The red carpet was rolled out on October 28 for the Hollywood premiere of Ash vs Evil Dead. It was much bigger than expected, closing down one block of Hollywood Boulevard between Disney’s theater and The Jimmy Kimmel Show and the iconic Chinese Theater.
Picking up my tickets at Will Call at 6 PM I was directed to the Press Holding Area: a fenced off area between where Iggy Pop’s stage was located (the west of the street) and a raised stage area for the guests of Starz. This latter area was populated by those involved with the show and their family and friends. There was a driveway created on the south side of the street for celebrities to be dropped off in black tinted SUVs. The first star to arrive was the man himself, Bruce Campbell. He leapt from his car and went over to the fans on that side of the street to sign autographs and pose for pictures. After signing several — no, really; he signed a ton — he made his way past the replica of Ash Williams’ trailer (which appeared to be the same setup that was at this year’s San Diego Comic Con) and over to the red carpet.
If I leaned over the railing on the north side of my area, I could see the entrance into the theater and the red carpet. Here were the photographers and cameramen to chronicle the entrance of the stars. I couldn’t hear a word that was being said in that area, as Iggy’s stage was blasting rock and soul before his performance. Whoever had chosen that selection of music picked nothing but winners. Following Bruce in, I saw Ray Santiago (sidekick Pablo Bolivar), and Lucy Lawless. Ray looked to be having the time of his life, and Lucy lit up before the cameras.
Some guests were incorrectly lead to wait in the Press Holding Area, but when realizing they could go up to the raised stage with their red wristbands, they naturally went. My wife noticed one personality and asked me, “Isn’t that Doctor Bashir’s father?” I responded, “Yes, and he’s also Raj’s dad on The Big Bang Theory.” She went over and asked if she could take his picture and actor Brian George was nice enough to oblige.
A little after 7 PM, the lights went out and Bruce was on Iggy’s stage. He welcomed everyone with “Hello you savages!” The crowd cheered and raised their foam chainsaws that were promoting the show. Bruce thanked everyone for their support of the franchise and said that Starz thinks so highly of the series, Season Two had already been green lighted before the first episode had aired. After the screams of joy died down, Bruce introduced Iggy Pop, who came onstage just as one would expect: long flowing hair, shirtless, a pair of jeans on, moving around like he was in his twenties, and sounding great! The picture that accompanies this review was just after his second song. During Iggy’s performance, my wife told me to look at the guest area, and front and center was Ted Raimi enjoying the show.
After three songs, the photographers and cameramen had left the red carpet and the press were allowed in. My wife and I decided to get in early to check everything out. I hadn’t been inside since seeing Demolition Man when it was originally released and the theater wasn’t in great shape. Since that time the theater’s been fixed up and looked incredible. On permanent display are some classic costumes, including the green dress from Gone With the Wind and the tablets from The Ten Commandments. With some free popcorn and sodas in our hands, we went in to our assigned seats. Emblazoned on the screen was the logo Ash vs Evil Dead. At about 7:50 Iggy had finished his performance and the theater began to fill up.
It was a packed house with every type of garb on display: men in suits and women in sparkling dresses, to people in jeans and shorts, with a few in costume. At 8:30 Bruce was introduced at the front of the theater to thunderous applause and yells. He spoke to the crowd, again thanking them for allowing this show to happen. He then introduced the cast, Lucy Lawless, Dana DeLorenzo, Jill Marie Jones, and Ray Santiago. They waved to the crowd and walked off. The theater went dark and the first episode played.
I’m a huge fan of The Evil Dead. Watching all the movies was a rite of passage and I watched them endless with my friends back in the days of Laserdisc. I can quote Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness like nobody’s business. The franchise even gave the seal of approval to a decision of mine: when my soon-to-be wife saw Army of Darkness and laughed at all the dialogue, it was sign that she was the one for me. I was hopeful that this show would bring back the scares and laughs of those films and it did. I’ll review the episode after its premiere, but if you love Ash Williams, you’re going to love this series. The laughs are there and the gore is there. This is Ash uncensored in every possible way.
This was a fun event to go to, even if I never got a chance to speak with the stars, and I’m glad to have seen the episode on the big screen.