Thursday, September 22, 2016

Superhero Media: Ash Vs Evil Dead

Full disclosure, I'm not really a fan of the Evil Dead series. Sure, I've seen them all and want to read the Freddy vs Jason vs Ash comic at some point, but I can't say that I've ever viewed them as "classics" in any respect. My guess is that I simply came to them too late, well into my 20s, to have them leave a lasting impression, then again, it was the same for Big Trouble in Little China and that is a goddamned masterpiece. That said, I really enjoyed the first few episodes of Ash Vs Evil Dead, with an ageing, overweight and laughably pathetic Ash eking out an existence in retail. When the dead rise again, Ash does everything he can to ignore the problem until his coworkers force him to strap on his chainsaw and get busy. When Ash finally gains the impetus to go after the Deadites, it's a pretty cool scene, pity that momentum doesn't last the rest of the series. 

To start with Ash Vs Evil Dead is pure Sam Rami, through and through; the splatter quotient is dialed up to eleven and the zombie makeup is actually really good for a television programme. Where it falls down is in terms of plot and verisimilitude. Ash and co basically have to get the Necronomicon back to the cabin to prevent the apocalypse, not sure why it took them a whole season though, as the cabin appears to be in the same state and they're driving. Ok, yes they have to stop to fight deadites every episode to keep the action up, but the lack of progress is distracting, especially when Ash is trying to pick up a random waitress in a diner, who clearly isn't interested; yes, it informs character, but runs contrary to the idea of the chase/road narrative. Also odd is that, in an early episode, deadites are overrunning a shopping centre and people are looting, but one episode later (and one county over), everything seems to be fine and no one is aware of the undead apocalypse bearing down on them. 

My guess is that Ash Vs Evil Dead is made for the fans. The references to the films are think and fast and Rami-splatter seems to be used as a kind of caulk for the gaps in narrative. The longer I think about it, the more holes I find; why has Ash not sold the Necronomicon if he's that hard up for cash, he had at least one buyer? Why is all of his Deadite-hunting gear in perfect working order if it's been that long, he seems pretty lazy? Is there really only one Necronomicon, a lot of people seem to know about it and in most fiction there are a few copies rocking around? If, unlike me, you can sit there and not analyse things too much, you should get a kick out of Ash Vs Evil Dead, but I don't think I'll be chasing down the second series now that my 30-day Free Trial has expired. Still want that Hasslefree "Not Ash" for Ultimate Alliance though... 

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