comedy & parody

[TV Review] Stan Against Evil Season 1 (2016) ★★★★☆

Stan attacked by Baphomet in Stan Against Evil season 1

Stan Against Evil delivers hilarious over the top campy horror fun.


Stan Against Evil is a supernatural comedy horror series that is hilarious, absurd, full of dark humor, with ridiculous but threatening monsters and demons, campy gore galore and has a lot of fun showing it. With a political incorrect main character, and a slightly naif and absurd macabre-loving character stirring things up, the normal main character has a lot to deal with, asides from battling demons and monsters. 

It’s a very playful series that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still manages to give a big heart to the series, due to the strange characters that grow on you. It has an acquired taste in humor, that you’ll either love or don’t.

This first season consists of 8 episodes each with a duration of 21 minutes. With a monster-of-the-week structure each episode delivers more fun and horrors, while the bigger story arc continues and the characters develop and grow. 


Plot

Stan Miller is the sheriff of Willard’s Mill, New Hampshire. In 1692 there were 172 so-called witches burnt at the stake by sheriff Thaddeus Eccles, a curse was spoken, and now they are coming back for revenge. Since then every single sheriff died horribly and way too soon, except for Stan. But now his wife Claire has died and after attacking an old woman at the funeral a new sheriff is appointed: Evie Barret. 

Much to Stan’s surprise Claire’s sowing room turns out to be a room full of ancient books about witchcraft and Willard’s Mill and can only be read through a special lens she wore as a neckless and above all of this the room is an armory full of strange weaponry. They soon find out all about the curse, why Stan is still alive, and what they are up against. Together with the help of deputy Leon Drinkwater and Stan’s adult daughter Denise they must fight the evil witches and demons and keep Willard’s Mill save while trying to stay alive. 


Why you should watch it

It is a series packed with hilarious absurd situations, crazy demons and witches, action, gory explosions and all kinds of craziness and weirdness. The short episodes are highly entertaining and each one has a different evil they must fight. While Stan has to look after Denise, who might be an adult, be sure doesn’t act like it, he and Evie must battle demons and witches.

The interaction between the four main characters is absolutely great. Stan is kind of a bigot, grumpy and cynical and rude, egotistical, sarcastic, a sexist and a racist, but when it really matters he has a real big heart and underneath all that grumpiness there is a real man who grieves the loss of his wife. His character is a great way to make fun of and ridicule bigots and he’s not portrayed as a good example, but step by step, Evie can get through this tough facade. 

Evie is a great character, mostly keeping it together, thinking rationally, but she herself has her own fun flaws, and the series knows how to take good advantage of it. Denise is a whole different kind of creature. She’s an adult, but very naif, a bit dumb, sweet but with a love for the macabre. She brings in some hilarious absurd fun and dry humor and is a great addition to the series. As is Leon, who is the worst deputy ever, and delivers some absurd humor. 

The series focuses on the characters who meanwhile are battling a great evil. This results in a monster-of-the-week structure that is very entertaining and delivers scares, dark humor and gory campy fun. They have to take it up with evil witches who came back from the dead, an evil goat aka Baphomet, a succubus, a demonic pig, an evil priest, evil foul smelling flowers and even a spider demon. Their private lives are very well intertwined with these campy adventures, making the story and the universe bigger.

The story behind it all, the lore of Willard’s Mill also plays a big part and develops over time, creating a story arc that connects the smaller monster-of-the-week episodes and personal problems. With flashback we get to see some history of the town that is connected with what is going to happen next.

The practical effects are great and bring the demons and monsters to life in a campy but eighties kind of way. The timing of the jokes and hilarious situations are great and add to the comical vibe, which is very important and well-crafted. 

But the horror, the gruesome scenes and gory fun parts are not forgotten, although it is always done with a big comical nod instead of pure horror. And of course gory explosions at the ending of an episode that become a fun gimmick are a real blast.

Although each episode can feel like a stand-alone, the story deepens and ends in a great cliffhanger with a fun time loopy episode where the stakes are really high this time. It’s a highly additive series due to the great storytelling, the absurd humor and even more absurd characters. It’s an unconventional series with an acquired taste, but if you love it you can’t get enough of it. 


My favorite part

Every episode is such a fun ride, but the episode when Evie and Denise are going speed dating and Stan reluctantly comes along is so funny. Especially when Denise and Evie are seduced by a succubus and Denise has to deal with an evil pig monster and Stan thinks his new girlfriend is a succubus too, but turns out to be just an overprotective nice woman. 

The final episode of the season is very well-done and the time loop thingy is a great addition to all the supernatural weirdness that is going on and sets up a new turn of events and expands this strange universe, making the story even bigger. 

But Denise is the absolute best part of the series. She’s a delight to watch. She’s a little bit thick, naif, but so sweet in her own way, and her love for the macabre is strange and surprisingly adorable. She steals every scene she’s in, with her new ideas that are over the top crazy. She gets in a lot of trouble most of the time, especially when a couple of wannabe witches want to sacrifice her and she just thought she had made some new friends. Denise is fun and tragic at the same time. But she can be a badass too, finishing Baphomet off like she did. Without Denise the series wouldn’t be half as fun, because she’s also a great contrast to her father and a way for Stan to connect to the real world outside of his own needs and she’s a very weird friend to Evie. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun factor: ★★★★★

Gore factor: ★★★☆☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Stan Against Evil:


Cast and crew

Stan Against Evil is created by Dana Gould. It stars John C. McGinley (Stan), Janet Varney (Evie), Deborah Baker Jr (Denise), Nate Mooney (Leon), Denise Boutte (Lara Buchard) and Dana Gould (Kevin).

Music by: Eban Schletter. Cinematography: Timothy A. Burton. Original network: IFC.


Check the trailer below