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An Evening With a
Man With
The Screaming Brain...

Listen up, you primitive apes.

Monday night, “The Man” himself popped into the Camera 7 Cinemas in, ironically enough, Campbell and left the crowds satisfied beyond repute.

That’s right, Bruce Campbell was in town ladies and gentleman, and the man who proudly wears his “B” Movie Status on his lapel as if it were a prized medallion spent a whopping five-plus hours signing books, chit-chatting with fans, and posing for pictures.

Bruce may not be “A” List, by any means, but the man knows one fundamental truth about the business: The only professionals work…and work, and work, and work. His work ethic could stem from his Michigan roots, but who knows for certain? Either way, his fans reap the benefits of his continued immersion in project after project.

Bruce’s latest? Well how about a feature film, Man with the Screaming Brain, its Dark Horse comic incarnation (affectionately dubbed “the director’s cut” by Campbell due to lack of monetary restraints), his second novel Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, and…well that’s it, but isn’t that enough?

Campbell spent the bulk of his time jockeying a desk with sharpies in hand, eagerly signing collectables and gabbing with his fans, pausing only to introduce the film, and eventually offer a brief Q & A session post-screening.

The Film

You get from Man with the Screaming Brain exactly what one would expect, “B” Movie cheese on overdrive. Campbell served as director, co-writer, and star of the vehicle, which was shot on location in Bulgaria of all places for the Sci-Fi Channel as one of two low budget horror flicks produced for the studio.

The main focus is on William Cole (Campbell), a pharmaceutical tycoon from the United States whose primary reason for visiting Bulgaria is to secure a few business opportunities that could provide valuable profits for his company.

Wha? Yeah, me too.

It doesn’t matter, the film provides Campbell with the opportunity to do what he does best, play a character so out of touch with reality, yet so egotistically full of himself that he can’t help but become the center of attention at all times. Cole gets some of the best lines, even if he is the embodiment of capitalist greed incarnate.

In fact, some of what makes Screaming Brain so damned entertaining is that Campbell successfully interjects social insights in between bouts of absurdity. This is revolutionary, by any means, yet Campbell is successful in saying something despite the genre status at play here.

To help round out the cast, Campbell employs his childhood cohort, Ted Raimi, to play a Bulgarian scientist’s assistant Pavel. Raimi, at every turn, overacts his way in classic “fake shemp” fashion. Raimi spends much of his screentime wandering aimlessly about Bulgaria in search of his missing “P-bot.”


Stacey Keach turns up as Pavel’s scientist employer, Dr. Ivan Ivanov, who has discovered a means to meld two different types of brain matter together…you know, for science. Keach brings a level of professionalism that rivals Campbell’s own approach to the material.

The film is tagged as “a story of love, greed, and betrayal in the big, bad city,” and it is…with limitations. Campbell undoubtedly needed to re-tool the concept several times to fit production limitations, and what we end up with is pure entertainment.

This is the sort of film one can curl up to with a bowl of popcorn and merely enjoy. Pure cheese, pure fun, pure Campbell.

On the ““B” Movie Scale” of One to Five Planets:

The Q & A

Unfortunately, this portion of the evening was far shorter than hoped. However, considering the sheer amount of time and dedication Bruce displayed towards fans, one can hardly argue with the decision to cut this one short. Let’s face it, at one point he was staring down a line of well over 500 eager fans, each clutching paraphernalia ranging from multiple Anchor Bay releases of the Evil Dead series of films, to posters, video games, novels, and action figures.

To sum up the Question and Answer portion, we learned a few interesting tidbits. First and foremost, Man with the Screaming Brain was originally intended to be set in East Los Angeles amidst groups of Latino hoods. Looking back at the intended social commentary, specifically to class issues with the Bulgarian gypsy population, it becomes interesting that the resonance would have held far more weight had the film been set on U.S. soil.

When asked why the film's location was changed to Bulgaria, Bruce quipped, “Because I was told we were shooting in Bulgaria.” According to Campbell, this led to a re-write for the film, because he felt that somehow Latino gangbangers being played by Bulgarian gypsies wasn’t going to fly stateside.

In addition, Campbell proceeded to answer a barrage of asinine inquiries ranging from “Monkeys or Ninjas?” (to which Campbell retorted, “Why the f**k should I care?”) and “What’s the deal with Ted Raimi’s hand?” (to which he replied, “I dunno, why don’t you tell me?”) Apparently the audience member felt that one of Ted’s hands looked bigger than the other for some reason.

This prompted Campbell to divide the audience into two classifications, those in the back section who were “reliable” and those in the front section who were just plain sad.

One common subject when dealing with Bruce Campbell is the inevitable question of upcoming projects. Fans will rejoice to hear that an Evil Dead-style project is in the works, with Campbell at the helm. The project is still untitled and Campbell is working with Dark Horse on the project, but he provided a brief synopsis:

“It’s about a small town whose having a bit of a monster problem, so they decide to get the guy from Evil Dead. Only, I’m not Ash, right? I’m Bruce Campbell, an actor. I don’t know shit about shinola. I’ve never operated a chainsaw in my life. In fact, more people end up dead once I show up.”

This was met with great applause, of course, to which Campbell replied, “I know, it’s a stupid idea, right?”

Sure, Bruce, keep ‘em coming.

Mario Anima

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