The EVIL DEAD series has always been a curious thing, considering the average movie-goers common misconception of the franchise; Meaning, that often when you hear the words EVIL DEAD, you immediately think of the wise-cracking bad-ass braggart that is Ashley J. Williams spouting catch phrases like “groovy” and “come get some.” But it took years for that version of Bruce Campbell’s most infamous character to become the Ash we all know and love.
In the original cult classic 1981 feature, you probably wouldn’t even peg Ash to be the lead, let alone the guy that would turn out to be the last character standing. Hal Delrich’s Scott seems to ideally be the “hero” of the piece, but he ends up getting consumed by the dark forces in the woods sooner than you’d think. EVIL DEAD 2 is where Ash takes front and center, as he slowly loses his mind battling his possessed girlfriend, himself and eventually his severed hand for the first half of the movie. While we get more slapstick comedy in this sequel, he doesn’t really shout out any catch phrases besides “groovy” and “swallow this.”
It’s really in the third EVIL DEAD film ARMY OF DARKNESS, where Ash becomes the version that spawned action figures and comic books. The bordering-on superhero, selfish bad-ass, who in actuality is only looking out for his own best interests. But in becoming that version of the character, his filter is pretty much non-existent, so he’ll say things like, “gimme some sugar baby” or “you ain’t leading two things right now. Jack and shit, and Jack left town.”
ASH VS EVIL DEAD picks up roughly 30 years after the events of the EVIL DEAD trilogy and hence, Ash is up to his old ways and says some pretty unbelievably hilarious and oft-kilter things. I think we need to credit Sam Raimi and his brother Ivan for setting up the perfect continuation of the character. I think the reason comic books and spin-offs have never felt authentic to me is because they always write Ash as the flawless hero that repeats his ARMY OF DARKNESS one-liners. But what Sam & Ivan remind us is that Ash is the reluctant hero, or better yet, barely a hero at all. He’s kind of a coward, a dope, an idiot. He messes up, he runs away from his responsibilities and he somehow ends up being really good at fighting Deadites when he’s stuck in a position where he has no choice but to stand and fight. And he often would never repeat a line or catch-phrase from any of his previous adventures, except for “groovy.” Ash is sharp enough to come up with new things to say.
And so, as we eagerly await the return of ASH VS EVIL DEAD for a second season in October, let’s look back at season one, episode by episode and cull some of the best Ash one-liners from the show thus far. Here are the ones that I imagine you’ll be quoting with your friends and fellow EVIL DEAD enthusiasts for a long time to come!
Episode 1: El Jefe
In the pilot episode, after 30 years of shirking his responsibilities, maintaining his dead-end job at the Value Shop and picking up women at bars with cheap pick-up lines, Ash once again accidentally unleashes the “evil dead” by reading a passage from the Nekronomicon. His co-worker and side-kick Pablo, and his friend Kelly help him get his mojo back.
– “Do me a favor, won’t you? Thank your mother for me? She passed her genes down to you in all the right places,” Ash’s pick up line to Kelly the first time they meet.
Her reply, “My mother died is a car accident six months ago.”
“Wow. Phew. You know, next time in the future you might want to just say “sure I’ll tell her.” Because a bomb like that on someone you just met is downright rude.”
– “Mommy should’ve taught you to knock.” Ash as the first Deadite enters his trailer home.
– “The other first thing I got to do is some cardio, because my heart is jack hammering like a quarterback on prom night.” Ash after defeating that first Deadite.
– “Yo Granny, hope you took your Geritol. Because it’s time to dance!” Ash to demon-possessed old lady Vivian Johnson before going into battle!
Episode 2: Bait
When Kelly’s presumed-to-be-dead Mother returns home, Ash is skeptical and convinced that it may be a deadite using his new friends as bait.
– “Just stand behind me, and let the broomstick do the talking…” Ash’s advice to Pablo as they’re about to storm Kelly’s house.
– “I’ll be polite… Right up until I’m rude.” Ash-ism.
– “What are you waiting for? You know you want a piece of this.” Ash to Kelly’s mother Suzy at the dinner table.
– “I told you, a good shot to the face always gets the juices going.” Ash’s reminder to Pablo on how to get a deadite to reveal itself.
– “Let’s tango, bitch!” Ash’s battle cry as he begins tussling with Suzy.
– “You left dinner before Daddy excused you!” Ash as he bursts into Kelly’s room to fight her possessed mother once more!
– “Look, I’m not a grief counselor but if it’s any consolation… You’re kinda like a young me. Deadlites ruined your life and you’re hot as hell.” Ash’s sensitive advice to Kelly after burying her parents.
Episode 3: Books From Beyond
Ash, Pablo and Kelly go to see the owner of “Books From Beyond” to decipher passages from the Book Of The Dead. They try to summon a minor demon and end up unleashing Eligos, a terrifying threat to mankind. Detective Amanda Fisher is hot on Ash’s trail and inadvertently lets the demon, and Ash and his co-horts escape.
– “Sounds like a lot of yappenin’ and not a lot of happenin’.” Ash growing impatient with Books From Beyond owner Lionel Hawkins.
– “You want to be a ghost beater or not?” Ash to Pablo to convince him they should summon Eligos.
– “You find a wimpy demon yet?” Ash to Lionel.
“I have found a minor demon named Eligos, possesses knowledge of hidden things, a demon of the mindscape.” Lionel replies.
“Well, perfect. Sounds like a total nerd!”
– “First off, you don’t look anything like your photo so you might want to update that.” Ash’s surprised reaction to Eligos’ physical appearance.
Episode 4: Brujo
Pablo brings Ash to meet his Uncle Brujo, a witch doctor who sends Ash on a mind-trip to discover the answers on how to battle and stop the evil dead.
– “When evil shows up, it blows up! … Still working on the slogans.” Ash to an unimpressed Brujo.
– “Shoot first, think never.” Life saving advice Ash will use next episode.
– “Whoa! I got two hands. Brujo, I need two beers!” Ash’s first thought when in his dream, he discovers he has both hands again.
– “Eli, quick question… are you a guy or a girl?” Ash to his pet lizard.
Episode 5: The Host
The demon Eligos possesses Kelly, but convinces the rest of the group that Ash is the inhabited one, and that he must be destroyed.
– “You’re going to cut my balls off? (Muffled)” One of the many harsh things that await Ash as Brujo prepares to cut the demon from him.
– “Sweet Mother of Manson!” When Ash bursts into the room.
– “Shoot first, think never. Noted.” Last episodes one-liner pays off as he defeats Eligos!
– “I’m going to shove this right up some deadites ass! Hyah!” Ash’s reply when Pablo and Kelly gift him with a new mechanical hand!
Episode 6: The Killer Of Killers
Ash, Pablo and Kelly stop at a diner for a bite to eat when Detective Fisher arrives and all hell breaks loose as the Deadites inhabit the people in the restaurant.
– “I have a gift too. I can make sweet, sweet love to a woman like no other man.” Ash’s pick up line to the waitress.
– “Here’s your tip!” What Ash says to that same waitress (now possessed) after stabbing her with his new metallic hand.
– “What? You never saw a guy with a chainsaw hand before?” Ash to Fisher, as she sees him in action for the first time.
– “I told you, I kill killers.” Ash as he dispatches a possessed Detective.
– “Good news. I found a piece of pie without any blood on it!” Ash, looking on the bright side, as the gang exit the diner massacre scene.
Episode 7: Fire In The Hole
The normally fun tone of ASH VS EVIL DEAD stumbles into WALKING DEAD-style nihilism when Ash, Pablo and Kelly stumble on a militia camp with a bunch of red-neck hunters. While in captive, Ash hits on Amanda Fisher, forcing the two characters into a romance.
– “Tuck that attitude right into your cleavage, which I definitely have not ever noticed before.” Ash to Fisher.
– “I was going to take that propane and blow the doors off, but I’ll happily blow your doors off first.” Another smooth Ash love line.
– “Good job staying alive. Keep it up. Amen.” Ash to his friends before ditching them to go to the cabin alone!
Episode 8: Ashes To Ashes
– “Honey, I’m home.” Ash as he steps up to the front door of the cabin from the original EVIL DEAD and where this nightmare first began!
– “Death, taxes, more death. And I don’t pay taxes so all I know is death.” Ash to Fisher on why she has to leave the cabin asap.
– “Long time no see, Linda.” Ash as he enters the work shed and spots Linda’s split skull, still in the vice!
– “Well, better to have loved and lost, and boy did you lose.” Evil Ash to Ash as he discovers Fisher’s body.
Episode 9: Bound In Flesh
– “My asshole hand. It came back, grew another me. Same shit, different day.” Ash explaining to Pablo and Kelly how his doppelganger came to be.
– “They’re going to get possessed and then they’re going to be on the night train to Killadelphia.” Ash whispering to Kelly the fate he foresees in their new Australian hiker friends.
– “Name one other person with a fully functioning chainsaw arm?” Ash bragging about his accomplishments and worth.
– “I’m going to say a lot of dumb things.” Ash to Ruby after calling her stupid face stupid.
– “Don’t talk bad about Moe and Larry here. They’ve served me very well over the years.” Ash defending his chainsaw hand and shotgun.
Episode 10: The Dark One
– “Wow. I dumped you at just the right time.” Ash to the possessed Fisher as she enters the cabin.
– “I’m more of a DEATH WISH kind of guy.” Ash to Ruby when she tries to compare her truce to THE GODFATHER.
– “And that’s why I didn’t have kids.” Ash after seeing a possessed Pablo vomit out a giant worm that turns into a little human boy.
– “Someone needs to wash your mouth out kid. And that someone is me.” Ash to a little kid deadite right after shoving his shotgun in the demon’s mouth.
– “Well that was easy. Let’s close the show with a little neck music.” Ash as he’s about to decapitate Ruby. But then…
Season One ends on a vague, somewhat optimistic note. But we know that it’s too good to be true!
You can catch up on ASH VS EVIL DEAD Season One now on Blu-Ray and DVD. Season Two returns to Starz in October. Check out our predictions for Season Two right here!