For the past eight years or something like that I’ve been faithfully attending Dead By Dawn, Edinburgh’s annual horror film festival and always one of the highlights of my year. During that time I’ve been privileged to meet, or at least listen to, such gore-drenched luminaries as Robert Englund, Tony Todd, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Neil Marshall and countless other residents of the horror hall of fame. One name has always been missing from that list though and last night he finally came to town – Bruce Campbell. The man. The legend.
For the uninitiated (shame on you!) Bruce is the star of the Evil Dead trilogy, the recent cult hit Bubba Ho-Tep and countless TV series and B-Movies, cropping up everywhere from X-Files and Xena to cameos in various Coen Brothers movies and all three Spiderman films. He is a god of ham-and-cheese acting, stooge-style slapstick and really, really bad pick-up lines such as the immortal “Gimme some sugar, baby”. The best thing is he knows all this and he’s damn proud of it – he’s never going to be an A-list star and he doesn’t give a good god-damn, he’s just happy doing what he does best.
Last night he made a very rare UK appearance to give us a Q&A session after the Scottish premiere of his new movie, My Name Is Bruce. The movie was a gem for Campbell aficionados like myself and, apparently, extremely enjoyable for those with only a passing acquaintance of the man and his work. Brief synopsis – Bruce (playing himself) is slogging his way through yet another sequel to yet another crappy sci-fi film when suddenly he finds himself kidnapped and taken to the tiny town of Gold Lick out in the ass-end of the States. Turns out the residents have unleashed an ancient Chinese god of war (and patron saint of bean curd) called Guan-Di who is mighty angry and making short work of the townsfolk. One local boy is a Bruce maniac and decided that only he can save them but Bruce, of course, is convinced that the whole thing is a birthday surprise set up by his agent. Cue cheesey dialogue, silly gore, ridiculous over-acting (Ted Raimi gets bonus points for his three roles) and the most indulgent nuggets of Bruce Campbell trivia.
The film went down a treat with the crowd but the real pull for the evening was an audience with the man himself. And lo, he was teh awesome. I reckon he graced us with maybe half an hour of answering questions, some rather insightful land some just fucking stupid. One guy in particular singled himself out as a moron, starting his question with “I’ve asked a lot of celebrities this…” – what a wanker – “… would you prefer to eat ice cream-flavoured shit or shit-flavoured ice cream?”. Thankfully most were slightly more intelligent and Bruce proved himself every bit as witty, articulate and sharp in real life as he is in his books.
Unfortunately he confirmed he won’t be appearing in the sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep (Bubba Nosferatu) but did let slip that his part, the ageing Elvis, will now be played by Ron Perlman, with Paul Giamatti appearing as Colonel Tom Parker. Now that I gotta see. Also there’s going to be no Evil Dead 4 and thankfully he’s 100% against any remakes of the Evil Dead trilogy – he was extremely vocal on that point.
So a good night all in all, I urge everyone to go see the movie so that we might be able to see more like it in the future. And if you ever get the chance to see the man in person I highly recommend it, I still have that Ready-Brek glow around me…