Saturday, 13 October 2018

Blu-ray Review: Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection

Lionsgate; Not Rated; 14 hrs 20 mins; Amazon
Arriving on Blu-ray & DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment on October 16th is Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection, featuring all 30 episodes on a six-disc set.

Based on the characters created by Sam Raimi, the series is a sequel to the original Evil Dead trilogy with Bruce Campbell returning as Ash Williams, who once battled the evil forces of the Necronomicon.

For the last 30 years, Ash hasn't done too much with his life. He still works as a stock boy, smokes pot, flirts with almost any woman in his sight, and he still drives the old Delta. Late one night, he smokes Marijuana with a hooker and accidentally reads from the Necronomicon, which unleashes the evil Deadites upon Michigan.

This time Ash doesn't have to fight the Deadites alone, as he teams up with his young co-workers Pablo and Kelly (played by Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo) to become an unlikely demon hunting trio. They must stop an immortal being named Ruby (played by Lucy Lawless), who happens to be the creator of the Necronomicon, from unleashing more Deadites.

Season Two brings Ash, Pablo, and Kelly out of demon hunting retirement after the Deadites attack them. This leads them to travel to Ash's hometown of Elk Grove, where they meet his grumpy father (played by Lee Majors). It seems the entire town still blames Ash for the brutal murders of his sister, girlfriend, and two friends that occurred over thirty years ago. He told everyone the Deadites had killed them, but nobody believed him. Well, they're going to have no choice but to believe him when Ruby's Deadites wreck havoc all over town, which eventually leads Ash to time travel to 1982 before he originally encountered the Necronomicon.

Ash met his teenager daughter Brandy (played by Arielle Carver-O'Neill) during the third and final season. And he also meets his identical evil spawn that was created by Ruby, who is once again trying to kill Ash and pals.

Blu-ray Special Features include:
  • Season One
    • Inside the World of "Ash vs Evil Dead"
    • How to Kill a Deadite
    • Best of Ash
    • Audio Commentaries
  • Season Two
    • Season 2 First Look
    • Inside the World of "Ash vs Evil Dead"
    • Up Your Ash
    • Women Who Kick Ash
    • Puppets Are Cute
    • Dawn Of The Spawn
    • Bringing Henrietta Back
    • The Delta
    • How To Kill A Deadite
    • Fatality Mash-up
    • Audio Commentaries
  • Season Three
    • Season Overview
    • Inside the World of "Ash vs Evil Dead"
    • Audio Commentaries

Wow! I just realized the first Evil Dead movie is 37-years-old, the exact same age as me; or to be more precise, I'm over a month older than the film! Yes, I'm feeling a bit old while I'm writing this!

I didn't even know the Evil Dead franchise even existed until I stumbled upon Army of Darkness airing on the Sci Fi Channel (now know as Syfy) in the late 1990s on a very hot summer afternoon. I was a fan of Bruce Campbell's short-lived series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., so I naturally enjoyed slapstick humor in the film. At the time, I wasn't aware there were two other movies in the franchise, well, until I came across Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn on VHS at a Best Buy. I had a difficult time finding a copy of the first movie, but I eventually found it at a video rental store. To sum things up, I watched the original Evil Dead trilogy backwards.

While I did like the unnecessary 2013 remake, I was more excited about the STARZ's Ash vs Evil Dead, which saw the return of Bruce Campbell as the wisecracking, chainsaw-wielding demon hunter. Sadly, the series was cancelled just before the third season finale, leaving us fans wanting more. Unfortunately, it'll be the last time we will see Bruce Campbell as Ash, as he has officially retired from playing the character.

The third season Blu-ray was just released a few months ago, so I was surprised when Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced they were releasing Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Collection. The Blu-ray set contains six discs (two discs per season), which are exactly the same discs from the individual season releases with the exact same special features. The picture and sound quality for all 30 episodes are excellent.

Overall, Ash vs Evil Dead is almost as good as the original trilogy, but with better special effects. It's a must-have for any horror fan, if you don't already own the separate season sets. However, if you're an Evil Dead completionist, then you're probably going to want to own the complete series.

*Note -  I received a complimentary copy for this review. All opinions are my own.