Book Review: Bruce Campbell's 'Hail to the Chin'

September 9, 2017

 

Shlock horror icon Bruce Campbell's third book, 'Hail to the Chin," is a breezy autobiography covering the second leg of his career in television and B-grade films. Thomas Dunne Books, a subsidiary of St. Martin's Press, released the book this summer and it should please anyone with an interest in its subject. 

 

 

 

The book, which Campbell co-wrote with Craig Sanoborn (co-author of Campbell's previous two books -- 'If Chins Could Kill' and 'Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way') begins with a look at one-season television show 'Jack of Hearts' and concludes with details on the show 'Ash versus the Evil Dead.' Along the way Campbell humorously describes his misadventures working on the television show 'Burn Notice,' directing the film 'The Man with the Screaming Brain' in Bulgaria and playing himself in 'My Name is Bruce.'

 

An interlude in which he describes his difficulties establishing a home in Oregon should seem boring but somehow isn't thanks to borderline-absurdist anecdotes on local wildlife, driving habits, zoning regulations and other topics. Indeed, much of the book presents useful details on low-budget film making in accessible terms -- a news article cited in one chapter referred to the 'Screaming Brain' film as a textbook illustration of the death of VHS as a viable home entertainment medium, for example.

One of the more interesting chapters involves his goodwill visit to U.S. troops in Iraq (Burn Notice' was apparently popular with American soldiers, although most of them evidently would have preferred meeting Gabrielle Anwar than Campbell). His description of a trip to meet wounded soldiers is a little heartbreaking and surprisingly well-timed in the narrative.

Fans of Campbell or anyone with an interest in low budget film-making (granted, the intended audience for this book), should enjoy it. 

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