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A LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION: Nordling's Interview with Bruce Campbell and BUBBA HO-TEP review!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Word for word, today is one of the best written days of AICN I’ve seen in a long time. Nordling’s piece was worth waiting all night for. It showed up in my inbox around 6:00 in the morning. I’d been checking every five or ten minutes for it. And, man, oh, man... I’m so pleased this one worked out for Nordling. He’s one of our favorite people here at AICN, as pure a fan as I know.

Check this out. Tell me you don’t agree. I dare you.

Nordling here.

I had the dream again.

It started like it always did...I'm sitting at the table, and Bruce Campbell is in front of me, drinking bottled water, awaiting the question.

"So, will there be an EVIL DEAD 4?"

His eyes sparkle. I hear a popping noise in his jaw, and I am suddenly afraid. My brow breaks out in sweat.

"NO FUCKING EVIL DEAD 4 QUESTIONS!" His jaw distends and morphs, like something out of one of his films. He towers over me. The Campbell-thing comes down, ready to chomp my head into tiny bits...

And I wake up.

I've had this dream for about a week now, ever since I learned I would be covering the Houston Bruce Campbell event for the site. Bruce was coming to town October 7th to sign some books, or whatever managed to pass in front of him, do a short Q&A with the fans, and introduce his as-of-yet undistributed film, BUBBA HO-TEP. Sure, I was under false bravado, saying to anyone who cared to listen, "Hey, baby, I'm covering this for AICN." But deep inside, I was frightened. Look, I've seen this guy take out cadres of undead with a chainsaw. I was a lowly field reporter for a film site. He eats guys like me for breakfast.

So. October 7th arrives. I get to the River Oaks 3 theater early. If you've ever been there, it's quite a beautiful theater. It's not my favorite theater in the world, but it was made in a time when movie houses were shrines, churches, instead of the cookie cutter houses we have now. There are already people waiting in line to see the Bruce-man. I sit down outside, and a pretty red-haired girl asks me to play Scrabble, which I accept. I get to put the first word down, and appropriately enough, I choose the word NERD.

"Ever been to one of his events?" she asks me.

"No, but friends of mine have. They told me he's a very nice man." Then, of course, I mention that I'm scheduled to interview him for AICN.

NOTE TO WANNABE CAMPBELL INTERVIEWERS: Mention often to geek chicks that you're doing an exclusive interview. Mention it loud.

A few more people arrive, and it gets out to the section that I'm in who I'm writing for and what I'm doing. They come up with some rather whopping questions, and suggestions. The red-haired girl tells me to do the interview as if I have Tourette's. My friends Michael and Virginia arrive. Virginia has a monster crush on Bruce Campbell. "He's so beautiful," she said. Vegas, my friend and chat room buddy, hints to me to pimp him a script. I even half consider doing the interview in full-on Chris Farley mode ("Remember...that time in EVIL DEAD 2...when you, um, cut off your hand? Um, heh, that was cool."). Then the time arrives.

AmyBeth Gilstrap, the nice lady who set up my interview and who works for Landmark Theaters, comes out and announces that Bruce is ready for press. I get together with a couple of other people scheduled to do interviews with the man. And suddenly, I feel it. The sense of dread. He's gonna swallow my soul. I know it. It hits me like a full on locomotive. I may not get out of this alive.

See, I was in the line, full of bravado, piss and vinegar. "Oh yeah, I'm gonna hit him up with the hard questions." I mention my dream to Vegas, who tells me to bring it up, but I shake my head. I don't want Bruce to think I'm a weirdo. He gets enough weirdos every day. I mean, shit, I'm a film geek, I KNOW I'm a weirdo already. But I felt confident, ready to cross this bridge of geekdom, because frankly, I don't think you're a film geek unless you get to see one of your heroes live. Just a rule I think needs to be stated.

So we make our way up the stairs. We turn the corner. And there he is. Fiddling with the light fixtures. Trying to redecorate the upstairs café area of the River Oaks.

I was first in queue, so I get the duties. There's a bookseller at the table next to the entrance of the cafe, so I buy his book. I should have bought it before now, but like a dummy, I didn't think I needed it. Oh, but I did.

He sits, waiting. Behind the table. Bottled water in hand.

I sit down. And I lock up like a motherfucker.

You see, Bruce really is one of my heroes. He's in some of my favorite films of all time. And I love film so much that to meet anyone involved in making them...well, I locked up. Folded like origami. Did the whole inner A HARD DAY'S NIGHT girls chasing him down the street thing. Inside myself, I mean.

I stammer a question. "Have you found a distributor for BUBBA HO-TEP yet?"

"It's still ongoing," Bruce says, "there have been a few nibbles here and there but nothing worth taking. Everybody's poor these days."

He keeps talking, but the only thing that's running through my head – and I'm not gay or anything, not that there's anything wrong with that, so on - is my friend Virginia saying, over and over, "He's so beautiful. He's so beautiful."

"The fact that no one's purchased BUBBA yet just confirms how I feel about Hollywood."

I lay another zinger by him. "What do you think the fascination with Elvis is, still to this day?"

"Well, he was the grooviest cat out there, man! He's still the King. No one wants to remember the bloated Hawaiian Elvis, he represented everything we thought was cool."


"Has any of the family seen the film?"

"Not to our knowledge. I think our film is a loving tribute to him."


"Upcoming projects?"

"I'm writing a book about pop culture and relationships right now. It's called HOW TO MAKE LOVE THE BRUCE CAMPBELL WAY."

At this point I lose it. I just keep muttering "That's so cool" and laughing insanely until I excuse myself and run to the bathroom.

I was on the front line, boys, and I failed you. I failed all of you. Well, at least he didn't eat me.

I make my way downstairs to the Q&A and my seat. I sit next to my friend Virginia, who asks me, "Wasn't he beautiful?" I could only nod. Vegas asks me, "Did you tell him about your dream?" "Fuck no," I say. He probably already thinks I'm insane.

Bruce makes his way to the stage and reads excerpts from his book, one particular episode involving the Opie and Anthony show, a porn star named Montana something or other, and a cube of ice. Vegas asks him a better question than anything I could come up with in an interview, and I am quietly jealous as he says, "When the inevitable film rights to your autobiography are sold, what one director has the mise en scene to film that particular moment in your story?" The audience laughs loudly, and Campbell for once is struck silent for a moment. "Only Martin Scorsese has the talent for that," he says, to laughter and applause.

One interesting question Bruce gets is "What's your favorite movie?" He's quiet for a second, then he says, "THE TENANT, by Roman Polanski. It's creepy, scary as hell, and NOTHING happens in it! The mood of the movie just puts you on edge."

During the Q&A, I notice that no one asks him the question of my dream, of which I am very thankful, because I don't want him to eat us.

Outside, waiting for the film, everyone asks me how it went. "I folded, man," I say, but no one could really blame me.

9:30 arrives, and Bruce comes out again. He's very proud of this film. He should be.


Dear Mr. Studio Executive Guy.

Buy this movie.

It's perfect.

BUBBA HO-TEP is simply the funniest film I've seen this year, and one of the best films of the year. It's scary, funny, well-acted, and much more accessible than you think.

Personally, I think the film is about American myths. Elvis Presley, JFK, the Lone Ranger, these are American icons. They are unique to America and the 20th Century, but back in the day they were telling the story of Perseus, or Gilgamesh. Elvis is our Great American Hero. And this film treats Elvis with the dignity he deserves.

The film starts out in a rest home. Elvis Presley is living there, after taking an ill-fated break from the road. I don't want to get into the particulars of how he got there, because seeing that is too much fun to spoil here. Basically, Elvis teams up with JFK, played brilliantly by Ozzie Davis, to stop an evil mummy from killing the old folks there at the home.

I can't go into a full-blown review of the film here, probably not as well as you would like anyway. The reason being, well, dammit, this movie needs to be released! Now! It's probably the most satisfying entertainment I've seen in movies since FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. Directed by Don Cosarrelli of the PHANTASM movies, this film plays like gangbusters. I laughed pretty much all the way through it, and the audience did the same. It's a fucking crime this doesn't have the Universal logo in front of it, because frankly, the old monster movies that Universal made back in the day would make great company with this. Well shot, well edited, well directed and acted. This film is finished. All you have to spend on it is your advertising dollar, and once word of mouth gets out, and it will, people will see this in droves. Please, someone, buy this film.

I went out in the night. The film was over, I was a little tired, but I had the buzz I always get when I've just seen a great movie. And, in the end, Bruce didn't eat me.

Thank you, Bruce Campbell. You've fulfilled one of my dreams. Now on to the Matterhorn!

Thank yous for this article go out to Bruce Campbell, AmyBeth Gilstrap, Michael and Virginia Contreras, and Joseph McDonald.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 8, 2002, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Yup, Bruce Rules!

    by XFTwitch

    Man, you shoulda asked him about ED4. I hear he LOVES E.D. questions...

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 10:18 a.m. CST

    First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me.

    by Ciller

    Blow! Can't wait for Bubba in any form... I MUST HAVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Come on LION'S GATE, you know you are going to pick this mov

    by IAmLegolas

    Do it already, I'm tired of waiting to see this movie.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 11:01 a.m. CST


    by reni

    Bless you Nord... you kept that quiet!!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 12:25 p.m. CST

    I saw Bubba at Toronto with a thousand raving Canucks!

    by Smart Mark

    Nordling, you've got it right. At this years Toronto International Film Festival I saw Bubba Ho-tep rock a capacity crowd of a thousand at the glorious old Uptown. We laughed our assses off. And Bruce answered questions after...he just killed. Thing is, what us E.D. fans have known all along is... Bruce is a world class acting talent and now, Bubba Ho-tep proves we knew it all along.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Nordling, you schmaltzy putz

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    that was funny. I bet Cronkite blew his first interview too - cause he had a little passion for the subject matter. It is evident that you do too. I saw the Hotep at TIFF and it was good, the right kind of movie for these troubled times......

  • "I wanna know who shot my brother, brother."

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 12:54 p.m. CST

    What a weird movie concept.

    by WarDog

    Not to rain on anyone's parade (and I really do like Bruce and his movies), but this makes me think of the "Mummy, Daddy" episode from _Amazing Stories_. Uck. And I'm wondering, is it Bruce who plays Elvis? Now, that would be pretty cool!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 1:16 p.m. CST

    I forgot to mention...

    by Nordling

    BUBBA HO-TEP was written by Joe Lansdale. He's a terrific horror short story writer and has written episodes of the SUPERMAN animated series. He was there last night, a champ of a guy.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 1:22 p.m. CST

    by grillskill

    If Jack Burton is in ED4, then I will be first in line.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell as HAL JORDAN!

    by Man_of_Kerioth

    Come on, you know that it would work! If not the Green Lantern, then perhaps Richard Reed (Mister Fantastic).

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 1:26 p.m. CST


    by Mr Nuff

    I laughed for five minutes. The Hulk Hogan scenarios always crack me up.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 2:41 p.m. CST

    neat idea! 'Dawn of the Evil Dead IV'

    by fun guy

    I have a great idea. they ot to make a new Evil Dead movie! That would be awesome. They could start it out in the S Mart and the evil could take over the town and then that could be the new Dawn of the Dead movie!!! With Bruce Campbell in it. They could call it Dawn of the Evil Dead IV. Whaddya think??

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 3:10 p.m. CST

    The Real Question Is...

    by JustinSane

    ...why doesn't Raimi utilize Brucie Baby more? I mean, cameos are okay, but he hasn't had a significant role in a Raimi film in a while. And, uh, to the person who said he'd make a good "Richard Reed"... I think you mean "Reed Richards".

  • Oh, and Fettastic? Isn't there an Aronofsky talkback you're supposed to be trolling with your patented "Million and One Reasons Aronofsky Sucks" talkback? Lay off my boy Nord, who even in defeat can churn out something much more insightful, entertaining, and talented than all your whining rants put together.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Hear a radio dj praise Bubba Ho-Tep

    by grillskill

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Questions for Bruce?

    by Waponi_Woo

    Hello All, I will have the pleasure of meeting the man himself this Friday as he visits my campus for as part of his book signing tour. -No interview or anything, I'll just be one of the faithful standing in line. I want to ask him a killer question. Got any suggestions?

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 5:17 p.m. CST

    waponi woo

    by fun guy

    ask him if he likes my Dawn of the Evil Dead IV idea.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 5:17 p.m. CST

    I was at the Houston book signing and screening, too...

    by tulched2000

    ...and I also froze up when I got the chance to meet Bruce Campbell for an autograph. I had been standing in line for hours thinking of all the cool things I could say or ask, and then when I sat next to him, face to face with Ash, I lost it. I let out an audible "Jesus!" which I'm sure he heard. He asked me "What keeps you busy?" and I said "Uh.....I bartend....and I hang out here a lot...uh...." And he said "Bartend, huh? What's your specialty?" And all I could think of was something I had been talking about earlier in the day about a trip to New Orleans. I was like "...uh...Hand Grenades." Of course, I have no idea what goes in a Hand Grenade. Then he says something like "Hey, I made my own drink. It's Kahlua and Dark Rum." I sat expressionless for a second and he says "It's kinda like a White Russian." (I'm not sure if these were the exact liquors he said. The whole thing is a blur.) Then he took mercy on me and posed for the picture with me. I was so lost I almost forgot to get my camera back. It was great. There were two chicks in line in front of me and he read this note they had written into their tape recorder. Something about them being "sexy bitches." That was hilarious, too. And, the movie rocked. Totally. Someone needs to pick this up quick. The only problem all night was the way it was organized. The theater threw out their whole system of what order people go in to get their book signed and made it a first come, first serve basis. The problem is a lot of us had gone to the bar next door waiting for out allotted time for the signing. Then, the crowd was bigger than expected and they couldn't get everyone in before the movie started, so some of us had to choose between seeing the whole movie and not meeting Bruce Campbell or meeting him and missing part of the movie (as he was kind enough to sign more autographs after he intoduced the movie). Of course I chose the latter. I don't really blame anyone for the mess. I'm just thrilled that they got him here at all. It was a great time.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 5:22 p.m. CST

    fun guy

    by Waponi_Woo

    fun guy, I have consulted the Big Woo on this, at the behest of the Waponi people. The answer: "Naw man...Fuck No! I believe you'd get your ass kicked for saying something like that" Sorry. If you have further suggestions please submit them. The Woo awaits...

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I saw Bubba in SD

    by RedFive

    I was lucky enough to get a ticket and my sorry ass waited 4 hours in line to see it but it was well worth it.Bubba is completely different then any comedy horror movie out there.Bruce gives without a doubt the performance of his career.The flashback scene were bruce as elvis meets bruce as the impersonater elvis is genius.The mummy is lighted so well that it looks even better then those brendan fraser mummy movies do.Anyways i cant say enough good things about this film,it truly is original,funny,wierd and fun all at the same time.Bruce playing elvis fighting a mummy on a walker RULES!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 6:06 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    "You know who else should fight an ancient mummy? ZOMBIE BRUCE PALTROW. And his duckfaced daughter is so beautiful." How cruel! The man is daid, daid, daid! Let him RIP! Gwyneth is not -- well, maybe she is duckfaced. I never thought of her that way until this horrible crap showed up on the site. But Zombie Bruc Paltrow? What the fuck? All this because of DUETS? The man did ST. ELSEWHERE! Let him RIP!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 6:09 p.m. CST


    by TomVee

    "Chaffro: I laughed for five minutes. The Hulk Hogan scenarios always crack me up." Who's kidding whom? Chaffro's attempts at humor suck big time. He is the Carrot Top of AICN. He's the Pauly Shore of AICN. Take your pick.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Best Interview since HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT

    by mrbeaks

    And a nifty little review, as well. Nordling is the geek Barbara Walters!

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 11:19 p.m. CST

    The movie really isn't very good

    by zenda

    Ossie Davis is great! Of course, Bruce Campbell is great! Interesting script and very badly directed. Very badly. It has little energy and poor pacing. Some scenes are terrific, the rest just ain't. I thought it was a major disappointment when I saw it.

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 11:24 p.m. CST

    WHat is this duckfaced?

    by Maynard

  • Oct. 8, 2002, 11:46 p.m. CST


    by Hypno Toad

    Bruce Campbell makes me wish I was a I mean...nothing, I said nothing.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 12:15 a.m. CST


    by dork74

    with the current crop of hollywood "blockbusters" Bubba ho-tep more than likely will end up on a video store shelf near you . Because flims nowadays that are off beat or as some even dare call odd are there to behold and discover and hence become..."cult classics....i hate hollywood,but i love movies...what a bitch goddess....campbell rules and hollywood eats ass!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 3:09 a.m. CST

    author of Bubba Hotep

    by Clio

    Check out this website for more Bubba Hotep inside dope from the great horror/mystery writer: Joe Lansdale. This is not your mama's website!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 3:45 a.m. CST

    The theater coordination was a clusterfuck but it was all worth

    by Electric Tsunami

    It's good to see something like this happen in Houston for a change. I've been looking forward to this movie for a year and it did not disappoint. It was worth waiting in line for tickets when they went on sale a week early, it was worth showing up early for free tickets for the Q&A that never were issued (once you were in line, you were in line to enter the theater which meant 3-4 hours). I didn't catch the signing because of the change in policy but did get to see a picture of a girl from my group who melted during her moment with Bruce. I can't put the blame for the coordination all on the theater, I think that they were overwhelmed by the cult of Bruce. Maybe this heavy support will convince them to host future genre film events.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 4:08 a.m. CST

    I don't know film markets but I know what I like....

    by Electric Tsunami

    I don't know how they are planning to sell this movie but it's not a typical horror or comedy film. It mostly deals with aging and eccentrics. There are some killer lines; some ass kicking quotes but also some odd almost David Lynch or Jim Jarmusch moments. It may be too art house for the multiplex and too exploitation for the fine art theaters. It has an effective score and I don't want to see it sacrificed to put some "name" bands on the soundtrack. Hopefully the Presley estate won't interfere in this film or seize the profits. I think that an effective poster/ad campaign could be run with Bruce at the walker (either in retirement clothes or jumpsuit) at the retirement home. This is the heart of the movie. Can't put the mummy-beast on the poster. Just as the core of Ed Wood was the relationship between Ed and Bela Lugosi, this film is about Elvis and Jack. The monster mystery is good and effective but anyone looking for "Halloween scares" will probably walk away feeling unsatisfied; perhaps they should check out Coscarelli's original Phantasm afterwards. It's interesting to see several perspectives on death in these 2 films.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 4:08 a.m. CST

    this just shows...

    by dougmac

    ...the man's dedication to his fans. I met him on this tour a year ago in Boston, and he stayed until after 3 AM to make sure everything got signed for everyone. Say what you will about the man's career, but he's a great guy. He not only signed everything but spent a little time with everyone and did not just sign and send you on the way.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 4:32 a.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell impersonates Kal-El out of being dead?

    by Lordhoban

    Wouldn't that be something? Yeah, Bruce kicks ass, and now he needs to springboard himself into more cool roles... Locking, man I hate it... it's a bitch, especially when you know you're smart and intelligent, but you just need that push to open up and show 'em what you're made of!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 6:55 a.m. CST

    He's Beautiful

    by DrZeus

    He's beautiful, BEAUTIFUL I say! My name is Nordling, but i'm not gay! Oh should I blow him here or there? Could I blow him anywhere? I could! I could!......But this I say! My name is Nordling, and i'm not gay!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 7:13 a.m. CST

    fucking piece of shit

    by Jed

    you fucking dick. you aren't enough of a fan to interview Bruce! Kubrick Rules! You have a crappy home theater system! Etc! If any film i've seen this year begged "Franchise", it's this gem. rock on, Houston Man.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 2:59 p.m. CST

    a king among men

    by Nine18Pictures

    I got the chance to meet Bruce a few weeks ago at the Route 66 filmfest in Springfield, and the EXACT SAME FUCKING THING happened to me! I waited in line with my gf for 2 hrs, thinking of what to say (I was gonna go with a riff on the only other famous guy Ive ever met - Bobcat Goldthwait) but when I went to him to sign my stuff, he looked me in the eye and the next thing I remember is being ushered out and my stuff was signed. Thats true about a true filmgeek must see one of their heroes live. It was fuckin too cool for school. Bring on the HOTEP!!!!!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Who owns the rights to Cimewave?

    by grillskill

    There is a company that has shown interest, but they need to know who is the current owner.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I meant Crimewave.

    by grillskill

    I will learn to post correctly and work at the same time eventually.