If Chins Could Kill

46. If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell. 302 p. Published 2001.

I’ve been meaning to read this memoir for a long time, but the moment just never seemed right. Until last week after an extended Evil-Dead/Army of Darkness marathon. Or course, you may recognise him from his other works: Congo, The Adventures of Brisco County, appearances on Hercules and Xena, as a spokesman for Old Spice, or from his current roll on USA’s Burn Notice (great show).

This autobiography begins with Bruce’s childhood, detailing his days as a Michigan youth. Growing up in a world without camcoders or YouTube, Campbell and his peers (like visionary directors Raimi and Coen) develop an attraction to film. Starting with home movies and low budget 8mm, the small group of enterprising moviemakers soon begins to collect experience and funding for larger projects. Taking us through each production, this book not only follows Campbell’s development as an actor/director, but documents his personal struggle with his chosen profession.

With a candid behind-the-scenes approach, Campbell tells it like it is. Whether acting or directing, the film/TV industry is hard, demanding work. As Bruce takes us through his life, he shares the wealth of experience gleaned over the years, refrencing each nugget with a cherished moment. Campbell’s love for film runs richly through If Chins Could Kill, invigorating the reader and providing insight into the golden age of independant cinema.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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