The Evil Dead is getting a remake. Perhaps we shouldn't be worried since, after all, the horror franchise has already spawned one of the most killer musicals to hit the stage. Nevertheless, the news unleashes a distinct queasiness. It's not because Sam Raimi is the man who made an iconic horror franchise and traversed the world of indie filmmaking before becoming a blockbuster director. It's because of one Mr. Bruce Campbell. Ash is so groovy that he makes ridiculous one-liners sound impossibly cool. He can star in the same movie twice and make each cinematic trip a treat. He can wield a boomstick like a pro, make any lady fall at his feet in lust, and most of all -- he's so tough that he can fight off the deadite plague before it takes over his whole body. He's a one-man action extravaganza.
It's definitely beyond ridiculous when Ash's hand becomes possessed in Evil Dead 2. Where others fall in the blink of an eye, Ash fights on and on. Campbell is tasked with smashing himself in the head repeatedly, flipping himself this way and that, and do it all as a goofy, wee little cackle emanates from his plagued fingers. Though most of him remains intact, that hand seems to conquer the rest of Ash, dragging him across the shard-ridden floor until the S-Mart employee takes control, asking "Who's laughing now?"
See, some men are cool because they can take a beating and keep on fighting towards the finish line. Some men are cool because they can deal with immense pain for the ultimate, good-guy goal. And then there is Ash, who can task one side of his body with fighting the other. He is so powerful that he can even defeat his own form, slamming a knife into his hand and finding a perverse pleasure in the obviously searing pain. He has the sheer machismo to take control and laugh as he picks up the chainsaw, brings it to life with his teeth, and cuts through his own flesh and bone.
Bruce Campbell's chemistry in the scene isn't with another actor. This isn't an action scene that pits form against form, muscle against muscle. Campbell must defeat himself, making part of his own body the enemy in a way that merges the ridiculous with the menacing. This is the reason Ash always succeeds. He's so groovy that he needs nothing but himself to bring us the thrills, the laughs, and the action.