A Year In The Career – Bruce Campbell – 1985 – Video Podcast

An obligatory video for the 1985 episode of A Year In The Career as we chat about the cinematic chaos that is, Crimewave and the lack of Bruce in Thou Shalt Not Kill… Except.


since the 1970s the film industry has been contending with the chin now gareth myles and simon appleton examine each year in the career of bruce campbell hiya cupcake won’t you come on over to my pad there we’ll have a scotch and sofa hello and welcome to a year in the career we’re looking at 1985 in the career of bruce campbell this is the podcast that looks at the career of bruce campbell one year at a time and this time we’ve got a couple of films to look at and i am your host gareth you could find me at garethmyles.com and also at garethmyles on twitter that’s g-a-r-e-t-h-m-y-l-e-s and i’m joined by my charming co-host as well simon appleton how are you simon i’m good never been accused of being charming but i’m certainly good excellent well you can charm the pants off our listeners where can they find you uh they can find my uh charming movie blog at moviemustache.com you can also find me on twitter at movie underscore mustache awesome excellent and of course if you’re enjoying this series of podcasts do absolutely get in touch with us we are a little independent podcast so anything you can do to to help us would be great dropping us a review on itunes or any of that kind of caper uh absolutely go ahead and do it throw us an email if you like or if you have something that you think our listening audience would benefit from knowing about then drop us a line we’ll certainly include it if it’s if it’s relevant to our audience well in the last show we we had a bit of a chin wag about uh bruce’s rare dramatic outing uh going back and also a little investment trailer that he appeared in uh made by the coen brothers for the film blood simple which was kind of a turn up for the books when i wasn’t quite expecting something like that on his career but it’s there and it’s you can find it online i’ve put links in the show notes as to where to find that if you wish to watch it this week we will be looking at a couple of films uh the first one is well after making the evil dead obviously hollywood came knocking and embassy pictures decided to stump up 2.5 million dollars for sam raimi to make his crazy caper it was originally called relentless but uh the the title was changed a number of times they seem to have settled on crime uh this was released on the 12th of april in 1985 uh where it got its premiere in west germany of all places which i thought was a bit odd um it wouldn’t be the first place i’d think of no no um but then i caught myself on and thought oh wait hang on a second east germany would have been even more weird at that time but yeah it’s it came out and uh to quote bruce campbell himself it wasn’t released it escaped because crime wave is one hell of a roller coaster if you thought the evil dead was kind of crazy in its origins through production to release then get ready for crime wave yes it’s something else no simon you hadn’t seen crime wave prior to recording this podcast no i certainly hadn’t but you managed to sit down and and take in this um epic crime flick take okay what did you expect before you turned it on uh the little i knew about it i expected a sort of wacky comedy type crime caper i expected to sort of i was expecting more slapstick um i’m still not sure what i got the only way i can think to describe it is when we went i took my missus to see uh once upon a time in hollywood in the cinema last year and when the the curtain came down and the film was over she turned to me and said i enjoyed that but what the hell did i just watch and that second part that’s pretty much my my reaction to crime wave oh i wasn’t blown away by this hilariously the one part of it i did like was bruce’s role yeah even though he was a complete tool and as they call him in in the movie a heel he was the only likable part for me he was funny he even his final moments in in the film were funny uh the rest of it uh i i couldn’t bring myself to like it at all oh it was all right it was it was awful it really was um i i could appreciate the work again the work and effort that went into making it some of the the chase scene with on the highway or wherever the hell they filmed that that was that was well done and the crash was well done but for the most part i i’ve the the clearly dubbed voices and uh some of the over-the-top performances i did like the the newspaper that blew past the clever little reference to the evil dead about the military moving into the woods to deal with the cabin yeah but um no for the most part i i did not enjoy this film wow okay scathing fair enough it was a film that eluded me for years it was one that uh appeared in in blurbs in the likes of uh you know the film guides that you see in in back in the day before you had the internet you had to look people’s names up to find their films in leonard melton reviews and hollywood’s film guides and video retriever and crime move was always listed but i could never find it and it wasn’t until oh i would say in the early 90s it got a vhs release uh in the uk and i think it was around the time that i don’t know if spider-man was coming out or perhaps uh the coen brothers had a had a film coming out but it was a it was really marketed as sam remy and the coen brothers did this get ready for it yeah and it came out i grabbed it and i watched it and i honestly lapped it up i must have just been at an age where the kind of crazy caper that happens here um appealed to uh the the teenager that needed um exciting action or perhaps it was something that you know because i’ve been looking for for so long i was determined to enjoy it whenever it arrived because it was a big screen release for a bruce campbell movie and i um the film does feel very much like one of the early shorts that they’ve done and um it has that kind of approach to it of uh of wacky cartoony stooges uh yes it does comedy but it throws in all these little odd amateur amateur ask shots that that echoes throughout the film that i feel distracted from being a big um robust and and well made film and there there’s one thing that sticks out an eye every time i think of crime wave because i i i watched it recently and i didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as i had done uh years ago but there was one particularly clumsy shot of i can’t remember the actor’s name i’ll see if i can quickly uh find it here edward pressman whenever he’s going into his apartment someone mentions something to him about the uh the the ongoing plot that’s happening in this film and uh he it has a close-up of his eyes jiggling from side to side as he thinks quickly of what to do what to say and how to react with us and it just felt like something that they had thrown into one of their short films it didn’t need to be there it was obviously a cartoony comical moment that they wanted to to carry on with but it it just did it stuck out like a sore thumb as as a shot that could have been avoided and and then they cut back to what is essentially a master shot in the corridor and they play out the master shot so they’ve gone from an extreme close-up to a master shot uh in in a small space of time and keep with the master shot that just distracted me greatly from from the film and i felt it was really poorly put together in that particular moment but that was just one example of how there are a number of things in this film that annoys me however whenever you look at the what sam has done is that every shot is absolutely packed with detail yes techniques and color to uh to give the audience um value for money or or something to look at something to enjoy that that’s it’s odd you know someone like say orson welles may have done that where the every shot is set up with an epic sense of style um sam raimi’s gone for that as well honest i felt that he was going right this is this is hollywood has called me i’m going to take every great idea i have and i’m going to fill the screen the measles sin if you like with uh everything let’s get this done and this is going to become um a huge success and i’m going to be uh showered with with riches and wonders um on the back of this but um it must be so frustrating for because initially they were given creative control over the film but because the film went over budgeted and over scheduled quite interestingly if i remember rightly yeah yeah the the creative control was removed from them and uh and sam has has gone and disowned this film as one of the ones which must be quite frustrating a lot of the ideas you can see coming back in other films um and there’s i there was a shot list i found online uh that where they have broken this down into this having a crime week but it also happened in this film as well he used that there and they used this in spider-man and that’s kind of nice where he he’s still salvaging his good ideas that he had or or um favorite ideas maybe that he had for this film and he’s producing them elsewhere because he’s not going back and seeing this again the cast is really good fun um it has a few weak links along the way and i guess the the fella reed bernie um who plays the role of vic ajax the the leading character in the film which was originally written for bruce yes sam is isn’t he’s all right he’s serviceable but had it been bruce it it would have been much better i think what worked in reid’s favor was because of the acting he produced for for the role because he’s meant to be this innocent naive uh bloke who just gets walked on by everyone else who always sees the bright side of things even though the world basically just wants to kick him in the ass all day long it kind of worked um for example one bit i did like was when the governor shows up and he’s in the chair and that look of relief and and and it’s almost like a light has shone on his face because the governor shows up and he’s like oh good i’m not too late and you meant to think oh he’s gonna release him and he’s like i haven’t missed it great and then just sits down and the look of oh shit on his face it kind of worked from from that angle but it yeah it does start to grate on you after but as i said it was bruce’s performance as as the heel was um was definitely the relief and as i did enjoy the bit where the governor showed up what i couldn’t believe was antonio fargus huggy bear of starsky and hutch when i saw that i recognized that bloke i recognize and i had to actually pause the film and go on to imdb and look at why do i recognize this person and i can’t believe it’s antonio vargas yeah yeah it’s it’s a bit older the the the actors that appear in the film are are quite well well noted mm-hmm yeah i wanted to talk a wee bit about paul l smith as well who i’m i’m a big fan of i i’ve seen a number of his films and i’ve uh i watched a documentary with him a couple of years ago called them was the largest red herring or something like that it was called but he had a fascinating career in israel and then in italy as well where he played essentially um a knockoff of bud spencer in a bunch of movies as well but uh he’s best known for his incredible role in in midnight uh express and uh he he’s in a he’s in june as well and uh red sonja he pops up on bluetooth in popeye as well he he does have a a pretty big career yet he’s he’s here as well and i remember watching i had to go and find that uh documentary again to to get the quote um he mentioned that uh varieties had suggested that uh his supporting or his rule was supporting the whole film and i felt that that was a little bit unfair because uh brian james is particularly good as well he’s he’s very weasely uh you know him from uh blade runner yep amongst other things yeah yeah he’s a sadly departed but uh he’s a a very uh iconic actor from what what video films me with him obviously was because seeing him in i believe he’s in um 48 hours as well yes yeah he’s in 48 hours and uh the fifth element um but he’s got this very one of his signature things is he’s got this very deep voice yeah and then to see him in that and very squeaky but it works for the character it really does work it was quite clever how they did it um when he first reaches for the cigarettes in in the glove box and uh you know the other guy is gonna slam his hand in the uh in in the door but the way he wails and then the van pulls up outside the building and actually sounds like a siren for like a police car or some sort of emergency vehicle of course but it’s just so you’re expecting that that typically deep gravelly voice and what you get is this squeaky high-pitched and and then you find out later he’s got his ability to mimic other people it’s it was very very creepy they filled the characters with odd quirks definitely and uh and almost played people against type which makes me think that you know i had bruce played the lead role in this um okay following evil dead going back and then the lead role in a in an overstretched comedy keeper like this that would have been you know the perfect cv for any actor yeah but he ended up getting shafted and put down to uh a lesser role which he acted the shit out of and uh and stole the film from everyone else who was there uh cherie j wilson um who we know from i think she walker texas ranger and april stevens from dallas which is where i first fell in love with her um she plays nancy the the heroine uh who the damsel in distress um she’s lovely in it and she’s not given that much to do she doesn’t have a weak dance number which i remember thinking that was quite funny yeah she kind of just has an arc of realizing that you know sometimes you’ve got to you you’ve got to see what’s right in front of you and uh and maybe the bad boy isn’t the one to go for despite all these main sort of characters that we’re talking about it’s louise lasser who is actually considered the biggest star of the film and i find that the oddest thing because to be honest her her role doesn’t really have much to do with with the whole story and it’s just oh she’s available let’s let’s put her in there and you know you read behind the scenes about how uh she fired her makeup artist was a giant pain in the ass on a cocaine fueled madness yeah that makes you think wow um i i don’t know her outside of this film particularly well um having a look at her film career she was in mystery men bananas and happiness three films that i’ve seen i don’t remember her in those at all looking down her filmography i don’t recognize too many things at all surrender and franken oh she was in an episode of csi oh there you go i didn’t watch right okay um but you know there’s there’s all these principal rules um that that uh just kind of get thrown together it’s it’s a bit of a crazy mishmash of actors and i don’t think whilst vic ajax is the the protagonist that the audience is going to identify with he’s actually slammed way down there and he doesn’t really yeah it’s his movie but it almost focuses on on the brothers or the the two exterminators shall we say more than anything i guess from that point of view maybe the star of the show is actually sam raimi because he he just fills the film so full of kinetic energy and it becomes almost tiresome halfway through yes and there are the odd slow moments but there’s not that many no it it cranks into high gear very quickly and stays in it you you really get a very short amount of air here and there you know the the the film is notable because obviously the coen brothers served as editors on it as well joseph laduca who did the the music on hercules and xena and the evil dead uh he wasn’t included by the producers as well he was removed from this pro uh project as well which is another reason for sam disowning it because he wanted ludica to do uh the the score for the film and to be entirely honest i even though i watched it about a week ago i can’t think of the music in this film at all whereas joe laduca who did army of darkness um and a lot of uh not not huge soundtracks but you i i know his name because of the evil dead and i’ve listened to the music from those films and there is a particular style that he does and they’re notable whereas i i couldn’t even tell you who did the music on this and i couldn’t hum any tunes from it in the slightest no it’s totally forgettable in fact the only sounds that do spring to mind from the film are that very squeaky voice and uh and lightning striking yes electricity and people being electrocuted and that sort of thing yeah yeah it’s i i like the the world that they’re creating i love the the whole windy chicago thing it’s it’s almost like they just dumped everything in to keep this thing absolutely brim full of ideas and stuff to play with it’s almost like a sandbox of a film that if this was a tv show they could have spent episodes dealing with each and every character instead you only get a few minutes uh with each character and it’s total and it’s a missed opportunity perhaps for for a lot of those things um the reviews were not good whenever it came out although um some did recognize the creativity that that remy had had put on screen um and the film bombed big time uh i think it was released in was it arkansas and alaska or something like that um theatrically and then it was just it was moved very quickly onto cable where it played late night showings on cable uh quite a bit and so it lost an awful lot of money but on the back of that it’s worth noting that they the guys had to go back and try and redevelop their career because obviously evil dad had been such a success they’d gone to hollywood and made this they had a thoroughly nasty time doing it i know that there’s uh there’s reports of how even bruce campbell um came to arguments with some of the producers over their their direction they were taking this and they had to work out what they were going to do next because they were totally put off the whole studio machine by their experience here and it was because of their experience here that they decided we’re going to do evil dead too let’s go back take creative control make the movie that we want to see and if it hadn’t have been for this being such a such a crazy time for them we probably wouldn’t have got evil dead too if this had worked out perfectly they may have all gone on to other things and and that’s that’s up for debate you know would you yeah we might not have got possibly the greatest horror comedy ever made in evil dead too having a quick look at my notes on crime we have i do have one that i’ve tacked on the end here which is uh the film opens with um crime wave being set in hudsucker state yeah um which is unobvious not to the hudsucker proxy um which whenever you think about it is probably the closest you’ll get to the cartoony approach of crimewave in another film because i don’t know if you’ve seen hot circle problems i haven’t heard of it but okay it’s it’s it’s a bit of a slapstick comedy not unlike this but good [Laughter] with paul newman as well which which really adds adds volumes to it and look forward to that one because i i do particularly like hudsocker proxy and we’ll be talking about that whenever we get to 1992 1994 93 93 so yeah um that’s crime wave uh it’s it’s hard to say that it’s i i wouldn’t go as far as you and say that it’s uh it’s hard it’s it is hard to watch it’s a bit of an assault on your senses but i i do quite like it primarily because bruce campbell is bloody cool in it he is i will give you that he was very cool and that’s a hard thing for an actor to do whenever they’re relegated to such a small unlikable role to be the one thing that you take away from it paul smith is particularly good as well brian james is good um and those three i think make this film along with reamy’s fun style make this not entirely unwatchable is that a compliment yeah i think that’s as close as we’re going to get to complimenting it all right okay anything else you want to add before we move on to the next big thing no i i think i’ve slated it enough so i’m here so whatever i’m not a bad guy [Music] or am i huh so uh also in 1985 we had the remake of striker’s war back in their short film making days uh the guys made a film called striker’s war well particularly josh becker made it and um they used this as essentially a finance tool to make it a bigger film the story of well it was actually called striker’s war again is a relatively simple one um josh becker and his friend sheldon let let it let it change let’s let it yeah we’re brainstorming ideas and uh sheldon went away and produced a huge page script called bloodbath and this formed the basis for the film thou shalt not kill except because josh spent his time whilst working as a security guard and fleshing out the idea with bruce campbell on a journey back from the evil dead cabin with all the gear uh into a bit of a a doable action horror film i wouldn’t even go as far to say a horror film i suppose it has horror elements um i know from the our intro episode you were quite interested in seeing the remake all strikers were because we did quite enjoy striker’s war it was uh yeah i hadn’t managed to get to see striker’s war for the for the opening episode but uh i definitely made a point of watching the short before watching the film so as i could compare the two um and i actually preferred the short yeah there’s a couple of reasons for that but the the feature film does have its its positives as well uh so what what are your feelings well how come the short was better in your eyes um i think mainly it’s bruce again it’s bruce because he was better in the lead role he was more likeable he was as striker i i don’t know i just didn’t connect with the uh the actor who took over in fact whereas because he’s not actually um credited no he wasn’t credited apparently although in the copy i saw he was credited but yeah imdb shows it as jack striker uncredited brian chills yeah um i i just didn’t like him as much as i liked bruce and i thought if anything that the short felt more like its own original story whereas the film came across more like a alternate version of or bad episode of the a-team they even seem to have their own token discount ba barakas in there who seemed to be channeling mr t uh in his performance the film did do a better job of establishing the romance side of things and obviously certain elements of production value were better um i don’t think it has a positive message on the use of firearms and alcohol at the same time but the same can be said of both versions for that but yeah overall i just generally found myself enjoying the short better than i enjoyed the movie all right well that’s i i i honestly prefer the uh the feature film although i will agree with you it is very much lacking uh mr campbell in the lead role um but this i don’t feel that this is a movie for bruce at all this is a movie for sam remy yes doing his thing and he is he has so much fun here yeah he’s literally been let off the chain yeah yeah both he and his brother ted uh play well simon sam plays pretty much a charlie manson character and leading a cult as they go and be nasty to the locals and a bunch of returning vietnam uh decide to take up arms against them and i think that’s a it is a nice idea it was done a number of times during the 80s and i’d like to think that this maybe was because they did strikers war they came up with the idea before some of the other ones obviously a rambo influence yeah um has has been made there but where they’ve taken rambo and the a team and mixed them together there’s there’s an i can think of one other film i hadn’t seen the shot not kill except in a long time i’ve only seen it twice uh once for this uh show and then once when i first got it on video um years ago or maybe it was dvd i can’t remember which but whenever i first got it but there was another film called the annihilators which had garrett graham in it who’s an actor i think of very much along the same lines as bruce campbell they have a similar career path and i honestly got these two films very mixed up and i was thinking of the team from the annihilators versus sam raimi because sam remy is totally notable here as the this this cult leader leader and a lot of what they do is uh reenacting stuff that they’ve done in the striker’s war short you know the the iconic moments and there are a few of them that i’m so glad they left in there like the there’s the all the action that happens in the house and they film from the outside and they they follow it around the outside of the house i really love that shot it’s so simple and all you hear is the stuff that’s going on in the house and then the uh the two bloody hands on the ladies and memory glands is a particularly iconic moment as well i i think that’s those are essentially the best bits of the film the rest of it um is is a wee bit drab but the i think the action delivers a lot better than in striker’s war i feel that this version of jack striker puts up a bigger a better fight than the bruce’s version because i i don’t think bruce actually even throws a punch in the original striker’s war um you might be right there yeah it’s it’s a wee bit um lackluster um the bruce is accredited as having a role as the i think the video news yeah caster and i didn’t recognize him in the slightest i’m i’m thinking that perhaps i missed it or maybe they replaced it i think what they’ve done is they’ve used a different actor’s face and he just did the voice because it’s a a non excuse me none screen actors guild production yeah he’d literally just joined the screen actors guild so he couldn’t appear in it so what i reckon they did was they got another actor to do the the actual appearance and he voiced it so as at least he had some connection to it and he’s credited through story as well yeah yeah as i think i probably would have enjoyed it more if he’d have got to play the role yeah i think it might just be me and the i’ve seen him play the role i want to see him play the role again sort of thing it’s always weird when another actor takes up the the same role and the the particular casting here was was not good at all because he even sam remy would have been better in the world yeah or perhaps ted reamy but you know why why would they want to play this fairly bland rule uh whenever they can play the the cult leader and on ted dream he’s created it as chiang mai yeah um which are so much more fun they don’t get as much screen time but uh they look much more fun to play the one thing that really distracts in this film is their take on vietnam their their battle they reconstructed on what looks like a golf course uh with some bales of hay yeah doubling as huts and that’s obviously got budget restrictions and it works out very lousy i think even just cutting that out or perhaps having it fuzzy black and white um yeah bubble above the characters here having the flashbacks would have worked better um it it just it it’s too hokey for the film to support however a perfect example of how this film succeeds is joseph luduka who we were obviously just talking about on crime wave his score is fantastic on this film and that really propels this film up an extra couple of stars on my books and i i really think this film excels at that uh because of the because of the score it it just glues it all together and makes it a much more palatable package it does have a tremendous cult following i can believe that but there’s uh large groups of people in the states who get together and watch this every year because they they love it so much which isn’t unthinkable because every film certainly has its fans yeah uh josh didn’t do too badly he found his footing here and it certainly helped him propel his career and it got him into the i don’t know the hollywood circles that he needed to be into the shannon kill isn’t particularly great uh it it’s it’s an oddity on well no it’s not it’s not naughty oddity on bruce’s career he has many films that he’s not actually fully involved in but he he does have some kind of strange little rule because he he was pursuing a career so he has to do films like this in order to keep credits and have things to put on his cv and to pay the bills and to pay the bills that’s the thing um i wouldn’t recommend people seek out thou shalt not kill or or crime wave no um there’s there’s better things to come as examples of bruce’s career unless you have anything else you would like to add it though shall not kill except no no i i think we’ve covered it quite well enough fair enough okay well uh next week we’ll be looking at 1987 whenever we look at one of uh one of my favorite films ever made was released and we get an insultingly small role which is uh not um not the first time that happens in bruce’s career um in a popular tv show as well so uh tune in next week for a year in the career in 1987. if you want to have your say on what we’re talking about uh get in touch with gareth at a year in thecareer.com or simon you’re on the emails as well yep you can get me at simon dot ayearinthecareer.com or alternately you can find me on twitter at gareth myles and simon at movie underscore mustache groovy and other than that take care see you next time [Music] keep talking baby maybe you’ll tell me something i don’t already know