficult situation serious filmmakers find themselves in having to survive in a world that is monopolized by the few Very Big Ones who don’t really allow any other players on their market turf. A document of the problems one has when trusting people to be on the level, only to find out that freedom sometimes is something that is hard to live up to and realisation that access to a Movie Budget when the Boss is not around can corrupt even those who should really know better.
Image result for tales from the crapperThe brilliance of this DVD is that the film is not perfect, and that Lloyd knows it, and doesn’t want to make anyone think he believes it is. The full-length commentary is a show in itself , mixing humor, sneers at those who deserve it and highly interesting information for anyone interested in Independent Filmmaking in such a fashion that watching the film again with this commentary straight after viewing it on its own merits is so interesting it is hard to stop. The feature-length documentary THE THICK BROWN LINE takes us behind the scenes at the various locations where Lloyd visits the sets only to sometimes take over and make the most of what he finds there. We see him somewhat disillusioned sometimes, different from his appearances in other Making Of Documents such as Fart of Darkness and Apocalypse Soon, both to be found in the must-own MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE box set.

Image result for tales from the crapperThe added scenes with James Gunn (who started his carreer at Troma only to find success as a writer an now a director in Hollywood) and Trey Parker (again someone to start out with a Troma-released work, to later be a national hero with his South Park series) are entertaining and probably (as is much else on this release) a reason for obtaining this disc alone for anyone remotely interested in the work of these two characters. this is one of the best Troma-dvd-releases.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: ASH VS EVIL DEAD – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Bruce Campbell (Jack of All Trades)
Ray Santiago (My Name Is Earl)
Dana DeLorenzo (2 Broke Girls)
Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)
Michelle Hurd (Daredevil)
Ted Raimi (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Pepi Sonuga (Famous in Love)

Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joel Tobeck (Young Hercules)
Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man)
Stephen Lovatt (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Stephen Ure (Deathgasm)
Ellen Sandweiss (Oz The Great and Powerfui)
Campbell Cooley (Power Rangers Ninja Steel)
Sara West (Dead Girls)
Nicholas Hope (Soul Mates)

Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Though not without a few stumbles, Ash vs Evil Dead’s second season was a definite improvement over its freshman year run. Not that Season 1 wasn’t fun and ferocious gooey gory goodness, but it didn’t quite have a handle on Ash, as a character, like Season 2 did. Last year, Ash seemed to bounce back and forth between total doofus and a more earnest sort of hero who was in the midst of a transformative arc. What was needed — and yes, it’s tricky — was a blend of the two. Ash needed to become less of a reluctant savior while still being fundamentally, you know, Ash.This is where Season 2 really nailed it. Sure, we got some truly awesome action set pieces involving rampaging killer cars, diabolical devil trees, and all sorts of evil minions of hell — sequences that awesomely pushed us to our hardcore gore, and good taste, limits — but what resonated the most about this second year was how well Ash came off as a character. Ash was allowed to be smart, but in his own goofball way. For example, he’d have ideas to track down books and demons that involved raging alcohol-infused parties and his iguana’s pet tracker. Plans that sounded totally asinine but fell into that “so dumb they actually worked” category. Even Ruby, Ash’s biggest critic, constantly had to admit that Ash, for better or worse, could get things done.Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Bringing Ash back home and revealing that he’d been ostracized by his town and family after the blood-soaked events of the Evil Dead films was a crucial part of this blending. Ash was given, of all things, an off-screen backstory and through this he could be afforded spare moments of vulnerability. Ash could bicker with his bigoted, bitter father (infused with wonderful crotchetiness by Lee Majors) while we, the viewers, could know that he secretly longed for his love and approval.Bruce Campbell and Ray Santiago in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Pablo’s story this year, as a wannabe warrior-turned-living version of the Necronomicon, helped give the season a nice flow. Season 1 was a road trip. Not every stop along the journey hit the mark. This time, even with the time travel, Ash sorta stayed put in Elk Grove and it was Pablo’s connection to the book, and the rise of Baal, that moved us groovily through the story. Pablo’s death also really added a cool exclamation point that the final two episodes needed. Sure, Ash’s little burrito would come back to life by the end, but Ash’s grief over losing his friend is what led to the final defeat of Baal.Lucy Lawless in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Another thing that Season 2 brought to the table was a better take on Lucy Lawless’ Ruby. Essentially the straight-laced reactive character in the group (though everyone side-eyes Ash), Ruby joined the Ghostbeaters this year as a half-demon who’d made a horrible mistake. Season 1 never gave us her origins or (well explained) motivations, so it was fitting to see her change completely and get rebooted for the good guys. Unfortunately, this Ruby died in the finale and was replaced with 80s evil Ruby..Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)Ruby was in Kelly’s ear all season, talking destiny and taking matters into her own hands. Then Kelly even had her own “Ash Fight” when Ash was supposedly under the control of Baal and she got to throw down with the demented therapy puppet (which was amazing). She became even more of badass than season 1 and it will be interesting to see what becomes of Kelly in season 3.Lucy Lawless and Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)I’d be remiss if I closed this review without mentioning Ash being dragged up into a possessed corpse’s butt. This season definitely went above and beyond when it came to, um, orifices and fluids (of all kinds), but this moment, back in the second episode, was really one of the most gag-worthy and “out there” moments the show has ever done, finally taking full advantage of being on an anything goes network like Starz. It was magnificent and, though the show may try, it’ll probably never be topped.
bp1o7i3a6alalclalucbAsh vs Evil Dead: Season 2 gave us a fully realized Ash, who was both hilarious and valiant, while also fleshing out his character more with a great “town boogeyman” backstory. It would have been nice to see Kelly’s arc land somewhere more significant, but overall this was a raunchy, gloppy good time filled with grit and guts.