Like many TV shows having their entire series collected on home video, the discs included in the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD are just the discs from the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season, Complete Second Season, and Complete Third Season collections in a single package. Which, on one hand, is great, since it means that fans who own the seasonal sets won’t have to buy this as well. But it’s also a bummer because the seasonal sets were missing a few key extras that, had they been added to this collected edition, would’ve actually made it, well, complete.
For those unfamiliar with this series,
The Evil Dead is a dark but also silly and over-the-top horror comedy about a guy named Ash Williams [Burn Notice‘s Bruce Campbell] who fights the demons who possess his friends, coworkers, family members, and random strangers he meets along the way. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this show was the fifth installment in this series, which began with the 1981 cult classic movie The Evil Dead, and then spawned the sequels The Evil Dead II and Army Of Darkness, a sort-of but not really reboot called Evil Dead (the only entry not to feature Ash), as well as six video games, a ton of comic books, and even a stage play called Evil Dead: The Musical. All of which share the original film’s penchant for slapstick comedy, over-the-top gore, jump scares, and jokes that are often so politically incorrect that they swing back around and become parodies of political incorrectness.
As for Ash Vs. Evil Dead, it picks up thirty years after Army Of Darkness, and finds Ash working at a store with his buddies Kelly [Dana DeLorenzo] and Pablo [Ray Santiago]. Well, when he’s not getting drunk or trying to get laid. But one night, while high and flirting with some woman he met at a bar, Ash mistakenly reads from the Necronomicon — the fictional magic book from H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Hound” — which releases demons into the world, much like it did when he read that tome in the first movie. Knowing what he must do, Ash recruits Kelly and Pablo into the demon hunting business and, as they always say at this point in a plot summary, hilarity ensues.
Though also a lot of bloodshed. Over the course of the show’s three ten-episode seasons, Ash Vs. Evil Dead not only had our hero chainsawing his way through tons of demons, posed people, and other scary creeps, but we also got to watch as he learned he has a daughter, reunited with his dad, and returned to the cabin in the woods where this all began.
But Ash Vs. Evil Dead also expanded the mythos in some interesting ways, while also adding layers to Ash himself, mostly through his interactions with Kelly and Pablo, who not only held their own against the Campbell’s giant-sized personality, but they were also able to create interesting and sympathetic characters capable of carrying a scene when Ash was off doing something else.
As for how these episodes look on the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD, the answer, unsurprisingly, is pristine. More importantly, they’re shown without all the annoying pop-up ads for other shows like they had when they aired on Starz.
Along with the show’s thirty episodes,
the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD have a wealth of interesting extras. Including, as I alluded to earlier, all of the ones included in the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete First Season, Complete Second Season, and Complete Third Season Blu-rays and DVDs.
First up, the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD have commentaries on every episode of the first and third seasons, and five of the ten from season two. All of which pair such crew people as Sam Raimi (Creator, Executive Producer, Director), Ivan Raimi (Creator, Executive Producer, Writer), and Rob Tapert (Executive Producer) with such cast members as Campbell, DeLorenzo, Santiago, Jill Marie Jones, Lucy Lawless, and others. Which is how it should be since, as we know from previous TV show and movie collections, actors always make commentaries more entertaining and less film school-esque.
The Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD also have a number of interesting and informative featurettes. For the first season, there’s “Ash Inside The World,” in which the cast and crew talk about filming these episodes; “How To Kill A Deadite,” an informative look at the best way to destroy the possessed; and “Best Of Ash,” a montage of this season’s best lines.
Moving on to the second season, the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD presents the self-explanatory “Season 2 First Look”; a look at one rather gruesome scene called, cheekily enough, “Up Your Ash”; “Women Who Kick Ash,” which talks about bad ass ladies on the show; a look at the demon spawn called “Dawn Of The Spawn”; “Bringing Henrietta Back,” which discusses how and why they brought back this character from Evil Dead II; “The Delta,” a look at Ash’s car; a montage of this season’s grossest bits in “Fatality Mash-Up”; another installment of “How To Kill A Deadite”; and, most importantly, “Puppets Are Cute,” a look at Ashy Slashy, the puppet version of Ash that steals every scene he’s in.
The second season extras on the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD also includes episode-specific making-of featurettes on all ten episodes as “Inside The World Of Ash Vs. Evil Dead.” But while these are informative, it’s a little annoying that the ones for the first five episodes aren’t on the same disc as those episodes, and that you can’t access them from the same episode menus you use to implement the commentary track.
the two discs for the third season section of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD have the self-explanatory “Season Overview,” as well as another batch of “Inside The World Of Ash Vs. Evil Dead,” which come complete with the same complaints.
As is usually the case with these kinds of things, these featurettes are fun as well as informative, though never in an instructional kind of way, in case you’re thinking you can just watch them instead of going to film school.
While the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD have a lot of fun extras, it is missing some that would’ve made this even better. For starters, this has none of the original trailers, nor footage from the show’s Comic-Con panels. There’s also no gag reel, nor any deleted scenes, though the latter omission is excusable since there may not have been any.
It also would’ve been nice if the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD had commentaries for all the episodes of season two, especially given that they recorded ones for all of seasons one and three. And while it probably would’ve been difficult to do, it would’ve been nice if the cast and crew had gotten together for a round-table post-mortem, especially since, after the show was cancelled, Campbell announced that he was retiring from playing Ash.
Though having said all that, it’s also cool that the Ash Vs. Evil Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD didn’t add these things, since it would’ve meant that all the people who already bought the Ash Vs. Evil Dead The Complete First Season, Complete Second Season, and Complete Third Seasonwould’ve had to buy this collection as well, instead of using that money for things they really need…like an Ashy Slashy Replica Puppet.
Still, as is,
the Ash Vs. Evil Dead The Complete Collection Blu-ray and DVD are the best way to enjoy this fun, funny, and occasionally frightening horror comedy. Sure, it’s not really complete, but it’s still pretty groovy.