Stan Against Evil: S1 Ep1 “Dig Me Up, Dig Me Down”

Fans of comedy-horror movies in the vein of Evil Dead (the original one, not the 2013 version), Army of Darkness, and pretty much anything with Bruce Campbell in it, are in for another cult treat with Stan Against Evil.

Created by Dana Gould (writer for The Simpsons and Family Guy) and scheduled for an 8-episode first season, the show premiered on October 31st, 2016.

Quickly drawing strong ratings on IFC (formerly called Independent Film Channel) Stan Against Evil stars John C. Mcginley as the show’s namesake. McGinley is best known for his role as Dr. Cox on Scrubs for 9 seasons. He also happens to be one of the most underrated character actors in the business.

stan-miller

The character of Stan is based on Gould’s father and was written to be an old man who’s just plain angry with the way the world has turned out and longs for the good old days. Luckily for Gould and us, McGinley has the acting chops to imbue the main character with the same macho, outdated attitude towards women and a bullet-quick sarcastic wit that the character needs. Basically, he’s Dr. Cox but a bit older, more ornery, and in a new setting. But you know what? The similarities are perfect.

The show is meant to be entertainment that takes you away from whatever your everyday troubles are. Not too much thinking is involved. But you MUST have suspension of disbelief as the special effects are just the right amount of over the top we’ve come to expect from this genre and the plot moves quickly through each 30-minute episode.

The best part, though, is the dialogue is extremely well written. Never serious. Almost believe-able. Always sarcastic. Always funny. And it flows as fast as the plot of each episode does.

Dig Me Up, Dig Me Down.

cast-sae

The series is set in Willard’s Mill, New Hampshire.

We open with the “perpetually disgruntled” Stan in a weird looking graveyard. He’s pissed. Then he see’s the new Sheriff tied to a stake. So he’s even more pissed. Then he’s attacked by an ugly zombie/witch.

Now he’s really freaking pissed.

That about sets the tone for the whole episode. Possibly the whole show.

Flashback to Stan’s wife’s funeral 6 days earlier. As Stan sits listening to the eulogy, he starts hallucinating, believing he’s seeing the same evil zombie/witch we saw in the last scene sitting across from him. For some reason, she starts laughing so Stan ends up grabbing the old lady and beating her up.

Seriously.

He goes WWE on her.

It’s awesome.

Cut to present day. The new Sheriff, Evie Barret (played by comedienne Janet Varney), arrives at the station and finds Stan is still there. From the outset, they don’t like each other.

It seems Stan has been sleeping at the Sheriff’s station since his wife died even though he’s retired. Finally, he gives up the office to Sheriff Barret and goes home to his now very quiet house, ready to deal with retirement and the loss of his wife.

It’s here that the suspense starts to build. He hears a sound upstairs and goes to investigate.

While Sheriff Barret begins to settle in, she meets the extremely creepy Deputy Drinkwater (played by Nate Mooney). She is beginning to realize that everyone in the town is a bit strange.

sheriff-barret

Drinkwater explains that due to a witch’s curse, every Sheriff of Willard’s Mill since the 1600s has been killed. But not just killed: they all died an “…early, violent, horrible death.” All of them except Stan.

BTW. Fun Fact: Willard’s Mill is close to where the Salem Witch Trials took place.

Still getting used to things back home, Stan decides to explore his wife’s private room. It’s been locked for years. Stan never went in there.

As he looks around the room, he finds some peculiar things. Weapons. Books of spells. Horrible, gory images on the walls. Sewing materials. Holiday decorations. You know, witchy-stuff.

He begins to look through the books and finds notes with pictures on how to fight demons and witches. Some of the weapons match the ones hung on the wall. Stan asks his daughter, Denise (Deborah Baker Jr), if she knew what his wife was doing up in the room?

Denise knew all along. It just turns out that Stan never paid any attention.

Things start to get weird.

Awhile later, Sheriff Barret is on the phone with her daughter when she gets a visit from the same strange old lady that Stan beat up at the funeral. As they chat, the strange lady starts asking about Sheriff Barret’s daughter. Naturally, the Sheriff begins to get suspicious when the strange lady suddenly morphs into her witch form. She threatens to continue the curse and kill Sheriff Barret unless Barret brings her Stan’s wife’s ‘Seeing Stone’.

In case you haven’t put two and two together, Stan’s wife was also a witch and was protecting Stan. That’s why he’s the only Sheriff of Willard’s Mill who was never murdered while on the job.

While that’s going on at the station, Stan’s at home trying to enjoy his first day of retirement by watching some TV. Regrettably, he’s not getting any reception. He climbs the roof to check the satellite dish and is startled by the Witch. He falls from the roof and as he’s laying on the ground, the new Sheriff walks up and tells him that she’s been attacked.

A hilarious exchange follows between the two as we mark the unofficial start of their abnormal partnership.

Meanwhile, the witch shows up at Sheriff Barret’s house claiming to be Barret’s daughter’s grandmother. The babysitter lets her in.

the-witch

Stan has told Sheriff Barret he’ll take care of the witch. He now knows his wife was protecting him and that her power came from the necklace she always wore. It’s dusk as he heads to the graveyard to dig up his wife’s body and retrieve the necklace.

While there, the new Sheriff stops him. She wants to work with Stan to get rid of the Witch, but he doesn’t want to. So she threatens to kill him. Suddenly, he agrees.

He takes Sheriff Barret to his house and shows her his wife’s secret room. There, she finds a ledger documenting all of the witch killings. They also learn the witch is named Stella Stanas.

They decide to head back to Stan’s wife’s grave to finish digging her up. The Sheriff first tries to call her daughter’s sitter to let her know she’ll be late. There’s no answer so she rushes home to find the babysitter has been decapitated and her daughter is gone.

The babysitter’s head is still able to talk, though, and it tells the Sheriff what’s happened just before Witch Stanas appears and captures the Sheriff.

When Stan gets’s back to the graveyard he finds his wife has already been dug up.

At this point, we’ve now circled back to the beginning where Stan found Sheriff Barret tied to the stake about to be killed by Stanas.

Before Stanas can finish off Sheriff Barret, Stan smashes the witches head with the shovel.

He’s also still really pissed off.

After Stanas is dead, Stan and the Sheriff read his wife’s spell book to find out how to get rid of her for good. Using Stan’s trusty bag of stolen condiments he keeps on him at all times, they’re able to circle the Stanas’ body with salt. Of course, she escapes before they finish and makes a last ditch attempt to get to the Sheriff before Stan chops her to pieces while the Sheriff reads the spell that kills her soul.

Finally, Witch Stanas is gone but according to the ledger they still have over 170 other demons they’re going to have to deal with.

The Sheriff is worried, but Stan…he never panics. He’s just pissed off.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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