Women in Horror: Dana DeLorenzo is forging her path as Kelly Maxwell


It’s Women in Horror Month and I was lucky enough to spend some time in Los Angeles with the fabulous, fearless and outrageously funny, Dana DeLorenzo aka queen of bad ass, Kelly Maxwell from Ash vs Evil Dead!

“I want a flamethrower. I’m serious. I lost my parents, got possessed. Flamethrower seems fair.” – Kelly Maxwell

All Hail, Kelly!

Ever since 2015, Dana DeLorenzo has been delighting audiences on Ash vs Evil Dead with her truthful and riveting performances as Ghostbeater toughie, Kelly Maxwell. The angel with the amazing ability to swear like a sailor, she is beloved by men and women alike.

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her in Los Angeles recently. Join me as I pick Dana’s brain on what it means to be a role model for female empowerment, vulnerability, and whether or not she and Pablo find love in a hopeless place.

Successor to Ripley

Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell in Ash vs Evil Dead – Courtesy of STARZ

1428 Elm:  Since February is Women in Horror Month, tell us what that means to you. In other words, you are following in a long line of traditionally kick ass female heroines like Ripley in Alien. In my opinion, Kelly is stronger and tougher than any final girl out there. Do you feel she is a role model for female empowerment?

Dana DeLorenzo:  Wow! That’s humbling and also such a big question but because it’s me and not my character, yes, I can say, speaking from my own experience, she empowers me every day. Even just as recently, as when I filmed a spot on Will and Grace.

It was overwhelming and moved very quickly. I was shaking like a Chihuahua because they were my comedy guys and there was a moment when I had no idea what I was doing and I just pulled a “Kelly Maxwell” out and said for lack of a better word, “F*** it!” and just went for it!

I even pulled a little bit of Ash Williams too with “Shoot first, think never.” Kelly represents what I think every woman is which is a warrior. In the horror genre, the normal tropes that have been built up until now have been the “damsel in distress,” and maybe the “final girl.”

I haven’t seen too many characters recently in horror that have been smart, witty and fearless but also show their fear when they are afraid. What I like most about Kelly is her vulnerability. Yes, she is a badass and even now when she has honed her skills in becoming this warrior, she still is not afraid to show her fear.

Make Your Own Music

Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell with gun – Courtesy of STARZ

DD (Cont.): She goes into it, head on anyway. That is what I think is courageous and why I love Kelly. That is why I think she could be a role model. March to the beat of your own drum, damnit!

For Kelly, that’s the Kinks, Patti Smith which is the “F*** the Clock Shirt” and Blondie. Never apologize for who you are and don’t be a bad person. If you have walls up, make sure you love.

Kelly loves. She has a heart of gold even if she busts your chops.

Facing Your Truth

Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell with Ray Santiago as Pablo – Courtesy of STARZ

1428 Elm: With all the experiences that Kelly has had during the course of Ash vs Evil Dead, do you think she will ever be able to maintain her relationship with Pablo or will she become the female equivalent of Ash? She is smarter than he is but will she be a lone wolf?

I am thinking in particular of a scene from season 2 when you and Pablo are in the bar and he tells you he admires you because you are so strong and you don’t need anything.

DD: Right! Kelly hears that from him and suddenly she is faced with it. When you get hit with your own truth, the stuff that you try to bury… the pep talk was to Pablo. “Face your fear! Don’t drink it away like Chet says, he’s an idiot!”

Fight your evil, man fight it! And then all of a sudden, she’s faced with that truth. You don’t need anything. Then she realizes, oh wow. All I have is this. This is the only thing that gives my life meaning.

You’re right. This is her vulnerability and I think this is one of the reasons to tie in with her being a strong female character because you see that. You see her going and pushing her limits and challenging herself. She becomes her own hero.

Forging Her Path

Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell with Lindsay Farris as Dalton – Courtesy of STARZ

DD (Cont.): There is the “Good” Ruby who joined the Ghostbeaters that encouraged Kelly to forge her own path. Kelly wears a bracelet this season that says, “Forge Your Path.” And that is what her journey is.

It’s not necessarily getting away from Ash and Pablo. It’s about finally believing in herself enough to take her own lead. Kelly is the one with the brains. She is the one that says, “I don’t think this is such a good idea.” “Maybe we shouldn’t make that deal with Baal.”

Every time she has been right. So, finally she seizes an opportunity to follow her own lead. And that is what is magnificent about her journey this season.

What about Pablo?

Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly Maxwell and Ray Santiago as Pablo on Bike – Courtesy of STARZ

DD (Cont.): With Pablo, I feel that they have maintained this relationship. If anything, I know people just want to put it in a box of romance. I think it so much more than that.

That whole “powerful vagina” speech that carried through that went from him being in the circle all the way up to them being in the asylum looking for Ash. That’s love.

I’d like to stress this point. From season 1 we have heard Kelly say, “In this world, the minute you love someone, they’re a liability.” You both are going to die. It’s not that Kelly doesn’t love him.

The reason she hasn’t let herself be vulnerable with Pablo is because she knows that means one of them is going to die. There is a point in this season where she is painted into a Catch-22 situation. So, she gets to the point of you know what? If the ship is going down, I’m going to go for it.

 The Test of True Love


DD (Cont.): We’ll have to see how that turns out. I can tell you this. Their relationship is taken to the next level.

Body parts definitely touch. You will see that be an actual fact. But Kelly has proven that she loves Pablo by not getting involved with him.

Because she loves him, you know that expression, “if you love someone set them free?” She’s protecting him. It will be a new level this season.

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There you have it! Sounds like Kelly is realizing her potential this year. We’ll be there every step of the way at 1428 Elm for the journey!

Catch Ash vs Evil Dead Feb. 25 on STARZ at 9 p.m.

Are you looking forward to Kelly’s transformation this season? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.