Friday, August 25, 2017

A B-Movie Actor Makes It Big on the Best-Seller List

WARP IT REAL GOOD: Fifteen years ago, when Bruce Campbell published his first autobiography, “If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor,” expectations were modest. Getting it published had already been an ordeal. Even though his then-agent, John Hodgman (now known as a comic writer and actor), was such a fan of Campbell’s that he initially thought the book proposal should be an easy sell, it was still the early days of the internet, and connoisseurs of Campbell’s deeply weird performances in “The Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness” weren’t yet mobilized into a cultural force. As Hodgman recalls in his introduction to Campbell’s sequel, “Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor,” when a book editor finally bit, he was taking a gamble based on what Campbell had shown everybody: “You can cultivate a good and profitable artistic career by knowing your audience and keeping them close,” Hodgman writes. “Soon we would all have to do that, because mass monoculture was largely not going to exist anymore.”

 “Hail to the Chin” enters the hardcover nonfiction list this week at No. 8, touching down between Dinesh D’Souza at No. 7 and Ta-Nehisi Coates at No. 9 (which tells you everything you need to know about the “mass monoculture” not existing anymore). Campbell writes that this new book took him 15 years because he needed to collect anecdotes, like the time he almost lost use of his right arm after nicking himself on a rusty piece of metal while shooting in Bulgaria: “Jesus, I thought to myself. I’m going to be permanently maimed because of a movie called ‘Man With the Screaming Brain’?”

Swollen arm, screaming brain — what about the chin? “Reviewers would always do, ‘The lantern-jawed Bruce Campbell, the square-jawed Bruce Campbell,’” he told the hosts of the “Sway in the Morning” radio show in August. “I’m starting to just warp it, so it doesn’t make any sense anymore.”

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