When last we saw Stan Against Evil’s titular curmudgeon (John C. McGinley), things were looking awfully apocalyptic in Willard’s Mill. At the press room and panel for the horror-comedy at Comic-Con, we learned a lot more about what to expect from season three, starting with this trailer:
“It took me 20 years to come up with the simplest idea,” said Stan Against Evil creator (and co-star; he plays gravedigger Kevin) Dana Gould at the Comic-Con press room. “And that idea was: What if my dad was Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What if my dad, who I’ve described as Archie Bunker without the elegance and sophistication, what if he was a monster fighter? The show fell out of my head very quickly from there.”
As fans of the show already know, and as newcomers can see from the trailer, Stan Against Evil is set in the small town of Willard’s Mill, which has been a hotbed of supernatural activity for hundreds of years. Its unlikely defenders are Stan (John C. McGinley), the town’s crass ex-sheriff, and Evie Barret (Janet Varney), the current sheriff – with help and sometimes hindrance from Deputy Leon (Nate Mooney) and Stan’s daughter, Denise (Deborah Baker Jr.). Previous seasons have seen the gang take on various evil witches, as well as a were-pony, a demonic baby, a half-man/half-spider, and other beasties.
“I have a lifetime of immersion in these [horror] things, so it’s always, ‘Oh we gotta do this!’ ‘We gotta do that!’” Gould said. But while the show is definitely wacky, it’s also careful to stay grounded, too. “John and Janet are real serious actors who built these characters before they even stepped in front of the camera. They asked a lot of questions of me about the past lives of these characters that forced me to become a better writer. It forced me to really sink the story’s support beams deep into the bedrock, and because of that it allows you to go many other places.
The same is also true of last season’s cliffhanger ending. “At the end of every season I create a cliffhanger that really paints me into a corner for the next season,” continued Gould. “I know where the show is going overall – along the way, it creates twists and turns. And I like creating problems for myself that I have to then solve. One of my favourite movies as a kid was Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and that ends with the world exploding. And there was a sequel the next year! I always admired the fact that they did that. Season two [of Stan] ended with the portal to hell opening and the forces of hell being loosed on the Earth. Once I solve that, we go on and have other sorts of fun.”
The fun includes, Gould said, creating “an even bigger problem that will then carry us through the season.” He promised some “real fan-centric episodes. We have an X-Files homage episode, where two vaguely familiar agents from the New Hampshire State Department of Paranormal Phenomena show up. We have a Godzilla salute with the Mothra fairies. So we have stuff for fans as well as the overall story.”
He also teased some of the guest stars, which was confirmed in a press release: Scott Adsit, Maria Bamford, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Eddie Pepitone. Season two guest David Koechner will also be back as Kenny, Evie’s boorish ex-husband, who transforms into something called “the Kenny-pillar.” (Gould said it’s his favorite monster of the season.)