Bruce Campbell turns 58 years old today, but he’s showing no signs of slowing down just yet. Following a successful and gore-filled first season of Ash vs. the Evil Dead, season 2 promises to be bigger and bloodier. The Evil Dead universe is Campbell’s cinematic home, but throughout his career he’s taken some memorable vacations. As the undisputed king of B movies, there are lots of hidden gems in his filmography you might not have seen – and others you’ll know well. Here is a list of 5 non-Evil Dead films where Bruce has a starring that are worth your time; but this doesn’t even account for half the gems he has under his belt. Plus, this doesn’t include the movies where he’s been a bit pit player either. There’s a lot of Bruce to be explored after all.
Have we missed any out that you would add?
The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. (1993)
The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr. was ahead of its time. To this day, it remains the greatest “Weird West’’ tale ever told. The Old West is a neglected setting for genre storytelling in the annals of television and film; if you want to see cowboys encountering horror, fantasy and science fiction, comics are where it’s at. That being said, not even the best supernatural Jonah Hex stories come close to the wonder that is Briscoe Country Jr.
The Chin plays the titular character, a Harvard-educated lawyer turned bounty hunter searching for the outlaw gang responsible for the murder of his father. As he rides through the Old West with his companion Lord Bowler (Julius Carry), they encounter an array of strange, colorful characters and dangerous adventures along the way.
The Adventures of Briscoe Country Jr. is pure escapism and adventure. Once you throw yourself into this world, you become a part of it, and it’s a universe it’s difficult to leave when the journey ends (it was cancelled after one season). That being said, you can revisit it time and time again and it feels just like hanging out with old friends.
My Name Is Bruce (2007)
Bruce has always been renowned for his wise-ass sense of humor with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. My Name Is Bruce sees The Chin poke fun at himself quite spectacularly, by playing an over-the-top parody of himself, and taking playful digs at his career and obsessed fan base in the process.
The story takes place in the town of Gold Lick, a rural community haunted by the ‘Patron Saint of Bean Curd’ – an ancient Chinese demon avenging who must avenge his kin after their tomb is disturbed. With the town in trouble, Campbell fanboy Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) kidnaps Bruce assuming that he’s as bad ass as the heroes he portrays in his movies. But Bruce is just a bitter old womanizing drunk who drinks liquor from a dog bowl.
My Name Is Bruce is proof that Bruce doesn’t take himself too seriously, and neither should we. It’s an endearing performance with constant laughs throughout. It’s an essential watch for fans.
Assault On Dome 4 (1996)
Following the success of the franchise that made Bruce Willis a mega star, a number of Die Hard clones came along during the ‘90’s to ride its coattails. Films like Executive Decision (1996) and Sudden Death (1995) typified them at their best; but Bruce Campbell starred in two which showcased them at their cheapest, but no less fun with Icebreaker (2006) and the topic of this piece – which is essentially Die Hard in space.
In Assault On Dome 4 and Icebreaker, Campbell plays a terrorist, albeit in different solar systems. Here, the character scores extra points because he has the balls to takeover a space station and quote classic English literature for the sheer hell of it. It’s a scenery chewing performance of the highest calibre, and the film itself is the type of B movie fun that’s defined The Chin’s career.
Maniac Cop (1988)
Jack Hill and William Lustig never shied away from holding a magnifying glass up to society’s transgressions during their primes. Therefore, when they collaborated on a horror film about a murderous undead police officer, you knew they meant business. When Maniac Cop was released, it encapsulated the hysteria of New York’s city’s civil unrest at the time; it was a city living in fear of their own law enforcement due to well-documented atrocities. That being said, it was also a fun B movie you could enjoy as both a slasher and police procedural thriller, and The Chin had a starring role, along with genre icons Tom Atkins, Robert D’Zar and more.
Campbell plays Jack Forrest, a police officer accused of the murders being committed by the zombie cop. With the maniac still on the loose, his girlfriend and commander set out to catch the killer and clear Jack’s name. But the Maniac Cop might be justified in his killing spree, and a police conspiracy might be afoot.
Maniac Cop – and its subsequent sequels – is an awesome ‘80’s franchise. The first has the most amount of Bruce; but the second just edges it in quality due to being one of the best action horror movies of all time.
This is, quite simply, one of the greatest horror comedies of all time.
Here The Chin plays Elvis Presley, alive and seeing out his days in a nursing home as the cancerous lump on his pecker keeps growing. His best friend is JFK, the ex-president who, it turns out, wasn’t assassinated after all: but he was dyed African American to hide his true identity. However, just when they think their days of excitement and heroics are over, their home is rampaged by a cowboy mummy hungry for souls, which he sucks out through the butt hole. It’s up to the ex-president and ‘The King’ to save the day.
Although Ash is Bruce’s most celebrated role, this is arguably the single greatest performance of his entire career. The sequel Bubba Nosferatu is apparently supposed to happen at some point. Let’s hope it does.
Sundown: The Vampire In Retreat (1989)
Jack of All Trades (2000)
Terminal Invasion (2002)