Category Archives: LBoM: Characters

Farewell To The King Baby!

Well, by the time I have finished writing and publish this article, one of the great icons of the big and small screen will be no more. The man with the chin, Bruce Campbell has decided to retire Ash Williams and tonight the final episode of Ash vs Evil Dead will air.

I guess all good things have to come to an end eventually and to say a personal goodbye to one of my all time favorite characters. I’m going to to take a look at the Ash Williams character from the very start to the end by covering all his big and small screen appearances from the movies, TV show and even video games. Here is my farewell to the King, Ashley Joanna Williams.

There will be possible SPOILERS for those that have not seen the films or all of the TV show.

The Evil Dead

Ash The Evil Dead

This is where it all started back in 1981 with the release of The Evil Dead…though the film was shot through the late 70s. People who are more used to the modern Ash will be quite surprised at the original version. The quips, the one liners, the chainsaw-hand, the balls to the wall hero – none of that existed in the original film. The Ash Williams here is much more subdued and even cowardly…a complete wuss really by comparison to his modern counterpart from the Ash vs Evil Dead TV show. That’s not to say he still doesn’t kick any Deadite balls as he spills plenty of demonic blood through the flick. Its just that most of it boils down to the fact he’s scared and has his back against the wall over him being a wisecracking bad-ass.

Seeing Ash snivel and shake with fear adds a lot of depth to the character and its a trait you don’t really see in horror male leads as that’s something the females usually get associated with.

This film is still one of my all time favorite horror films and one I find much more appreciation for knowing the hell they went through to make it. I personally like my Ash Williams more in this than what he becomes later in the franchise. I prefer the underdog that fights back to the obvious, bombastic hero with the over-inflated ego.

Evil Dead II

Ash The Evil Dead II

So after the unexpected success (and it was) of the first film, the sequel was released just a mere 6 years later. Its quite obvious by the end of the previous film that there was no intention to bring Ash back. In fact the film’s director Sam Raimi said that “everything dies at the end” of the film and that includes the music too…it really does. But as The Evil Dead became such a much loved cult classic, a sequel was made and Ash Williams was brought back too.

This is where you first start to see the more ego-fueled Ash begin to creep in. Don’t get me wrong there is still a touch of the cowardly about him especially during the first 40-odd minutes, but as the film progresses, Ash gets more confident and cocky. Deadites get shotgunned and chainsawed as plenty of claret flies around – something Ash begins to take great relish in, just watch the scene where he cuts off his own hand for proof.

This is a more balanced Ash. He still retains some of that cowardice and reluctance but Ash will go toe to toe against some Deadites and begin to enjoy it too. There are also a couple of his wisecracks including his most famous catchphrase of “groovy”.

Army of Darkness

Ash Army of Darkness

Three films in and Ash is nothing like his original anymore, there is no balance between coward and hero – Ash is now a full-tilt, verbose, overblown leading man. This is the dawn of the Ash Williams most people know of. Pretty much all of his dialogue is some kind of wisecrack and Army of Darkness is easily one of the most quotable films ever made.

Ash is at his Deadite killing best here and where the iconic status of the character really stems from. All the trademarks are here from the chainsaw-hand, his ‘boomstick’ to his quips and comedic lines. There was a delicate balance between horror and comedy in Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness is a very different story as there is very, very little horror and bucket loads of comedy in its place.

I have a love/hate relationship with this flick because I can not deny that its awesome. It really is such a fun and entertaining picture. But its just not the Ash I like and the film is really an action/comedy that has lost sight of its horror roots.

Ash vs Evil Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead

This is where it all lead up to. For years, from 1992’s Army of Darkness the fans had been wanting to see Ash Williams back on the big screen and several times Sam Raimi hinted at making an Evil Dead IV. The film never did happen but in 2015 Ash was brought back in TV show form for 30 episodes over 3 seasons.

This is the same Ash from Army of Darkness only turned up to 11. Ash from this TV show makes Ash from the previous film look like Ash from the first film. He is so overblown and explosive that you just can’t ignore him. The one-liners and insults come thick and fast. Ash now much older (its been almost 40 years), but still trying to play young is fun and provides plenty of comedy. Plus the show had more than enough gore to appease even the most hardcore Evil Dead fan.

It was a good show and great to see Ash back where he belongs…even if I thought the finale was very weak. Yeah I’m writing this just after watching the final episode of the show and I was disappointed by the send off to be honest. Its left open while also passing the torch at the same time. But I feel for a swansong for one of my all time favorite characters, it ultimately was a let down.

Well that covers Ash’s life in terms of movies and TV. Time to take a look at what he got up to in a few games.

Evil Dead: Hail to the King

Ash Hail to the King

This game from 2000 is set 8 years after the events of Army of Darkness and Ash is back still being played by Bruce Campbell. Yeah this is wisecracking Ash too as he has to battle Evil Ash, also played by Campbell. Its a game so obviously heavy on the action more so than anything else – including character so Ash takes a bit of a backseat to the onscreen chaos.

There’s still plenty of Ash to enjoy along the way but just not enough to please Ash fans like myself. Still, this was the first time Bruce had played the role since the release of Army of Darkness in 92.

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick

Fistful of Boomstick

The second game is set 3 years after the previous one with Ash spending most of his time in a bar getting drunk. Of course the evil is released…again and Ash has to spring into action in an adventure that takes Ash through time kicking Deadite ass long the way.

Its always great to have more Ash Williams even if these games were very average at best. Bruce is still playing the character too so expect many more of those one liners delivered in that distinct Bruce Campbell manner.

Evil Dead: Regeneration

Evil Dead Regeneration

The last Evil Dead game and this one tells an alternate timeline set after Evil Dead II where Ash has been locked up in an asylum after the events of the first two flicks. This time, Ash teams up with a half human, half Deadite called Sam (named after franchise co-creator Sam Raimi).

Pretty much more of the same as Ash battles Deadites while cracking-wise. Of course Ash is still being played by Bruce Campbell so you can expect plenty of that Ash Williams crass humor.

Other notable game appearances include The Evil Dead released for the Commodore 64 in 1984. Based on the original film, the game is probably one of the first survival horror games and of course you play as Ash Williams. Broforce was a side scroller released in 2005 and features a Ash parody called Ash Brolliams. Finally there was Poker Night 2 from 2013 where Ash plays poker against other notable characters. Its also worth pointing out that Bruce Campbell does not play Ash in this game.


So there you have it. Ash Williams’ life on the big and small screen. Its been a hell of a ride and he’s a character I’m going to miss. Still, the phrase ‘never say never’ comes to mind here. I mean, it looked like Ash would never return to the screen at all after Army of Darkness and yet he did. There are still rumors of a big screen outing for Ash in an Evil Dead IV, the TV show could continue in one way or another with a different network picking it up, they could do a spin-off continuing the adventures of the Ghost Beaters lead by Kelly, Pablo and Brandy with Ash appearing – its possible given the whole ‘passing the torch’ of the last episode.

But whatever happens to the character from this point on, its been a damn fun, blood soaked journey. Thanks for the memories Bruce, its been a great ride. Hail to the King indeed!

Ash Chainsaw

Ash J. Williams:Life is hard and dangerous, and sometimes you just gotta chop off somebody’s head to survive.

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The Return Of Two Classic Cinema Heroines

Its been an interesting few days as two long running film franchises both announced two new sequels and the return of two memorable female characters. Yes – both Laurie Strode and Sarah Connor are set to make comebacks in sequels to the Halloween and Terminator film franchises and both played by their original actresses too as Jamie Lee Curtis and Linda Hamilton have agreed to appear in their respective roles.

But wait a second, isn’t there a slight problem here? I mean both of the characters are dead. Laurie was killed at the start of Halloween: Resurrection – in fact Jamie Lee Curtis only agreed to be in the film if they finally killed her character off. She was stabbed in the back and thrown off a roof by Michael Myers.

Laurie Strode Death

Sarah Connor was killed off screen for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine where it is revealed that she died in 1997 from acute myeloid leukemia and was cremated in Mexico after using her casket to hide a cache of weapons.

Sarah Conner Death.jpg

Yeah, they dead alright. So how can they be in new sequels?

Well the first announcement was made when writer/prouder Jason Blum made this Twitter post which Jamie Lee Curtis herself later confirmed when she Tweeted…

“Same porch. Same clothes. Same issues. 40 years later. Headed back to Haddonfield one last time for Halloween. Release date 10/19/18.”

Laurie Strode Return.jpg

The film is said to be directed by David Gordon Green with original Halloween creator/writer/director, John Carpenter also on board as an executive producer, consultant and possibly provide the music too. Little is known about the film right now but it has been stated that it won’t be a reboot (as some sites are erroneously reporting), in fact to get around the fact that Laurie Strode is dead – the film is said to be a direct sequel Halloween II from 1981 that’ll ignore all the other films in the series… so a ‘proper’ Halloween III if you will and a celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the original 1978 picture.

As a side note: I love the real Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Awesome flick.

And it seems that creating sequels that ignore other films in the series is becoming a trend as that is exactly how they are bringing Sarah Connor back from the dead too. The rights to the Terminator franchise will revert back to the franchise’s creator (if you ignore Harlan Ellison) James Cameron in 2019 and he’s already planning on making more movies as The Hollywood Reporter has revealed. This new Terminator flick will be a sequel to 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day that (just like the new Halloween) ignores all the other films in the franchise.

Sarah Conner

Note I wrote “making more movies”, plural. Yes, Cameron has said he’d like to make a trilogy of new Terminator films. At this point I’d also like to bring up that both Terminator Salvation and Terminator Genisys were planed as starts to new trilogies too and look how that turned out…

But its not just Linda Hamilton who had agreed to come back for the new sequel as the main man himself Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed on the be in the new film too. Said to be directed by Tim Miller of Deadpool fame with Cameron as writer/producer and he had this to say about the movie…

“We’re starting a search for an 18-something woman to be the new centrepiece of the new story. We still fold time. We will have characters from the future and the present. There will be mostly new characters, but we’ll have Arnold and Linda’s characters to anchor it.”

No release date has been announced but (as previously mentioned) the rights to the franchise do not return to Cameron until 2019 – so I’d guess either a 2019 or 2020 release would sound about right.

I'll be back

Fred Krueger

As we recently lost the great horror meister, writer/director Wes Craven. I thought I’d take a look at his most (in)famous creation, Freddy Krueger.

FK 1

Fred “Freddy” Krueger was created by Wes Craven for his film, A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) and was played by Robert Englund. Wes named the character after a kid who used to bully Wes at school (note the lead villain in Wes first film; Last House On The Left is called Krug) and took his iconic look with the hat and dirty sweater from a tramp who used to scare Wes as a child.
Freddy is often depicted as being horrendously burnt that stalks and kills teenagers in their dreams while they sleep. However, he never started out this way at all.

FK 2

He was once just a “normal” human…I say “normal” as Freddy was a known child molester and killer. He was eventually arrested by the police and made to stand trial for his nefarious crimes. However, due to the police not signing the arrest warrant, he was allowed the leave the court room a legally free man, despite his disgusting crimes.
This angered the parents of his victims and they eventually tracked him down to his boiler-room hideaway, where Freddy would take his victims. The parents doused the building with gas and then set it on fire. Freddy trapped inside was burnt alive.
Freddy is now technically dead, but his spirit lived on and would haunt and kill the children of Elm Street in their nightmares as an act of vengeance against the parents that killed him. I guess two wrongs do not make a right.

Freddy Krueger would appear in the original A Nightmare On Elm Street film from 1984 as well as six official sequels; A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) as well as the amazing and overlooked meta sequel which saw Wes Craven finally back in control of his monster; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994).

FK 3

Though Freddy was “officially killed off”, he came back and was pitted against another horror icon, Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th film franchise in the sequel/spin-off Freddy Vs Jason (2003).

FvJ

The character of Freddy Krueger was very different from most horror icons of the same era such as Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers from Halloween, both of who were silent and didn’t portray much of a personality.
Unlike his rivals, Krueger had personality. He talked, displayed a dark and macabre sense of humour too. In fact, as the sequels progressed, Freddy became less scary and more comedic.

Often depicted with his trademark weapon of choice which was his home-made glove with razor sharp knives for finger, along with his dirty brown Fedora hat and red & green sweater.

Freddy became a cultural icon over the years. There was a time when you couldn’t move for Freddy Krueger merchandise. Freddy cups, costumes, action figures, posters, bobble-heads, video games, etc. There was even a slight twisted ironic merchandise aimed at children…you know, what with Freddy being a child molester/murderer and all.

There have been novelizations of all the movies which were published from 1987 to 2003. Freddy has also appeared in various comic book series over the years including s Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors.

But not content with just dominating the world of merchandise, Freddy also turned his hand at music…yes music. In 1988 Freddy appeared and “rapped” on; Are You Ready for Freddy, a single from The Fat Boys recorded for the A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 soundtrack.

AYRFF

As well as making an unofficial appearance in; A Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Even today, Freddy still has cultural impact and is often referenced in other media. Freddy has appeared in and episode of South Park, The Simpsons. He has been parodied in Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty and countless others.
Freddy’s iconic glove has also appeared in the films; Bride of Chucky, Jason Goes To Hell and Evil Dead II.

What makes the character of Freddy interesting is the fact he has been played by the same actor in all of the official films. From the very first A Nightmare On Elm Street right up to Freddy Vs Jason, Freddy has always been played by Robert Englund. This adds a lot of consistency in the overall performance and even a bit of irony in that even though the character has arguably changed (for the worst) over the series, its always been the same actor playing him.

Well there have been a few instances when Robert never played Freddy. There was stunt work in the film, sometimes a stand in was used for certain shots within the films…oh and there was this…

NR

The A Nightmare On Elm Street remake from 2010 where Freddy was played by Jackie Earle Haley. This depiction of Freddy also appeared in the game Mortal Kombat.
Plus a new reboot has recently been announced.

Freddy Krueger’s popularity shows no sigh of slowing down, even after 30 years since the original film, he still keeps popping up and being referenced.
Wes Craven certainly created a monster, both figuratively as well as literally.

images

Freddy Krueger:The Springwood Slasher, that’s what they called me. My reign of terror was legendary. Dozens of children would fall by my blades.

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“Mad” Max Rockatansky

Seeing as a new Mad Max film (Mad Max: Fury Road) hits the cinemas this week, I thought I’d look back at the main character of the franchise. Max Rockatansky.

Mel Max

Originally played by Mel Gibson in the film Mad Max from 1979. Mad Max was created by George Miller and Byron Kennedy and went on to appear in three sequel films; Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and the recent reboot (that supposedly ignores Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome) to the series Mad Max: Fury Road.
Mel Gibson played the character in the first three films but was later recast with Tom Hardy playing the role in Mad Max: Fury Road.

Max Rockatansky was a Main Force Patrol (MPF) Officer in a dystopic Australia which is the setting of the series, with criminals and gangs running rampant. Max is tasked into keeping the peace among all the criminal activity. A very quiet man and often thought to being the best officer on the force, Max never really paid much attention to his own reputation and was occasionally worried he was becoming as heartless and careless as the criminals he pursued.

Max was driven to quit his job after his partner Goose was killed when burnt alive by a biker gang known as The Zed Runners lead by Toe-Cutter. Goose was killed as punishment for killing one of The Zed Runners members, Night Rider.
Max takes his wife and child on holiday, but a chance run in with The Zed Runners biker gang leads to them murdering Max’s wife and child. Max swears vengeance and systematically hunts down each of The Zed Runners gang and kills them all…hence Mad Max.

Over the years Max becomes a recluse and uses the open road has his playground wandering the wasteland of the outback in his battle scarred Pursuit Special.

Max has lived an adventurous life from helping a group of people escape gang persecution in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior to fighting in the Thunderdome and becoming a God of sorts to a group of surviving children in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (don’t ask, it’s not very good). Up to his most recent adventure Mad Max: Fury Road where Max teams up with Furiosa who wants to return to her childhood homeland while being pursued by gangs of the apocalypse.

Max is a loner by choice after the death of his wife and child. Highly skilled in driving and fast pursuit and considered the best driver in the MPF. Often seen with his iconic Pursuit Special also known “the last of the V8s”. Max is also used to guns with his standard issue revolver (though he never uses it in the films) to his favoured sawn-off shotgun. As well as being skilled with mechanical and electronics by performing repairs on his vehicle or even setting up traps should someone tamper with his car.

Max had learnt to become a survivalist in the harshness of the dystopian Outback he has chosen to live in and can even withstand a fair amount of pain. Unlike most heroes in films, Max actually has continuity with his injures. From his knee being shot in the first film resulting in him walking with a leg brace and a limp in later films and even an eye injury he sustained in Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior carrying over into Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Max has been through the wars and survived.

With the recent release of Mad Max: Fury Road meeting with very good reviews (I’ve yet to see it), it looks like Max’s revival could be a good one and a strong possibility of seeing even more Mad Max films in the future. While Mel Gibson will always be Mad Max to me, even with Tom Hardy now playing him, Max is still a great character and I hope there are more films in the series to come.

Tom Max

Max: Two days ago, I saw a vehicle that would haul that tanker. You want to get out of here? You talk to me.

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