IF CHINS COULD KILL: Confessions Of A B Movie Actor - 2001
by Bruce Campbell
LA Weekly Books
$23.95 USA - $35.95 CAN HC
If you are a fan of Horror, then you are already aware of Bruce Campbell.
And if you are aware of Bruce Campbell, then you know what an incredibly
funny guy he is.
But just in case you thought his humor was strictly limited to mugging for
the camera and physical hijinks, then grab IF CHINS COULD KILL.
Bruce can write, see? He can communicate. He is a raconteur. He's Got His Own NICHE! In essence, he's just this guy, see? A real handsome, rock
jawed leading man kinda guy. And he would probably get more roles like
that if he wasn't such a wise ass. Or maybe he is too handsome, too rockjawed,
too much of what Hollywood is looking for, that he is a cartoon of what
they want. Or maybe he just has the worst luck in the world. Or maybe
his personal albatross - once good luck charm - is his dear enemy, Sam Raimi, or maybe . . . oh, any number of things.
Because of Bruce, the wildly popular computer game, Duke Nukem 3D (1996), had
a voice. True, it was the voice of radio DJ John St. John, but he was
only squawking the talk that Bruce originated with his character, Ash
in EVIL DEAD II and ARMY OF DARKNESS. The game went from being another
3D shoot 'em up to becoming so popular that it gave Id Games - king of
the hill at this time with games like DOOM and QUAKE - the shakes. It
seemed nothing could knock Duke Nukem 3D off his perch. The game got old,
the graphics were surpassed by better, brighter, smoother graphics. Better,
more intricate 3D shooter games, and yet Duke Nukem still persisted even
after DOOM was put to bed. Even after QUAKE and QUAKE 2 were put to bed.
Why? Because it had a sense of humor instead of dim-witted grunts. Because
it had that cheery, sneery, wise ass Ash dialogue running throughout the
The game manufacturer, 3D Realms, was inspired by Bruce; they could have hired
Bruce; but instead they hired a guy who sounded like Bruce! It wasn't
because Bruce was too expensive! He's a "B" Movie actor for
To add insult to injury, the computer game EVIL DEAD came out in 2001 and
has not only been called a mediocre game, but one of the drawbacks to
it is that its lines sound too much like Duke Nukem 3D!
I mean, this is Bruce Campbell's actual life, people! You gotta laugh or go nuts!
Now I've read many a well written book about Hollywood and film making. David
Niven's "The Moon's A Balloon" and "Bring Out The Empty
Horses" are two of the best. I will add Bruce's book to the pantheon.
Bruce, in no way, is a major Hollywood star, and that is the primary reason that
his book is so funny. That and Bruce's cheery, sneery, con-man's way of
laconically looking at life. As Bruce says at the beginning of his book
(well, actually the backside of his book cover)
" . . . This is not a memoir about what I said to so-and-so at the Beverly
Hills Hotel. It's also not about an actor's "meteoric" rise
or "tragic" fall. Rather, this book is dedicated to the players
on the second string, the B people, if you will, and I cheerfully include
myself in that lot.
IF CHINS COULD KILL starts off with a curious forward by Ivan and Sam Raimi - annotated by
editor Barry Neville. This forward is the launch pad for all the slapstick
to come. We are talking real life, mind boggling, could this really happen,
kind of human slapstick that, apparently, is the real life of Bruce Campbell
and his friends.
There are great laugh out loud moments to as well as some quietly sobering ones
(this is real life after all, right?) and it is amazing that Bruce has been through and has handled things that
would and has made other actors go off the deep end.
This book is also an important read for the aspiring film maker. In this book
you will see how Bruce, Sam Raimi, and friends drummed up the money to
make their first film, second film, and how they kept their heads together
while doing some of the most humiliating things you can think of. Hey!
Do you want to make a movie or do you want to sell furniture? If its a
choice between making people happy for years to come or selling cushioned
fart traps, I know which side my bread is buttered on.
I love this book! Its great! Its not only entertaining but highly educational.
5 BookWyrms all the way!
This review copyright 2002 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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