Despite the antennae sticking out of his head and the black pools where his eyes used to be, you can still tell that the man who enters the room on this hot June afternoon just outside of Atlanta is the one and only David Koechner. Taking a seat next to Stan Against Evil showrunner Dana Gould and the rest of the show’s core cast, Koechner surveys the group of journalists assembled before him, while just outside the crew is getting ready to film what will be one of the most ambitious scenes to date in the IFC series.

“You can dream as much as you want all your life about what it might be like to be an actor,” Koechner says. “And then you have a couple of days or a week where you get to come and be covered in cobwebs or silk, and the next day you’re a caterpillar. And the day after that you’re a moth. The great days in show business are when you get to die, or turn into a larvae [and then] to a moth. Those are the great days. So, to me, this is one of the greatest days in show business.”

From the creative cast to the tireless crew to its charming locations, every day on the set of Stan Against Evil seems to be a great day in show business. With each passing season, Gould and his cast—led by John C. McGinley, Janet Varney, Deborah Baker Jr., and Nate Mooney—dig deeper into what makes their characters tick on both an emotional and comedic level. The way the second season ended, with the widowed Stanley Miller (McGinley) and Willard’s Mill Sheriff Evie Barret returning from the past to an apocalyptic present where all Hell has literally broken loose, left the show’s characters in a uniquely stressful state of mind, particularly Stan, who finally realized that he can’t save his wife from her untimely demise at the hands of one of the demons haunting Willard’s Mill.

“Everything that Stan’s ever done in his life has been wrong,” McGinley says. “Everything’s added up to things not working out. He tried to save his wife—he couldn’t. He tried to save Evie in the first episode this year, and he’s failing at that. The guy has to go against every instinct he’s ever had. Is he nimble enough, is he cerebrally agile enough to do that, or is that a lost cause? So, that’s kind of what the arc for Stan is in season 3.”

With the show shooting for its third consecutive season in the Atlanta area, coming back to the city and its small-town surroundings each year is like a homecoming for the cast, who look forward to reporting for duty each year like a kid anticipating their return to s’mores and swimming at summer camp.

“I really love Atlanta,” Varney says. “It feels like no time has passed. It really is shocking when I get off the plane, get in the car, and then the first day of driving back to Stan, it’s like, ‘Yep. I feel like I was just here.”

“We’ve had almost all the same crew,” Deborah Baker Jr. adds. “So it truly does feel like no time has passed, and it’s summer camp.”

In addition to that “summer camp” atmosphere, Stan Against Evil utilizes the small-town charm that thrives just outside of the big city, incorporating plenty of antique stores in its demonic story. It was in one of these idyllic window shops where Gould ended up making an unexpected—and humorous—purchase during production.

“Like a lot of shows on TV nowadays,” Gould says, “we have a show that’s basically about a small army of demonic puppets. This Is Us did it, and now we’re doing it. We were shooting in a little antique store, and I found a ceramic armadillo wearing a cowboy hat that held salt and pepper shakers, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s going home.’ I asked the woman that ran the store, ‘Is this for sale?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, it is.’ And I said, ‘How much?’ ‘Twenty bucks.’ ‘Sold.’ I took it home, and I found out later that it was a prop that we had put in the store, and it was originally selected to put in my character’s house. So, I paid twenty bucks for my own salt and pepper shakers.”

When he’s not keeping an eye out for armadillo salt and pepper shakers, as a passionate fan of horror (particularly monster movies), Gould has always infused Stan Against Evil with homages and parodies of some of the most monumental entries in the genre. This season is no exception, as fans can look forward to seeing vampires, demonic puppets, and characters seemingly straight out of The X-Files pay Willard's Mill a visit, with one of the surefire highlights of the third season being a nod to Godzilla films and other colossal creature features.

On this particular sweat-soaked July day, we’re fortunate enough to be on hand for the climactic scene from the “Larva My Life” episode, in which the aforementioned moth man version of Koechner battles a gorilla on a town-wide scale. The twist? They’re not actually massive monsters looming over a regular-sized town, but are instead regular-sized people fighting atop a miniature town. It’s yet another lovingly meta and knowing nod in the arsenal of Stan Against Evil’s long-ranging references to the horror genre it calls home.

Here’s hoping that Stan Against Evil finds a place in your own home when it premieres on Halloween night and in the following November weeks on IFC. Blending amazing practical effects with a real respect and knowledge of the horror genre, the series continues to carve its own unique niche in the ever-expanding viewing market on TV and streaming services. As in past years, this season looks to be its best one yet, and from Daily Dead’s time on set this past summer, I can safely say that a lot of love (and more than a little practical effects blood) goes into the making of each episode. As Koechner mentioned, sometimes watching a man turn into a moth really is one of the greatest days in show business—for both the actor and the viewer.

Our set visit photo gallery below features an up-close look at the practical effects wizardry by the talented team at Autonomous FX, as well as a tour of Stan's house that's stocked with weapons and brimming with empty beer cans and eerie home decor (the latter courtesy of Stan's daughter, Denise). So, get ready for more demon slaying and keep an eye out for new episodes of Stan Against Evil on Wednesday nights on IFC!

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.