The Screaming Brain...
Listen up, you primitive apes.
night, “The Man” himself popped into the Camera
7 Cinemas in, ironically enough, Campbell and left the crowds
satisfied beyond repute.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Yeah, me too.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
is the sort of film one can curl up to with a bowl of popcorn
and merely enjoy. Pure cheese, pure fun, pure Campbell.
““B” Movie Scale” of One to Five
Q & A
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
was met with great applause, of course, to which Campbell
replied, “I know, it’s a stupid idea, right?”
Bruce, keep ‘em coming.