Bruce Campbell, star of the Evil Dead films, was on hand at The International House in West Philly on Sunday, April 3, to introduce his new movie The Man with the Screaming Brain, which he starred in, wrote and directed. He also did a question and answer following the screening. Much to the chagrin of Campbell’s large cult following, however, the screening almost did not happen.
Exhumed Films, the society of horror film buffs that has been providing screenings for like-minded area people for more than five years, had originally scheduled the screening for their regular venue, the Broadway Theatre in Pitman, N.J. Unfortunately, that theatre closed the week before and decided not to let the Exhumed people know about it. Luckily, The International House stepped up to the plate at the very last minute to save the biggest Exhumed screening in months – probably years.
The screening kicked off with a brief documentary Campbell assembled examining cult fans and all the many facets of their lifestyle. The documentary was both enlightening and funny. It was filled to the brim with Campbell’s trademark sense of humor that all his fans have become accustomed to.
The man himself then came out to do a brief introduction. He explained that this was the first public screening of the film, the “world premiere” of sorts.
Without much delay, The Man with the Screaming Brain began. It is safe to assume that any Evil Dead fan will enjoy this film. It is equally absurd, if not even more so, and has the same silly, slightly morbid sensibility. It also has Campbell doing what he does best: physical comedy.
The plot of the film is too absurd to even talk about. Suffice it to say that Campbell ends up with half of someone else’s brain in his head, which leads to many pratfalls when his two halves disagree. It also features Ted Raimi (director Sam’s brother) as a rapping Bulgarian handyman. It is as ridiculous as it sounds, but yields some decent laughs. Ultimately, the screening of the movie was just a prelude to what most people came for, which was the Q & A.
Campbell answered questions for about 45 minutes, ranging from the rumored sequel, Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash, to which he said, “no way, no how,” to the mustache he wore in The Man With The Screaming Brain.
“I didn’t ‘wear’ it. It didn’t come off every night,” he said. In addition to being funny and witty, he was also self-deprecating. When he talked about Sam Raimi’s spastic performance, he mentioned the Raimi makes him look subtle. He does not seem to take himself too seriously. Despite the late hour, everyone in the crowd seemed very satisfied.
For those who may be interested, Exhumed Films is still looking for a new full-time venue to hold their shows. If you would like to be kept informed, join their mailing list at www.exhumedfilms.com.
Campbell will be on tour with The Man With The Screaming Brain this summer before it makes its way to the Sci-Fi channel in the spring of 2006.
Chuck DelRoss can be reached at Cdelross@temple.edu.