The Spooky History Behind Evil Dead's Ash Williams - Looper (2024)

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The Spooky History Behind Evil Dead's Ash Williams


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Take it from the deadite-slaying man, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell): "Life is hard and dangerous. Sometimes you just gotta chop off somebody's head to survive." However, the "somebody" in question here refers to any meat suit afflicted with a demonic curse courtesy of theNecronomicon Ex-Mortis. Ash knows a thing or two about splitting skulls. He's been knee-deep in the fight against evil for over three decades. As a protagonist, he's surprisingly vain and witty. Everyone he cares for dies — including his girlfriend Linda (Betsy Baker, Denise Bixler, or Bridget Fonda), his sister (Ellen Sandweiss), his father (Lee Majors), and his former love interest detective Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones). He has no reason to be as carefree and irreverent as he is. Nevertheless, that's what makes Ash so unique.

After witnessing the power of pure evil, Ash becomes a capable killer — despite his lack of social decorum and moral failings.Ash has long captivated audiences whose buffoonery matches his penchant for being a badass. Slinging one-liners and taking his vanity to the next cringe level, Ash is a character we can't help but simultaneously laugh at and cheer on to win.

However, there's a lot most causal "Evil Dead" fans may not know about the man, the myth, and the legend. Despite a surface-level viewing of his exploits in film, there's more to glean about his history. Let's look at some lesser-known facts concerning the iconic boomstick-wielding character.

What's Ash's full name?

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When the unsuspecting Ash debuted in 1981's "The Evil Dead," we didn't know much about him. Like his friends, he had been thrown into an unexpectedly horrific situation. However, we learn his name is Ash — though we didn't learn his surname until later. Eventually, we learned his middle name's initial too: J. But the "J" in Ashley J. Williams remained a mystery in the live-action canon for some time.

Thankfully, the third season of "Ash vs Evil Dead" reveals the answer to what Ash's middle name is. In the "Unfinished Business" episode, we learn that the Knights of Sumeria had once come by Brock William's hardware store asking for his son, Ash. The mystery man that sought out Ash revealed the hero's middle name: Ashley Joanna Williams.

Ash, having always been self-conscious about his name, went by the shortened version of Ashley. His middle name made things even worse. He quips to the ghost of his deceased father, "Thanks for that name, by the way." Giving Ash the middle name of Joanna wasn't just a ridiculous joke on Brock's part or a manifestation of wanting a daughter. He used those names to help build Ash's character. "That name gave you thick skin," Brock snapped. While funny, it's an odd way of teaching a youngster to be tough. "Yeah, thick from all the playground beatings," Ash snarked.

How old is Ash, really?

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Universal Pictures

How old is Ash? In "The Evil Dead," he was a fresh-faced college student heading out to rural Tennessee for a weekend away with his girlfriend, sister, and friends. All five of them are Michigan State University students. Therefore, this would place Ash's age anywhere from 18 to his early 20s. But aprop from "Ash vs. Evil Dead"reveals the hero's age. Ash's driver's license shows he was born on August 4th,1957.

Therefore, Ash may have needed that man-girdle he donned in the Starz series — as the character is rapidly approaching 60 at the show's start. With the series establishing that the cabin incident occurred in 1982, Ash would've been 25 years old in the franchise's first film. This might place him at an older age than most would've expected. Perhaps Ash was working on his graduate degree. Or he didn't jump right into college after high school. By the series finale of "Ash vs. Evil Dead," Ash would've been in his 60s. For a fun comparison, Bruce Campbell's birthday is June 22, 1958 –- nearly a year younger than his "Evil Dead" character. Still, he's not very far off from his onscreen counterpart. It's no wonder that theseries' action sequences became too much for Campbell.

Ash's alternative future

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Since the "Evil Dead" films debuted, the franchise has spawned comic books and video games. Campbell voiced Ash in a trio of video games in the '00s, including one entitled "Evil Dead: Regeneration."

We all know the story's setup. Ash heads to the ill-fated cabin in Tennessee with friends. Together they uncover an ancient text and inadvertently release evil. Ash battles the deadites and eventually emerges semi-victorious — after losing his arm and brandishing a chainsaw to replace it. He is then pulled into a vortex where he lands in the Middle Ages to help the people of Kandar combat the dead.

Now rewind a bit, past the vortex. Toss the plotline of "Army of Darkness" out like it never happened. Imagine a world where Ash emerges safely from the cabin but is placed in lock-up for the criminally insane. Ash's doctor attempts to wield the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis for his gain and brings Evil back into play. Welcome to the alternate timeline of "Evil Dead: Regeneration!" In this video game, Ash partners with a man who is half deadite (voiced by franchise fan-favorite Ted Raimi), thanks to an experiment gone awry. Ash's visit to Kandar isn't his only potential destiny.

Ash has tangled with Freddy & Jason

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Wildstorm/DC Comics/Dynamite

Die-hard fans may know that Ash has a lengthy comic book history. He's visited an alternate Marvel universe and went toe-to-toe with zombified Marvel heroes. There have also been countless stories told of his exploits beyond the "Army of Darkness" film, including one series where he returns to the Middle Ages for quite some time.

However, as a horror icon, he's also encountered some of the most frightful killers in the genre — including Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. Thanks to the narrative offered in "Jason Goes to Hell," Jason Voorhees is famously considered a deadite. This film features the Necronomicon and the Kandarian dagger. In an interview with Horror Geek Life, the film's director Adam Marcus stated, "It's not like I could tell New Line my plan to include The Evil Dead because they don't own The Evil Dead. So it had to be an Easter egg...I hoped people would get it and figure out that's what I'm up to...Jason Voorhees is a Deadite."

"Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash" is a six-issue comic book series co-published by Dynamite Entertainment and DC Comics. The series is a sequel to "Freddy vs. Jason" and "Army of Darkness." In this storyline, Ash heads to Crystal Lake, believing a Jason-induced murder to be the work of deadites. Freddy uses the Necronomicon to restore himself, and a clash ensues. In 2009, a six-issue sequel series, "Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors," hit comic stands.

Ash inspired '90s first-person shooter video games

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3D Realms/FormGen

Sam Raimi's "The Evil Dead" franchise undoubtedlychanged horror forever. But it didn't stop there! Ash's exploits also inspired video game creators of the '90s. At 2019's Quakecon, during a panel discussing the 25th anniversary of "Doom," Hugo Martin, game director of "Doom Eternal," recalled when he met Adrian Carmack, the original "Doom" creator. "He was schooling us on like, 'Hey listen, if you really want to make it feel like 'Doom,' you got to not take yourself too seriously.'" Carmack told the team that "The Evil Dead was a big inspiration" for "Doom." The iconic double-barrel shotgun and the campy, blood-soaked action of "Doom" harken back to Ash's battle with the deadites.

"Duke Nukem" featured a tough-as-nails character whose ego matched his penchant for corny one-liners, much like Ash Williams. Duke would utter many lines that were initially made famous by Ash such as: "Hail to the king, baby." In a 1999 interview with IGN (thatShacknewsrecovered), Campbell shared his disdain for "Duke Nukem." Campbell referred to the game creators as "rip-off artists." He stated, "Let them get their own damn material. It's called hiring a writer. They're blatantly ripping it off and if I was any kind of litigious guy, they would've gotten a phone call by now."

Ash (jokingly) ran for president in 2016

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We've had a reality show celebrity in the White House, so why not Ash Williams? As part of the marketing for season 2 of "Ash vs. Evil Dead," our beloved hero decided to throw his hat into the political ring. Since 2016 was an election year, Starz grabbed horror fans' attention with a campaign around Ash running for president. Playing off Donald Trump's tagline, Ash's was "Make America Groovy Again." (Let's be honest, we can all use a bit more "groovy-ness" in our lives.)

You'd be mistaken if you didn't think Ash was ready to become America's Commander in Chief. It takes one visit to his "official" website,, to see he's got it all figured out. As far as the economy goes, President Williams would focus on the three C's: China, cash, and chainsaws. Since Ash's hardline philosophy is "better out than in," he's going to increase exports by 500 percent.According to his election bio, there will be no fluff and definitely "no baby-kissing." All you can expect are "hard-assed promises from a kick-ass candidate." As a demon slayer, Ash views the notion of running an entire country as a "cakewalk" by comparison. His website is likely telling the truth when it says, "You could do worse, America."

Ash's name was meant to be foreshadowing

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New Line Cinema

Nowadays, Ash seems like a name fit for a hero. We're so used to the man coming out the other side of a deadite mess successfully that we couldn't envision it any other way. But what if he didn't? What if he actually died horribly alongside his friends at the end of the original film? Believe it or not, that was meant to be the case. Sam Raimi intended for "The Evil Dead" to be a one-and-done horror adventure. In a 2015 interview with IGN, Raimi was asked whether he planned to make a film franchise. He replied, "No, I thought Bruce had died at the end of that movie." But fans demanded a return to the cabin. Raimi secured financing for "Evil Dead II" six years later.

Raimi's naming of Campbell's character foreshadowed the demise of him and his group of friends. Written by Bill Warren, "The Evil Dead Companion"reveals that Ash's name referred to the character dying and becoming nothing more than, well, ash. Given the character's planned death, the name is a fitting choice. But thanks to fans and a solid financier, Ash lived on!

Ash is a musician!

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Given Ash's calling to save the world, it's hard not to wonder what Ash might've been if evil never interrupted his life in the first place. Sure, the onslaught of evil is what made his character so interesting. But Ash is an interesting character regardless. After all, we know he was a student at Michigan State University. What was he studying? One possibility is Ash would've become a musician. (Losing five digits on his right arm, though, may have put the kibosh on that career path!)

But why a musician? For starters, we see Ash competently playing the piano in the intro to "Evil Dead II" while his girlfriend dances. When Linda becomes possessed, the deadite mocks her dancing talent by dancing in the front yard with her headless corpse. When Ash returns home to Elk Grove, Michigan, in season 2 of "Ash vs. Evil Dead," we see his old room. Among the artifacts around his room is a cello. Perhaps these two moments combined indicate that Ash once pursued the idea of becoming a classical musician. Of course, the piano and cello both require two hands...

Ash's personality transformation

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Universal Pictures

Fans of "Ash vs Evil Dead" know that Ash wasn't always the Shemp-chugging one-liner-spewing misfit that he was in the series. In the first film, Ash is just as much a scream queen as any of horror's best final girls. Raimi's movie was meant to be a true-to-life horror film — unlike the future of the franchise that'd shift toward comedy. It may even be strange to say, but Ash is a bit of a coward in "The Evil Dead." Once the chaos begins, Scott (Richard DeManincor) does most of the heavy lifting.

"Evil Dead II" continues Ash's stay at the cabin for a second night. At this point, his temperament shifts from fear to agitation while the deadites torment him. He spitefully saws his arm off just to beat the deadite possession. While he still experiences moments of terror, he gets his hands dirty.

"Army of Darkness" is where Ash becomes the comedic badass we adore. A vortex transports him to the Middle Ages in rural England, where he faces the forces of evil again. After being tossed into a pit of deadites, Ash establishes his bravado by killing the creatures. He emerges from the hole, knocking out Lord Arthur (Marcus Gilbert) with a left hook. Ultimately, everything that makes Ash a loveable deadite-killer comes from his experiences fending off evil in the franchise's third film entry.


The Spooky History Behind Evil Dead's Ash Williams - Looper (2024)


Is Ash in a time loop? ›

Ash was the second to begin Looping in the Pokémon Anime reality. Since he began Looping Ash has continued his adventures, helping where he can and re-recruiting his Pokémon team almost every Loop.

Why does Ash Williams have a chainsaw hand? ›

Attempting to leave, Ash finds the only bridge out completely destroyed and is forced to spend another night in the cabin. As the evil force toys with Ash's mind, his right hand becomes possessed and he cuts it off at the wrist with his chainsaw.

Why is Ash Williams named Ashley? ›

According to Sam Raimi, Ash's name is a reference to his originally intended fate at the end of Evil Dead, stating "that's all that was going to be left of him in the end." Campbell, however, suggested the name was short for "Ashley". When creating Army of Darkness, Raimi toyed with giving him the full name "Ashley J.

Why is Ash's middle name Joanna? ›

Williams" stands for: Joanna. This week's episode involved Ash (Bruce Campbell) interacting with the spirit of his father, which led to the revelation regarding Ash's name. Ash's father revealed that he gave his son the female middle name in hopes of toughening him up, much like the Johnny Cash song "Boy Named Sue."

How can Ash still be 10 years old? ›

Many fans wonder why it is that Ash hasn't aged in the series; after all, the show could've aged alongside its audience at least a little, like most other anime and manga do. However, the answer to that is very simple, and it's that Ash represents the show's target demographic.

Why does Ash walk everywhere? ›

Why did Ash Ketchum travel all over the world instead of staying in the Kanto region? He wanted to make new friends in different regions and achieve his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.

Why is Ash Williams so powerful? ›

With that said, it's still likely that Ash is human. However, his abilities to combat the Dark Ones and the Necronomicon's beasts suggest that he has some supernatural qualities. The most plausible explanation for his apparent invincibility is that the Dark Ones want (or need) him alive.

Does Ash Williams have PTSD? ›

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Campbell stated, "Ash has survivor's guilt. You could have a heyday with his PTSD. He's a war vet. He doesn't want to talk about it, and he'll lie about that stump on his hand to impress the ladies.

How old is Ash in Evil Dead 1? ›

Ash Williams
Ashley J. Williams
Age:25 (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, and Evil Dead: Regeneration) 57 (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Family:Cheryl Williams (sister) Brock Williams (father) Evil Ash (clone) Brandy Barr-Williams (daughter)
Location:Elk Grove, Michigan
12 more rows

Can Ash Williams beat Jason? ›

Boomstick: Jason could fight off most of Ashs weapons but the only thing Jason couldn't beat Ash in is the Necronomicon and that can easily send Jason to the sun or places where Jason could be killed.

How is Ash alive in Evil Dead 2? ›

Ash Williams' death was immediately retconned in the opening scene of the 1987 sequel Evil Dead II. The sequel began by recapping the 1981 movie's events but with an alternate fate for Ash, revealing that Bruce Campbell's character was only briefly possessed by the demon that previously attacked him.

Is Ash Williams an anti-hero? ›

Prime 1 Studio is proud to present 1:3 scale MMED2-01: Ash Williams statue from Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. Ashley Joanna Williams also known as Ash is the anti-hero protagonist of the Evil Dead series, played by Bruce Campbell, and created by director Sam Raimi.

What happened to Linda in Ash vs. Evil Dead? ›

Ash vs.

To be fair, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) kills his girlfriend a few times. First, at the end of Evil Dead, Linda (Betsy Baker) is possessed by a Deadite. This forces Ash to dismember her with a chainsaw, decapitate her via shovel, and bury her as respectfully as possible.

How tall is Ash Williams? ›

Ash Williams, portrayed by Bruce Campbell in The Evil Dead (1981), is 6 foot 1 inch (1.85 m) tall. Ash Williams is the protagonist of the Evil Dead franchise.

Who is Ash's real wife? ›

But there are a few female characters who have shown interest in Ash throughout the course of the anime with Serena coming to closest with a kiss in the last episode of the X Y & Z series. But the bottom line is Ash is not married and thus has no wife.

Is Ash a time traveler? ›

Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Sheena traveled through time via Dialga in Arceus and the Jewel of Life. Events in the past affected the original timeline, though not immediately; the changes went into effect only when Arceus remembered that Ash had rescued it in the past.

Is Ash in a coma or not? ›

After that, it's all a dream. Different versions of the theory say Ash was thrown into a coma when the bike crashed or when Pikachu used the powerful lighting attack. In either case, Ash took enough damage to send him unconscious for the foreseeable future.


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