The Evil Dead franchise is known for its over-the-top horror and dark comedy. From Ash William’s one-liners to intense scenes of blood and gore, the series has countless startling scenes. Since there are too many to definitively state which are the most shocking, especially with Evil Dead Rise releasing in 2023, we felt it only right to at least share our favorites. We’ve cultivated this list from what currently exists in its movie and television titles. Now, what do you say, kid? Let’s drink some champagne, talk about some Kandarian Demon stuff, and get groovy!
Ash vs. Linda
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. It’s an emotionally brutal and quick moment that’s pivotal to the rest of Ash’s story. In Evil Dead 2, director and creator, Sam Raimi revises this and adds a dance sequence by Linda’s Deadite corpse (Denise Bixler) that ends up being a fun, dream fake-out leading to a jump scare using her disembodied head. After latching onto Ash’s hand, our hero struggles to remove her and has to use a bench vise in the cabin’s work shed. As she’s taunting him from the clamp in the usual Deadite fashion, her body attacks him with the same chainsaw he’d dismembered her with, which he uses again on her skull, seemingly killing her for good.
Flash forward 30 years to the time of Ash Vs. Evil Dead and Ash returns to the cabin, wanting to finally put an end to the evil he’s accidentally re-released. While searching for a crowbar to open the cabin’s cellar doors, it’s revealed that Linda’s skull still remains in the work shed’s vise. With Deadites back in full swing, Evil Linda returns, locking Ash in the work shed as she once again taunts him, telling him everyone he ever loved will die in the cabin while hurling saw blades at him in pure Evil Dead form. Then, in a moment of closure that only the franchise can deliver, Ash resists her manipulation and smashes Evil Linda’s head with the crowbar he’d been in search of.
Ash vs. His Own Evil Hand
As if killing and re-killing his girlfriend wasn’t enough, there was more in store for The Chosen One. As he’s processing the death of Linda and staring at his bloodied reflection, Ash begins to notice his hand becoming infected from Linda’s bite — you know, as happens when dealing with Deadites. This leads to the first encounter between Ash and his possessed right hand, during which he lops it off in order to survive. Ash’s hand would go in and out of hiding throughout the movie, eventually escaping for good just before Ash and Annie Knowby (Sarah Berry) opened a rift in time and space to rid the world of the Deadite Scourge.
“Evil Hand,” as it’s fondly known by, would also make a return 30 years later in the television series. This time, it was shown to be decaying but still fingering around due to its connection to Ash. Throughout the end of the first season, it began evolving and later grew into the second Evil Ash. This leads us to our next shocking moment-
Ash vs. Evil Ash and Evil Ash II
Like many other points in the life of Ash Williams, this is another recurrence and point of self-reference. Technically, the original Evil Ash is considered to be the one we saw in the mirror hallucination sequence back in the second movie. While this can be debated, we can all agree on his first physical appearance: In Army of Darkness, Ash is running from a Kandarian Demon and hides in a medieval windmill. In the panic of darkness, he mistakes his reflection for the enemy and smashes into a mirror. As Ash is coming to this realization, tiny versions of himself begin emerging from the glass shards. While others begin torturing him, one jumps down Ash’s throat and begins growing off of his side. After growing into a full-sized clone of him, Ash later sets him on fire and catapults Evil Ash into a glorious explosion.
The second Evil Ash is technically where the aforementioned crossover occurs. Ash’s severed and putrid hand grows into yet another Ash copy who kills Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) and battles the actual Ash Williams. This ends only when Pablo Bolivar (Ray Santiago) and Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) kill Evil Ash II after the real Ash gets sick of the situation and demands that they just shoot them both.
Ash vs. Ashy Slashy
Ashy Slashy is a puppet copy of our hero that was created by the demon Baal (Joel Tobeck) and has a penchant for inhabiting unsuspecting hands. After capturing Ash, Baal imprisons him in a hallucination where he poses as Williams’ psychiatrist and manipulates him to believe that everything up to that point isn’t real — that he’s simply gone mad and killed his friends. Although the purpose of the puppet’s creation was to enforce the illusions and destroy the Necronomicon, Ash and the puppet actually ended up liking each other. Williams comes up with an escape plan and bribes the puppet with the promise of a Lil Lori doll only to leave Ashy Slashy discarded on the floor as he leaves, having seemingly joined Baal.
At the same time as Ash is making his escape, Pablo, Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless) and Kelly are attempting his rescue and tracking down the demon. While doing so, Kelly happens upon Ashy, who’s immediately aggressive with her. After an entertaining fight where the puppet grows fangs and submerges Kelly’s head in a used bedpan, she blows him away with her gun.
Pablo’s Death and Possession
Ash’s protégé is truly the heart of the television series. The young Bolivar is shown to be a bit of a tech genius who creates Ash’s new, multifunctional hand, comes from a long line of “Brujos,” and proves to become the new “El Brujo Especiale” by the end of his story. Unfortunately, since he’s the noblest character in the series, that also means some of the worst things will happen to him. At the end of Season 1, he’s corrupted by the Necronomicon, which uses his blood and body to create new pages and begins merging with him. This leads to Pablo gaining powers which are used to send Baal back to Hell. At the last moment, however, Baal uses his talon to cut Pablo in half before being banished.
In an attempt to reverse the events of Pablo’s death, a sad and guilt-ridden Ash finds a way to travel back in time (because of course he does). After originally thinking the idea came to him in a drunk hallucination, it turns out that Baal was actually inhabiting the kid’s skin. So, Ash makes a deal with him where either Baal and the Necronomicon are banished, along with Pablo being brought back, or all Hell literally breaks loose. After a hefty battle, Ash emerges the victor and Pablo is returned — just to become possessed again. Don’t worry, though! He escapes and is better for it.
Ash Replaces His Hand With a Chainsaw
This is, dare we say, one of the most iconic moments in all of cinematic history. In Evil Dead 2, after Ash’s hand is possessed and subsequently lopped off, Williams is left with a bandaged, bloody stump. Later, he and Annie Knowby would construct a connector stub and adapter ring for the infamous Homelite XL chainsaw that would become one of two main weapons used against the forces of Evil. This leads to the formation of the Ash we become familiar with before he kills Deadite Henrietta Knowby (Lou Hancock). During the events of Army of Darkness, Ash replaces it with a modified, functional, prosthetic gauntlet, which stuck with him through the movie’s final moments.
After spending years of peace on the road in the 30 years that’d passed since the last movie, Ash is forced to arm himself, once again, with his trusty chainsaw. Although the gauntlet didn’t return in Ash vs. Evil Dead, it was replaced with an upgrade — The Power Glove, which was constructed by Pablo and included an adapter that Ash to re-attach the chainsaw at any time.
The 2013 Remake’s Abomination
There’s plenty of great takeaways from the 2013 part-remake-part-sequel to 1981’s Evil Dead, and it, as well as its protagonist, Mia Allen (Jane Levy), have found their way onto our list. In this instance, her half-brother, David Allen (Shiloh Fernandez) sacrificed himself to save her by setting the cabin on fire, leaving her the sole survivor. As Mia is grieving the loss of her sibling, a torrential downpour of blood rains on her, and what follows are a succession of jump scares and suspense. Moments like The Abomination rising from the cabin grounds, Mia being chased into a dirt hole leading to the work shed, struggling to start the chainsaw and later using it to chop off the Abomination’s legs tie a red, wet, bow on the entire movie. As if everything she’d endured up this point wasn’t enough, it’s also shown that The Abomination entity has begun resembling her as well.
The movie finishes with Mia in a bloodied, traumatized mess, having also lost her hand while escaping the monster. In a not-so-shocking twist, it’s revealed that the Naturom Demonto book remains at the cabin, while Mia’s fate is ultimately unknown. What’s additionally shocking, however, is the amount of blood used in the film. Although its director, Fede Alvarez, stated he didn’t keep count of its total for the whole shoot, he did say he kept track of the day by day, claiming that 50,000 gallons were ordered on one occasion. This closely matches another report on IMDB that revealed a massive 70,000 gallons were used for the film.
Ash vs. Possessed Cheryl Williams
You can’t have a list of Evil Dead moments and disregard Deadite Cheryl Williams. From the moments when she’s first attacked, viewers are treated to scene after disturbing scene whenever the camera meets her. Of course, we all know the taunting and swearing Deadite Cheryl. The vision of her peeking from under the chained cellar door is one of the most haunting from the first movie. However, barely anyone talks about what happened during her transformation from human to full Deadite. When she’s first turning, Cheryl correctly calls out the playing cards Shelly and Linda were holding. As she continues speaking, her voice becomes more other-wordly as she threatens the group. This precedes her attacking Linda, stabbing her ankle with a pencil, and hurling her brother into a shelf. Cheryl’s assault continues, leading to Scott fighting back and kicking her into the cellar.
Cheryl maintains a presence throughout the movie and later escapes. With Scott now possessed, they attempt to kill Ash until he finally throws the Necronomicon into the fireplace. At which point, they compose and explode.
Ash vs. Evil Ash III
In the show’s third season, Ash finds out Ruby had stalked him for years. While in her hideout, Ash discovers she’s forcing a hostage to care for a toddler spawn modeled after him, down to wielding a demonic chainsaw hand. Ash attempts to rescue the hostage without waking the toddler without success. While fending it off, Toddler Evil Ash uses his chainsaw hand to cut through a door and later to decapitate and possess the hostage and attack Ash.
After a hilarious battle, Ash wraps it in a carpet and throws it in the trunk of his car. While his intent was to use the demon baby as evidence that Ruby is evil, his plan becomes foiled. He opens the trunk only to find Evil Ash III alone, having apparently eaten the hostage’s corpse and grown much older in the short amount of time.