After the breakout success of Sam Raimi’s first two Evil Dead movies, the filmmaker teamed up with his longtime creative partner Bruce Campbell to make the third installment in the series, Army of Darkness. The film saw Campbell as the unlikely horror movie action hero Ash Williams waging a war against the undead in the Middle Ages. The movie’s poster featured an unnaturally jacked and shredded Ash raising his arms in triumph. Recently, Campbell tweeted about the poster, admitting the muscles were the idea of the movie’s producer.
“Yeah, producer Dino De Laurentiis had his hands all over that. It’s the foreign poster. He knew that Schwarzenegger sold overseas, so he made me look like Arnold. It’s very silly.”
At the time of the release of Army of Darkness, Arnold Schwarzenegger had already established himself as the biggest action star in the world, and his bulging biceps had become the stuff of legends, adorning gym wall posters and movie hoardings in equal measure all over the world.
Thus, it is understandable that the producers of Army of Darkness would want to make their hero look more like Schwarzenegger to appeal to foreign markets. Even though Ash is as unlike an “Arnold” movie character as possible.
While Schwarzenegger is known for playing stoic but kind-hearted macho men who charge in to save the day, Ash Williams was always defined by his desire to stay as far away from the action as possible and using his free time to booze and bed women instead of carrying out righteous crusades against his enemies.
It was this unusual approach to a leading action role that made Bruce Campbell as Ash so memorable. Audiences understood the character’s desperation when faced with an army of Deadites, and cheered him on when he finally decided to stop running to stand and fight, strapping on a chainsaw in place of a hand, and wielding a shotgun single-handedly with a style and swagger that would make Schwarzenegger’s Terminator green with jealousy.
While original Evil Dead fans will always view Campbell’s Ash as the face of the iconic horror franchise, the actor has insisted for the past few years that he has retired his character. A new Evil Dead movie is being planned with a whole new cast and director, with Campbell and Raimi helping out as producers on the project.
Still, fans are hoping the series will someday see a proper return of Campbell and Raimi, who kickstarted the whole thing. It is a sentiment that Raimi also happens to share, as he revealed last year that he wants to make one more Evil Dead movie featuring the return of Ash Williams.
“Bruce, Rob [Tapert] and I are working with a young filmmaker who is writing a new Evil Dead story that he will direct. As for me…. I would love to direct a new Evil Dead movie… but I’d really like to do it with Bruce. And he says he’s retired the character. I hope not.”