Thirty-five years ago, a young aspiring filmmaker named Sam Raimi and his ragtag team of friends, including the Joel half of the Coen brothers, used their limited resources to craft one of the greatest horror films of all time: The Evil Dead, a frenzied, frantic, fiercely original vision of pretty young people chopping each other up in a cabin in the woods, starring a then-unknown Bruce Campbell. Raimi & Co. flaunted their DIY aesthetic, splashing gallons of blood and viscera all over everyone and everything. The film was, in Raimi’s own words, a “comedy of errors.” It also ushered in a new era of indie horror filmmaking and engendered a new horror trope (later skewered, with deft precision, by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, in The Cabin in the Woods).
Now Raimi and Campbell have revived The Evil Dead as a television series for Starz called Ash vs Evil Dead (notice how they dropped the “The,” akin to the polarizing 2013 pseudo-remake Evil Dead). The new trailer just arrived, and it displays all the mordant humor and gleefully perverse bodily mutilation that made The Evil Dead, The Evil Dead II, and Army of Darkness great (to varying degrees). Campbell’s Ash returns, having traded in his boom stick and chainsaw for a corset. “Lookin’ good, lookin’ sweet,” he intones to his mirror before making a kissy face. (Don’t worry, the boom stick is back, too.)
The show looks like it’ll retain the Grand Guignol style of its progenitors, with Raimi’s rapid-fire close-ups, shaky cam, acerbic one-liners (“Let’s tango, bitch”), and torrents of blood glazing the screen. The 2013 remake jettisoned the series’ trademark humor, instead focusing on some of the most grueling, intense, and visceral horror to stain the screen in years. It was horrifying — an undeniable achievement of stomach-churning verisimilitude and dexterously crafted violence — but it wasn’t really The Evil Dead. This show looks like it’ll rectify that. Campbell is joined by series newcomers Jill Marie Jones, Dana Delorenzo, and Ray Santiago, as well as Raimi regular Lucy Lawless. The show premieres on Halloween on Starz.