When it comes to the Evil Dead franchise, there's nothing that Bruce Campbell won't put himself through. Over the course of three films and two seasons of this belated TV spin-off, the actor has been bruised and abused on a regular basis.
However, nothing comes even remotely close to the unforgettable scene in this season's second episode (The Morgue), which finds Campbell's buffoonish hero Ash battling the intestines of a possessed corpse, only to be slowly dragged head-first up the cadaver's backside, while all manner of disgusting, gloopy, bodily fluids drip down his face.
If that doesn't sound like something you'd care to see, then Ash vs Evil Dead isn't for you. But for those who love the franchise and its leading man, it's just one of the 'splat-stick' highlights in a wonderful second season that also gives fans Ash's crotchety dad (Lee Majors!), an evil puppet version of our hero, a demonic car that would give Christine a run for her money, and the return of a couple of familiar faces from the first two Evil Dead films.
Our only niggle is that some well-publicised behind-the-scenes changes have resulted in a slightly unsatisfying season finale that fails to pay off on several of the ideas that were clearly being set up throughout earlier episodes.
Picture: Spreading its 10 half-hour episodes equally across two BD50 platters, this digitally-shot series looks very impressive on Blu-ray. Framed at 1.78:1, the Full HD imagery is ultra-sharp and packed with fine details, while colours (especially those all-too frequent splashes of red) are suitably intense. Despite the presence of obvious noise in some darker shots, black levels also hold true for the most part.
Picture rating: 4.5/5
Audio: The show's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 tracks are an absolute treat, with the use of surround effects easily matching the onscreen mayhem. Movement around the soundstage is fluid and there's a terrific precision to the mix that allows the listener to pick out every bullet impact during a burst of gunfire. Underscoring all of this is a weighty LFE channel that lets you feel every punch and kick.
Audio rating: 5/5
Extras: Six of the ten episodes feature cast and crew commentaries that are packed with trivia, on-set anecdotes and general goofing around. The second disc also houses a quick behind-the-scenes vignette for each episode, plus eight further sub-three-minute EPK featurettes and a promo teaser.
Extras rating: 3/5
We say: Excellent picture and sound, plus fun commentaries, make this smallscreen splatterfest a must for fans.
Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Second Season, Twentieth Century Fox, All-region BD, £28
HCC VERDICT: 4.5/5
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