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If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor Paperback – Aug 24 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: L.A. Weekly Books; Reprint edition (Aug. 24 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312291450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312291457
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Though it offers few revelations about the details of Campbell's personal life, this entertaining and witty Hollywood memoir combines his life story with how-to guidance on making independent films and becoming a pop culture cult hero. Campbell began working in show business as a teenager, and in high school became friends with future director Sam Raimi, with whom he eventually co-produced the 1982 cult horror hit Evil Dead, in which Campbell starred. Despite his wry, modest sense of humor Campbell recognizes the peculiar place that Evil Dead holds in contemporary culture he sincerely conveys the enormous commitment and work that went into making and marketing the movie. By the time he describes the film's premiere, Campbell's sense of triumph is palpable: we share his excitement when the film makes back its money and by 2000 becomes number three on the all-time video charts after Lady and the Tramp and Titanic. When Campbell isn't starring in new films like Evil Dead II and Moontrap, he is desperately often hilariously looking for investors for his new projects. His subtitle aside, Campbell's career has gone mainstream: he has appeared in Homicide and Ellen, is a regular on Hercules and Xena, and has started directing as well. (June)Forecast: While a boon to film cultists and to Campbell's many fans, this book also has enough insights and smarts to appeal to readers with a serious interest in popular culture. A planned author tour and national print advertising will help it capitalize on Campbell's cult following.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This engaging memoir offers much more than the standard, glamorous "and then I did..." show business autobiography. In an informal and entertaining style, Campbell describes his suburban childhood in 1950s Detroit, his introduction to acting at 13 via a summer stock production of The King and I, his involvement in theatrics and an 8mm movie production in high school, a semester-long foray into higher education, and his adult career as an actor. A large portion of the work is devoted to his friendship and working relationship with director Sam Raimi, who was a high school classmate and whose successful film Evil Dead brought them both to public attention. The book offers insights into the world of independent filmmaking and the life of a "B" actor, but most importantly it succeeds as an evocative memoir that allows the reader to know Campbell. Highly recommended for large public and academic libraries with film collections. Bruce Henson, Georgia Tech Lib., Atlanta
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, isn't one of those cheesy, tell it all autobiographies as told by vain, has been stars. This is a book about a regular guy in the extraordinary world of showbiz. But instead of the grandeur that usually accompanies a movie star's lavish lifestyle, this is just a guy working day to day as "a working stiff actor". So gone are the images of free crap bestowed upon stars, rides upon private airplanes, or jet setting to all places of the world. This is just a guy relaying his experiences in the Hollywood system, which has made him a veteran.
First, a little info about the subject which is Bruce Campbell. Most likely, he's the guy who would prompt you to say "Isn't that what's his face?" He's the fellow who popped up in The Hudsucker Proxy, Spiderman, and "Ellen". Not the guy you would remember from abysmal fare like Assault on Dome 4 or Ice Rink. But what he's best known as, is being the star of the Evil Dead trilogy, about one kick butt superhero fighting evil demon possessed people in three movies. But while these movies are total cult status, you may have a little difficulty remembering him if not for the flash of a screen, which most of his mainstream roles usually consist of. Either way, he's a good actor, or shall I say, character actor and probably more worthy of getting better work than a lot of other stars today.
If Chins Could Kill is so much an autobiography as it is an opportunity to opine about the state of the industry. Campbell relays all his personal experiences from growing up a child of community theater, to eventually starring in his own vehicle (which unfortunately would flop). He talks about the delights of his Michigan childhood, his divorce, his movies, and other projects he has coming up.
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Format: Paperback
Bruce Campbell has done a magnificent job of writing his autobiography with a twinkle in his eye. He covers his life in Suburban Detroit with his family and his future co-workers in the Evil Dead. What comes across is a man that both loves his craft as well as understands his position in the "B" list position of Hollywood. Campbell Spends a great deal of time writing about his experiences from both the Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. The movie is fun to watch, but it certainly not fun to make. Campbell gives an inside look at the whole process and how unglamorous it actually is. Campbell also writes how tough the acting life is on families. He writes about his divorce and why she left him. He also writes about how there are long periods of time between the work and dealing with this. He does not name names as some books do on the dirt, but he does mention some of his personal peeves of some actors and if you know the movies he writes about, you can figure out the actor. Mostly this book is alot of fun, full of pictures, and it is truly a nice way of passing time. Highly Recommended
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Format: Paperback
Bruce Campbell has etched an incredible career for himself, but by popular Hollywood standards, he's still on the lower rung - a "B" actor as he proudly calls himself. This status has stuck him in low-budget films and somewhat trashy television shows. However, Campbell has a large and (obsessively) devoted fanbase. The beginning of most chapters start with a strange e-mail he received from one of his fans, ranging from marriage proposals to an invitation to a girl's senior prom.
Campbell keeps this light-hearted feeling throughout the book, which makes it incredibly accessible for those not looking to get into the nitty gritty of a huge Hollywood star. He is not a star, nor does he have much in the realm of personal details to share. It's his technically detailed and hilarious explanations on how "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II" were made that give this book an added flair for budding filmmakers. His experiences on the set prove to be inspiring and touching - a lesson for all those who harbor self-doubt in the face of daunting tasks.
Though I'm not a fan of "Hercules" or "Xena" by any means, I really enjoyed his briefly on-air television show, "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.," and that is where my Campbell fascination began. Then I saw his "Evil Dead" films, and, being a horror fan as well as a huge admirer of Sam Raimi's directorial aesthetic, my love for Campbell was solidified. His campy, overacted performances in those films directly match his writing style, which makes for an entertaining read.
I recommend this book for all those interested in film, or anyone that wants to celebrate a proud B-grade actor who is hasn't been given the chances of many other A-list stars. Just to hear how happy he is with his near-inadequacy is enough to drive an artist to never give up hope in the face of intimidating Hollywood pillars.
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Format: Hardcover
Just in case my biases weren't clear up front, I'm a big fan of the Evil Dead series (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness) and by proxy, the gents who worked on it (the Raimi brothers and Bruce Campbell). Bruce is known as THE MAN by fans. Watch Evil Dead 2 and you'll understand.
This is not to say that everything Bruce produces is gold. Indeed, he's slogged through a lot of crap to get where he is. Unfortunately, where Bruce is at this time does not involved huge piles of money, and if the returns on Bubba Ho-Tep are any indication, it's not going to happen any time soon.
But as Bruce would say - so what? If Chins Could Kill gives us an insight into Bruce's philosophy on life and his long, hard struggle from Michigan to Hollywood and back again. I was able to identify with much of Bruce's childhood because my wife grew up in the same area and I lived there for three years. Heck, I went to Michigan State University too (where Sam and Bruce first aired "The Happy Valley Kid").
That said, this book is a breezy read, chopped into chapters only as long as they need to be. Bruce talks about his life in such a way that you suspect he's not telling you everything - certainly, most of the personal stuff is left out except for the divorce from his wife. Even that is vague. Bruce wants us to think he's a well-meaning doofus, but he seems too shrewd and committed to his craft to have just stumbled into his career.
Fans who are familiar with the Evil Dead commentaries will find some of the recollections repetitive. Yeah, we all know about the locals who stole the power saw but not the thousand-dollar camera, or the Ram-O-Cam, or the reaction fans had to Evil Dead.
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