Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Untold Truth Of Ash Vs Evil Dead

"Alright, look, we get this done quick enough, we might have time to stop for churros," Ash quips to his loyal buddy Pablo in the inaugural episode of "Ash vs Evil Dead," which arrived on the airwaves back in 2015.  Their adventure would span three seasons of bloody, gore-soaked Deadite slaying, and whether or not they ever found time for churros became an entirely secondary concern. Fans of the "Evil Dead" franchise were elated to see the return of their favorite champion prophesied to confront evil in the fabled Necronomicon. Director Sam Raimi bestowed upon horror fandom three films chronicling the adventures of Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) as he transforms from a wily college boy ready for a good time in rural Tennessee in 1981's "The Evil Dead" to a seasoned mixture of badass and buffoon in 1992's "Army of Darkness." But of course, there was always more to the story. "Evil Dead" built a lasting legacy that ensured Ash's eventual return to the world of Deadites and demons.

"Ash vs Evil Dead" begins the way one would expect given what we know about our hero. Ash unwittingly unleashes hordes of Kandarian demon spirits on the world while reading from the Necronomicon under the influence to impress a girl in the dimly lit haze of his trailer. Let this be a lesson to the rest of us — never drink to excess or light up a joint and read out loud from ancient occult texts. Now Ash must saddle up with two unlikely partners: his Value Stop co-workers Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo). Even though the show only lasted three seasons, there is still plenty to digest for fans of the franchise. Let's dive into some of the lesser-known details behind "Ash vs Evil Dead."

Season 1 couldn't reference Army of Darkness

The first season of the show picks up nearly three decades after Ash's adventures in the cabin. He's now middle-aged, and yet paradoxically nowhere close to a mature adult. After the Deadites are unleashed and Ash embarks on his quest to stop evil alongside Kelly and Pablo, the elusive cabin where it all started becomes a focal point of the season. It's there that Ash intends to bring everything to an end. Despite Ash recalling his history of fighting Deadites in the cabin to Pablo, he seemingly omits an even wilder portion of his story. After all, being a time-traveling savior is a pretty big deal. Many fans may have wondered why is Ash doesn't talk about his days at Castle Kandar rubbing shoulders with the likes of Lord Arthur and Duke Henry the Red?

The reason Ash still isn't walking the aisles of housewares at S-Mart when we first catch up with him is simple — the showrunners simply didn't have the legal rights to reference "Army of Darkness." All three of the original films were distributed by different companies. Bruce Campbell explained to Collider that the team simply tried to be careful to not tread into territory that would raise the eyebrows of any of entities who owned specific rights. "Army of Darkness" has some of the most distinguished aspects of the franchise, including S-Mart and the time-traveling scenario to the Middle Ages. Therefore, the show simply avoided discussing those elements in the first season. Eventually those issues were mitigated, and by Season 2 the production had permission to make small references to "Army of Darkness" including a flashback scene where Ash and The Delta fall into Medieval times.

Bruce was blinded once on set by fake blood

If there's one thing "Evil Dead" is known for, it's blood — buckets and buckets of blood. The Kandarian demons are merciless and swift when it comes to eviscerating their victims. But not all the victims on "Ash vs Evil Dead" are humans. Being a prophesized champion and all that jazz, Ash racks up an extraordinarily high body count of Deadites. Kelly and Pablo learn from the master, and the trio leave a trail of Deadite carnage in their wake.

In fact, the heroes are regularly walking around in blood-stained clothes. When speaking with Collider, Bruce Campbell suggested that the show might actually be bloodier than the films. When asked if there were any standout memorable moments for him on set, Campbell stated that he was once temporarily blinded during a shot. He stated, "I could not see, there was so much blood. My eyes were full of blood. My mouth has been full of blood. You have to stop and spit it out, and then continue." For Ash, being covered in blood is just another Tuesday.

The Delta is the same exact car from the old days

Ash Williams only clings to a few things in this world. The first is the deadly duo that is his Deadite-slicing chainsaw and head-poppin' boom stick. Maybe there's a six-pack of Shemp's Beer for the ride. And perhaps most importantly, Ash has an undying bond with his mighty steed — the classic Oldsmobile Delta 88. This car has been with Ash through thick and thin. It's the very vehicle he rode in on his way to the fated cabin in rural Tennessee. It also made the trip with him back in time. He and his crew of primitive screwheads turned the car into a Medieval tank in order to bring the fight to the hordes of the undead.

On most occasions when a TV show features an iconic vehicle, there are multiple cars kept on hand. For instance, the long-running TV series "Supernatural" that features Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as monster-hunting brothers also includes an iconic ride in the form of a '67 Chevrolet Impala. According to Nerdist, at least eight different Impalas were used during filming of "Supernatural." That is not the case with Ash's Delta. In fact, Bruce Campbell confirmed to Collider that the Delta seen in "Ash vs Evil Dead" is the very same car from the original films. It's also the same car that has appeared in several other Sam Raimi films including "Darkman" and "Spider-Man." Campbell explained that Raimi has such an obsession with the vehicle that it's almost unnatural.

Ellen Sandweiss reprised her role as Cheryl from the 1981 film

While Ash might be "El Jefe" or the so-called savior, he's first and foremost a survivor. Despite what it might look like on the surface, fans know that Ash isn't as altruistic as most movie heroes. He's far from perfect and spends most of the original 1981 film frightened out of his gourd. During that first battle against the undead, Ash even lets his college buddy Scott do most of the heavy lifting. Ash isn't truly forced into action until the end of that film. Sadly, he also loses his sister to the demon uprising at the cabin. Cheryl Williams was the proverbial canary in the coal mine for the unsuspecting college kids. She begins seeing and sensing horrific things pretty much immediately upon the gang's arrival at the cabin, but nobody gives her the time of day.

Cheryl is the first of her group to succumb to the Kandarian demons. Thirty years later, the demons decide to resurrect Ash's sibling just to torment him. In the second season, the original actress who played Cheryl returned briefly to reprise her role as a possessed, undead Cheryl. Ellen Sandweiss' primary claim to fame is her role as Cheryl in "The Evil Dead." In an age where way too many classic roles are recast, it's a treat seeing the original actress once again creep us all out as an unhinged Deadite.

The shovel and axe from the films make a return

Deadite killing is rough business, but there are plenty tools of the trade available for those ready to head into battle. During Ash's second clash with the undead in an abandoned cabin — this time in the late '80s — anything that goes boom or has a sharp edge is immediately a weapon. Sadly, Ash is forced to decapitate his girlfriend's possessed body with a shovel and dig her shallow grave with the same instrument. Later, when Annie Knowby (Sarah Berry) and Ed Getley (Richard Domeier) arrive at the cabin to find Ash as the embattled, lone survivor, Ed is possessed and Ash dismembers him with an axe in a bloody rampage.

Some fans may have noticed that the shovel and axe are referenced in the serialized follow-up. The shovel callback takes place in the pilot episode when Ash is being assaulted by a possessed Little Lori doll. Pablo smashes the unholy plaything with the same style of shovel Ash used in the original films as a clear callback. Later in that same episode, Ash grabs an axe hanging from the wall of his trailer and lobs off a Deadite's arm. Of course, the appearance of these harbingers of death are no mere coincidences. Especially considering Sam Raimi's presence behind the scenes as director of the pilot episode, these have got to be references to "Evil Dead" history.

The antler death in the pilot is an homage to the deer head

With a film series that has garnered the massive cult following that the "Evil Dead" franchise has, there are pieces of the films that stand as iconic moments within the fandom; for instance, Ash's battle with his own hand that ends with him lobbing it off. When fans think of the lone cabin in the middle of the woods, certain elements may instantly come to mind, including the cellar that was used to imprison both Cheryl and Henrietta. Also, the image of a mounted deer head on the wall is closely associated with the cabin setting. As Ash descends into madness with the demonic house working against him, the wall mount rears its ugly head and laughs maniacally at the tortured hero.

The pilot episode of "Ash vs Evil Dead" gets everything started by paying homage to this iconic element of the cabin when Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and her partner investigate a disturbance in a seemingly empty home. There, they find a Deadite-possessed woman who kills Amanda's partner by impaling him on the antlers of a mounted deer head. This is another callback to "Evil Dead" lore that Sam Raimi packed into this pilot episode.

The Ashy Slashy persona was inspired by '80s slashers

In the second season, Ash and team must battle a new foe far deadlier and more cunning than anything they've encountered in the past. His name is Baal, and he enjoys posing as other people by wearing their skin like a suit. It's pretty gross stuff. However, like any maniacal being who hails from the underworld, he's bent on total destruction. But first, he must get rid of the hero who is written of in the sacred text of the Necronomicon — Ash Williams.

Baal, sometimes referred to as "Bill," forgoes a one-on-one confrontation with chainsaw-wielding slayer. Instead, he attempts to trap Ash inside a fake world where the hero is a patient in an asylum. His doctor is none other than Baal, operating under the identity of Dr. Peacock. He tells Ash that his entire life and mission is all a delusion that he created in his mind to avert the responsibility of murdering his friends in the Tennessee cabin, which is precisely what the people of Ash's hometown believe happened. As a ploy, Ash gives into the brainwashing and becomes Ashy Slashy, the nickname given to him for his perceived mass murder spree. Ash's friends come to help him, but he stalks the halls of the asylum with murderous intent devoid of emotion. While it's all an act, it's very reminiscent of Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. In fact, executive producer Robert Taper confirmed in a featurette airing alongside the episode that "typical '80s slasher movie" energy was what they were going for. 

Eligos is a true-blue demon, not another deadite

In the world of "Evil Dead," anything seeking to maim and kill is part of the evil unleashed from the Necronomicon. Deadites might be demonic by nature, but demons aren't necessarily Deadites; there's an important distinction between the two. Deadites are typically the corpses of the slain or living beings who are possessed by the spirits of evil entities. However, a demon on its own is no Deadite, and is likely far more imposing than anything a mere evil spirit can toss your way.

Ash learns this lesson the hard way in the first season of "Ash vs Evil Dead." Our hero has the bright idea of summoning a "weak" or "minor" demon so that he can ask it how to reverse all the damage that's been done by the Necronomicon. The demon's name is Eligos, and once summoned, he's clearly more frightening that anything we've seen before. As the bookstore owner states, Eligos is a demon of "the mindscape" and he preys on "the spiritually and emotionally weak." Ash humorously remarks upon the demon's emergence that he looks nothing "like his photo" so he needs to update that. The prosthetic designer for the show, Roger Murray, told Collider that when creating this beast, they wanted to visually distance him from the Deadites. As a demon, he had to look otherworldly. They certainly nailed that tone, as Eligos is memorable and horrifying.

The original design for Kandar the Destroyer was a generic female demon

In the climactic Season 3 finale, Ash and his crew go up against a monstrosity like they've never seen before — the large and in-charge Kandar the Destroyer. And while the showrunners likely didn't know it at the time, it would be the last hurrah for Ash and the gang for the foreseeable future. What better way to send off the team than pitting them against an enemy with real final boss energy? 

Kandar the Destroyer was originally the brainchild of concept artist Michael Asquith. Photos of the original concept design reveal a demon with a face that looks a lot like the transformed Henrietta. Asquith shared the early images with Deadites Online and discussed the design process. Ultimately, he stated that the breasts and long-hanging tongue were removed and additional spikes and horns were added to the finished piece to give it a more demonic feel and less of a giant Deadite aesthetic.

Ted Raimi, who plays Chet, has appeared in all of the original Evil Dead films

Being both an actor and a brother to a big-time director means you're going to have to show up in some of your sibling's work from time to time. Ted Raimi has no problems with that. In fact, he supports his brother's endeavors pretty frequently. "Ash vs Evil Dead" sees Ted Raimi take on the role of Chet Kaminski, Ash's party animal friend from "back in the day." The two apparently share a history together as established by their pink beverage concoction which has a rather colorful name. But of course, any combination of alcohol and ketamine is fuel for disaster. And Chet is, indeed, a walking disaster.

This is definitely not Ted Raimi's first foray into the world of "Evil Dead." In fact, he appears in all of the original films, even if for only brief moments in small roles. In the second film, he actually plays the role of Henrietta, and puts on the Henrietta body suit once again when the iconic Deadite returns in the second season of the show. So if you missed him, be sure to rewatch the original trilogy and see if you can spot him.

An animated revival may be in the cards

Ash's run on premium television was relatively short lived. Three seasons simply do not leave room for sufficient Deadite-smashing shenanigans to appease fans of the franchise. Of course, ratings were consistently low, though this may have had less to do with the show lacking viewership and more to do with Starz not exactly being a prime outlet for the series.

Of course, fans are still hungry for more and Bruce Campbell and company can sense that. Sadly, in a semi-official capacity, Bruce Campbell is retired from playing Ash simply because it's physically too demanding at his age. Despite this declaration, there still may be a chance for Bruce Campbell to return once again as Ash Williams ... in the form of an animated series. Recently, Campbell shared that there are currently talks surrounding an animated "Ash vs Evil Dead" revival. While it may not be the live-action, practical effects gore-fest that we're used to, fans won't say no to more from "Ash and "Evil Dead." Only time will tell if the animated series comes to fruition.