Book Review: Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell

Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie ActorHail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: August 15, 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

One of my dad’s favorite jokes about getting older was: “I went out for coffee when I was twenty-one and when I got back I was fifty-eight!”

I get what he meant now. Time flies. My first book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a “B” Movie Actor, was published back in 2001 and it chronicles the adventures of a “mid-grade, kind of hammy actor” (my words), cutting his teeth on exploitation movies far removed from mainstream Hollywood.

This next book, an “Act II” if you will, could be considered my “maturing years” in show business, when I began to say “no” more often and gravitated toward self-generated material. Taking stock in the overall quality of my life, I fled Los Angeles and moved to a remote part of Oregon to renew, regroup and reload.

If that sounds tame, the journey from Evil Dead to Spider-Man to Burn Notice was long, with plenty of adventures/mishaps along the way. I never pictured myself hovering above Baghdad in a Blackhawk helicopter, facing a pack of wild dogs in Bulgaria, or playing an aging Elvis Presley with cancer on his penis – how can you predict this stuff? The sheer lunacy of show business is part of the fun for me and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.

– Bruce “Don’t Call Me Ash” Campbell

I don’t want to hurt Bruce Campbell’s feelings, but let’s just say that the Evil Dead movies are not my cup of tea. However, they are my husband’s cup of tea. They are his whole tea pot. I chose this book mainly so that my husband could read it after I did. However, I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would.

Hail to the Chin is Campbell’s follow-up to his first memoir, If Chins Could Kill. In Hail to the Chin, he writes about the projects he’s worked on since If Chins Could Kill. I appreciated the detail he went into about the more technical aspects of making a movie or TV show. That kind of thing interests me almost as much as reading behind the scenes dirt on actors. Because of that, I liked this book even though I haven’t actually seen many of Campbell’s projects.

For instance, he shot the movie The Main with the Screaming Brain in Bulgaria to save money versus shooting in the United States. The lengths the team had to go through to make the locations feasible were pretty amazing. The movie is set in the United States so they had to figure out how to make that work with the fact that all of the signs were not in English and the streets were filled with obviously foreign cars that are not found on the streets in America. I want to see the movie now just to see how they pulled it off.

There are many more stories along these lines. Campbell and Sam Raimi, director of Evil Dead and the Spiderman movies are childhood friends. Campbell always manages to talk Raimi into giving him parts in his blockbuster movies. It’s funny how he never expects a big role – he knows his limitations as an actor. He mainly wants to be in them to be a part of the action.

I enjoyed this book even though I’m not a die-hard fan of Bruce Campbell and I think others would as well. I recommend this book for fans of course, but also for anyone who likes Hollywood memoirs or has an interest in how movies and television shows are made.