If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor – Bruce Campbell

I’d seen this book in the shops and never bothered buying it, always something else to read first. Then a friend lent it to me and of course I was forced to read it straight away. Thank you so much Martin, I’m glad you lent it to me, and you will get it back…eventually.


Skimming through the book in the shop made me think it was a really fun take on the life and work of Bruce Campbell, not just on the Evil Dead movies but his whole career to date and that of his friends around him. It looked like a lot of fun, fan emails, goofy pictures and self depricating comments.

The book was easy to read, and I don’t mean that in a negative way, I mean it was good to pick up, read a bit, put it down and come back the following night. Yes Bruce, I’m sorry, I read you in bed…My Girlfriend was asleep at the time! It was light hearted, nothing too heavy and filled with humour, I must admit it did make me laugh out loud quite a few times.

For the first half of the book you explore the early years of the Campbell family, and it’s an enjoyable walk. Not just from hearing of their inventive adventures, but also the identifying of their family life with your own. Yes, people in Hollywood still fought with their brothers and failed to secure a snog with the lady of their school dreams.

When it really begins to get interesting for me is is the start of the Evil Dead story, and you being to hear of the long and often physically painful process of making a movie. It’s interesting to learn the cheap tricks used, and the extraordinary lengths they went to merely to raise the money for the production.

When the book moves into the days and movies after Evil Dead it really does become the story of a struggling actor. Finding out some of the inside stories of Hercules, Xena and other such productions and the lengthy traveling and tireless marketing involved by an actor is a surprise. Hardly the dream life you would expect.

One of the biggest surprises on that front is money. Not only not making any on Evil Dead, but the take home pay for an actor. Sure it’s different for the big names at the top, but not for Campbell and the other more mid range actors – I’m sure he won’t be upset with that term. I hope!

There’s a particularly excellent chapter where Campbell gets serious about his profession. He talks more from behind the scenes, preparation and what is expected from an actor and what they should give to a movie. He also does a good job of showing what a Director should expect and ask of them.

This highlights just how much Campbell knows about his job and just how professional he is. If this doesn’t get him more work then I don’t know what will. He deserves a better tag than he’s been labeled with to date.

A good book, entertaining and a real eye opener for anyone thinking of entering the same profession , be it in front of the camera, or behind.

If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor – Bruce Campbell

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