Horror movies derive most of their power and enjoyment (you sicko) from a combination of novelty and surprise.The novelty: how the filmmakers will have this particular bad guy stalk and kill the good guys. The surprise: OHMYGODLOOKOUTBEHINDYOUDREWBARRYMORE!
Nevertheless, because horror movies are eternally popular, Hollywood remakes
I have to admit, I’ve always been more a fan of B-movie living legend Bruce Campbell‘s personality than I have any of his films. Like most celebrities, there are conflicting stories of whether Bruce is aÂ duke or a douche, but from every interview I’ve ever seen or read concerning him, he seems to be a very down-to-earth guy who’s well aware of his place in the universe, and which in turn makes him appear to be a more affable guy than most…and in the long run, makes watching those few films I’ve seen him in(the big ones like the Evil Dead trilogy, and the seldom-seen like Terminal Invasion) easier to enjoy.
I love any actor who’s willing to poke fun at themselves and deflate their perceived image whenever possible, and in his newest flick, My Name Is Bruce, Campbell pokes long and hard, and does a whole lot of deflating. Playing a sleazy version of himself–jackass on set, living in a beat-up trailer and drinking Shemp Whiskey out of his dog Sam’nRob’s (one of the many homages within the film to friends, associates and others during his long and storied career) bowl–this Campbell is at the lowest point in his life, making a sequel to CaveAlien, the crappiest film in his crappy career. About to fire his agent (Ted Raimi, brother of Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam), Bruce is lulled into a false hope that his agent has bigger and better things in store for him when he’s told a big “surprise” awaits him on his birthday. Shortly thereafter, Bruce is approached by Jeff (Taylor Sharpe), a teenager who tries to convince him to come to the small town of Gold Lick, which is being menaced by a vengeful Chinese demon/warrior god named Guan-di (played by James Peck, and based on the actual legendary Chinese warrior/deity Guan Yu). When Bruce refuses, Jeff abducts him.
Finally let out of Jeff’s car trunk, Bruce is at first ready to sue the townsfolk, until he catches a glimpse of Jeff’s hottie mom, Kelly (Grace Thorsen). Thinking this whole Guan-di thing might be a more upscale flick set up by his agent (and very much wanting to get into Kelly’s pants), Bruce decides to play along…little knowing the menace of Guan-di is very real, and that the townsfolk–identifying him a bit too closely with his kick-ass Evil Dead character Ash–expect him to face down the warrior deity and save their town.
My Name Is Bruce proudly displays its B-movie pedigree on its sleeve–the blatant fake background behind cars when they drive, the obvious dummies attempting to pass for beheaded corpses, the fact that teenagers seeking sexual congress in graveyards are distinct wrongdoers who must be punished–and is more of a fun ride for it. In some ways, it has no choice: shot for a budget of just $1.5 million, and having its widest release in only four theaters (thus amassing not even $200,000 as of this writing), the guerilla-style nature which Campbell as director (he also produced the film) was forced to employ would do Ed Wood proud…and believe me, in this case that’s actually a compliment.