Since New York Comic-Con has grown so big this year, some of the related events took place in the surrounding New York City area. After a near 2-hour wait on Saturday, I got into Hammerstein Ballroom, a concert venue three avenues away from the Jacob Javit’s Convention Center where thousands of Evil Dead and Bruce Campbell fans poured in to get their foam finger chainsaws and “Ash 4 President” buttons, and to relish in the moment.
Having once waited four hours to meet Bruce Campbell at a horror convention, this was nothing too hard. Everyone was crazed and excited for one reason… ASH IS BACK! On Halloween night, Starz network is bringing director Sam Raimiâ€™s early ’80s horror classic franchise to the small screen with a new television series titled Ash vs Evil Dead. The panel featured all the important cast and crew, including director/EP Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, Lucy Lawless (of Xena fame), Jill Marie Jones, Dana DeLorenzo, and showrunner Craig DiGregorio. The panel was hosted by Kevin Freaking Smith!!!
Kevin Smith began by discussing the influence Evil Dead had on him as a kid. He talked about having Evil Dead II on VHS, which made him the cool guy as before streaming sites and â€œthe internet,â€ VHS was all there was. He welcomed Bruce Campbell, who came out in a gaudy purple smoking jacket that only Bruce Campbell could pull off, though it did have a badass skull pin on the lapel. Before he got going, he was interrupted by Raimi who tells him to give us what we want — so they introduce the PREMIERE EPISODE!!! To say the crowd went insane would be an understatement. So the show… letâ€™s just say it lives up to every expectation an Evil Dead fan would have — itâ€™s THAT good. Donâ€™t worry, full reviews are to come soon.
After the kickass 30-minute episode, we meet the panel: Lawless, Jones, Santiago, DiGregorio, Raimi, Campbell, and DeLorenzo from left to right (check out our photos here below). Smith asked how this new TV show came about. Raimi said he was looking to do another movie, but Rob Tapert (the original Evil Dead producer and lifelong friend of Raimi and Campbell) suggested TV. (Tapert is also Mr. Lucy Lawless since 1998 — I did not know that). Campbell was quick to throw cheers to Starz for picking the show up and allowing them full reign to have gory fun. They joked about Raimi basically finding new ways to abuse Campbell for 30-plus years. Smith asked Campbell how he developed such longevity in the industry. Campbell laughed and said that every time heâ€™s the star, the show is cancelled after a season; but when heâ€™s “second fiddle” it can go a decade… haha. He promised us that they will keep Ash vs Evil Dead on for as many seasons as we demand… awesome! When asked which of the ED trilogy the TV show closest resembles, Raimi says 2 and 3 (Army of Darkness), but with some of the pure horror from part 1.
Then it was on to the new cast and how theyâ€™re all excited to be a part of the series especially with Bruce Campbell. Jones was â€œa 13-year-boyâ€ with guns and blood; Santiago kept asking to be covered in more and more blood; DeLorenzo is happy to be such a badass
Audience Question Time:
The first guy asked about the influence of the Three Stooges, but got ripped by Campbell for not actually knowing anything about themâ€¦ again, the crowd was rolling. One of the best moments was a young single male asked Campbell for advice with the ladies. Campbell vetted him live for the ladies in attendance:
â€œDo you have a job?… Do you have sexual prowess?â€
A young lady asked if the women on stage would get to crank the chainsaw, and Raimi and DiGregorio agreed that was a great idea.
They took questions concerning the showâ€™s involvement in the movieâ€™s universe. They donâ€™t actually have the rights to Army of Darkness, so theyâ€™ll be including just stuff from the first two Evil Dead films.
A question to Lucy Lawless about the badass-ery of her character made her and Campbell get into it, all in good fun.
The final question of the afternoon came from moderator Smith who asked Campbell to be in his film, Mallrats 2. The answer, a resounding YES.
This event was everything an Evil Dead fan could want. Hammerstein Ballroom was filled with over 2,000 screaming fans all waving their foam finger chainsaws. Getting to see the premiere of the series was an insane surprise, and having it meet my expectations was even better. The best part for me was seeing how much fun everyone was having. Raimi and Campbell are the oldest of friends, but arenâ€™t sick of each other yet. Almost everyone I spoke to on the walk back to NYCC headquarters agreed this was panel their highlight.
Ash vs Evil Dead premieres Halloween night, October 31, 2015 at 9pm on Starz.
[All photos by Dave3 for Geeks Of Doom.]
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