Season one of horror comedy Stan Against Evil packed a ton of witch-slaying into eight fast-paced episodes—and while it wasn’t the most original thing we’d ever seen, star John C. McGinley’s endearingly boorish performance was enough to make us cheer when season two was announced. Now we finally have a new trailer, and we talked to the cast and crew about coming up. Here’s a small hint: There’s a very upsetting demon baby.
Season one’s outrageous cliffhanger left Evie Barret (Janet Varney), Stan’s no-nonsense successor as the sheriff of cursed village Willard’s Mill, stranded in the past about to meet a very fiery end. Since Varney—along with McGinley and creator Dana Gould, who also plays the show’s resident weirdo gravedigger, Kevin—was representing for Stan Against Evil at San Diego Comic-Con, it’s obvious that Evie will somehow escape her predicament. How? Well, Gould offered some surprising details.
“The first episode is a two-parter that allows us to do a little time-travel, which is [one of my] favorite subjects to think about and write about,” he said. “Maybe [Evie] gets burned at the stake, maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she’s rescued. Maybe both. Time is an interesting conundrum. We do manage to extricate Evie from that situation, but then the arc of season two for Stan is: he realizes that if he can go back in time to the 1600s, could he figure out a way to go back just a year, and intercede so his wife doesn’t die?”
Of course, Stan’s plan ends up being way more complicated than he intends. “One of my favorite things to write about is the law of unintended consequences. Every time you think you’ve got something figured out, there’s always a side thing that happens. That’s really the arc of the second season emotionally,” Gould said. “But then we have a lot of great explosions and goo and monsters—that’s why we do this. You gotta hang that stuff on something that is relevant and sincere, or it doesn’t play. You need the counterweight.”
Gould is a lifelong horror film who grew up reading Famous Monsters and idolizing the Wolfman (season two will feature a “were-pony” among its creatures), and he based the character of Stan on another big presence from his childhood: his father. Initially, his idea was, “What if I had a horror movie and just put my dad in the middle of it? He would behave the way my dad would in a horror movie, which is that he wouldn’t give a shit. It wouldn’t bother him.” (He also noted that most of Stan’s wisecracks are word-for-word “stuff I’ve heard my Dad say.”) The show evolved from there, especially when McGinley came aboard as both star and co-producer.
“Stan is the least full of shit person I’ve ever met,” McGinley said. “Stan’s a damaged guy. [When season one begins], his wife just died and he’s been fired from his job of 27 years. The two things that grounded him on the planet are gone. He’s injured, and that’s fun to explore. In season two, Stan tries to get his wife back... the over-objective for him is to get whole. The only way he can get whole is to get Claire back, but she’s been dead a year. So now, some super-secret shit comes in, and that’s pretty delicious. And we get more of an emotional arc for him.”
Though Stan and Evie often butt heads, Varney said her character plays an important part in Stan’s evolution. “I love the whole arc of what happens with Stan and Evie and what they have to contend with, and the idea that he sort of goes down a road that she doesn’t approve of. In disapproving of him, and trying to convince him otherwise, they both have to deal with the reality of caring about each other. Also, Evie spends a little more time with [Stan’s daughter] Denise [played by Deborah Baker Jr.] in the second season. It was really fun to have girl time, with very funny results. Both Evie and Denise love watching this show that’s like The Bachelor—so that goes horribly awry.”
Season two’s guest stars include horror legends Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator) and Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed), as well as David Koechner (Anchorman) as Evie’s “total jackass” (per Varney) ex-husband. You won’t see him (or that were-pony) in this brand-new season two teaser, but you will see that terrifying baby (at 0:52):
Stan Against Evil season two begins November 1 on IFC.