Bruce Campbell Has a ‘Screaming Brain’
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) “If I were pitching it in Hollywood,” says Bruce Campbell on his official website, “I’d say it’s ‘The Out-of-Towners’ with a brain transplant.”
Campbell is referring to his new movie, “Man With the Screaming Brain,” which he stars in, produced, wrote and directed, premiering Saturday, Sept. 10, on Sci Fi Channel.
Also being released in a four-part comic-book version by Dark Horse Comics, “Man With the Screaming Brain” features Campbell as wealthy industrialist William Cole, who travels to Eastern Europe in search of a tax shelter and winds up the guinea pig of a mad scientist (Stacy Keach), who merges his brain with that of taxi driver and former KGB operative Yegor (Vladimir Kolev). The two then set out to find the woman (Tamara Gorski) who killed them both.
Some fans of Campbell’s are getting to see a sneak preview of the film, along with getting signed copies of his latest book, “Making Love the Bruce Campbell Way.”
“It totally sounds like an advice book,” Campbell says, “but there’s not a shred of advice in the entire book, which is good for any of your readers. It’s a novel. It’s a humor book. It’s sort of a what-if scenario of what would happen if you took a B-movie actor, meaning me — I take the lead role in the book — and put him into a big Hollywood movie. The answer is that it’s not good. It’s a misadventure. I single-handedly take down a big Hollywood movie.”
Asked if this is something he’s fantasized about, Campbell says, “Yeah, in a way.” But has he ever achieved it? “I’ll never tell.”
Of course, in “Screaming Brain,” Campbell is put in charge of the whole moviemaking process, with predictably bizarre results.
“It was written by a lunatic,” Campbell says. “It’s a quirky movie that you won’t see on an airplane.”
Apparently, the movie wasn’t originally set in Eastern Europe, but that all changed because of where Sci Fi Channel wanted to film.
“Bulgaria,” Campbell says, “that’s where Sci Fi Channel does their movies now. As an independent filmmaker, I take it upon myself to tap-dance whenever I have to. If that’s where Sci Fi is shooting, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for your story. My story was originally set in East L.A. I said, ‘Hey, guys, who’s going to play the Latinos — the gypsies of Eastern Europe? How’s that going to work?’
“So I convinced them to let me rewrite it for Bulgaria. This was really a fish-out-of-water story either way, and this just made it even weirder.”
Filming in Bulgaria posed production challenges, not just language barriers, but basic cultural issues. “The Bulgarians are incredibly hard workers,” Campbell says, “but because there’s a DNA chip still of communism that has to be worked out of their system, they wait to be told what to do.
“They won’t look at my shot list and go, ‘Hey, shot number six says it’s using a scaffold, let’s put the scaffold up.’ You have to go, ‘Put the scaffold up.’ They go, ‘Da,’ and they put it up.”
Despite overcoming all these obstacles, Campbell wasn’t expecting stellar reviews — and he wasn’t disappointed.
“The basic reviews I’ve been getting for ‘Screaming Brain’ are, ‘It’s a lot of fun for a piece of crap,’ or ‘For a dumbass movie with no value, it’s not bad.’ I’ve gotten a series of backhanded reviews.
“It’s a loopy movie, and the weird thing is, if you call your movie ‘Man With the Screaming Brain,’ nobody’s going to take it seriously anyway. It’s 88 minutes. It doesn’t take too much of anyone’s time, so I’m OK with it.”
Campbell’s current combo tour also gives him a chance to hold forth on a favorite subject — the lack of respect for his beloved B-movies.
“I’m both on a movie tour and a book tour,” Campbell says. “It’s a 40-city blitz. We’re doing book signings at movie theaters. It’s a favorite pastime of mine to do a little Q&A session before I introduce the movie. I go on a rant, basically. People love making fun of B-movies because they’re cheeseball, the acting’s not so good, the writing sucks, the directors don’t know what they’re doing. But the interesting thing is, all the A-movies are now B-movies.
“If you’re bitten by a radioactive spider, it’s a B-movie. If you dress up like a bat and fly around Gotham City — sorry, that’s a B-movie. Tom Cruise can jump up and down on Oprah’s couch all he wants, he’s starring in a B-movie this summer. When aliens invade the Earth, that’s a B-movie. Sorry, folks.
“And as far as fresh ideas, there are plenty of terrible B-movies, but they’re the only Petri dish for original ideas. This summer’s lineup has been a spectacular dud, if you want my opinion. ‘War of the Worlds’ is from 1898. You’ve got the same with ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ and ‘The Honeymooners.’ My entire childhood is coming back to haunt me.”
Bruce Campbell Has a ‘Screaming Brain’