Title: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor
Author: Bruce Campbell
Publisher: LA Weekly Books, For Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin's Press, NY
Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, Brisco County Junior, Autolycus in Hercules and Xena) has always been quite approachable by anybody, and nowhere is this more apparent than in his autobiography. A story not only of his life so far, but also of his fascination with film, and also a treatise on what it truly is to be a part of the film industry.
It is not, a great deal of the time, a pretty picture. Karo Syrup bathing aside, the story is one of (voluntary) mistreatment, bad ethics and standards on the part of the film companies, and general mayhem for anybody trying to make their living in the business who hasn't "made it".
Many Chapters are introduced with email from various fans (which has made me very careful in how I write back to him following reading the book).
"Subj: Hey Bruce, I've got all the answers.
"You are the fake Bruce Campbell, I am the real one. Sorry to break that to ya. Anyway, I found your site on a Frank Zappa site the other night and I went to it because I've been a fan since I saw Evil Dead 2.
I think I should get a life. I'm mailing a non-popular actor about a non-popular musician. Oh well... you have better things to do than listen to me ramble. Isn't that right, Mr. Big Shot? Well, you have fun with all your money and all your snobbish friends, and I'll E-Mail you again when something pisses me off about you or something related to you. You're not getting rid of me. Bye."
"I just wanted to tell you how much I love your work, and without me, you wouldn't have that nice house of yours now would you? Hope you enjoy it! I'm certainly not.
"Your biggest, most pathetic fan,..."
Despite this, much of the book has a very positive bent toward it...Campbell never shies away from the fate he seems to have doomed himself to, despite constant moving around and a divorce due to just simply not being there. About half the book chronicles his experiences growing up around Sam Raimi and friends, as well as the events which led up to the filming of Evil Dead, and the marketing process required for it.
He also describes, in detail, the malaise which seems to strike the inhabitants of the film world, as well as investigating first hand just what it would take to become an "A" movie actor...and decides that the price is just too high.
The picture he paints of Hollywood is not a hopeful one, yet at the same time he gives us a glimpse of the possibilities still open in the movie industry, since his book is also filled with people just trying to get a decent movie done, no matter what they have to do to accomplish that goal. And no matter how low a grade the movie will be displayed at.
The writing is totally open and friendly, as if you had sat down at the kitchen table with Campbell with a 12 pack of Jolt, and had all of the time in the world. But clocking in at only 302 pages, I learned the hard way (reading from 2 AM to 5 AM and doing my best not to look at the clock) that it's an easy read. As well as a very fun one.
I would definitely recommend this book, not only to anybody interested in Bruce Campbell, but also anybody interested in the film industry and what makes it tick. It's a fascinating glimpse into a world that has nothing to do with glitz or riches, and everything to do with determination and creativity.