”Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage Mr. Bruce motherf—ing Campbell!” On Oct. 26 at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, the beloved B-movie star hosted the premiere of My Name Is Bruce, the new camp horror film he directed, starred in, and exec-produced. (He also built the entire set on his 107-acre property in Oregon.) The event — three 180-seat screenings, which each sold out in minutes — kicked off a 22-city promo tour, with Campbell driving across the country in his 2003 Lincoln Aviator to personally introduce his latest self-proclaimed ”stupid movie” in each city of its limited release (for tour dates, go to bruce-campbell.com).
During a rip-roaring audience Q&A following the screening, the 50-year-old showman breezily dispensed with the obligatory Evil Dead questions. There might one day be an Evil Dead IV, but not until Sam Raimi completes Spider-Man 4: ”So I?ll be, like, 95 when he’s ready to go.” As for talk of remaking the original Evil Dead, Campbell can’t imagine there’d be much of a role for him. ”What, am I going to play the old guy at the bait store?” he asks. ”’You guys be careful, that place is haunted!’ ‘Aw, shut up, old man and pump our gas!’ ‘Enh, I warned ‘em!”’
If the crowd of film geeks chortled throughout Campbell’s movie, they were rolling during his live wisecracking. At one point he encouraged the crowd to shout out which of his movies they most hated. ”Man With a Screaming Brain!” hollered one fan. ”Army of Darkness!” shouted another. ”Spider-Man 2!” suggested more than a few people. ”All right, you think you’re all so smart?” said Campbell. Then he challenged them to play studio exec as he pitched one of his past projects. ”I’m Frank Marshall,” he began. ”I’ve produced all of Steven Spielberg’s movies. Interested? Okay, I’ve got a book written by Michael Crichton. I’m going to get John Patrick Shanley, the Academy Award-winning writer of Moonstruck, to adapt it. It’ll be shot by Allen Daviau, who did E.T. Will you make this movie? Well, congratulations! You just made Congo.”
Bruce Campbell has suffered a world of hurt on film. A survey of the onscreen damage:
Evil Dead II 1987 — Flirting with death
Army of Darkness 1993 — Maimed and mutilated
The Hudsucker Proxy 1994 — Just a scratch
Bubba Ho Tep 2003 — 6 feet under