Kyle Atwood is a published horror author who plays too many video games and watches too many horror movies to be of sound mind.
When thinking about B-movie celebrities, none come to mind faster than The Chin himself, Bruce Campbell.
While mainstream Hollywood all turn their noses away from Mr. Campbell, his fans fall nothing short of worshipping this messiah of overlooked cinema. Myself included.
Whether it be battling hordes of demonic undead, aliens, mummies, himself or his fans, Campbell always has some kind of witty one-liner or move that just makes us jump for joy as we watch our paladin of weird cinema smite down the mainstream fundamentals with a gleaming smile.
Alright, enough of that, on with the list!
5. My Name is Bruce (2007)
One of the reasons why Campbell's fans love him so much is because he doesn't take himself too seriously.
This could not be truer in his self-parody film My Name Is Bruce where he wrote and directed a film about a washed-up, sleazier version of himself.
In My Name Is Bruce, Bruce is kidnapped by an obsessive fan who believes that the actor is a real monster hunter. Bruce is then tasked with disposing of ancient Chinese demons.
It's good fun, plain and simple.
4. Alien Apocalypse (2005)
Alien Apocalypse is the pinnacle of everything that makes B-movies so delicious. The special effects, dialogue, over-the-top acting are all abundant in this film. It's your basic premise of mankind vs. extraterrestrial beings that move suspiciously like humans in their suspiciously fake-looking bodies.
Campbell just oozes charisma and it sticks out like a beacon among the campy, sarcastic acting of the rest of the cast.
The best way I can describe Alien Apocalypse is like Army of Darkness meets Starship Troopers just like it says on the box.
Is it good? No. Is it fun? Extremely and for that, it remains one of my favorite Bruce Campbell movies of all time.
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3. Maniac Cop (1988)
The simple premise of Maniac Cop cannot suck. Maniac Cop had a powerhouse team that was spearheaded by The Chin himself and made for one of the best slasher movies of all time.
Maniac Cop sees Campbell playing a wrongfully accused cop dead set on clearing his name all while a crazed cop is killing innocent people. Eventually, Campbell's character dives deep enough into his investigation to discover a darker conspiracy in the police department itself.
This film is so good because, unlike other slasher movies, it isn't at all concerned with racking up a high body count. Maniac Cop serves as a commentary on society and exploring the case of police corruption.
Also unlike other slasher films, Maniac Cop spawned sequels that weren't significantly worse than the originals, some could even argue that they were better than the original.
2. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Elvis is alive! Well, at least in Bubba Ho-Tep.
Picture this, if you will, Elvis is in a retirement home hanging out with JFK. Alright, now dye JFK's skin color black as some complex government conspiracy. Now take this unlikely duo, sit them down in a wheelchair, and put them up against an ancient Egyptian mummy that likes to dress up as a cowboy—that's Bubba Ho-Tep and it is brilliant.
Campbell's performance as an elderly Elvis deserves to be hailed and celebrated. I would like to think that, if Elvis were alive today, he too would enjoy Campbell's performance which is both silly and moving. The character is afflicted with the sorrow and regret that comes with getting old and The Chin himself does an amazing job of conveying this with that textbook swagger he carries so well.
1. Evil Dead (1981)
Was there ever any doubt that Evil Dead would be number one on this list? I mean the film defined the B-movie horror scene while simultaneously defining Campbell's career as well.
Evil Dead is a classic for a reason, it found a way to blend true horror with comedy so naturally. The imagery, the suspense, the violence, it all propelled the horror genre into a whole new perspective.
When you ask any horror fan their top favorite classic horror movies, nine out of 10 times Evil Dead will be found high on that list.
The credit doesn't just belong to Campbell, but to Sam Rami as well. But since this is a list about Bruce Campbell, I have to talk about Bruce Campbell. With this in mind, when I look at Ash's ability to remain sane and witty in the face of some truly terrifying monstrosities, I can't help but praise the talent of The Chin. He defined the B-movie genre with this one role. How could Evil Dead not be number one on a Campbell list?
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 31, 2020:
It's nice to meet a fellow Bruce-fan so we can share our appreciation of the man and his work. My wife and I once drove a fair distance to watch Bubba Ho-Tep and had the best time! How far did we drive? From Phoenix, Arizona to San Diego, California. Worth every mile. Even on the drive back the next day.