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IFC’s forthcoming comedy-horror series Stan Against Evil has more than a few things in common with Starz‘ comedy-horror series Ash vs. Evil Dead, so it didn’t take long for questions to arise about the threads the two share.
“I think that these things grow off each other and become their own animal,” Dana Gould told reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.
Stan Against Evil centers on Stan (John C. McGinley), a disgruntled former sheriff of a small New England town who is forced into retirement. Although he has trouble relinquishing his power, he forms an unlikely alliance with his tough and beautiful replacement (Janet Varnay) to fight a plague of unleashed demons that have been haunting the town.
“This is a show that I’ve had in my head for a long time. People know me primarily as a comedian and a comedy writer. I’ve always been a big horror film junkie,” said Gould, who pointed to not only his last name but also his childhood address of 9 Cemetery Street. “I’m sort of predisposed to this.”
During his time on The Simpsons, Gould’s favorite episodes to write were the “Treehouse of Horror” specials.
“Can I do a half-hour show that has the density of Simpsons‘ Halloween show?,” Gould recalls thinking. The result is a series that “is informed by those early ‘70s, drive-in horror movies,” he said, citing titles like The Last House on the Left and An American Werewolf in London.
The main character, however, is directly based on Gould’s own father. “It was originally based on this premise: What if my dad had to fight monsters? What if my dad had to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”
Gould originally thought he would simply fund the project himself and make a three-minute digital project rather than a full-fledged series. That is, until IFC exec Pete Aronson suggested over lunch that Gould write “a funny X-Files.”
Gould said it was a natural progression from there. “Comedy and horror are cousins,” he said. “They each really on separate but equals suspensions of disbelief.”
Although Gould stressed that the project went into development before Ash vs. Evil Dead hit the air, he said there is enough room in that comedy-horror genre for everyone.
“I love all of that stuff. Evil Dead 2 is in my dessert island movies and this show is a comedy that is nestled in a horror show like a Russian doll. To that end, I think its its own animal,” he continued. “All of those other shows, I love them, and if I have the opportunity to steal something from them you bet I will.”
Stan Against Evil premieres Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 10 p.m. on IFC.
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