— Ash's signature line
First appearing in the film The Evil Dead, Ash has become very popular in modern pop culture and one of the few non-monster characters in the "horror" genre to have such notoriety. He is most easily recognized and envisioned in later material based on his final appearance in the second film however, armed with a sawed-off shotgun and a chainsaw strapped to the stump on his right arm where his hand once was.
Ash was born and raised in Elk Grove, Michigan sometime in the late 1950's, along with his sister Cheryl. In his high school years, Ash dated a girl named Linda Bates, but he broke up with her for another girl named Linda. Also during his high school years, Ash met Chet Kaminski, who would become a lifelong friend of Ash. After high school, both he and the other Linda attended Michigan State University, and received an engineering degree. In his mid to late 20s, both he and Linda were employed at the superstore, S-Mart (where he worked in the housewares department). While dating this Linda, he told her about his dream to live in Jacksonville, Florida and take her with him. At some point in his teenage years, Ash learned to play classical music on piano.
There are two conflicting stories on how Ash, his girlfriend Linda, sister Cheryl, and friends Scotty and Shelly found the cabin in the woods. One story says that Scotty rented the cabin, while another says that they heard that the cabin was abandoned by its previous owner, but either way, the five decided to venture out to this cabin to spend the weekend there. At this cabin, they find the "Naturon Demonto" (renamed or possibly translated to Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the sequels), The Book of The Dead, along with a tape recorder. The tape is a recording of the owner of the cabin, Professor Raymond Knowby, who was translating a passage of the book. By playing the tape, Ash and friends awake the Kandarian Demon, the same one that Professor Knowby had previously unleashed earlier in the week. who can now possess the living. Ash's friends and sister are consequently possessed and killed one by one. It isn't until he's the last survivor that he finally destroys the Necronomicon by throwing it into the fireplace, and in doing so, the possessed bodies of Scotty and Cheryl rapidly decay and 'die'. The evil appears to be driven back, however, as the morning sun rises, Ash is attacked by the unseen force.
Evil Dead II follows Ash's second night at the cabin, picking up where the first film ended, with Ash being carried a good distance by the force. He is slammed hard against a tree and falls in a puddle of water. From here he becomes a deadite but shortly afterwards is released from the spirit by the coming of dawn, only to pass out. Ash regains consciousness moments before sunset. Deciding to get out of there as fast as he can, he climbs into his car and drives to where the bridge was, only to find it completely destroyed by the evil force. As the sun quickly sets, said force starts climbing up the cliff, and Ash hops into his car, driving away as fast as he can and as a result, crashing right into a tree stump that sends him flying through the windshield.
With the evil close behind him, he runs into the cabin and through it trying to hide, and ducks into the trapdoor, waiting until the evil force leaves. After it does, Ash comes out, only to find himself stuck at the cabin with the spirits of the Evil Dead for yet another night. During this, his hand is bitten by a deadite and gets infected, forcing him to cut it with a chainsaw, preventing the infection from spreading throughout the rest of his body. Later, the cabin owner's daughter, Annie arrives with Ed Getley and two other people arrive. It also turns out that Henrietta Knowby is still in the basement. One by one all are killed until only Ash and Annie are left.It is near the end of this film that Ash gets his famous chainsaw in place of his right hand. The film ends with Ash being sucked into a vortex and traveling back in time to 1300 AD, with Ash being surrounded by medieval knights.
Picking up where Evil Dead II left off, Ash finds himself trapped in time and knights. Despite The Wise Man's attempt to convince him otherwise, Lord Arthur became convinced that Ash was an ally of his mortal enemy Henry the Red and ordered his execution. Captured and brought to Castle Kandar, Ash (accidentally) falls into The Pit. After fighting the horrors within the pit, Ash escapes using his belt and the chain that operates the spiked walls of the pit, before using his "boomstick" as intimidation against Arthur's men. Realizing that he is truly the Chosen One, the residents of the Castle begin to worship him. One of the locals, Sheila, falls in love with him, and he falls for her.
Because of his status as The Chosen One, the Wise Man attempts to persuade him to retrieve the Necronomicon from the Deadites. At first he is reluctant to help the Wise Man recover the book, however he agrees when the Wise Man explains that the book can return him to his on time and place. Putting his engineering degree to work, Ash constructs a mechanical prosthetic hand out of a gauntlet from a suit of armor, using it throughout his journey in place of the chainsaw (though he still carries it with him).
During his lone journey to retrieve the book, he hides from the evil force in the woods in a windmill and is attacked by several tiny reflection of himself. One of them manages to jump into his mouth and grows into a full-size bad Ash. The doppelgänger is quickly dispatched and Ash retrieves the book. However, because he forgets the correct recitation to say beforehand, the army of darkness, and his evil self, rise up from the dead. He barely escapes, but when he gets back he learns the bad news, because of his blunder, Ash has to defeat his alter-ego known as Bad Ash/Evil Ash who is leading the Army of Darkness to steal the Necronomicon. He refuses until Sheila is captured by the Deadites, whereupon he rallies Henry to the causes aid, brokers a peace between them, trains them to fight, and converts the Oldsmobile into a death coaster. There is an epic battle in which he saves Sheila, defeats Bad Ash, and destroys the army of darkness with the help of Henry and Arthur's combined forces. He then turns to the matter of returning to his own time.
Return To The 20th Century
After using a potion given to him by The Wise Man, Ash sleeps for over 600 years, and awakes back in his own time. Ash returned to his hometown and told his father what happened at the Cabin. Ash tried to tell father what had happened to his friends, but he didn't believe his own son. Word of this got out, and the locals of Elk Grove gave Ash the nickname of "Ashy Slashy", which bothered Ash enough to the point he left Elk Grove without telling anyone. At some point shortly before or after getting the name "Ashy Slashy", Ash returned to work at S-Mart, and often bragged about his trip to 1300 AD and how he could have been king to his co-workers. One day while telling his story to an unimpressed co-worker, a Deadite customer attacked S-Mart. Ash jumped into action, quickly taking down the Deadite with a Lever-Action Rifle. At some point after this, Ash was either fired or quit his job at S-Mart and found employment at Value Stop as a stock boy. Also some time after these events, Ash found another copy of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and sought help from the owner of the occult book store Books From Beyond. Ash locked up this copy of the book in a chest in his trailer.
Evil Dead (2013 remake-sequel)
In a post-credits scene, an older Ash Williams recites his iconic line "Groovy", and then turns to the audience.
30 years have passed since the fateful weekend at Professor Knowby's cabin, and Ash has hung up his Boomstick, detached his Chainsaw and settled for a more simple life with his pet lizard "Eli". However Ash soon noticed that his evil past had returned to haunt him (Mainly because he got stoned and read passages from "The Book of The Dead"), the Deadites are back and there is no way of stopping them. However Ash recalled a certain bookstore owner,(who understood and could read the "Necronomicon Ex-Mortis") he once met, that maybe able to help him solve this dilemma.
With the dangers of the approaching evil growing closer, Ash continued his daily routine so as not to attract attention. After arriving at Value Stop. Ash began his daily Workplace duties, which usually consisted of him lugging boxes of light bulbs and flirting with the Checkout Attendants However Ash was confronted in the Storage Room by a Deadite that had possessed a Toy Doll,. He manged to defeat this enemy,with a little help from his co-worker, Pablo. He inevitably told his young co-worker the truth about his dark past and explained to him why he needed to leave town. However Pablo believed in his heart that Ash was sent to protect the human race from evil, and implored him to reconsider. But it wasn't enough to convince him to stay and fight the Deadites.
Ash returned to Mossy Haven Trailer Park and prepared to leave, only to be confronted by Pablo and Kelly (The Checkout Attendant at Value Stop) , who needed his help in order to rescue Kelly father. However, Ash told them, that he's not willing to put his neck on the line for just anyone. Ash, Kelly and Pablo soon realize that the Evil has reached the Trailer Park, and it has taken control of the residents. With no other options, Ash reclaims his trusty, Boomstick and Chainsaw and finds the courage to destroy the Deadites. With his fear of the past finally gone, Ash thanks Pablo, and agrees to help them save Kelly's father.
Army of Darkness 2/Evil Dead 4
Campbell has stated that he would reprise his role in a possible sequel. At Comic Con 2015, both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell stated that if Ash vs Evil Dead garnered continued success that a new film would certainly be a possibility.
Characteristics, Equipment, and Abilities
Ash is known for two main weapons, his sawed-off shotgun, the "Boomstick", a sawed-off double-barreled 12 gauge Remington Arms shotgun with a hair trigger (although this weapon has changed several times), and the more noticeable Homelite XL Chainsaw, which was adapted to replace his right hand, amputated in Evil Dead II after being possessed by a Deadite. Later, during Army of Darkness, Ash builds himself a new, mechanical right hand using a plate, chainmail gauntlet, and customized springs. The mechanical hand is fully functional, and even allows Ash to exhibit an otherwise superhuman grip, as seen when he easily crushes a goblet full of wine shortly after obtaining it.
The Deathcoaster is seen in the latter parts of Army of Darkness, made from the remains of his car and powered by a steam engine. The main feature of it is a massive rotating blade on the front of it, akin to an angled upright lawnmower blade. The Deathcoaster was destroyed during the film's final battle, after Evil Sheila tricks him into jumping off by apparently returning to normal. At the end of the film he takes what is left of it with him, though it hasn't been seen or used in any later material. The Deathcoaster was not referred to as such in the film; the name appears in scripts and publicity material.
Besides the sawed-off Remington shotgun, Ash is also skilled in the use of other firearms like the Winchester Model 1892 lever action rifle (as seen at the end of Army of Darkness while fighting the possessed store clerk).
Bruce Campbell has stated Ash is pretty much incompetent at everything except fighting the Evil Dead . Campbell also added that Ash is "a bad slow thinker and a good fast thinker". He knows some degree of hand-to-hand combat techniques, and prowess with a variety of weapons in various situations . His main strength seems to be his ingenuity: he has from the second film on been shown creating such things ranging from his chainsaw bracket and shotgun harness, gunpowder from mainly referencing its elemental makeup in a chemistry book, a fully functional prosthetic hand from a metal gauntlet, and the short-lived "Deathcoaster". In the 1992 Army of Darkness comic adaptation written by Sam and Ivan Raimi, it's mentioned that before Ash had gone to the cabin, he got an engineering degree from Michigan State University, which explains how he was able to construct the gauntlet and Deathcoaster.
In addition, during the second time he was possessed near the climax of Evil Dead II, Ash displayed some degree of superhuman strength (see Deadite Ash below), as seen when he easily lifted Jake over his head and threw him at least ten feet into a tree and ripped the back screen door of the cabin off of its hinges with his one remaining hand.
Ash's personality and state of mind change drastically throughout the franchise. In The Evil Dead and the beginning of Evil Dead II, he is something of a laid-back everyman who is cowardly and inexperienced, but by the middle of Evil Dead II and into Army of Darkness, he has grown into a much braver, even arrogant person, and becomes the voice of encouragement and confidence in Arthur's castle. It is at this point that Ash becomes known for his one-liners, and his personality takes on a more cynical, embittered tone. Sam Raimi has said that he feels Ash's personality transformation in Army of Darkness was very out of character .
Ash's experiences with the Necronomicon have left him cynical, irritable, and perhaps partially, if not completely, insane; several of the horrifying things that have happened to him, prominent examples being the various sound effects he hears before Evil Cheryl punched clean through the door and grabs his face in The Evil Dead, his reflection popping out of the mirror and strangling him (see Bad Ash/Evil Ash below), as well as multiple inanimate objects coming to life and laughing maniacally at him, with Ash himself joining in soon after, when he attempts to sit down in a wooden chair and crushes it while doing so in Evil Dead II, were merely his hallucinations and not the powers of the Kandarian demons, suggesting the encounters with the evil has traumatized Ash and caused him to develop an unknown degree of mental illness. Because of how his adventures have always caused him to lose people he cared about, in later years he always tries to keep people away for him to avoid another loss.
Due to his experience with the Necronomicon, Ash has transformed from a friendly everyman to a cynical deadite killer. However, underneath all his personality flaws is a genuinely good person who will risk his life to save others and cares greatly about people, even if he spends most of his time insulting them. This is evident when a drunk Ash mourns Pablo's death, claiming he would give up any kind of reward for saving the world if it meant Pablo could be brought back.
- Main article: Evil Ash
Ash's dark side manifests itself as a separate entity first in Evil Dead II, where he hallucinates his reflection tormenting him over dismembering 'their' girlfriend with a chainsaw, and then proceeds to try and choke him (only for Ash to realize he was choking himself). This side of him later splits off his body in a drawn out painful event in Army of Darkness (unlike the original, having both hands intact), becoming 'Bad Ash' and getting first blown away at point blank range by Ash's shotgun, then cut to pieces, and finally buried (though even in this state he still 'lived').
When Ash blunders and accidentally awakens the Army of the Dead, Bad Ash re-emerges from the grave quickly piecing himself together as the decayed 'Evil Ash' and takes command of the undead troops, even corrupting Ash's then-love interest Sheila into a deadite-like hag. He battles the original Ash as he makes a bee-line for the Necronomicon, and gets lit ablaze by a torch, only to re-emerge as 'Skeleton Evil Ash', a much more agile and dangerous version. As Henry the Red's troops arrive to assist in the battle against the undead and break their ranks, Evil Ash ironically has his right hand holding the Necronomicon chopped off by Ash, and is then catapulted into the sky riding a lit sack of gunpowder to be blown to pieces.715 years after defeating him in 1300 AD, Evil Ash returned to kill his "goody little two shoes" counterpart one more time when the real Ash returned to the cabin. This new Evil Ash grew out of Ash's still living severed hand. Eventually he was killed by Pablo and Kelly when they deducted that the real Ash wasn't racist against Asians.
At the beginning of Evil Dead II, Ash is attacked by the Kandarian Demon and becomes a Deadite himself, albeit briefly. Ash broke free of the Deadite's possession of him when the morning sun drove it away (although 30 years later, the Deadites will have no problem walking in daylight). Later that night when Jake forced Annie Knowby and Ash outside to look for Bobby Joe, Ash became possessed again and attacked Jake and Annie. Ash once again broke free from the evil influence, this time when he found the necklace he was going to give to his girlfriend Linda.
Ashes From Other Universes
Evil Dead: Regeneration Ash
Only Appearance: Evil Dead: Regeneration (2005)
Living in a universe where he was never sucked back in time during his second night at the cabin, this version of Ash was locked up in Sunny Meadows Insane Asylum. When his doctor, Dr. Reinhard, gets ahold of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, he unleashes the same evil Ash was trying to destroy during his stay at Knowby's cabin. In an attempt to stop the evil, Ash teams-up with Sam, a half-Deadite victim of Reinhard's experiments who possesses mystical powers. Ash and Sam fight their way through the Deadite-infested Sunny Meadows, a nearby town called Port Turnham, and a hellish dimension where the two finally confront Reinhard, who uses the Book of The Dead to turn himself into a troll-like monster. When Ash and Sam defeat the monster-Reinhard, the two are sucked back in time, presumably to participate in an alternate version of Army of Darkness.
The Proposed Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash Film
In 2005, there was talk of Ash appearing in a sequel to Freddy Vs. Jason. The project went as far as a script being written by Jeff Katz; however, Sam Raimi eventually decided against it. Though tempted, Raimi thought it would be unfair to the other director to dictate rules for what Ash could and could not do, which would be required as Raimi had plans for Ash in the future. Campbell said of the original rumors that if he were to sign up, "[Ash] would have to win, or I wouldn't do it." Although comic publishers Wildstorm (a division of DC Comics) and Dynamite Entertainment teamed-up in 2007 and 2008 to create two Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash comic series, fans still ask Campbell and Robert Englund if they would do a FvJvA film. When Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 2 was announced, many fans speculated the series would feature a Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash story-arc because of the Freddy Krueger glove featured in the AvED episode The Dark One, but this rumor has since been debunked.
My Name Is Bruce
In Bruce Campbell's film My Name Is Bruce, Campbell plays a parody of himself, where he is kidnapped and mistaken for being a fearless monster fighting hero like Ash.
Ash 4 Emmy Campaign
In 2016, Bruce Campbell appeared in character as Ash in a series of advertisements for an Emmy Consideration Campaign for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy.
Conan Comic-Con 2016
On July 22, 2016, Bruce Campbell appeared on the TBS talk-show Conan wearing Ash's Chainsaw and helped Conan O'Brien with cutting a sandwich that sprayed blood all over Bruce's white tuxedo.
Ash 4 President Promo
In August 2016, Campbell once again appeared in character as Ash in a series of commercials asking people to vote for him this November to "Make America Groovy Again".
Funny or Die's The Dangers of Having A Chainsaw For A Hand Promo
Like his appearance on Conan, Bruce Campbell appeared as himself wearing Ash's Chainsaw for a video on the website Funny or Die. The video, released on September 26th, 2016, revolves around Campbell doing everyday things, except that he has a Chainsaw for a hand.
Ash's first comic appearance was in Dark Horse's 1992 three-issue adaptation of Army of Darkness. It written by Sam and Ivan Raimi. Accompanying it is The Evil Dead (2008) a comic from Dark Horse Comics retelling the story of the events of the original film. In this version of the tale, Cheryl is not Ash's sister, but just a friend of his girlfriend Linda, and the book is called "Nacheron De'manto". The professor and his wife are depicted as younger adults rather than the middle-aged version seen in the film. For as-yet unknown reasons, the only character in the book that looks like their film counterpart is Ash. Every other character has been completely redesigned for this "expansion".
The Ash of Earth-818793 is the main character in Dynamite Entertainment's Army of Darkness series. Beginning in 2004, Dynamite's Army series has run non-stop since then. The series is more famous for it's many crossovers rather than it's ongoing series. Some of these crossovers include Army of Darkness vs. Re-Animator, Darkman vs. Army of Darkness, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, and Army of Darkness/Xena Warrior Princess.
Space Goat Publishing
In Evil Dead: The Musical is a loose musical adaptation of Evil Dead series, mostly combining the plot elements of Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. The musical is notable for being the first time when Ash is not portrayed by Bruce Campbell. Many people have played Ash throughout the run of the show.
The Evil Dead (1984)Ash's first video game appearance was in the 1984 Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum game, The Evil Dead, based off the first film. It was also the first game where Ash is a playable character.
Poker Night 2 (2013)
Ash is a non-playable character in in Telltale Games Poker Night 2 to promote Evil Dead (2013). He was voiced by Danny Webber, making it the first time Bruce Campbell did not play Ash for a video game.
THQ's Evil Dead Series (2000-2005)
From 2000 to 2005, video game publisher THQ released three Evil Dead video games where the player takes control of Ash: Hail To The King, A Fistful of Boomstick, and Regeneration. In all three games, Ash is voiced by Bruce Campbell.
Army of Darkness Defense (2011)
Ash is the only playable character in the mobile game Army of Darkness: Defense, published by Backflip Studios.
Evil Dead: The Game (2011)
Ash is the only playable character in the iOS exclusive mobile game, Evil Dead: The Game.
Unofficial Video Game Appearances
In the game Splatterhouse for Xbox 360 & PS3, the episode of Meat Factory, at one point found a body on the floor wearing the same clothes that Ash wears, is missing a hand, and has a double barreled shotgun laying next to him.
Ash appears as a character in the popular fan-made fighting game Terrordrome (Along with an S-Mart stage and a Cabin stage).
- Bad Ash is a play on the phrase Bad ass, where the "Bad ass" is considered "awesome" or "cool" by their peers.
- In Duke Nukem 3D, several of Ash's quotes are used, such as "Groovy" when a new weapon is picked up by Duke, or "Come get some." and "Hail to the king baby.", which are some of his famous phrases.
- Ash is left-handed. This is a result of sawing off his own right hand with a chainsaw in Evil Dead 2 and Bruce Campbell actually being left-handed.
- Ash's character is referenced heavily in Evil Dead by both Mia and David.
- Ash is often portrayed to be a "Ladies Man" due to him being seen with multiple females.
- Sam Raimi came up with the idea to have Ash's full name be Ashley J. Williams while making Army of Darkness, the name was later confirmed by Bruce Campbell during an interview with Cinefantastique magazine. Campbell originally wanted Ash's name to be Ash Holt before Raimi approved the Williams name, and in an early script for the pilot episode of Ash vs Evil Dead, writers Sam and Ivan Raimi put Ash's full name as Ashley Holt. It should also be noted that Ash's name was spelled "Ashly" in the original Evil Dead script.
- Ash's exact date of birth has long been a point of contention for fans. In Ash vs Evil Dead, the events of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are referred to as taking place 30 years ago from the present day (2015). The script for the episode "El Jefe" refers to Ash as being in his 50s. Because the first film portrays Ash and his friends as young college students, it is more than likely that Ash was anywhere from 19-24 years old. With this information, it seems Ash is in his early 50s during Ash vs Evil Dead, despite Bruce Campbell being nearly 60 years old at the time Ash vs Evil Dead was filmed.
Ash on Other Wikis
- Ash Williams at the Dynamite Entertainment wiki.
- Ash Williams at the Dark Horse Comics wiki.
- Ash Williams at the Horror Film wiki.
- Ash Williams at the Heroes wiki.
- Ash Williams on Wikipedia
- ↑ Audio commentary for Evil Dead II, Bruce Campbell: "As dumb as Ash is, he's actually a capable guy with dealing with monsters"
- ↑ In Army of Darkness, Ash trains the people in Arthur's kingdom in martial arts
- ↑ Sam Raimi's comments on the DVD audio commentary for the Army of Darkness Director's Cut.
- ↑ Dark Horse Comics Solicitations for January 2008