BOOK REVIEW: If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell (2001)

If Chins Could Kill:
Confessions of a B Movie Actor

By Machete Von Kill

Chins cover

Author: Bruce Campbell; Editor: Barry Neville; Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; ISBN: 0-312-24264-6; ISBN-13: 9780312291457 Media: Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, and ePub; Length: 304 pages; Genre: Non-fiction, Autobiography; Country: USA; Language: English;
Year: 2001

Okay, so at least you’re interested enough to pick up this book and look inside. I think you and I are going to get along just fine.
Life is full of choices. Right now, yours is whether or not to buy the autobiography of a mid-grade, kind of hammy actor.
Am I supposed to know this guy? you think to yourself.
No, and that’s exactly the point. Bookstores are chock full of household name actors and their high stakes shenanigans. I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but we’ve all been down that road before.
Case in point: look to your left – see that Judy Garland book? You don’t need that, you know plenty about her already – great voice, crappy life. Now look to your right at the Charlton Heston book. You don’t need to cough up hard-earned dough for that either. You know his story too – great voice, crappy toupee.
The truth is that though you might not have a clue who I am, there are countless working stiffs like me out there, grinding away every day at the wheel of fortune.
If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor is my first book, and I invite you to ride with me through the choppy waters of blue collar Hollywood.
Okay, so buy the damned book already and read like the wind!
Best,
Bruce Campbell
P.S. If the book sucks, at least there are gobs of pictures, and they’re not crammed in the middle like all those other actor books.

If that alone doesn’t make you want to pick up Bruce Campbell’s autobiography, well, I don’t need your negativity. Get lost. Hail to the king, baby!

While the book was originally released in 2001, your girl, Machete didn’t know of its existence until my lovely and talented Facebook friend Kryssie Ridolfi (you may know her as “Cherry” the rude waitress from the viral video) posted a photo of the book. Off to Amazon I went, and within a week, the book was in my hands.

I will admit it right now, I’ve had a crush on Bruce Campbell since the first time I saw The Evil Dead, back in middle school. I will watch anything the man does. It doesn’t matter how cheesy and ridiculous it is, if Bruce is in it (even as a guest star), I MUST see it. So without a doubt, the idea of reading the book written by the man himself got me all kinds of excited (no, not that way, ya pervs). I couldn’t wait to read what he had to say.

From stories of his childhood, growing up in suburban Detroit, meeting Sam Raimi and his brothers, the first films they created while still in school, and even young Bruce’s first kiss, he shares it all and without holding back much. While maintaining the Bruce Campbell humor we all know and love, he shares photos and stories of the filming process for The Evil Dead. He gives the average reader just a taste of the underbelly of Hollywood, without naming names and without being a douchebag. He shares stories of the audition process, on-set hi-jinks and co-star drama, industry parties and award ceremonies, even his own episodes of being star struck. Campbell also shares more personal stories, like the breakdown of his first marriage and eventual divorce, as well as meeting and wooing his current wife Ida.

Throughout the book, Campbell shares fan mail/e-mail. Not all of it is very nice. This definitely is not a “Hey, look at me! Look how many people love and adore me! I’m a Hollywood god!” autobiography. It’s honest. It’s blue-collar. It’s relatable – even for those of us who have never been in the business. And it is totally BRUCE.

I laughed a lot (I’m fairly certain that the other patients in the waiting room of my doctor’s office thought I was high, insane, or both), developed a further respect for Sam Raimi and the The Evil Dead crew (which I didn’t think was possible as I already had a ton of love and mad respect for everyone involved), and was sad when the book was finished. It also inspired even more questions I would love to ask if I ever get the opportunity to meet Mr. Campbell.

If you are a fan of any of Bruce’s work, interested in the not so sunny side of Hollywood, or just looking for an entertaining non-fiction read, you’ll want to give If Chins Could Kill a read. Like he said on the book jacket, “If the book sucks, at least there are gobs of pictures, and they’re not crammed in the middle like all those other actor books.” He’s not lying, the photos alone are worth checking out.

Rating: 9.5 Deadites with typewriters out of 10

Now, head over to Twitter, find me and then retweet the hell out of this tweet. Bruce has, so let’s see if we can make some magic happen via social media, eh? Do it.

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Posted by Alan Smithee

2 comments

Have you read his other book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell way? Very good book as well.

Machete Von Kill

Not yet, Narf, but it’s on my ever growing list of books to get my hands on.

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