Evil Dead Remake (Blu Ray Review)

Evil Dead Remake (Blu Ray Review)

If Chins Could Kill! By Bruce Campbell

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First published in 2001 and later in 2009 in the United Kingdom, If Chin’s Could Kill is Bruce’s story of his early life and his involvement with wunderkind Sam Raimi and co.

Written an awful lot like his acting style (not sure if that is actually a good thing or not) the book is entertaining and features a lot of memories from Bruce about: Growing up in Michigan, going to school in Michigan, discovering girls in Michigan, et al.

Yet amazingly the book is not about Michigan. Who’d have thunk it? The book is very entertaining as he relates his relationship with the Raimi family, which includes mom and pop Raimi plus Ted and Owen as well as Sam.

He also talks about filming all those Super 8 films in high school and their timorous expedition into “real” film making; or filming in 16mm and getting it blown up to the requisite 35mm.

Mr Campbell takes us on a ride on the ‘B’ side of the street and explains as humorously as possible about what it takes to be a ‘B’ movie actor and find your self a star as a result. This is a man who has made more independent movies than Carter’s got little pills and he’s only just able to make a living at it.

*At least, that’s his story and I don’t know, call me a sucker; but damn it, I believe him.*

 

The book has been “shot-gunned” with pictures throughout (not stuck in the middle like all those “other” phoney-baloney “star” books) and there are a lot of the young folks who started out on the entertainment road with Bruce.

Who knew?
Who knew?

I enjoyed reading the book that took me literally years to finally purchase. It was only after watching the pilot episode of Burn Notice that I remembered that he had “written” a couple of books on his career.

Since I’ve been a fan ever since watching Evil Dead in an Arkansas drive-in on dollar night, I could not wait to read it. I couldn’t find it anywhere to buy and my local library kept refusing my suggestion that they buy the book just so I could read it.

*A quick note to the author Bruce Campbell.*

Sorry Bruce, but the whole world’s a critic and my arguing that this was an obviously important story that needed to be read by all Bruce Campbell fans everywhere, seemed to fall on deaf ears. To my chagrin they still do not stock your first or even second book, Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way. So I had to stumble upon it completely by accident in my local Waterstones bookstore. I am still hoping to stumble upon your second book the same way.

Right, groveling done, I can go onto the rest of my review, Bruce takes us through his marriages and the birth of his children. He also takes us behind the scenes with Kevin Sorbo (aka Hercules) and what it was like working in New Zealand on the show (and on Xena Warrior Princess).

If you are a Bruce Campbell fan, you’ll love this book. I’ll give it a 5 out of 5 stars because if I concentrate I can hear Bruce reading the book in my head. That’s pretty damned entertaining, I can tell you.

Even Ash thinks it's funny...
Even Ash thinks it’s funny…

Playback (2012): America’s Home Videos Gone Wrong

Playback (film)
Playback (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is interesting what draws us to a film. In this particular instance it was the words ‘starring Christian Slater‘ that hooked me. I should have known better. Slater actually has an oversized (or undersized, depending how you look at it) cameo in the film. It’s literally a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ or more accurately blink twice and you’ll miss him.

I don’t mind too much. It is a standard practise among smaller films to get an established ‘star’ to appear in a cameo and then tout said star as the big player in the film. Standard practise that can be forgiven if the film is actually any good. Unfortunately in this case the film is mediocre at best and confusing at the worst.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a tad confusing. The Wikipedia entry for this film has the plot so wrong that it appears to be talking about a different film than the one I watched.

Without going into too much detail (detail that isn’t really there anyway) the plot revolves around a man named Lucien Le Prince who made the first ever film, beating even Edison to the screen. Unfortunately the film is only about 2 – 3 seconds long and it enabled Le Prince to steal the soul of his male baby and replace it with his own soul.

Are you with me so far?

The film opens with a multiple murder occurring in a farmhouse (the infamous Diehl murders) in the rural setting of Michigan. A camera is focused on a baby in a cot and the murderous Diehl is trying to do something through the camera to the baby. Unfortunately for him his adoptive sister gets in the way and then the police arrive and after a stab here and a few gunshots there everyone but the baby dies.

Fast forward to a bunch of High School students making a film based on the infamous murders for a class project. The lad directing and editing the film is Julian Miller (played by actor Johnny Pacar, who appears to have gone to the Roger Moore school of acting – one eyebrow raised at a time to reflect his thought process and reactions to damn near anything)

The rest of the young cast all seem to be of the ‘still paying their dues’ part of their careers. None of the performances were too dire and for the most part nothing the actors did clashed too badly. If you interested the rest of the cast are listed below:

Alessandra Torresani
Ambyr Childers
Johnny Pacar
Christian Slater
Jonathan Keltz
Jennifer Missoni

Also known as Playback: Bloodline the film was written and directed by Michael A. Nickles who is perhaps better known as an actor with credits going back to 1986.

So where does the film go wrong?

It seemed to me that Nickles could not make up his mind what genre he wanted the film to be. Slasher, horror, supernatural, possession or perhaps a mixture of all the above. Either way, the film doesn’t really work as any of the fore mentioned genres. I could be treating the film a bit unfairly as I just did…not…get…it.

The one big name they had in the film (Slater) had so little screen time that he only managed to make his character repulsive and instantly dislikeable. As the paedophile porn cop junkie he really has so little to do it makes you wonder why he agreed to be in the film. One can only assume that a lot of his performance wound up on the cutting room floor.

If you can find nothing else to watch on Halloween, you might give this one a go. But seriously? If you’re a true horror fan, you’d probably be better off watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)