Monday, September 19, 2016

Ash vs. Evil Dead - Fire in the Hole

Ash keeps Michigan moist.

The seventh episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead's ten episode first season was co-written by a Raimi, but not Evil Dead franchise creator Sam Raimi. It was co-written by Sam's older brother Ivan, who returned to the series after co-writing the pilot episode, 'El Jefe'. (Ivan also co-wrote the third Evil Dead movie, Army of Darkness.) Writing with Ivan this time were a couple other returning scribes, Sean Clements (the episode 'Books from Beyond') and Dominic Dierkes (the episode called 'Bait').

The Raimi/Clements/Dierkes combo continued the show's pattern of putting road tripping heroes Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), Pablo Simon Bolivar (Ray Santiago), and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo), now joined by Michael State Police officer Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), into a new location and throwing more demonic problems their way. While trying to find out how to stop the plague of demons terrorizing Michigan, the characters have so far battled Deadites are a supermarket, Ash's trailer home, Kelly's family's house, an occult bookstore, Pablo's uncle's place, and a restaurant. Now they've gone to a militia camp to stock up on weapons, and the demonic terror continues there.

The main difference here is that the characters around them are more heavily armed. Also, the episode seems a bit darker than most of what has come before, both in tone and at times in lighting. The militia members turn on our heroes, taking some captive and hunting others through the woods, and even though I found the original The Evil Dead to be the scariest movie I've ever seen when I first watched it because of the demonic element, now I find regular humans to be much more disturbing and scarier than the idea of demons. Human villains aren't really something that the Evil Dead franchise needs to get into.

It is interesting to note, however, that one of the militia men is played by Milo Cawthorne, who was in the movie Deathgasm, a horror/comedy I think fans of Evil Dead II would enjoy.

Michael Hurst, director of the episode of 'The Killer of Killers', returned to direct this one and continues to do a fine job. My favorite moment involves Lucy Lawless's mysterious character Ruby Knowby literally rising from the ashes after appearing to have died in the previous episode, and a lot of what makes that moment so cool is the music provided by composer Joseph LoDuca.

Hurst even managed to almost make me jump at one point, despite the fact that this jump moment had an obvious set-up that I should have spotted a mile away.

'Fire in the Hole' was troubling in ways I didn't expect, but it's a solid episode that helps the characters get prepared for the next step in their journey.

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