Home / The Duke Reads “If Chins Could Kill” By Bruce Campbell

The Duke Reads “If Chins Could Kill” By Bruce Campbell

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Damn you, Bruce Campbell. Damn your every inch.

Some time ago, a certain ladyfriend of yours truly asked, in all seriousness, that maybe what I might wanna do is have two belts criss-crossing my torso, rip my shirt up good, and whisper about “Come get some” in preparation for some coital-filthing.

Some of you may, quite reasonably, assume that it’s all on account of The Duke’s manly physique, and his rugged, lumberjack-esque stature, and how the belts and the shirt and the “Come get some” are the kinda things I would have gotten up to anyhow, even if I hadn’t been asked. The last thing you’d imagine is that no, it’s because it would ensure that The Duke, in dress sense if nothing else, closer resembled Ash, Bruce Campbell’s character in Army Of Darkness.

She wanted a fumble with Ash.

Ash as presented in Evil Dead or even Evil Dead II – Dead By Dawn, however, wouldn’t do for a motherfucking second. Only Army Of Darkness Ash would suffice.

I coulda sawed my hand off and had it chase me about the motherfucking floor, but you think that woulda got her going? Only if I was doing it like at the start of Army Of Darkness when it lets you know what happened in the last one.

Our relationship was doomed, and for that I can only blame Bruce Campbell. Maybe I could’ve gotten away with a decent impersonation of the awkward, kinda geeky Ash from the first half of Evil Dead. But Ash in Army Of Darkness? Campbell had crafted a vision of heroic masculine perfection that I, with my skinny frame and yet oddly protruding gut, with my pointy nose and distinctly non-distinct chin, could never for a second hope to emulate.

I learned to accept it, though. It helped that I loved Bruce Campbell immensely. It helped that all three Evil Dead flicks are among my very favorites of all ever in so far as the motion-films are concerned. It helped that he kicked such ferocious arse in Terminal Invasion. It helped that he made a fucking good Elvis. It helped that he’s funny and self-deprecating and generally a hella nice fella.

But now, Campbell, you’ve gone too far.

There I am reading your autobiography, the brilliant, hilarious, truly touching If Chins Could Kill – Confessions Of A B-Movie Actor, kindly on loan from good Sir Fleming, head of Mondo Marketing Guerrilla Division. In fact, I had finished the book proper, and was approaching the end of the Book Tour stuff you added on the end a while later. I was thinking that, much as I loved the core text, I think I love this book tour stuff that little bit more. Hearing about you driving across the country with your wife, stopping here and there for to take a wander round forest trails or see a ball game, hearing the stories of fans who had braved all sorts of conditions to meet you for that fleeting moment, and reading of your genuine heart-felt admiration for those followers, well, I could feel a lump in the throat, is the truth of the facts. Your extended discussion regarding the art of the handshake was as brilliantly observed and witty an account of handshaking as I ever in my life have read.

And then I get to this here;

“I was signing books in a small Oregon town and I glanced up from the table to see Toby McGuire and Kirsten Dunst, the lead actors from Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film.”

I had to take a pause. I had to set the book down, real slow like, and go take a little stroll around the avenue.

So first he highlights my sexual inadequacies by presenting to my ladyfriend everything I will never be. With a “Groovy” out the side of the mouth he blasts my fumble-making aspirations into gut-riddled shards of broken fuck.

I can live with that.

Next thing I know, there’s Kirsten, standing at the table, whilst he signs copies of his autobiography. Kirsten came to him. In Oregon. At the signing of his autobiography.

Bruce Campbell, I will never, so long as I live, sleep one hour with this knowledge in my skull.

How many songs have you written for Kirsten, Bruce Campbell? Hardly fucking any, I’ll bet. How many times have you sat up all night just resting your head on your arm and looking at that tennis-ball She signed, sat there staring at that little heart She did instead of just dotting the “i”, and thought about the position of Her fingers on said sporting paraphernalia whilst She graced it with the tip of Her marker? Admit it Campbell, not once did you do that.

And yet without you even having to plead, She shows up, unannounced, to see you sign your autobiography.

And Campbell’s response to this? Does he maybe choke for ten, eleven minutes, suddenly become very interested in what Toby’s been up to, since he can’t even imagine what he could say to Kirsten that would be worth the time it takes for Her to listen? Does he spend the rest of his days living in the shadow of a garbage disposal unit, eating only when doctors force it into his yap with a tube, since the weight of what he should have said has ground him into the furthest reaches of human torment?

No. “What the hell are you two doing here?” he says. Like it was just any old friend from way back when.

There aren’t enough letters in “motherfucker” for to articulate my thoughts on the matter, Campbell.

Turns out, though, lack of a word or two is the last thing you need to worry about, since far as I can gather from If Chins Could Kill, or at least the portion of it that didn’t have me thrusting trembling fists towards the Gods in light of the injustices pounding my flesh with the sledgehammers of unrequitement, you got this writing thing down to a finely-tuned T.

The last thing anyone sane of the mind wants to sit down with of an evening is a book all about “As Monroe said to me one time…” or “Spielberg just adored my vegetable curry” or how every motherfucker to have pointed a camera in the direction of the subject was “the nicest person you could ever hope to meet”, and thank God, Bruce Campbell doesn’t for a second want to be bothered with that sorta bullshit neither.

You just know Bruce is gonna turn out to be the nicest sonna bitch you ever did read about. There’s no heirs and graces with him, not a shred of pretension or self-delusion. He just wanders around from set to set, sometimes a bit part in some flick about a giant talking monkey, sometimes a lead role in some flick about a giant talking monkey but with a much smaller budget, sometimes a supporting role in a TV show about Hercules, sometimes a lead role in his very own telly show about Brisco County Jnr. Whatever it is, he goes about his business, hanging out with crew members and gofers (as in “go fer this…” “go fer that…”), the kinda folks you never hear about in these “tell all” exposes.

There’s no talk of drug-fuelled orgies or snorting coke off of the arse of Belgian lingerie models. For one thing, Bruce seems to have been terrified by the idea of the sexing until well into his twenties. Turns out too, that the ladies weren’t exactly mourning his lack of drive in that particular area.

And the whole thing is funny as all bejeesus, especially the stuff concerning Sam Raimi, “Bane of my existence”. Raimi’s gleeful and relentless tormenting of Bruce, both on-camera and off, makes for glorious reading. Again and again, Raimi expresses his love for his friend by tearing his very spirit asunder; The young Raimi sticking a pencil ever deeper into Bruce’s back whilst he’s trying to answer a question from a teacher, or telling another teacher how Campbell “does a great impression of you” just before Bruce is due to arrive for class, or maybe Raimi the Director devising ever more malicious methods of crushing Campbell mentally and physically throughout the shooting of not only the Evil Dead pictures, but right through his career. At one point, Campbell taking a trip to the set of his pal’s latest picture results in Raimi demanding that Bruce get into make-up, come on out and get the hell in front of the camera so as he can be beaten senseless by another character. As the scene comes to a bloody end, Raimi cheerfully announces that ain’t no-one ever gonna see it.

Here Bruce, how bout you step onto this contraption I devised so as I can spin you round like fuck and fling you through the trees at demented speeds.

The fuck you mean this shit is toxic, Campbell? Get it in your mouth and start spittin’, fore I smack you upside the nuts.

These sorts of escapades.

Needless to say, Raimi better not try none a that shit with Kirsten on those Spider-Beast flicks.

Anyway, what it all boils down to is that Bruce has brilliant anecdotes hanging from his every inch. Great stories from his childhood, stories of those super-8 epics, stories about him and another lower-rung cast member trying to sneak into as many shots as possible in a Tom Arnold picture.

The sortsa stuff those “big name” motherfuckers miss in their race to tell us all about the time they sexed with Kim Basinger and Rob Reiner at the same time during some Oscar shindig. You know the kinda crap they force on us.

But still. You’ve gone too far Campbell. How many tears have you shed for Kirsten? Hardly even half a tumbler, most likely. And yet there She is, just turning up out the blue to see ol’ Bruce sign a book.

I’m getting my chin enlarged first thing Monday morning.

Thank you Kirsten, my muse, the P2P software for my illegal MP3’s of love.

Thanks folks.

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando

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About The Duke

  • This has got to be the best reviews of Bruce’s book I’ve come across yet!
    I’m still laughing, not at your pain and heartache mind you– If I didn’t own the book already I would have to grab a Boomstick and chainsaw, kill a few Deadites and get one–or just buy it from Amazon.com!

    Seriously Duke–you add much color and flavor to an otherwise hum-drum profession.

    Now I have to read “If Chin’s Could Kill” again–along with all your other reviews.

  • He’s pretty motherfuckin good isn’t he? He’ll figure it out soon enough. Best yet – I don’t think it’ll go to his motherfucking head.

    I’m putting this comment on my resume by the way.


    Kirsten showed up at the singing for my book, doesn’t she do that for everyone?

  • I’ll ask her when she wakes up…

  • Duke — Yet another brilliant foray into madness, filmic lore, and the everlong quest of she that we must to refer to as She.

    Evil Dead II is one of my favorite movies of all time, certainly Top 5. I’ve often strived to be both badass and goofy enough to say “Who’s laughing now?” Anyway, the scene when everything in the house is laughing at our poor Ash is one of the best and funniest I’ve ever seen in my life.

    Campbell was once described to me as the “best bad actor of all time.” Does he get into his famous broad screen persona? I think he’s great, personally, and he turned Bubba Ho-Tep from a ho hum number into a fun romp of a flick.

    I had no idea that Campbell and Raimi went back to school days together. Very cool stuff.

    I’ve seen this book at the bookstore a few times, and I had that longing feeling… please Lord (of your choice), grant me the 12-15 hours needed to get through this surely bountiful and entertaining retrospective…

  • thanks all!

    and if it needs a further reccomendation, and i think it does, this book fucking rules beyond reason.

    But if he thinks i’ll forget the trauma, hurt, agony, slight flu, he can think again. and this time, he better think the exact opposite.

  • Doc

    It’s “airs and graces”, Duke. Not sure how one would put on ‘heirs’. Putting your kid on your shoulders perhaps? 🙂

  • This book review has been selected for Advance.net. You’ll be able to find this and other Blog Critics reviews at such places at Cleveland.com’s Book Reviews column.

  • nice one eric, cheers. good editing job, too.

    dave; “Not sure how one would put on ‘heirs’. Putting your kid on your shoulders perhaps? :-)”

    exactly. bruce didn’t do that once.


  • A damn fine review, Duke, and now I’m feeling the need to rush out and pick this one up. Sounds highly entertaining–not unexpected, coming from Bruce Motherfucking Campbell.

  • thanks Joel. and yeah, entertaining as hell. incidentally, does anyone have any info on his forthcoming Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way? as i illustrate in the review, this knowledge would have been very useful a while back.

  • I was not that familiar with Bruce Campbell when my sister loaned me her book. It was a great read! We read the book because he knows our cousins and talks about them in the book. Recommended whether or not you’re a Bruce fan.

  • Hysterical review, Duke! Fans of Bruce Campbell (“Evil Dead”, “Army of Darkness”, “Xena: Warrior Princess”, “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr”, “Jack of All Trades”) may be interested in meeting Bruce during his tour for his audio version of the book “Make Love The Bruce Campbell Way” September 27-30, 2005 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. His second book continues the “B” movie theme with a fictional (?) bumbling B-movie actor Bruce Campbell scoring an A-list film; hilarity ensues. The audio book is narrated by Bruce himself as well as a host of other actors! More about the book and tour is on his site at http://www.bruce-campbell.com. Cheers!