Bruce Campbell has been killing it as Ash Williams in the Evil Dead franchise for nearly four decades. He first decapitated Deadites in the 1981 cult classic The Evil Dead, murdered many more in the 1987 sequel Evil Dead 2, and continued the head-hacking spree in the trilogy’s 1992 conclusion, Army of Darkness. Since then Campbell has also become a New York Times best-selling author, taken a star turn on USA’s Burn Notice and played a vital cameo role in each of Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man movies. Still, he will surely always be known as the murderous Ash, the demon killer who’s never too busy slaying monsters with a buzzing chainsaw that he can’t drop a quip or raise an eyebrow. With Season 3 of Ash vs Evil Dead set to premiere on Starz, the man whose twitter moniker is @GroovyBruce chatted with HUSTLER about the Oregon compound he calls home, his Wink Martindale dreams and why bloody and funny don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
HUSTLER: Is it true that after nearly 40 years of Ash Williams slaying Deadites, in Season 3 we’re about to see the man’s softer side?
BRUCE CAMPBELL: Heck, yeah! You’re gonna see a paternal side, even a responsible side, God forbid. But yes, it’s time to add a little more depth to the character. In Season 2 we met Ash’s dad, Lee Majors, and adding a daughter this season is gonna heighten the stakes in the world of demons. Those bastards are like the Mafia: They go after your family if they can’t get to you, so Ash’s daughter in Season 3 instantly becomes a target.
Speaking of Lee Majors, he had a memorable role in Season 2 but ultimately didn’t make it. He was in one scene, and then wham-o, his brains were literally falling out of his skull.
Well, yeah, in Ash’s wake there are usually a lot of bodies [laughs].
It was actually touching how that went down, with Ash sort of delicately picking up his father’s entire brain and trying to stick it back into his smashed skull.
Yeah, ha ha, Ash was just trying to save his father. But Lee Majors will be back as Ash’s dad this year, although maybe that’s just to give advice from beyond the grave.
And Season 3 has an evil stuffed animal too?
Yes, from demons. Poor Cougie the Cougar, the school mascot, gets possessed. It’s gonna be brutal.
Speaking of brutal, why do you think people are such fans of a show that is sooo bloody?
Look, I think it’s just so over-the-top that it doesn’t even matter anymore. It’s just one of those things, sort of a bloodfest or a bloodbath, so much so that it’s almost an orgasmic experience. I’ve never really liked grim horror myself, the stuff that has no sense of humor and is very protracted. I’m for having fun with the genre, and that’s really what we’re trying to do. So we tell our writers to remember that we’re supposed to be doing 50% horror but also 50% humor.
Still, not being too subtle in terms of the horror, right?
No, I think it’s as bloody as you can probably get. It’s essentially unrated television.
Is that because you’re on cable?