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If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,229 Ratings  ·  617 Reviews
Most Hollywood biographies are little more than 500-page musings on the 'when-I-met...' theme, filled with famous names, love affairs and cliches of a 'meteoric rise' or 'tragic fall'. Bruce Campbell's If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor is the boisterous antidote to such convention.

Campbell is the ultimate ‘B’ Movie actor. Star of the cult Evil Dead trilog
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 2009 by Aurum Press (first published 2001)
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Jul 11, 2008 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: so-glad-i-read
This book is refreshing in many, many ways--how to count them? For one, it is refreshing to see ample proof of the rumors that Bruce Campbell is a friendly and considerate man--how pleasant it is to see an autobiography of someone in the movie biz who seems as concerned about the crew and those he has worked with as with relating the story of his own climb. Campbell shows a real fascination for the process of filming stories as with his own stardom. A lot of time in this book is spent on the mak ...more
I like the Evil Dead movies, and the campy humor of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness are my favorites. I really liked The Adventures of Brisco County Jr when I was younger, too. I don't know why, really, except that it was on TV and stuff. I don't remember much about it except the title. Whatever, I liked it.

Bruce Campbell is like Stephen King in that the thing that he's best known and most loved for happened super early in his career. King has The Shining and The Stand, his two big hits, and B
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally got all the Quarry books & was dying to read them, so why did I read this instead? Am I a FAN? A Deadite? Yeah, sort of. I've loved the Evil Dead movies since... well, a really long time, and I've liked Bruce Campbell's acting. He doesn't seem to take himself too seriously & his on-screen sense of humor seems to mesh well with mine. After reading this book, I understand why.

Let me qualify this by saying I'm not much for following actors or famous people. When I heard Mel Gibson
Mike (the Paladin)
This is a good book. It's a "pre-Burn Notice" "memoir" from Bruce Campbell (the only person to ever "almost" convince me to try Old Spice). I'm not big on "showbiz", movie-star, "my climb to fame" or "my crash from fame" books. That's not what this is. It's just what Campbell says it is, the story of a "work-a-day actor"...and it includes a lot of laughs.

I think I was sold on this book early on as I could identify with a lot of the "childhood" stories BC related here. (When I was a kid the "gree
Anthony Ryan
Apr 30, 2016 Anthony Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a review of the audiobook version - The King of the Bs takes a breezey, light-hearted trip down memory lane. Anecdote rich and often funny, this account covers Bruce's career up until 2001, from his early years making Super 8 shorts with Sam Raimi and Robert Taipert, through the arduous but ultimately career launching production of The Evil Dead and on through the occasional ups and frequent downs of life as a member of 'the Hollywood lower-middle class'. Hercules and Xena fans will find ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Chetley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Of course it's funny. Of course it's brilliant. But here's the rub. Campbell has starred in B-movies, been a bit actor in blockbusters, and has also both directed and written for film/t.v. Even more, his first films are on Super-8. Shot by himself and a group of friends, including Sam Raimi (Spiderman), starting at the ages of 18-21.

The book outlines the gangs' career from their garage,s to raising their own money for theatrically released independent films (Evil Dead et al), to bein
Mar 21, 2009 Davie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
After hearing Bruce kick all this @$$ on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, was reminded to put this on at the top of the to-reads.

Having been raised on the Evil Dead (culminating in my official designation by Bruce Campbell himself as the "#1 fan", in writing, on my VHS copy), I was excited to read those parts of the book, and Bruce didn't disappoint. Fake blood recipe, dentist investment cabal, and all.

What I wasn't expecting, and really enjoyed, were the origin stories about himself, his group of chil
Nov 28, 2011 Karla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical, film
I have no idea why I requested this book through library loan so many years ago. Perhaps it was fate. I don't think I'd seen Evil Dead yet. Maybe I'd heard about the legendary Bruce Campbell and wondered what the hype was all about. No doubt I'd seen some Xena episodes and fell madly in love with Autolychus. At any rate, and needless to say, I've been a fan of BRUCE ever since.

My overwhelming memory of this book is that I'd had eye surgery and couldn't read, so I had it read to me while I lay in
Joey Marcus
Apr 15, 2008 Joey Marcus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
So I met Bruce Campbell. He came to my high school because it was close to where he and Sam Rami would make 8mm films back when they were kids. Infact, areas that I grew up in were actually in the book. I have read a handful of biographies and most of them at some point were pompous and these writers spoke about themselves in a way to separate themselves from common people... with that said Bruce does not do that. He does not see himself as a huge star and pokes fun at himself along the way. His ...more
Shira Karp
Sep 09, 2007 Shira Karp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like humor
I took this book out of the library on recommendation from a friend, but wasn't really expecting much out of it. Sure, I love Bruce Campbell as much as the next Hercules/Xena/Spiderman movies fan does, but I usually find these autobiographies dry and boring, filled with technical details of things I just don't care about. As much as I love memoirs, if it's in the autobiography section (as this was), I shy away. But I underestimated Bruce. Is that technical stuff in there? Sure it is, but he KNOW ...more
It's Bruce Campbell. 'nuff said. If you need more, suffice to say that I still to this day paraphrase anecdotes from the bit about filming Evil Dead (I &II)... --MK
Aug 18, 2010 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bruce Campbell fans, movie lovers
Recommended to Christina by: Chip
I've never really loved "Evil Dead" or many of Bruce Campbell's other movies. ("Bubba Ho-Tep," however, is totally awesome.)

I would kind of smile and nod whenever Jim or one of my other guy friends would talk about how great Bruce Campbell was.

And I only read "If Chins Could Kill" because I felt like I had to.

It turned out to be a great book, and it gave me a lot of respect for Bruce Campbell as a person and an actor.

Campbell has truly worked his way up from the bottom (I don't think it gets mu
Stephan van der Linde
The populair cult-hero Bruce Campbell, famous of his character 'Ash' in the Evil-Dead trilogy, describes in this biography his youth and happenings about the making of 'Evil Dead'.
But also his share in some Xena-episodes.

While reading you will find a lot of (funny) pictures of Bruce himself, but also drawings made in his youth, in fact.. a lot of various pictures/photo's prominent throughout the book.

This is wrote with the humour you can expect of Bruce.
I liked it and every fan of The Evil Dead
Daniel Clausen
Jul 23, 2011 Daniel Clausen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been several years now since I've read this book. But what I remember most about it is the brutal honesty and tongue and cheek approach to that Campbell took toward his life and career.

Most importantly, I remember reveling in some of the details involved in becoming a B-list icon. The way Campbell had to cold call prospective investors for the first Evil Dead movie; his time spent as a security guard after the Evil Dead movies. These are the details that make you feel such a strong connect
Sep 17, 2008 H.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-plain-fun
I adore Bruce Campbell and this book only helped deepen that adoration. He's a witty, fun read, with insights to the industry that only someone on the inside of Hollywood hoopla can provide.

It illustrates his journey from childhood to B-movie star with moments that are touching, hilarious, quirky, and just plain fun to read.
Jan 12, 2012 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-4 stars. A fun read overall for Evil Dead & B movie fans.
Jun 11, 2016 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. I desperately want him to write one about his time doing Xena and Hercules.

The start of the book was a little slow. I just wanted him to hurry up and get to the good stuff.

There were many, many times in the book that made me laugh out loud. He is such a character, you can easily hear his voice telling these hilarious stories.

After reading this, I realized I would never want to read a book about the celebrity gods of Hollywood. The reason it was so good was because it wa
May 07, 2013 Bjorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
There are, basically, two kinds of people in the world: those to whom Bruce Campbell is Jesus, Schwarzenegger and the Three Stooges rolled into one, and then the rest. (Most of the rest, amazingly, have never even heard of him.) As he observes at one point in the book, the difference between a mainstream movie and a cult movie is that the former might be seen by 100,000 people 10 times whereas the latter is seen by 10 people 100,000 times.

His autobiography is one of the most fun - and funny - bo
Stephanie Griffin
'If Chins Could Kill' is the biography of Bruce Campbell, star of the 'Evil Dead' movie series, TV's 'Brisco County Jr.,' and more. He has a cult following owing to his wise-cracking everyman hero persona. Barry Neville, Campbell's editor, writes the humorous foreword. In the introduction, Bruce dedicates the book to "the players on the second string, the "B" people," of which he includes himself as a member. The 2002 paperback edition also includes a 39-page addendum: 'Chins Across America, The ...more
Dec 12, 2008 melydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an autobiography unlike most others. Campbell, star of the Evil Dead films, starts from his surprisingly industrious childhood, through the physical tortures of his friendship with Sam Raimi (who would go on to direct the Spiderman films, among others), and into his career as a full-time actor. Not only is it a fascinating look into the making of Evil Dead and Hercules, it's downright hilarious. Campbell writes the way he speaks, a sort of campy monologue full of entertaining anecdotes. ...more
Andrew Leon
I didn't come by Bruce Campbell the normal way. That is to say, I didn't come by Bruce via The Evil Dead or anything related to it. Sure, I had heard of it. I had plenty of friends during high school who were big fans of the Evil Dead 1 and 2, and I even saw Army of Darkness when it came out, probably opening weekend, but, honestly, I wasn't all that impressed. Also, honestly, I got so tired of all of the "boomstick" jokes. Not that that had anything to do with Bruce; I just had this one friend, ...more
Joshua Schirmer
Jan 21, 2016 Joshua Schirmer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Campbell is a helluva charming guy, and like the characters he plays (even the baddies), it's difficult not to root for him. His prose is sparse but amiable, and he never met a chestnut or cliche he didn't like; in that way, IF CHINS COULD KILL is like reading a tell-all by the shopkeep at Ol' Chet's General. Still, the stories he shares amount to little more than a series of rambling, disconnected anecdotes, never coming together into a cohesive whole. The background material on some of Campbel ...more
B.M.B. Johnson
Feb 24, 2016 B.M.B. Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book by and about my favorite actor. This is a biography about a humble actor in his dealings with B-movies and other B-actors and TV shows -- from Within the Woods (prototype to the Evil Dead series) to current.

Collin Henderson
Sep 09, 2015 Collin Henderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an enormous fan of The Evil Dead movies and any appearance Bruce has made, my girlfriend saw fit to give me this book as a gift. I was not disappointed. While his writing can seem less than great at times (mostly with dialogue) Bruce Campbell is never anything less than incredibly entertaining. From his brutal beginnings in the masterpiece Evil Dead to his cross country book tour, Bruce shares stories, lessons and good times from his life. Plus he offers a lot of practical advice and behind t ...more
May 02, 2016 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography, film
You've probably seen Bruce Campbell in a movie at one time or another, though you may not remember it off the top of your head. But for a certain breed of horror film fan, Bruce is pretty much legend. As you may guess, I am that breed of fan, as are the majority of people that you'll find reading this book.

Bruce was the star of the Evil Dead films. During my junior year of high school, I'll conservatively estimate that I watched Evil Dead II 50 times. In retrospect, I'm not quite sure why I got
Eva Nickelson
Jan 26, 2011 Eva Nickelson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I enjoyed this book. Bruce Campbell is extremely charismatic in writing. Reading the book feels like you are listening to him dominate a dinner party with stories from his life. He goes into detail about his life, from childhood, where he planned sneak attacks on his brothers, to adulthood, where he was conned into bit roles by his friends. It takes a good look at the life of your less famous stars, the character actors or the secondary roles. It goes through the process of making a movie yourse ...more
Paul ZombieVintage
Jul 31, 2008 Paul ZombieVintage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Evil Dead Fans
I'm certain there are a lot of people out there that would look at this rating and think I'm insane...or just another Evil Dead superfan.

You'd be wrong, not because I have recently been certified as mentally stable (I haven't sought a professional opinion on that issue in some time) and certainly not because I hate Evil Dead (woodshed?).

Why you would be wrong is because I honestly consider this book to be one of the greatest books ever written. Not because it was well written, or because the sub
Oct 14, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Being - as I am - a child of the video nasties era, Bruce Campbell has long been a presence in my viewing habits that I keep coming back to and he always struck me as being an amiable kind of bloke. This autobiography does nothing to sway that thought. Starting with his Dad getting together with his Mum (see Hammond, this is how you’re supposed to do it) and running right up to the book-tour for the hardback edition, this is funny, fast-paced, surprisingly touching in places and tells the story ...more
Oct 14, 2010 Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: film makers, Bruce Campbell fans, or those who want to know more about the actor
Recommended to Rose by: Goodreads
Shelves: non-fiction, memoirs
I found "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor" to be a pleasantly funny, yet insightful read about how Bruce Campbell made his way up the actor's ladder. Much of the book is a combination of telling his life story - his childhood, his family life, among other personal pursuits, but it's also an interesting view of how the movie and television industry has worked in his experience, from his pursuits as a teen to the actor he's become in his latter projects (which included accounts ...more
Alex Barclay
Sep 07, 2010 Alex Barclay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever romanticized the notion of scrapping together as much money as possible, besting the odds stacked up against you and filming a low-budget movie purely because it was your dream to do so? Bruce Campbell's recounting of doing so in the late 70's, along with long-time friend and collaborator director Sam Raimi, will either encourage you or frighten you away. Vivid tales of grueling hours, on set antics and multiple injuries will draw you right in to life during pre-production, on loca ...more
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Bruce Lorne Campbell is an American actor, producer, writer and director. He is best known for his starring role as Ash in the Evil Dead trilogy of horror/slapstick movies, and has since become a B-movie icon.

His acting style is an "over-the-top" machismo that lends itself well to roles such as that of Ash Williams, whom Campbell himself has dubbed "an idiot and a jerk like the rest of us". This s
More about Bruce Campbell...

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“Once you look past the hype, actors are nothing more than fugitives from reality who specialize in contradiction: we are both children and hardened adults—wide-eyed pupils and jaded working stiffs.” 21 likes
“…Sam [Raimi] wanted the climactic sword fight to play out as elegantly as a Fred Astaire movie and he wanted it all in one crane shot.

I must have rehearsed the routine for three weeks, but when it came time to shoot, the rigors of running up and down steps, fighting with both hands, and flipping skeletons over my head was too much to pull off without cuts. After ten takes, I knew Sam was pissed off, because he yanked the bullhorn from John Cameron.

‘Okay, obviously, this is NOT WORKING, and it’s NOT GOING TO WORK, so we’re going to break it up into A THOUSAND LITTLE PIECES.’

When Sam gets upset, he lets you know it, and he’ll torture you for days afterward because he’s one of those guys who never forgets. The first ‘little piece’ of the sequence was a shot of me ducking as a sword glances off the stone wall behind me.

‘So, you think you can do this, Bruce?’ he’d say, loud enough for the entire crew to hear. ‘Or should I break this ONE shot into THREE MORE SHOTS?’

Sam also threatened to put Ash in a chorus line with skeletons.”
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