By: Jordan Brandes
Stan Against Evil made its premiere last Wednesday night to a sold out show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The fan event was presented by Cinespia and IFC and brought together fans eager for their first glimpse at the world of a small town overrun by vengeful witches and demons.
The show, created by Simpsons writer Dana Gould, is the perfect balance of humor and horror. It’s most direct influences are American Werewolf in London and Evil Dead though as the series progresses it is clear that it will dig deep into the pot of cult horror and show the audience some truly unique monsters.
But a monster show can be hard to sell without a good cast behind it and the cast nails the tone of the show perfectly. Gould brought together actors which could float between the two genres seamlessly. John C. McGinley shines as former sheriff Stanley Miller, an old-fashioned man with conservative values whose world gets shaken after his wife dies. Unbeknownst to him she was actually keeping him safe at night by killing the demons that haunt the town hunting the local law enforcement.
As the only sheriff to survive his term in office Stan finds himself reluctantly helping the new sheriff in town Evie Barrett (Janet Varney), a big city cop adjusting to her new life in a small town. Varney and McGinley have amazing chemistry as polar opposites forced to work together in the most unlikely of situations.
Each episode runs a half-hour long so the pacing is snappy and quick. You can really see Gould’s cartoon roots show in the structure of some of the jokes and when he decides to cut to commercial breaks. Some of the secondary characters seem to be written almost cartoonish as well, and that’s not at all a bad thing. Stanley’s daughter Denise (Deborah Baker Jr.) is such a strange character that she is completely fascinating to watch whenever she is on screen. She’s somehow both wildly eccentric and completely conservative. Almost every line she says is funny but exactly what you would expect someone who has grown up in a really small town all their lives to say.
The plot straddles a fine line between horror and comedy but does it extremely well. In any other hands that mixture may not have worked but between the acting chops of the cast and Gould’s knack for comic timing Stan Against Evil is ready made to be a cult classic.
Stan Against Evil premieres Nov.2 on IFC.
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Check out our interviews with the cast from the premiere!