Bruce Campbell Talks Blood, Guts, and the Return of the Evil Dead

Hail to the king, baby.
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Hail to the king, baby.
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Twenty-three years and unspeakable gallons of blood later, everyone’s favorite one-handed buffoon is back for yet another splatterfest. Ashley “Ash” J. Williams (Bruce Campbell), the title character from Sam Raimi’s cult-classic Evil Dead trilogy, heads up Ash vs Evil Dead, the 10-episode Starz series set for resurrection October 31. Here, a chat with the ultimate survivor. 

So what has Ash been up to?

He lives in a shithole, he’s got no job, he’s missing a hand, and he goes to bars whining about it. He’s gone nowhere for 30 years. 

Does he have new skills at his disposal now?

Not really; he’s kind of an idiot. You have to understand that. We got a note from the studio one time about how Ash should handle a gun, and our reply was that Ash wouldn’t know how to do that. He’s not a trained soldier, he’s not a spy, he’s not FBI. And that’s why I like him. He’s just a guy.

What’s it mean for Ash that the action is moving out from the woods?

It means he’s going to grow as a human being and he has to interact with other people and learn to play nice, which isn’t easy for him. He realizes he can’t do this alone. He has to become a leader.

Presumably there are more accessories to strap to his stump. 

Definitely. Use your imagination. Anything is game. The other nice thing is technology alone on film sets has allowed us to have better blood-delivery systems, literally spewing. The old days it was a guy blowing blood through a tube from his mouth into an actor’s face. Now it’s all pressurized.  

So how will the series compare to the films?

It’s going to kind of be like watching a movie from the ’80s. The approach is much more old-school. Our demons are nasty. They’re scary. But they are not zombies. Everyone uses that term, but they’re deadites. They’re smart, aggressive, tricky; they can pretend like they’re normal, they can drive cars, they can use your own shotgun against you. They’ll grab your chain saw and fuck you up. They’re a force to be reckoned with. 

Any survival advice for first-time horror-movie characters? 

Don’t read from creepy books. Don’t go into creepy houses or the basement. Don’t go check out something alone. All the rules apply. There’s just so many things you shouldn’t do that everybody does, and that’s why they die.