GORE, GUTS, AND GLORY!
Often imitated, never duplicated! The ASH VS. EVIL DEAD franchise has, is, and will always be second-to-none. By now if you’re not remotely aware of what all the horrid hoopla’s about, you’ve been living under a rock, my friend(s).
Now a STARZ original series, its 2015 NYCC premiere rattled hardcore fans of the past and garnered new ones for the future. Making a pretty good first impression, it was embraced and the crew is back for more!
The long-awaited follow-up is here and season two splatters back into action on Sunday, October 2nd with Ash leaving his beloved Jacksonville and returning to his hometown of Elk Grove, Michigan – where he confronts Ruby! Former enemies have to form a reluctant alliance as Elk Grove becomes ground zero for anything and everything evil.
They’re all back! Led by Bruce Campbell in the role of Ash Williams; Lucy Lawless as Ruby Knowby, who now possesses the powerful Necronomicon; Ray Santiago as Pablo Simon Bolivar, Ash’s loyal sidekick; and Dana DeLorenzo Kelly Maxwell, who, grief-stricken after the death of her parents, plots revenge against The Evil Dead.
Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”), Ted Raimi (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) and Michelle Hurd (“Law & Order: SVU”) join the series this year as Brock Williams, Ash’s father, Chet Kaminski, Ash’s childhood best friend, and Linda, Ash’s high school love respectively.
It’s no secret Campbell does the ass-kicking, but take away DeLorenzo and Santiago… And I think in this new world of unexpected demonic atrocities our seasoned hero would have a rough time.
As one of the most prominent characters in the series, Ray Santiago’s “Pablo” has undergone quite an arc from start to finish. Having wrapped the first episode of season two (provided by the good folks at STARZ), the intensity is going to double down this season. That chaotic gorgasmic pace is still there. I can’t even begin to fathom the thought on how much more malicious Ruby will be, as well as looking forward to Pablo utilizing his supernatural abilities with more pizzazz. Quite frankly, from what I saw, it doesn’t seem to have lost a beat. It’s still as disgustingly delicious as last season.
Having been granted another chat with native New Yorker Ray Santiago to discuss the new season, one of the things I make clear from the start is how big this series has become.
“So glad that the fans have embraced the new characters, the show, and that they responded well. Horror fans are so loyal, but can cut you off if it’s not to their liking. The feedback from the fans has been good, so, we know we’re doing something right.”
And doing something right they are! ASH VS. EVIL DEAD S1 was quite a trip. From cast to story, horror to comedy, and smoldering swag in-between… This show was one of many highlights for TV last year. Of course it didn’t come without any struggles. For the cast of course – mainly Pablo, who I think found himself tangled in a web he never thought he’d weave.
“He was a bit of a wuss at the start of it,” recalls Ray. “Pablo went on this journey not realizing that there was a hero to be found within himself. I think he idolized Ash and he sort of found that here’s a stronger version of himself in idolizing Ash and choosing to fight evil. He’s becoming a better man himself and I think what is a bit different is that Pablo got a little bit better with fighting, but this year he’s suffering from the trauma he suffered in the cabin, and he has an undeniable connection with the Necronomicon now. We’re gonna see a darker side of him.”
The clear thing about this series are the objectives every character aims for. Ash clearly looking to do away with the dreaded actions that have unfortunately followed him thirty year later. Kelly having defaulted into the situation due her parents’ misfortunes seeks continuous revenge. However, what is it about Pablo? What grinds his gears and sets his objectives in motion, especially in a season that looks to be even more intense than the last.
“Pablo wants 3 things in this Evil Dead world: 1. Survive, 2. To be a hero and save the world, and 3. To get the girl. In season 2 one of these happen.”
Not much to ask for, right? Well, maybe it is this coming season. In the world of Deadites no one walks out unscathed.
“Pablo goes on this journey where he may be changed forever in a way Ash has been changed forever by the Evil Dead force. It’s darker. It’s bloodier. It’s crazier. Every hero has to go through what he has to go through to get to the top.”
The overall effect upon the series’ leads are clear.
“Pablo is the heart, Kelly is the brains, and Ash is the muscle. Together we create a great dynamic the audience really loves.”
The impact of ASH VS. EVIL DEAD has been a positive one. As we all anticipate the new season, it’s gotta be an even crazier feeling to be on the opposite side of this spectrum. Life-changing for them all, but mainly for the franchise’s newbies. Ray Santiago being the latest Latino sidekick since Cheech Marin to Don Johnson in NASH BRIDGES (unless I missed something in-between), it piques my interest to know how this experience has changed his life, especially in a business who lately has received some criticism for its lack of diversity.
“I’m happy to bring a new demographic to the franchise. I’m also happy to be part of a network that’s putting diverse content out there. I think that’s what people embrace about it, because we look like real people. Hollywood is finally realizing diversity will increase ratings. I think the success of the show has changed my life in a way that I actually feel like I’m able to live my dream. How it’s changed my life is that I’ve developed an understanding of the relationship people have with television versus when they see an actual person.”
Humbling for sure, folks.
Let us have #MercyForPablo has it’s no surprise that the upcoming season will also involve him gored out of his ass, hog-tied, and every other level of WTF anyone could ever comprehend. How much can one person endure? Hmm… Now that’s going to be interesting to see. Overall, Ray Santiago has done the role of “Pablo” an amazing service. One that’s granted him a strong fan-base and solidified him as house hold name.
Ray Santiago, currently resides in LA, but originally hails from The Boogie Down Bronx. Santiago has recurred on hit television shows “Bad Judge,” “Touch,” “Raising Hope,” and “Dexter.” Some of his feature film credits include Suburban Gothic alongside Kat Dennings, Sex Ed alongside Haley Joel Osment and George Eads, In Time alongside Justin Timberlake and Olivia Wilde, as well as American Son, Meet the Fockers, Girlfight and upcoming indie feature Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale.
Keep your eyes open and your hearts black, ladies and gentleman. The Deadite dilemma has just begun. For now, watch him beat Deadites if he can and/or survive if they let him with an all new season of ASH VS. EVIL DEAD premiering Sunday, October 2nd at 8pm on STARZ!
For more on Ray and ASH VS. EVIL DEAD, listen to full-length interview.
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