We at Gizmodo are longtime fans of Bruce Campbell, so we were jazzed (and honestly quite starstruck) when we got an opportunity to sit down with him at San Diego Comic-Con to chat.
Campbell has worn lots of hats in the film industry, with credits that span acting, producing, directing, hosting, and even recording sound effects. He also hates an equal number of things in the film industry: money in Hollywood, heavy costumes, excessive green screening â€” and superheroes, apparently. (He may be the only executive producer Iâ€™ve ever met who seems to resent a large budget.)
During our time with the horror-staple, we discussed his new venture for the Travel Channel, a revival of Ripleyâ€™s Believe It Or Not! â€” along with a bunch of other topics, including Evil Dead, the pitfalls of filmmaking, and why Batman v Superman was a terrible, no-good, very bad idea.
Gizmodo: You made Evil Dead nearly 40 years ago. Whatâ€™s the biggest change in filmmaking and horror that youâ€™ve seen since [then?]
Bruce Campbell: Mostly filmmaking, in general, is the technical side. If you donâ€™t have any money to make a movie now it doesnâ€™t matter. It really doesnâ€™t matter. I can shoot an entire movie right here. No light. Not even those lights. You know so but the trick now is you still have to tell a story. Because itâ€™s easier now.
I tell people if you live in Buttcrack, Kansas, tell those stories! Tell a cool story from there! You donâ€™t have to go to Hollywood. Get your camera from, you know, Kmart. We didnâ€™t leave Detroit, Michigan until we made three different movies. Stay where you are.
Gizmodo: You arenâ€™t a huge fan of interacting with tennis balls on a green screen. And youâ€™re not a huge fan of like super heavy costumes.
Campbell: Who would be? I was just telling somebody â€”actors, like, â€œOh, man, I wish I could be in one of those superhero movies. Man, Iâ€™d love to be Mysterio.â€ Letâ€™s say Mysterio. OK. Congratulations. Youâ€™re Mysterio. Hereâ€™s your costume and you and you canâ€™t even take a leak in this costume. But weâ€™ve got a team for that. Donâ€™t worry.
But weâ€™ve got tubes, things like that. So weâ€™re going to be in this really uncomfortable outfit and youâ€™re not really going to be anywhere. Youâ€™re in the kingâ€™s castle? Oh yeah, youâ€™re on that chair, painted green in front of a green screen, and a guy right here, and youâ€™re looking at that castle exploding.
Oh no. Oh no. Tennis ball on a stick. Thatâ€™s what youâ€™re looking at.
Gizmodo: So you have some sympathy for [Game of Thronesâ€™] Emilia Clark, right?
Campbell: I do, 100 per cent. Because hereâ€™s the difference: the first Evil Dead movie, if I had to shoot out a window with a shotgun, we took your shotgun, and we shot the window out with a shotgun shell.
Like, pointing out the window, camera guyâ€™s name was Tim. Like, â€œTim, where are you? Wave your arm.â€
And Iâ€™m like, â€œDonâ€™t stand there, Donâ€™t stand there. Because weâ€™re going to blow the window out.â€ Years later, we do Ash vs. Evil Dead, brand new show. There wasnâ€™t a single â€” it was all a flash. That was a digital flash, was a digital interactive light on my face and they would put in a big sound effect. So it became from viscerally real to completely fake.
And Iâ€™m not sure â€” obviously, itâ€™s very unsafe to do what we did. And on the other hand, itâ€™s not as real. You have to really use your imagination of what the end thing is going to look like with the shotgun. But itâ€™s safe. No oneâ€™s getting hurt, because I can now morph into a monster and fly it you in one nanosecond where the point where my eye optics canâ€™t even adjust to that now.
You know, effects should be used to tell a story. Because â€” hereâ€™s what it is: the Evil Dead movies are about unsuspecting people with no special powers and things happened to them. So itâ€™s survival by normal people.
So thatâ€™s all you need. To a character Ash from Evil Dead, he can be killed at any time. Car crash. Heâ€™s dead.
But these guys who have this special superhero power, to me thatâ€™s Snoresville. If you donâ€™t have kryptonite, then â€” Batman v Superman. Stupid, stupid, stupid concept. Never shouldâ€™ve been made. Superman who can like, make the world go backwards with centrifugal force.
Batman canâ€™t do that. Superman can frickinâ€™ fly. Heâ€™s the man of steel. All he has â€” one hand on Batmanâ€™s esophagus, the story is over. So they spent a lot of money kidding themselves.
Stop rinsing these superheroes! By the time we get through, theyâ€™re all going to have the same colour hair, theyâ€™re all going to do the same stuff. Whatâ€™s unusual about them?
â€œOK, Scarlett Johansson. Hereâ€™s your mark on the floor. We already filmed all the other people. We already put them here. So you have to be here because thatâ€™s where your places on storyboard two eighty-six dash nine that weâ€™re shooting you in Iceland in the Saturday afternoon.â€
Iâ€™m good. Iâ€™m going back to low budget movies for the SyFy channel.
More of Gizmodo’s kvetch sesh with Bruce Campbell to come. Stay tuned!