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Bruce Campbell on Ash, Age and Three-Day Festival This Month

Hail to the King, baby.
Hail to the King, baby. Bruce Campbell
click to enlarge Hail to the King, baby. - BRUCE CAMPBELL
Hail to the King, baby.
Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell is usually introduced with words like “inimitable” or “unique,” maybe even “quirky” or “matchless.” But really, those are used because Bruce Campbell is just too Bruce Campbell-y, and mere words are insufficient to fully capture his innate Bruce Campbellness. But Campbell defines himself — and his career —with a great one: groovy.

He’s had a long and weird career playing lots of tall and weird characters, perhaps none more notable than Ash from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films. What began as a more or less traditional splatter-form horror flick turned into a cult-favorite series on video that went on to spawn two official sequels, a remake, a bunch of unofficial sequels and tie-ins, a mobile game, a TV series and even a musical.

To celebrate all that — not to mention the rest of Campbell’s storied, fan-favorite career — the actor will be at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park November 12 to 14 for a festival dedicated to his work. BruceFest is billed as “the ultimate weekend experience in grueling horror” and comes in three tiers of three-day passes: the Deadite Package, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis Package, and the Kandarian Demon Package. Details and prices for all these attendance levels are available at the BruceFest website, but even the most basic tickets include “Watch with…” screenings of some of Campbell’s most infamous roles, continuous screenings of Bruce Campbell flicks, a scavenger hunt, photo ops and lots more.

We caught up with Campbell as he began prepping for the festival named for and completely focused on him. And he was, as you might expect, very Bruce Campbell about the whole thing.

Westword: You're living it up at the infamous Stanley Hotel. Will this be your first time checking in to that particular establishment?

Bruce Campbell: Yep. I'm excited and afraid. I don't want creepy twins to follow me around.

Good point. No one wants that. Still, the spirits from The Shining seem a little more sedate than those from the Evil Dead universe. How do you think Ash would handle the Overlook Hotel?

He'd take care of the weird crap and line up for some vintage cocktails at the cool bar. He's no dummy.

Get ol’ Lloyd to set ’em up so you can knock ’em back one by one? Good play. So how does it feel to have a whole fest named for you? The trip from acting in the first Evil Dead movie to this point must have been...well, quite a trip.

The journey hasn't ended yet! It's fun to have enough in the ol' library to host a full weekend of films and fun.
What are you looking forward to most?

Seems like there's a lot going on those three days. I've always loved murder mysteries that happen live, so I'm looking forward to attending that event. You never know what will happen!!!

The "Watch With..." screenings seem like a lot of fun. Sort of a live version of DVD commentary, right?

That's basically it. By being able to stop, the storytelling is more complete — you don't miss anything this way. It's also more interactive.
BruceFest might seem sort of peculiar, but it actually makes sense through the lens of your career. The whole fan base has grown up loving you and your delivery first and foremost. What's it been like, coming at an acting career from that angle?

I don't really have an angle. The character Ash has mirrored my acting career through the decades. I've aged with him and, hopefully, gotten better with age, sort of like Ash.

Still, your IMDB credits list is long and impressively diverse. You were on Knot's Landing, Homicide: Life on the Street and Ellen, to name only a few surprises. Outside the Evil Dead movies (and, clearly, Knot's Landing), what have been your favorite roles?

A cool, real-time crime drama called Running Time. It's a bit of a lost gem. I was also happy to play a cowboy in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and Autolycus, the King of Thieves on Hercules and Xena. Mucho fun.

I'll bet. Not for nothing, but with that chin, how is it that you have not played Batman at some point?

You'll have to ask my agent.

Speaking of superhero flicks, you're in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie. Care to spill on the details there? Or just plain make something up?

I have to make something up for legal purposes, so here it is: I play an evil ice cream vendor whom Doctor Strange puts into a deep freeze for 1,000 years. Sound fun?

I’d watch it. So would Sam Raimi, I'd bet, who’s a huge fan of putting you somewhere in his films. Can you tell us something about your pal Sam that most of us don't know?

He's a good gardener and a lousy bowler.

Okay, one more thing: Back in the day, you helped sell the canceled-way-too-soon Brisco County, Jr. by doing a standing flip. Now, granted, that was nearly thirty years ago, but hell, you're Bruce mf-ing Campbell! Any chance fans will get to see a flip at BruceFest?

Not unless my stunt guy happens to be at the fest.

BruceFest will take place at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park from November 12 through November 14. For tickets and more information, see the event website.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen