The Evil Dead has been the talk of the horror community over the course of the past couple weeks, a tumultuous period of time full of ups and downs, excitement and disappointment.
First we found out that Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi would be returning for Army of Darkness 2, and then Campbell himself debunked the rumor he started – chalking it up to fanboy fantasy. Then we learned that Fede Alvarez wouldn’t be directing the sequel to this year’s remake, followed by the news that he in fact would be returning to the cabin in the woods.
Honestly, I don’t even know what to think anymore. About any of it. I’ve kind of had enough of the rumors and reports about the franchise, and I think we all need a break. So let’s all take one together, while soaking in the glorious sights of the top 10 most must-own Evil Dead toys ever made – handpicked by yours truly. If that sounds good to you, then scroll down to see my picks!
In September of 2000, McFarlane Toys finally gave iconic badass Ash Williams his very first action figure, including him in Series 3 of their popular Movie Maniacs line. Though by all means a must-own toy, if only because it was the character’s first, McFarlane took things to the next level the following year, releasing a two-pack that pit Ash against the Pit Witch that he does battle with in Army of Darkness. The Ash figure was the same as the previous year’s individual release, and the Pit Witch figure was never released by herself. The two-pack was exclusive to Musicland stores, and it can nowadays be purchased for around $20.
The same year that the aforementioned two-pack was released, Movie Maniacs Series 4 hit shelves, which saw McFarlane adding to their Army of Darkness line with an Evil Ash action figure – as well as a super-sized 18” figure of Ash. In 2002, they combined the Ash and Evil Ash figures into another two-pack, this time pitting the chainsaw-armed good guy against the sword-wielding bad guy. Aside from some minor paint differences, the two figures were pretty much the same as the ones that had been previously released, with the biggest change being that Evil Ash’s cape was made of cloth, rather than molded rubber. The second Army of Darkness two-pack can be purchased for around the same price as the first.
High-end company Sideshow Collectibles took over the Army of Darkness license in 2003, offering up three different limited edition 12” figures – Ash, Evil Ash, and S-Mart Ash. S-Mart Ash was not only the last addition to the line but also the best, featuring a head sculpt that far surpassed the one seen on the regular version of Ash. What you see pictured above is the rare Sideshow Collectibles Exclusive variant of the figure, which came with a price gun and was only made available to the first 250 customers that bought the figure from their website. Setting itself apart from all of Sideshow’s other 12” figures, S-Mart Ash was packaged in a box that was made to look like it was sold at actual S-Mart stores, which really seals the deal on it being a unique and must-own collectible. The versions without the price gun can typically be found for around $100, and you can expect to pay a bit more to get your hands on the Sideshow Exclusive edition.
In 2003, on the 10th anniversary of the release of Army of Darkness, Diamond Select Toys brought John Bolton’s iconic poster for the film to life with this statue, which measures 16” high. Standing tall over the corpses of Deadite soldiers, and flanked by a horde of mini-Ashes as well as love interest Sheila, the incredible statue was limited to only 1,993 pieces – a number chosen due to the fact that the movie was released in 1993. Diamond Select Toys also released Ash and Evil Ash busts the same year, though it was the statue that was the stand-out offering from the company. Only one is currently selling on eBay, for $800, so it’s not going to be easy to find one of these nowadays. A Holy Grail collectible, to say the least.
NECA took over in 2006, first releasing a couple of Army of Darkness bobble heads and then inserting action figures of Ash into their Cult Classics line. First came Medieval Ash in Series 5, followed by S-Mart Ash in Series 6. Honestly, either of the two figures could’ve been featured on this list, but I was forced to choose one so I went with Medieval Ash. He came with an alternate stretched head, the Necronomicon and Ash’s trusty Boomstick, and the head sculpts on both this one and NECA’s S-Mart version were far superior to what McFarlane had done years prior - sorry, Todd! Both figures can still be found for around $20-$30.
After the 2003 release of Sideshow’s 12” Army of Darkness figures, many fans were left wondering if the company would ever give Ash their prestigious Premium Format treatment - which they in fact did return to do in 2007. Cast in polystone, their Premium Format Ash statue stood over 20” tall and featured real fabric clothing, making it the most high-end Evil Dead collectible that has ever been released. I believe 500 were made in total, with the first few hundred that purchased the statue getting the Sideshow Exclusive version, which came with a Necronomicon that could be displayed on the base. These usually sell on eBay for at least $500, oftentimes even more.
As you’ve probably noticed, all of the above figures and statues are based on Army of Darkness, rather than the first two Evil Dead films. That’d be because it wasn’t until NECA acquired the Evil Dead 2 license last year that any figures based on those films were ever made – to date, absolutely no toys based on the original Evil Dead have been produced. Just in time for the 25th anniversary of the release of Evil Dead 2, NECA debuted the first of two series' in celebration of the birthday, which included two different versions of Ash. First up was ‘Farewell to Arms’ Ash, which included a shotgun, axe, alternate arm and severed hand. Though I love the Cult Classics Ash figures, this one right here is to date my favorite Ash toy that’s ever been made, as it perfectly captures Campbell’s likeness from the film – and the look on his face when he realized his hand had become possessed. Around $20 is all you’ll have to pay for one of these.
The other figure in the first series of NECA’s Evil Dead 2 offerings was Deadite Ash, another highly impressive figure that depicted Ash in his fully possessed form. Deadite Ash came with the infamous tape recorder, the Book of the Dead and even Linda’s severed head. This one can also still be found for around the same price it sold for in toy stores, when it was released in February of last year.
Series 2 of the Evil Dead 2 line was released in July of 2012, and included another Ash figure as well as the toy debut of Henrietta Knowby – AKA the world’s most hideous Deadite. An awesomely disgusting toy, the decaying Henrietta is full of gruesome details and comes equipped with an alternate bendy ‘snake head’ as well as a display stand that sticks into a hole on her back – allowing you to defy gravity and have her float above your toy shelf. Props to NECA for thinking outside the box here, and giving us something a little different than the typical Ash figures. Truly an awesome toy – one that I’m still shocked to have seen on Toys R Us’ shelves. Henrietta can be yours for around $20.
And finally, the other figure in Series 2 of the NECA line was Hero Ash, which was given a slight but effective makeover for a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive last year – Hero Ash becoming Hero From The Sky Ash. This variant was painted with muted colors and a streak of white was added into Ash’s hair, depicting him as he was seen towards the end of the movie, when he travels back in time. The laughing deer head that was included with the Hero Ash figure was replaced with a desert base for the Comic Con Exclusive, which is the only difference aside from the paint job. While Hero Ash sells for the same price as the other figures in the line, Hero From The Sky Ash is going to cost you about double that amount.
Which of these are your favorites? And are there any other groovy Evil Dead toys that you consider must-haves? Comment below and let us know!