By now mostly everyone has seen Ash vs Evil Dead’s second episode Booth 3 which features the 1985 A-ha hit, Take on Me. However, do you know why it was chosen?
“Take on me, take me on…” – A-ha
It Started in 1985
Back in the ’80s when MTV actually played music, one song kept coming up on heavy rotation. It was from a Norwegian band called A-ha. I never heard of them until I was channel surfing and stopped on their video.
What made this effort totally engrossing was the storyline about a girl who falls in love with a comic book character who comes to life. The song was catchy and very pop driven. Another interesting bit about it, the video was shot using an animation technique known as rotoscoping.
According to Wikipedia, “animators trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action.” If you think of the Richard Linklater film, A Scanner Darkly with Keanu Reeves then you have the right idea.
Although the Booth Three episode of Ash vs Evil Dead is not shot this way, you can definitely see correlating frames between the two works. An interesting fact, co-executive producer of the series and the writer of Booth Three, Rob Fresco was a musician for twelve years before becoming a writer. Could this be the reason why he referenced the ’80s one hit wonder?
Breaking it Down
In A-ha’s video, a young girl is sitting in a diner drinking coffee and flipping through a comic book. She turns the page and notices that the lead character is looking back at her.
Ash vs Evil Dead – A-ha – Character looks at girl – Courtesy of Rhino Records
Booth Three has a similar shot. Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) is getting ready to take matters into his own hands, so to speak, when he sees that the centerfold in the skin mag that he is looking at has come to life.
Ash vs Evil Dead – Centerfold comes to life – Courtesy of STARZ
Doing a double take, the A-ha girl notices that the cartoon guy has moved.
Ash also becomes aware that the centerfold woman is now enticing him in the magazine.
The A-ha girl is startled when her comic book guy reaches into her world.
Ash gets attacked by the centerfold.
In the end, the girl gets to hold hands with her comic book guy breaking the fourth wall, so to speak.
Ash has a less romantic outcome instead finding that he needs to protect his crown jewels when evil so clearly wants to destroy them.
The Soundtrack Sets the Mood
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Fans of Ash vs Evil Dead are always remarking about how unique the soundtrack is from the masterful Joseph LoDuca score to the classic rock tunes. Prior to Season 3, most of the songs that were utilized came from B sides or deep cuts from popular albums of the ’70s.
For example, in Season 1, the premiere episode contained the song, Space Truckin’ from Deep Purple. For those audience members that are familiar with that group, they will know their biggest hit is a staple for all musicians who are learning how to play the guitar.
Smoke on the Water has that classic bass line and it’s everyone’s favorite jam. At the end of season 2, when Ash drove the Delta like a DeLorean back to 1982 Elk Grove, we heard Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ upon his arrival.
What a befitting song that was for the circumstances. “Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit.” Those little gems are abundant nods to the characters. In last night’s episode, Booth Three, not only did we have that fun A-ha number, we also had a disco classic that was perfect for Ruby and her demon spawn.
Rock Your Baby from George McCrae was a huge hit back in the mid to late ’70s when club music was at its apex. At the end of episode 1 entitled Family, Boney M’s Daddy Cool can be heard to sum up Ash’s attempt at offering his newfound daughter, Brandy, a joint.
Just Another Reason
One of the myriad of reasons why I think this show is truly unique is because of the way music is treated. In Ash vs Evil Dead’s case, each song is chosen based on what is taking place on the show at any given moment in time.
Even taking it back to the source, the original Evil Dead circa 1981 the end credits music was none other than the 1920s hit, the Charleston. That song was so popular that it spawned a dance.
I can assure you that as Season 3 progresses there will be some surprises with the soundtrack that will make you howl with laughter. The ability to be tongue-in-cheek with inside jokes for the fans is another reason why this franchise has endured for close to four decades.
Catch Ash vs Evil Dead every Sunday 9 p.m, only on Starz.