Friday, October 30, 2015


Horror and humor, goofiness and gore. Starz has that Halloween night at 9:00 in the premiere episode of ASH vs EVIL DEAD.  This show is not the kind of fare I tend to turn on.  But, when I watched the premiere episode, I could see why it has so many fans here and abroad.  I watched it twice because the middle-aged Michigan monster hunter who uses a chainsaw for a hand and his two sidekicks made me laugh that much.
When Ashley Williams, called "Ash," goes to work, he wears an employee badge that says "stockboy."  That gives you a clue as to where he is in his life.  And in the store.  Nonetheless, Pablo (played wonderfully for Puerto Rican New Yorker Ray Santiago) looks up to Ash in their adventures fighting the evil dead.
I first met the flawless Lucy Lawless in the 90s when I was a regular on Fox5's Good Day New York morning news program.  She was my in-studio guest for a live interview. We loved Lucy. She was in her Xena the Warrior Princess fame days then.  I vividly recall  how down to earth and gracious she was to all her fans who worked at Channel 5.  She acted more like a really cool neighbor than a major TV star.  She'll be in episodes of Ash vs Evil Dead and I got to interview her again.  The TV star had not changed.  What a lovely person she is.  Her character is out to kick some Ash.  She seeks revenge for something that happened years ago.  With co-star Jill Marie Jones, we discussed the strong female characters.  Lucy's character seeks revenge.  Jill plays a Michigan police detective who thinks she's seeing supernatural creatures when she's off duty.  These female roles are different from the women in 1950s horror movies -- shapely babes who screamed, fainted and needed to be rescued.  If they were good girls, that is.  Bad girls (meaning they were easy lays in bullet bras) were usually evaporated by space aliens or devoured by gigantic insects.  Here are Lucy Lawless and Jill Marie Jones.
Ash is a middle-aged hot mess.  And that is exactly why we totally dig this often clueless dude with one hand and dentures who still feels that he's a chick magnet.  Actor Bruce Campbell has been playing Ash since 1981.  Now, in this series, he plays him as the overweight monster hunter that he is.  Campbell has grown into the character.  The older, somewhat boneheaded Ash is a rich character for a horror comedy.  Campbell plays the macho immaturity so well.  Ash has a chainsaw and a healthy ego.  How healthy?  As he dresses to go out, he puts one o' these in his pocket --
Yes. He went there.

As one 50+, overweight man talking about another --- bravo, Ash!  You rock.  Here's my interview of Bruce Campbell.  For the premiere episode, he was once again directed by Sam Raimi, his longtime friend who also directed the big hit Spider-Man movies.
Also making me laugh in this premiere are the deadpan expressions and wisecracks from Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly.  Kelly and Pablo are great supporting pals.                                                                      
I pray this Starz series turns Ray Santiago into a breakout TV star.  A charismatic actor, I watched him and wondered if he was ever submitted to audition for the Spider-Man role. His Pablo hair is fabulous.  It's all about that hair.  I had the great opportunity to meet Ray Santiago.  What a classy, charming and talented young man.  I asked him what agency represents his hair.  He laughed a lot and told me that he's the agent.  When he got to L.A. ten years ago, agents turned him down and told him he'd never get work with his look. Now there's a billboard promoting Ash vs Evil Dead above Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood and Ray Santiago is on it.  Here's a trailer for the action-packed premiere.
Ash and the demon doll in the store's toy section.  That was creepy with a touch of slapstick.  I loved it.  Happy Halloween.

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