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How TV finally caught up with Evil Dead

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016 Danielle McGrane

Cult horror movie The Evil Dead has had a long onscreen life, but it took 23 years for it to really find its home as a TV show on streaming services including Australia's Stan.

The unconventional cult horror series, Ash vs Evil Dead, which centres around the square-jawed anti-hero Ash Williams, played by actor Bruce Campbell, began as an idea dreamt up by director Sam Raimi in high school.

"He (Raimi) was taking a class, it was some kind of history, and they were talking about the Sumerian book of the dead and he got really fascinated in that kind of a story, so we did a little super 8mm movie to show investors when it came time to make the feature film so I guess it worked," Campbell told AAP.

Campbell, who was in school with Raimi, became an integral part of this gory world as a cavalcade of deadites, demonic zombie hybrids have terrorised his character Ash since that first movie.

He returned in two movie sequels, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) but it took another 23 years before Ash and this army of gory deadites found their true home on TV.

"Army of Darkness bombed," Campbell said.

"The first two made money and then we went crazy, probably spent a little too much. I think it went up to $11 million and it made $11 million. Your budget and your box office aren't supposed to be the same and that killed it."

But the arrival of DVD format resurrected the Evil Dead. Ardent fans clamoured to watch the behind-the-scenes features and interest in the movies returned.

Meanwhile, Raimi rebooted the Spiderman franchise, bringing Tobey Maguire to the starring role on the big screen, and became a big-name director.

"He doesn't make little teeny movies any more he makes these gigantic movies so is Evil Dead going to be a $200m movie? No," Campbell said.

But Campbell convinced Raimi of the TV format's appeal, and the director was convinced this was the way to go.

"You can feed fans stories, crazy stories for decades conceivably so that's how we wound up here and I'm glad we're in this situation. It's a good fit," Campbell said.

The actor has been in Sydney promoting the show's second season, exactly one year after the first season premiered on Stan in Australia and Starz, a satellite and cable network in the US.

The comic horror has found its home on the streaming service, which comes with a disclaimer that its strictly for an over-18 audience.

Season two sees the return not only of Campbell but of his nemesis Ruby, played by Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless.

*Ash vs Evil Dead season two is streaming on Stan with new episodes arriving on Mondays at 3pm (AEDT) - same day as the US

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