SEB Review: “If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor”

If Chins Could Kill is the autobiography of one of my favorite actors, Bruce Campbell, who’s one of those actors who never seem to rise above having a cult following. Mention his name to most folks and you’re likely to get a perplexed look followed by, “Bruce who?”

“Campbell, dammit! Bruce Friggin’ Campbell! You know, Ash? From the Evil Dead movies? How about his stint as Brisco County Jr.? OK, how about Autolycus from Xena: Warrior Princess?? No?? WTF, dude??

That’s OK. Just means that those of us who do know of him and count ourselves as fans can enjoy him all to ourselves, you philistines!”

Anyway, this book, as I said, is his autobiography and it chronicles his rise to, well, cult-stardom from his humble beginnings right here in Michigan all the way up through his time touring around promoting If Chins Could Kill. How is that possible you ask? This is a second printing of the book and he added a bit on the end about the tour.

If you’re a fan, and especially if you’re only a casual fan, then you’ll want to pick up this book. Watching interviews with Bruce in the past I’ve always been struck with how he comes across as your pretty regular Joe who enjoys the fact that he’s never had to go out and get a “real” job, so to speak, and that same tone comes across in his autobiography. Bruce is the definition of the “working actor” in that he’s not so much interested in becoming a big box office name (much to the frustration of his agent) as much as making some pretty cool movies and TV shows. In addition to acting he’s taken turns as producer, director, and whatever-the-hell-needs-to-be-done guy.

As it turns out, this book will be worthwhile to fans of Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Rob Tapert, the Cohen Brothers, and any of a number of other people that Bruce made the trek out to Hollywood with because it’s really the story about how all of them got their careers underway. Bruce, Sam, Ted, and Rob have worked as a team on all manner of projects ever since the first Evil Dead film with Sam turning into a director with considerable clout after helming two record breaking film adaptations of Spider-Man. By and large they still work as a team even now that Sam’s a big shot director and there’s hardly a Sam Raimi film made that Bruce hasn’t done at least a cameo in. Ted Raimi also shows up in just about every project any of them have worked on. As a whole they brought a little bit of Michigan to Hollywood and they have a very Midwestern way of getting things done. Definitely a worthwhile read.

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