Ode to Evil Dead

Evil Dead fans around the world are mourning the end of a franchise. I am among them.

The Evil Dead franchise arrived in the ‘80’s at a time when slash and gore horror movie flicks were a dime a dozen. Instead of following suit, this franchise with its small budget decided to set out on a new frontier: the slash and gore horror-comedy.

In this new genre, the focus of the thing was not being scary. It was being funny, and oh, was this series funny! It never mattered that the special effects looked cheesy or outdated. It never mattered how weird the story was getting. It was so absurdly funny, so ridiculously hilarious. It made us laugh. That was all that mattered.

Bruce Campbell’s star turn was the icing on the cake. Ash Williams was perfect for this bizarre scenario because he was not the typical horror movie hero. He did not have a superimposing presence that made him macho. At first sight, Ash would have been the first person you would expect to be killed, but in the movies and in the show, he proved everyone wrong.

Ash was not usually that smart, but he was tough and resourceful. His continuing battles only made him stronger, snarkier, and more confident. Ash’s confidence made him cocky and arrogant at times, but it never made him unlikable or not funny. Ash Williams was a horror movie hero we could get behind.

After the last movie, fans had all but accepted that the Evil Dead franchise was done. There were video games and such, but no one ever expected to see Ash Williams on screen fighting absurdly impressive special effects monsters or deadites ever again.

Then almost 30 years later, “Ash vs. Evil Dead” aired on Starz with everyone who made the Evil Dead franchise shine. Sam Raimi was in charge again. Bruce Campbell was returning as middle-aged Ash. It was a dream come true.

For the next three years, fans received more Evil Dead than they ever could have asked for. The special effects were purposely cheesy and funny even though the show’s larger budget made them look better. We got to know Ash Williams as a person and see him find a family with people who didn’t die. We got to see Bruce Campbell at his best when he was going through his worst. We got to see a story expand to its most clever, fantastic, and ridiculous heights.

Now, the ride is over. The franchise has ended, but its cult following is anything but dead. Evil Dead will always be celebrated as the innovative horror-comedy it is. It will make us laugh and occasionally cry for generations to come. It will always be loved by the people who appreciate its value, whether the big companies see that value or not.

So, I say, thank you, Evil Dead. You took us for a groovy ride we shall never forget.

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