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Franchise: Evil Dead
aka: The Evil Dead
"I'll swallow your soul!"

"The fact is that you can't hold Ash to the same standard that you hold mere mortals to. He is not only just a complete and total Badass; He is the standard by which all future badasses will be measured. So if he wants to jump onto a department store trampoline and fire fifteen perfectly-aimed shotgun shells in rapid succession while soaring twenty feet in the air, he can do it. You and I can't; but you and I are also not Ash. And while it may seem impossible for him to do the things that he does and kick as much ass as he is famous for doing, I assure you that it isn't. Why, you ask? Simple. Because he's Ash."

In 1979, a bunch of teens got together in a cabin in Tennessee and made a film with a standard B-Movie plot; this film was The Evil Dead. The film, which was directed by Sam Raimi and starred Bruce Campbell, succeeded through elaborate gore effects, slick cinematography, and sheer audacity to make enough money to warrant two sequels and get into the public consciousness. The result of the two sequels was a strange blend where Narm Charm meets Rule of Cool.

The first film's story follows a bunch of teens who get together in a cabin in Tennessee and play a tape recorded recitation from a demonic book of the dead (the Necronomicon) — which leads to each of them becoming possessed and attacking the others. Evil Dead 2 is a partial sequel and a partial remake. Because Raimi was unable to use scenes from the original filmnote , he turned the first act of the sequel into a quick, simplified version of the first film. In it, Ashley J. Williams survives the possession of his girlfriend and, along with some new arrivals, manages to fight back the evil demons possessing the house. This film leads straight into Army of Darkness.

Army of Darkness is the most well-known and quoted film of the trilogy. Ash is transported back to Medieval Europe, where he finds out he can return to his own time if he can retrieve the Necronomicon. Ash manages to find the book, but when he inevitably screws up the retrieval, he's forced to train and help the not-so-peaceful villagers he's placed in the path of an Army of Darkness.

The third film catapulted Ash into pop culture popularity; there are four videogames, tons of comic book adaptions (including crossovers with Marvel Zombies and Xena, as well as Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash), a Role-Playing Game under the Unisystem umbrella, and a Broadway musical all based on Ash and the Evil Dead trilogy.

A remake of the first movie and an official reboot of the franchise was released in April 2013 (although it supposedly takes place in the same universe as the original series); Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, and Bruce Campbell are producers, while Diablo Cody revised the script. Fede Alvarez, director of the short film Panic Attack!, directed the film. Jane Levy of Suburgatory fame was cast as Mia, that film's Expy of Ash. You can watch the Red Band trailer here.

Ash also appears as a character in a crossover poker game, sadly not voiced by Bruce Campbell.

Films in this series:

  • The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
  • Army of Darkness (1992)
  • Evil Dead (2013)

Video games in this series:

Comics in this series:

This franchise provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Evil Dead II's first act was a partial remake of the first film, showing the basic story (people going out to a cabin to have a good time), but boils it down to only two characters (Ash and Linda), removing Cheryl, Scotty, and Shelly from the narrative entirely.
  • Alien Blood: Blue, green, and black.
  • An Aesop: Don't read from The Book Of The Dead. For the third film, keep a pen and paper ready to remember some magic words.
  • Angrish: Ash has a tendency to babble and scream incoherently when frightened or enraged.
  • Animate Dead: what happens when you remove the book. There's a spell to disable that, but Ash mispronounces it; Hilarity Ensues.
  • Anti-Hero: Ash kind of goes from type I to III through the course of the trilogy. Pretty much a softy throughout Evil Dead, a little more competent in Evil Dead II and eventually becomes a hero. In Army of Darkness he has become Wrong Genre Savvy. He has his share of badass moments but he's also now a clumsy, dim-witted, womanizing, jerk. He does kind of learn his lesson by the end though.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The source of the entire mess.
  • Alternate Timeline: The games typically go into their own paths in regards to what happens after Evil Dead 2. Hail to the King throws together multiple elements from across the series into a single plot, A Fistful of Boomstick has Ash escape the cabin without getting sucked away into a portal, and spends his time drinking away his sorrows. Regeneration has much the same, except he ends up sent to an asylum.
  • Arm Cannon - Literally, in the games.
  • Arrow Cam - A favorite of Raimi.
  • Artificial Limbs: When his hand is chopped off, Ash replaces it with a chainsaw. Later, he replaces that with a clockwork gauntlet. In the extended media beyond the films, he'll frequently swap out his gauntlet with the saw (for example, in A Fistful of Boomstick, he can switch the chainsaw out with a flamethrower and a gatling gun).
  • Asshole Victim: Jake, anyone?
    • Bobbie Jo as well.
  • As You Know: Averted in the remake. Significant bits of exposition are given to us in the form of the other characters telling David things he bloody well should know, but doesn't because he wasn't there when he was needed.
    • Still, some of the exposition does come off as stitled and forced, with characters going out of their way to explain their relationships with each other. Surprisingly averted with Olivia, who barely has a line until halfway through the movie with pretty much no explanation of the nature of her relationships with the characters. For instance, David's first scene where he interacts with er involves tending to her wounds and calling her baby, which turned a few heads at the theater
  • Ax-Crazy: How Ash copes with the events of the first two movies. By the third, he's turned it into Crazy Awesome.
  • Badass Normal: Ash goes up against demons from hell, medieval knights, the undead and his own mutated friends with no training, preparation or backup, and still manages to kick ass and take names.
  • Bad Black Barf: One of the numerous icky signs of demonic possession.
  • Badass Transplant: Ash replaced his right hand with a chainsaw, after he's forced to chop it off after it gets Deadite possessed. He uses it to great effect in Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow - Several times across the films, but hilariously subverted in Army of Darkness, where Ash keeps screaming goofily until he notices the monster's stopped trying to get in.
  • BBC Quarry: It wasn't shot in England (though the story does take place there), but Ash's arrival in the Middle Ages at the end of Evil Dead 2 was filmed at a very similar-looking North Carolina rock quarry.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Mocked.
    Deadite Sheila: "You found me beautiful once."
    Ash: "Honey, you got reeaaaal ugly."
    • Played straight with Ash himself, who only ever gets superficial injuries to his face that just make him seem more handsome. By the third film, his costume is a walking Shirtless Scene. There is a scene in the first film where he gets covered from head to toe in blood; a second later his face is completely clean, and the only thing the blood did was make his shirt cling to his chest in a fanservice-y way
    • Crosses over with Beauty Equals Goodness in the remake; after David buries Mia alive to drive the Evil out of her, the horrific wounds she'd sustained in her demonic form disappear.
  • Big Bad: The unseen entity that brings about the Deadites, posseses people and trees and even Ash's severed hand. In the third movie it incarnates itself as an undead clone of Ash. In the second film, it is forced to manifest a physical form and becomes a huge head that uses the trees as arms.
  • Big "NO!": Ash, repeatedly, but especially at the alternate end of the third film.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Necronomicon ex Mortis. "Necronomicon" is based on Greek and can be roughly translated to "book considering (or classifying) the dead." The "ex Mortis" is Latin and means "from/by the Dead." Neither part means exactly what the creator intended it to mean. On top of it all, the book is said to be Sumerian.
  • Black and Gray Morality:
    • Lampshaded in Army of Darkness.
    Good Ash: Good... bad... I'm the guy with the gun.
    Good Ash: I ain't that good.
  • Black Blood: Along with all sorts of liquids the production staff used as blood, mostly to avoid an X-rating. The possessed Shelly bleeds white blood whilst faking her death throes.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Shop Smart, Shop S-Mart!"note 
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Variant in Army of Darkness, where Ash blasts a sword in half.
    • Referenced in the reboot, where David shoots Natalie's entire hand off as she's about to kill Eric
  • Blatant Lies: Jake's song in the musical. He claims to have won an Oscar for directing Platoon, written Jackie Chan's autobiography, and coined the phrase "fo shizzle, my nizzle!"
  • Bloody Hilarious: The second movie.
  • B-Movie: Definitely among the most famous B Movies ever.
  • Body Horror: Begins fairly early in the first movie and goes downhill from there. Highlights include a snake-like neck and a breakneck ballet in the second film.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the reboot. The cutting off the arm scene is made far worse when said arm is hanging from your body by a string of flesh then just sloughs to the floor. Not to mention a close up of cutting your tongue in half with a knife or slicing off a large portion of your cheek. All of these scenes also are conveniently shown in the trailers just to make sure the viewer knows what type of movie they are going to.
    • Don't forget the infamous tree rape scene from the original. Made even worse in the remake, Mia is bound and choked by the trees and is instead raped by a giant thorny leech creature the deadite vomits out. You get to see it slither around her leg before being painfully treated to seeing it enter her nethers completely. Qualifies as Fridge Horror when you realize you never see it leave and it's probably still inside her, maybe alive, maybe dead and rotting.
  • Bond One-Liner: Many. But here's one anyway:
    Good Ash: (fires shotgun up Evil Ash's nose) Good, Bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
  • Bottomless Magazines: At one point, Ash fires his double barreled shotgun at least three times in quick succession, far faster than someone with only one hand can reload. There's also the lever action rifle in Army of Darkness which he fires about 30 times without reloading. And then there's the bottomless gas tank for the chainsaw.
    • Averted in the first two Evil Dead movies, where Ash had to reload his double barrel a few times, and in the 2013 reboot as well.
    • Played with near the end of the remake. Mia has to fill the gas on the chainsaw at first but with as little as she gets into the tank it runs FAR longer than it should be able to.
  • Breaking Speech: In the remake, The deadite possessing Mia gives David one for abandoning his sister and his dying mother years ago.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: When Olivia starts to lose control and become possessed we see her urinate on herself when she realizes that she's about to cut her face off.
  • Butt Monkey: Badass he may be, but Ash is still this quite often.
    • Bobby Joe seems to suffer the most injuries and grievances out of the other four main characters in the second film.
  • Byronic Hero: Ash has too many character flaws to count. Fortunately, giving up is not one of them.
  • California Doubling: Army of Darkness takes place in medieval England, but it's pretty obviously filmed in Bronson Canyon and Vasquez Rocks. Bruce Campbell has a lot of fun ribbing Sam Raimi about it in their DVD commentary. Notably averted in the first two movies, which really were filmed in the Appalachian forest (much to the chagrin of the Michigan-based cast and crew, especially during the first movie).
  • Call Back: The 2013 movie has several to the original film, including Sam Ramni's Oldsmobile parked outside the cabin, Deadite Cheryl's death threat being heard during Mia's possession, and Professor Knowby's original tape recording playing at the end of the credits.
  • The Cameo: Hinted at by the tape in the original Evil Dead: "Saman sa'rob dar ees haikar dande roza", this being derived from "Sam [Raimi] and Rob [Tapert] are hitchhikers on the road." Sure enough, if you paid attention five minutes into the film, Scott drove the Olds past a pair of idiotic-looking hitchhikers in fishing gear, both of whom turn to wave as the car sped by.
    • Bruce Campbell as Ash appears in a post-credits scene in the reboot.
  • Catch Phrase: The deadites constantly scream, "I'll swallow your soul!". Also, "Join us..."
  • The Cavalry: Henry the Red and his peoples.
  • Canon Discontinuity: All three films overlap slightly, with the shared scenes playing out different. If you can attach the Evil Dead 2 scene with Ash being attacked at daybreak to the first movie's ending, then remove Ash's arrival in medieval times from Evil Dead 2, and then attach Ash's arrival from Army of Darkness onto it instead, and you'll have the single-continuity storyline that Raimi envisioned.
    • Which brings up the question of why the cabin is back in perfect shape in Evil Dead 2, but if you did this cut-and-pasting, you could handwave it as the Evil putting everything back both to mess with Ash's head and set the trap for the new group.
  • Chainsaw Good: Probably one of the most iconic examples in media.
  • The Chew Toy: Ash just can't get a break. The original ending of the third movie would have taken this Up to Eleven.
  • The Chosen One: Technically, the "Promised One". Also mixed with a little It Sucks to Be the Chosen One.
  • Cool Car: Sam Raimi's 1973 Oldsmobile is Ash's in the series. Even the car Took a Level in Badass in Army of Darkness, when it is turned into a war machine.
  • Covers Always Lie: Two of the most famous posters for the first movie are total lies:
    • One depicts a woman (presumably Linda, though it's hard to tell) being grabbed by the neck and dragged underground by a Deadite's hand, while futilely trying to escape. Nobody ever gets dragged underground in the movie.
    • Another shows a scowling, blood-soaked Ash, with Linda cowering behind him, wielding a chainsaw over his head, about to use it against an unseen (or partially seen) Deadite. There's a chainsaw in the movie, but Ash never uses it as a weapon- in fact, he never ends up actually using it at all. He uses one all the time in the sequels, though.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: In Army of Darkness the castle is evacuated leaving 60 men to fight an army of the undead that outnumber them about 10 to 1. They have to keep moving defenses from wall to wall as they simply don't have enough people to effectively guard each side at the same time.
  • Darker and Edgier: After an increasingly comedic trilogy, the remake is fairly jarring in tone. It edges pretty close to Torture Porn as the main characters mutilate themselves and each other, the teenagers aren't at the cabin for a party, it's nearly devoid of jokes or one-liners, and it's entirely lacking the original trilogy's camp value.
    • Reconstruction: The Evil Dead was a pretty straightforward horror movie with little humor, and the camp came in more and more in the sequels. The remake just goes back to the mood of the first film.
  • Daylight Horror: The ending to the first movie. A few scares at the beginning too.
  • Dance Sensation: Dooo the Necronomicon. The Necronomicon.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: Taken Up to Eleven with the Cool Car's combat refit.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Played straight in "Army of Darkness." Ash finds plenty of opportunities to snark about medieval culture and action-adventure tropes.
    • Ash gets some moments in the first two movies, too.
      Linda: Hey Ash, I guessed the card right!
      Ash (distracted): Yeah, truly amazing.
  • Dem Bones: Most of the eponymous Army raised by Evil Ash/the Necronomicon in Army of Darkness.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Early in the first movie, Scott seems to be the hero while Ash is next to useless. This quickly changes.
  • Demonic Possession: Pretty much the whole plot of the first two movies. Sheila in the third.
  • Description Porn: From Army of Darkness, Ash introducing his boomstick.
  • De Terminator: Ash obviously, but Arthur gets points too since he is still fighting deadites with arrows lodged in his shoulders.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the remake, Mia cuts The Abomination in half with a chainsaw.
  • Dirty Coward: Scott in the first movie. Played with in the sequels with Ash, where he seemingly acts like a coward, but he either really isn't or just mans up.
  • Dodge This: "Swallow this." *BOOM!*
    • In the Remake, "Feast on this motherfucker" shoves the chainsaw into the Abomination's mouth.
  • Downer Ending: The first film and the original ending for the third film. Ash doesn't seem pleased by the second film's ending, but it's not really a downer.
    • In a scrapped ending of the remake, after Mia walks out of the woods, she get picked up by a couple in their truck. While taking her back into town, her eyes suddenly turn yellow like the film's deadites and she smiles at the camera before cutting to black.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: In the reboot David uses duct tape for first aid to tape gauze onto stab wound, wrap up an amputation site, and in the makeshift defibrillator he uses to revive Mia.
  • Dung Ages: Army of Darkness, and results in Ash being a jerk to everyone in the beginning.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ash's evil reflection makes a brief appearance in II, then returns as a full-fledged villain in Army.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The creature that appears in the ending of the second movie.
  • Enemy Without: Evil Ash
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: AND they're comin' back to getcha!
  • Evil Hand
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Deadites in the first movie and Evil Ash in Army of Darkness.
  • Evil Laugh: The Deadites love doing this.
    • Deadite Mia gets a very quiet and menacing one in the remake.
  • Evil Makeover: Bad/Evil Ash initially looks exactly like his regular counterpart, but after being shot in the face, dismembered, and then buried by Ash he later comes back as a rotting zombie.
  • Evil Twin: The twin from Army of Darkness that Ash ends up fighting.
  • Exact Words: It has been said for years that there will never be an "Evil Dead 4"; however, this leaves them perfectly open to do "Army of Darkness 2"
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The entire trilogy takes place in about a week, going by Ash's perspective.
  • Expy: In the end of the remake, we get an evil version of Mia, which seems to be the Bad Ash of the new series.
  • Eye Poke: Ash gets a number of these in the cemetery scene in a The Three Stooges homage.
  • Eye Scream: All the movies contain at least one wound to the eye or the eye area.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Assuming you trust the source, the second movie alludes to possession and death being the least of victims' problems in this series:
    "Even now we have your darling Linda's soul. She suffers in torment."
    • Similarly, in the remake, the demon possessing Mia taunts David saying "Your little sister's being raped in hell!" After she is brought back, Mia cries to David "It was so horrible..."
  • Final Girl: Um... Guy, although with something of a Gender-Blender Name. This "twist" was actually commented on by film studies, and it's now a bit cooler for guys to have this name.
    • Played straight in the remake, mainly because the filmmakers thought that no guy could hope to match Bruce Campbell's performance in the original.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: Inverted. The camera flies at Bruce Campbell at the end.
  • Forging Scene: A few examples:
    • Ash creating his chainsaw hand in the second film.
    • Ash and the villagers building his Armored-hand and supplying weapons to his car in the third film. "Groovy".'
    • David rigging the hypodermic needle-defibulator in the remake.
  • For the Evulz: Pretty much the Deadites' only motivation for doing anything.
    • Averted in the remake, the demon wants to claim 5 souls to rise from Hell. What it plans on after that is never explained, although there seems to be some heavy Apocalyptic overtones.
  • From Bad to Worse: Pretty much the entire point of the series. Every time it looks like it might either be getting better, or he might hit rock bottom, or he has any kind of fortune or misfortune whatsoever, something happens to Ash. Case in point - after surviving most of the night, killing his zombie ex-girlfriend and presumably taking care of his own zombie hand by cutting it off, another group of people show up, think he murdered their family, and throw him in the cellar. Headfirst. Then, they listen to the Apocalyptic Log and find out the old man who lived there was actually attacked by his possessed ex-wife. And he buried her in the cellar...
  • Fridge Logic: Brought up in the commentary for Army of Darkness. invoked
    Sam Raimi: How come your hand's still stuck in there even though it's chopped off?
    Bruce Campbell: It's 'cause the director told me to.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Who'd have thought that one of the most significant Badass characters of the Eighties would be named Ashley? Although it used to be strictly a male name (along with Leslie, Shirley, etc.).
  • Genius Ditz: Ash may be a total cartoon character (when he's not being a badass), but he's still able to effortlessly create a fully-articulated prosthetic hand for himself, synthesize gunpowder and explosive materials using only found natural resources and the Chemistry textbooks in the trunk of his car, and then turn said car into a whirling, bladed death machine. As he puts it:
    Ash: We can take 'em on! With science!
  • Genre Blindness: Eric is the one who decided to unwrap a package wrapped in garbage bags and barbed wire. Even after he realizes the book is bound in human skin and has very apparent warnings that the book shouldn't be tampered with including:
    Don't say it, Don't write it, Don't hear it!
    • Ironically enough this same character turns Genre Savvy when things start going to hell and is the first one to realize and come to terms with what is really going on. Granted this is mostly due to the knowledge gained from having read the ill-fated book, as well as knowing that his reading from the book was the reason it all started.
  • Genre Savvy: Ash knows that just because a Deadite is down, doesn't mean it's dead. However, he learns this through hard experience, not pre-thought wisdom.
    Ash: It's a trick. Get an axe.
  • Genre Shift: The first movie is a more-or-less straightforward horror film. Evil Dead 2 is a strange hybrid of gory, serious horror, and slapstick comedy. Army of Darkness drops almost all the horror and works instead as an action-comedy. This is surprisingly not an example of Executive Meddling, as creator Sam Raimi helmed all three films, and the progression from horror to comedy was his own idea.
    • The reboot is a shift back to straight up horror and some may say it is even more grotesque than the original was.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot / Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Horrifically inverted in the remake, in the scene where the possessed Mia pulls Natalie into the cellar and begins licking her legs, then splits her own tongue with a knife and force-kisses Natalie. It's just as sickening and violating as it should be.
  • Gorn: A major staple of the series. The second and third film crank up the gore, with the second having a near-flooding of the cabin floor with orange blood from a decapitation, and the third having a geyser of blood.
    • The remake shows multiple shots of characters projectile vomiting blood, chainsaws being hacked through limbs accompanied by geysers of the aforementioned blood, a possessed Olivia giving herself a Chelsea Smile, a character using an electric saw to cut off her possessed arm a la Ash, a character being set on fire, and a bludgeoning, Deadite Mia cutting her own tongue in half with a knife and forcibly making out with a female character, and finishes with Evil Mia getting a chainsaw fed to her.
    • The original movie was pretty gory too. There's the scene where Ash is in the basement and everything starts bleeding, and the end when all the Deadites start rotting away and leaking what appears to be oatmeal.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the second movie, just as Ash is about to use the chainsaw on Deadite Linda's head, this trope is invoked - showing blood splattering on the walls and shadows rather than the actual act. The DVD commentary points out the irony of this.
    "Why are you not showing that part? You've shown everything else."
  • Groin Attack: In the infamous tree-rape scene and a similar scene in the remake.
  • Gulliver Tie Down: The mini-Ashes do this after Ash knocks himself out in the medieval windmill.
  • Haunted Headquarters: The cabin in the woods.
  • Helping Hands: Averted. Ash's severed hand comes back to cause trouble.
  • Hero of Another Story: According to the recordings, Professor Knowby had his own share of Deadite troubles before Ash got anywhere near the cabin.
    • While it's not a part of the series, in Poker Night 2, Ash has a mini storyline that he'll update the rest of the table on every so often. He's fallen for a girl named Wendy, and is planning an elaborate proposal, a big honeymoon, fixing up the Oldsmobile together, starting a family... but starts suspecting that Wendy might not be what she seems. Brock Samson suggests getting Dr. Orpheus to help.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: David gives up his life to save Mia from Deadite Eric. Turns into Stupid Sacrifice right after when we learn that this fifth death fulfills the conditions for the abomination to enter our world, leaving Mia all alone against a much greater threat. Possibly Played Straight since David was quickly bleeding out and Deadite Eric's "He's coming" line implies the conditions were already met.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Every film has it in almost every death scene. Taken to firehose extremes with Jake.
  • Hope Spot: In the remake, Natalie looks like she's made it out of the cellar, despite the broken step, until Mia grabs her ankle at the last second and drags her back down.
    • In II, it looks like Annie has succeeded in banishing the evil, except she died without closing the door through time and space, so it sucks Ash in too.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The creature that rises up from hell in the finale of the remake, which is basically a lanky demonic form of Mia. It's even called "The Abomination." As well as Evil Ash, which is the evil force coalesced into an evil double of Ash.
  • The Hyena: Deadite Linda.
  • "I Am" Song: "Bit Part Demon" from Evil Dead The Musical.
  • Idiot Hero: Ash in the third film, who knows an awful lot about killin' deadites but somehow manages to bungle both attempts to speak the magic words.
  • Ignored Expert: The wiseman in Army of Darkness.
    Wiseman: My Lord, I believe he is the one written of in the Necronomicon. He who is prophesied to fall from the Heavens and deliver us from the terrors of the Deadites.
    Arthur: What? That buffoon? Likely he's one of Henry's men. I say to the pit with him!
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: In the spin-off comics Ash has become something of a crossover whore, having encountered Darkman, the Universal Monsters, Xena, Doctor Herbert West, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, the Marvel Zombies (in what ended up being —- very rare for an intercontinuity crossover —- their canonical Origins Episode), Danger Girl, Hack Slash and... Barack Obama.
    • And with the release of Poker Night 2, he has also met Brock Samson, Claptrap, Sam and GLaDOS. The game also pokes fun at his comic crossover whoring by having Claptrap tell him that he's going to do battle against Degrassi in 2016. Another line has Ash ranting about how Hollywood should just let old franchises die. The game came out the same month as the 2013 remake.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Arthur: Are all men from the future loud-mouthed braggarts?
    Ash: Nope. Just me baby. Just me.
  • Ironic Echo: In the first film, Ash flirtatiously peeks at Linda while pretending to be asleep, shutting his eyes when she looks back at him. After she's possessed and apparently killed, her "corpse" does the same thing to him.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "We're going to get you, We're going to get you."
  • Jerkass: Scotty in the first film, Jake and Bobby Joe in the second and Ash in the third. Scotty's jerkassery is turned Up to Eleven in the musical.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ash in the sequels, especially Army of Darkness.
  • Kill 'em All: Everybody but Ash in 1 and 2.
    • Everybody but Mia in the reboot, and even in her case, she merely failed to stay dead.
  • King of the Homeless
  • Kensington Gore: Lots of it. The Musical is one of the few Broadway shows to include a "splatter zone" and fans have taken to wearing white t-shirts to shows to take home as bloody souvenirs.
  • Lame Pun Reaction:
    • Deadite Cheryl speaks in nearly nothing but these in the musical.
    Cheryl: I値l get you, Ash! I知 like a literal Hulk Hogan... I値l get you, brother!
    Ash: Shut up!
    Cheryl: We池e like that Columbia House 'Ten CD痴 for a Penny' club. Sooner or later, you値l join us!
    Ash: Shut up!
    Cheryl: I知 like Dom De Luise at an all-you-can-eat fish house. I値l swallow your 'sole'!
    Ash: God, shut up!
    Cheryl: It値l be like you were killed by some guy whose first name happens to be Dawn, so you値l be dead... by Dawn!
    Ash: That is it!
    • The books Ash stacks atop his possessed, recently cut-off hand cross this with Visual Pun. Among them is "A Farewell to Arms".
  • Lampshade Hanging: The musical does quite a bit of it. It even points out the inconsistency with Ash being brought back from the curse from seeing Linda's necklace... even though Linda is a Deadite now.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Bruce Campbell's famous lantern jaw makes him a very iconic hero.
  • Large Ham:
    • Rumor has it that Bruce Campbell was hospitalized for two weeks after filming "Army of Darkness" on account of the damage done to his digestive tract after eating all of that scenery. Especially since he was essentially playing two hams: Ash and Bad Ash.
    • Deadite Cheryl in the first film is also a major one.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The original movie had the added twist of a Decoy Protagonist. Ash was mostly useless throughout the first half of the first movie until he Took a Level in Badass and remained the only one alive. Now that he has become an icon and the other installments of the series are more famous, some viewers might be initially confused by the first flick.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Although Ash and his friends don't realize it at first.
  • Laughing Mad: In Evil Dead 2, after everything in the cabin comes alive and decides to laugh at Ash. Ash joins along... and laughs at the camera, deep in insanity.
    • In the Army of Darkness original ending, Ash, after finding out he'd slept too long and woke up in a post-apocalyptic England.
  • Leg Cling: The poster for "Army of Darkness".
  • Licking the Blade: Taken to extremes in the remake, when Mia licks a utility knife and then presses her tongue into the edge hard enough to slice her tongue in half down the middle.
  • Life or Limb Decision: Subverted in the remake, then played straight near the end.
  • Lighter and Softer: The second and third films.
  • Living Legend: Ash could have been a king. In his own way, he was king.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Ash preparing his chainsaw and shotgun in the second film.
  • Locked into Strangeness: When Ash first sees the Eldritch Abomination at the end of Evil Dead 2, he gains a white/grey stripe of hair on the side of his head from fright as a stop motion effect. However, this seems to disappear in Army of Darkness.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the remake, the only way to cleanse someone of the Evil is the kill them via immolation, dismemberment, or live burial. However, with careful planning and an improvised Magical Defibrillator, David manages to exorcise Mia and successfully bring her back to life.
  • Long Neck: One of the Deadite sprouts these in "2", but that just makes it easier to decapitate.
  • Losing Your Head: Linda in both movies as well as the deadite in the climax. Also, this happens to Evil Ash in Army of Darkness.
  • The Lost Woods: The setting of the first two movies and remake once the Necronomicon's been read aloud, they also take up some of the plot during Army of Darkness, as Ash rides to find the Necronomicon.
    • Within the Woods, a "practice" film Raimi and Co. made pre-Evil Dead.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The Undead are crawling all over? Unfathomably ancient demons summoned by the Tome of Eldritch Lore are possessing people? Time for Ash to lay the smack down!
    • The remake as well. Demons have possessed and killed your friends and relatives, and a Humanoid Abomination rises from Hell. A chainsaw to the face will fix that!
  • MacGyvering: Ash seems to be pretty bright when it comes to making makeshift equipment. In Evil Dead II, he creates his iconic Boomstick harness that also has a thing to start up his chainsaw. In Army of Darkness, he creates a fully functional "cyborg" hand made from the hand of the armor of a knight, created a few things from his science textbook and gun power from his Boomstick, and transforming his Olds into a giant propeller of death. This happens in the remake too, where David throws together a Magical Defibrillator in the hopes of killing Mia and then bringing her back to life sans demon.
  • Madness Mantra: Evil Dead 2: "WHO'S LAUGHING NOW?"
  • Made of Iron: Eric in the remake, full stop. Let's count 'em up, shall we? Knife in the chest, needle to the face, NAIL GUNNED, crowbar to the arm, crowbar to the head, and he STILL risks his life trying to save his friend.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Ash evolves from a fairly sensitive guy into snarling comedic misanthropy over the course of the movies, though he's had one hell of a bad weekend to justify it. It probably didn't help that his allies in both the second and third movie introduced themselves by trying to kill him.
    Ash: Now I swear... the next one of you primates... even touches me...
  • Magical Defibrillator: In the remake, David shocks Mia back to life with a car battery charger wired to a pair of syringes.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: To some point, thanks to Ash's quick application of steam and gunpowder knowledge the medieval Englishmen got a chance against a vast undead army.
  • Medieval Morons: "You primitive screwheads!"
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted. Of the seven people killed in the first two movies, five of them are women. The Sole Survivor is even a man.
    • Likewise in the remake. While the Sole Survivor is a woman this time, the ladies otherwise get it far worse than the guys do. All three of the female characters are brutally disfigured on-screen, far more than the two men are.
  • Metafictional Title: Evil Dead was originally named Book of the Dead after the book of the same name, which appears in the movie. The name was changed because the executives didn't want people to think it was a movie about a book.
  • The Middle Ages: Setting of Army of Darkness
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Used straight and subverted, at a couple points the deadites go back to their host's pre-corpse state to fool Ash.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: On the Deadites.
  • Mood Whiplash: The two sequels go from scary to hilarious and back again so quickly that your neck will hurt.
  • Mooks: The titular army in Army of Darkness.
  • The Musical: The franchise gained a musical adaptation, which has appeared on Broadway.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: The titular army in Army of Darkness. Partially subverted in that they run away screaming when shelled with explosive arrows and bags of gunpowder.
  • Nipple and Dimed: There's a short, blink-and-you-miss-it moment in Army of Darkness where a couple of topless slave girls are herded past the camera. It may have been intended as Fanservice, but the fact that they're being led off to be raped by demonic undead monsters achieves the opposite effect, underscored by the fact that it happens while Sheila is being forcibly kissed by the Deadite copy of Ash.
  • Offhand Backhand: In Army of Darkness, Ash does this with a shotgun.
  • Oh, Crap: Natalie's face in the remake when she realizes Mia has just grabbed her ankle.
  • Once per Episode: Ash's love interests have a nasty habit of turning Deadite near the end, forcing him to kill them (this is especially a pattern if you count the video games). Oddly, Sheila in Army of Darkness gets better without explanation.
  • Orifice Invasion: Spoofed in Army of Darkness. Played much more seriously in the original and remake.
  • Our Demons Are Different: They're Sumerian demons that possess corpses and the weak-minded, turning them into monsters.
    • Or as seen in Ash's case, those who've been knocked out.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse
  • Popcultural Osmosis
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: Replaced the Downer Ending of Army of Darkness.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The evil thing chasing characters.
  • The Power of Love: Ash sees the locket he'd bought for Linda lying on the floor which reminds him of the love he had for her which in turn allows him to break free of the Deadite possessing him.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    • Kind of Ash's specialty...
    Ash: Yo. She-bitch. Let's go.
    Ash: Come to Papa.
    Ash: Lady, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the store.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "This... Is... My... BOOMSTICK!"
  • Rated M for Manly: Although this is present in the second film as well, Army of Darkness is so manly that it can make your TV grow chest hair and a full-length beard. Some of it is definitely satirical, however.
  • Rasputinian Death: Eric qualifies as this in the remake. He first falls and hits his head on the sink with enough force to break it, suffers a stab wound on his chest dangerously close to where his heart ought to be as well as multiple stabs from a syringe to the face, the needle breaking off and becoming embedded dangerously close to his eye. Some time later he gets attacked with a nail gun and gets more than a few in his arms, body and face. Soon after he gets attacked with a crowbar and nearly breaks his arm trying to block it, as well as getting a few full blows directly to his head. Despite this he still manages to make his way to the basement from the outside and save David from the possessed Mia, at which point she stabs Eric fatally.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Watch out for yellow eyes in the remake.
  • Refusal of the Call: In Army of Darkness, Ash does everything he can to avoid being the savior the people need him to be. It takes a Damsel in Distress to snap him out of it.
  • Retcon:
    • In-universe example; the Book of the Dead is given the title Naturom Demonto in the first film, then changed to being the Necronomicon in the second film as a Shout-Out to H.P. Lovecraft, and finally it becomes "Necronomicon ex Mortis" in Army of Darkness.
    • Army of Darkness starts off with a Retcon too. While at the end of Evil Dead 2 Ash destroyed a winged demon with a single shotgun blast and was promptly lauded as the Chosen One who would deliver humanity from the Deadites, AoD quickly retells events to show Ash immediately being mistaken for a defeated enemy of a passing army and dragged away as a slave.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Each film becomes more comical than the last.
  • Revised Ending: Army of Darkness originally has an Cruel Twist Ending with Ash waking up in post apocalyptic England after taking too much of a sleeping potion, which was changed to a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner filled ending thanks to Executive Meddling.
    • "Hail to the King, baby!"
  • Rule of Cool: Ash kills demons with a shotgun in his left hand, and a chainsaw as his right hand, all while spouting one-liners and puns that are so bad they're good.
  • Rule of Funny: Partially the driving purpose behind the two sequels.
  • Satire/Parody/Pastiche
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun
  • Senseless Sacrifice: David's death, which sticks out as an Ass Pull in a movie that's rife with them.
  • Serial Escalation: The series begins with a college student fighting demons in an isolated cabin in the woods, and gets cooler from there.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the second movie.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam
  • Shout-Out:
    • Included in the cellar is a ripped poster from The Hills Have Eyes. Wes Craven returned the favor by showing Evil Dead on TV in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Then Raimi did it again by sticking a Freddy glove in Evil Dead 2.
    • A number of physical-comedy scenes from Army Of Darkness are an obvious The Three Stooges homage.
    • The haunted forest with a girl running in the darkness and attacked by possessed trees reminds a little Snow White's dark forest sequence, exepct this time the trees are real and not part of hallucinations.
    • The scene where Ash developed an eye on his shoulder, then a second head, and finally, split into Good and Evil Ash is taken straight from the 1959 B-movie The Manster.
    • The remake takes this farther even than most remakes do, including brief clips of dialogue from the original in the background music and playing part of Professor Knowby's tape over the credits. This is before we get into entire lines of dialogue and scenes that were lifted from the originals. One could make an entire page of them.
    • The remake includes a few references to Raimi's previous Drag Me to Hell. The opening scene involves a parent bringing their cursed child to a witch to save them (and failing) and a possessed Mia vomiting blood in Olivia's mouth references the corpse of the Gypsy woman doing the same.
    • The mispronounced magic words from Army Of Darkness are straight from The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
  • Shovel Strike: Linda gets her noggin struck clean off with a (presumably super extra-sharp) shovel in both movies.
  • The Siege
  • The Stinger: In the remake Ash appears at the end of the credits to say one of his signature lines. "Groovy"
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Lampshaded by Ash in Army of Darkness.
    Ash: First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Blow.
  • Slave Mooks: The first 2's deadites.
  • The Smart Guy: Annie Knowby in Evil Dead 2.The creators joke in their DVD commentary that, had she been in Ash's situation from the beginning, she would have solved the whole thing in about 30 minutes.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: See Genre Shift.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Twice in Evil Dead. Jazz music from a possessed record player when Ash is in the cellar where blood starts leaking from everything. Cheerful, big-band music also begins playing over the end credits, and then begins to... slow.
  • The Southpaw: Of course, when your left hand is the only hand you have left...
  • Stock Shout-Outs:
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: the original end of Army.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Jake
  • Swiss Army Appendage: In the Expanded Universe, Ash can put different appendages on the stump of his arm. See Artificial Limbs above.
  • Sword and Gun: Chainsaw And Shotgun
  • Taxidermy Terror: The house in Evil Dead II is full of creepy stuffed trophy heads who laugh at Ash.
  • Time Passage Beard: Happens to Ash in the deleted alternate ending, when he "slept too long" and overshot the 20th century.
  • Tired of Running: By the last fifteen minutes of each movie in the trilogy, Ash has been driven mad by the things the Evil has forced him to see and do, to the point where he is no longer scared so much as just pissed off. It is at this point he raises hell with his chainsaw and/or shotgun.
    • In Army of Darkness, Ash actually tells the panicking to go ahead and run if they wish.
      "I'm staying!"
  • Title: The Adaptation: Evil Dead: The Musical!
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The "Morturom Demonto," though it becomes the "Necronomicron ex Mortis" in the sequels (after Sam Raimi learned about H.P. Lovecraft and renamed the book as a Shout-Out). Usually shortened by characters to either "the Necronomicon" or "the Book of the Dead".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cheryl, to some degree. The musical hangs a huge lampshade on this:
    Cheryl: Now, Mother always said when you hear a strange, frightening and potentially life-threatening ghostly chant coming from the dark woods, there's only one thing that you should do: not go wake the others and go investigate it alone!
    • The redneck duo is very much this, but of the two Jake easily deserves special mention. He throws away the Necronomicon pages into Henrietta's den. When Ash tries protesting, he knocks him out which leaves Ash vulnerable to becoming possessed and turning into a Deadite.
    • Eric in the remake. He pretty much doomed himself and all of his friends after speaking the incantation that brought forth the evil forces, despite the warnings within the book itself not to do so.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ash. He starts off as a nebbish, somewhat timid college student. A few days (and two sequels) later, he's redefined the word badass.
    • Bruce Campbell himself actually took a level in badass during the filming of Evil Dead 2, so he could be a better fit to the shotgun-wielding chainsaw-handed king of badasses that Ash would eventually become.
    • Mia at the end of The Remake.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Ash, in the Marvel Zombies crossover, is much more willing to hit on women and general has no idea what is going on.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the first movie, Ash is a Nice Guy thrown into the middle of a nightmare and struggles to survive. Throughout the next two movies, his experiences lead to him becoming increasingly more snarky and obnoxious, to the point where he apathetically "helps" the local castle and refuses to help them when the deadites take the Necronomicon. Tropes Are Not Bad, however, as that is the version of Ash that fans remember and love.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailer for the remake includes several clips that don't appear in the finished movie, including David messily attacking someone with a chainsaw and Mia chanting the possessed Linda's song from the original.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Sort of. They weren't exactly peaceful to begin with, but showing them how to make gunpowder certainly was useful. Oddly enough there's another scene where he teaches them how to use their own Blade on a Stick weapons.
  • The Undead: Naturally.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Bad Ash and Bad Sheila in AOD.
  • Unlikely Hero: Ash in Army of Darkness. Lampshaded in Evil Dead II.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used prolifically in the remake.
  • Video Nasties: Probably the best known film bearing this trope.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The original title for the first movie was The Book of the Dead. Their agent, however, suggested they change it on the grounds that movie-goers would think they'd have to read or be uninterested in a movie with "book" in the title. Tropes Are Not Bad, though, as Raimi and co. grew to love the new title.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Mia does this twice in the remake. When the cravings are getting to her, she's outside the cabin walking around in circles, she vomits after a while. Later when she gets possessed, she projectile vomits blood all over Olivia.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Army of Darkness sees Ash thrown into a pit containing a few demons that he has to fight, as well as this particular Death Trap just to make things more exciting. He escapes by hanging onto the chain powering the closing walls as it moves up.
  • Waterfall Shower: Abbey and Ash take one, to wash off zombie goo, in Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #5.
  • Weaponized Car: See Cool Car above.
  • What an Idiotinvoked: According to Campbell, Ash is a complete and utter moron who is only good at one thing. Of course, that one thing is fighting Deadites and therefore saving the world.
    • In the remake, Eric dooms very much everyone and himself by reading the incantations in the Necromicon, even ignoring the fact that the fucking thing was wrapped in barbed wires and a trash bag before they found it, or, get this, IGNORES THE WARNINGS WRITTEN WITHIN THE BOOK ITSELF.
  • What Happened To Mommy: Ash has a hard time convincing himself to kill his friends and girlfriend after they're possessed. Annie briefly faces this situation literally with her possessed mother.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ash manages to kill two of his tiny counterparts, but several of them manage to escape with no account for their whereabouts.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ash messes up reciting The Words and doesn't care that he has doomed everyone.
    Ash: Klaatu! Verata! Ni—*coughcoughcough*...OK then! That's it!
    • It takes the castle getting raided, everyone turning his back on him, and his love interest kidnapped for him to snap out of it.
  • When Trees Attack: The infamous "tree rape" scene from the original Evil Dead.
    • Sam Raimi has said that he wishes he could go back and re-do the movie and leave out that scene — in fact, in Evil Dead II, the remake, the demon-possessed trees just kill their victims.
    • It may be telling that the scene was co-producer Rob Tapert's idea, and that the "cast episodes" of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, also by Renaissance Pictures, have Bruce Campbell playing Rob as a Lovable Sex Maniac.
    • In the remake, the tree's mostly just immobilize Mia (though she is injured in the process) to let the deadite possess her. That being said it enters through her nethers, so the rape overtones are still there.
    • Played for Laughs in Evil Dead: The Musical.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: After taking constant abuse from his Evil Hand, Ash invokes this trope (even the title word-for-word!) with the help of a nearby chainsaw.
  • World of Ham
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: the English in 1300 are perfectly capable of understanding Ash's very slangy modern English, and themselves speak modern English peppered with "thee"s and "shalt"s.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: In the remake, Mia gets several looks at the Force (the disembodied thing flying around the woods), and sees a demonic version of herself. Later, just before Olivia gets possessed, she sees a similarly monstrous version of herself in the mirror. "The Abomination" may also count, as Mia is the only one there to see it and it looks somewhat like her, or it could just be that the Abomination took the form of the first person to be possessed.


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alternative title(s): Army Of Darkness; The Evil Dead; Evil Dead; Evil Dead2; Evil Dead; Army Of Darkness; Evil Dead2; The Evil Dead1981; Evil Dead2013; Evil Dead The Musical
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