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.
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 cafÃ© 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."
HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL. HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL.
"Has any of the family seen the film?"
"Not to our knowledge. I think our film is a loving tribute to him."
HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL. HE'S SO BEAUTIFUL.
"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.
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.