Horror legend Bruce Campbell likes Cincinnati: 'An old crumbling brick city like Detroit'

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Bruce Campbell is best known for portraying Ash Williams in Sam Raimi's “Evil Dead” horror franchise. Campbell is an actor, director, author and producer, and he's getting a big dose of Cincinnati in the coming weeks. He'll be part of the first two days of action at the HorrorHound Weekend horror convention (March 24-26) and then his own "Bruce-O-Rama" show at Taft Theatre on April 6.

He has been to Cincinnati multiple times and likes the city, no matter how he phrases it. “It’s an old crumbling brick city like Detroit. It’s got a lot of history, and it’s got a lot of cool parts to it,” Campbell said.

“I lost all my luggage coming to Cincinnati. I also had one of the worst cab drivers I ever had at Cincinnati,” Campbell said. “Other than that, I had a pretty good time in Cincinnati.”

Bruce Campbell starred in the 1981 cult horror film "The Evil Dead."
Bruce Campbell starred in the 1981 cult horror film "The Evil Dead."

Campbell will be at HorrorHound on Friday and Saturday. Lucky for him, he'll be back soon. Fans who can't get enough of Bruce at the convention can see him at "Bruce-O-Rama" at the Taft Theatre on April 6.

“HorrorHound is what it is. It’s a standard convention. You take pictures. You get autographs. You hang out. You have fun. You meet some people,” Bruce explained. “It’s a little different with Bruce-O-Rama. It’s a two-part. The first part is a game show called ‘Last Fan Standing’ and it’s geek trivia or horror sci-fi fantasy. Everyone competes. Everybody in the audience has the ability to take it all the way. We don’t pre-screen anybody. We can have a lot of exciting finishes. Then we take a break and part two I’ll introduce one of the old classics and get the hell out of there.”

Bruce Campbell looks back on 'Evil Dead' franchise

Campbell was born and raised in Royal Oak, Michigan, and befriended Sam Raimi in their high school radio speech class. They began working on many projects together.

Their 1981 film “The Evil Dead” made Bruce famous. Campbell starred in the film and was co-executive producer. He reprised the role in “Evil Dead 2” in 1987, “Army of Darkness” in 1992 and the television series “Ash vs. Evil Dead” from 2015-2018. Bruce also voiced Ash Williams in video games.

Some fans might question why each of the three “Evil Dead” films featured a different actress portraying Ash’s girlfriend, Linda. They might also wonder why "Evil Dead 2" and "Army of Darkness" filmed different backstories with Linda.

“We didn’t have the rights to our own footage. A different company made each of the "Evil Dead" movies. So, we had to sort of recreate a retelling each time. And all it was just confused people,” Bruce explained.

Though the "Evil Dead" films featured plenty of humor, producing them was serious work. “They won’t be funny to anybody who was on the set,” Campbell said. “Those movies are very difficult to make. There wasn’t a lot of laughing going on. It was a lot of work. People are always looking for funny experiences. A movie that is easy to make is hard to watch in my opinion.”

Executive producer Bruce Campbell poses on the red carpet for the premiere of “Evil Dead Rise” during South by Southwest on March 16, 2023.
Executive producer Bruce Campbell poses on the red carpet for the premiere of “Evil Dead Rise” during South by Southwest on March 16, 2023.

Having a chainsaw for a hand was not the most difficult part of filming. “It has nothing on the fake blood. Nothing will be worse than the fake blood. You can use any prop all day long. Nothing is worse than having fake blood stuck all over you,” Campbell said.

Though Campbell no longer portrays Ash Williams, he is one of the co-producers of the new “Evil Dead Rise” movie, which will open on April 21.

Bruce has 166 acting credits to his name. He has appeared in many movies and television programs. What was his favorite role?

“I don’t have one. You are the pundit. It’s for you guys to do. It’s my job to try and make every role good and try to make everything that I participate in better. I don’t have a favorite yet because I am not dead,” Campbell said.

Other celebrities coming to HorrorHound

  • Terrifier 2”: Elliott Fullam (Jonathan Shaw), Leah Voysey (TV Host and Nurse), Damien Leone (writer and director), David Howard Thornton (Art the Clown), and Jenna Kanell (Tara Heyes).

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”: Dee Wallace (Mary Taylor), Henry Thomas (Elliott Taylor), Robert MacNaughton (Michael Taylor), Matt Demeritt (E.T.), and C Thomas Howell (Tyler).

  • "Cobra Kai": Martin Kove (John Kreese), Peyton List (Tory Nichols), Xolo Mariduena (Miguel Diaz), Robyn Lively (Jessica Andrews), and Barrett Carnahan (young John Kreese).

  • Subspecies”: Cast and crew members of “Blood Rise: Subspecies V.” World premiere of film on Saturday, March 25. Denice Duff (Helena Duff), Ted Nicolaou (director), Kevin Spirtas (Prince Vladislas), Anders Hove (Radu Vladislas), and Charles Band (producer).

  • Giancarlo Esposito, Doc in “Creepshow."

  • Doug Bradley, Pinhead in “Hellraiser."

  • Mattthew Lillard, from "Scream" and the Scooby-Doo movies.

  • Kristy Swanson, Buffy in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie.

  • Bonnie Aarons, the Demon Nun in “The Nun."

  • Skeet Ulrich, Billy Loomis in the “Scream” movie franchise.

  • Jack Osbourne, executive producer of the TV series “Portals to Hell."

  • Devon Sawa, Logan Wheeler in the horror TV show “Chucky."

  • John Kassir, the Crypt Keeper in the horror TV show “Tales from the Crypt."

  • Ken Kirzinger, stuntman who played Jason Voorhees in “Freddy vs. Jason."

  • Jonah Ray, Jonah Heston in the TV series “Mystery Science Theater 3000."

  • Brett Wagner, Lou Boy in “The Amityville Moon."

  • Phil Fondacaro, Ray Vernon in “The Haunted Dollhouse."

  • Douglas Tait, Malivore in the TV series “Legacies."

  • Eduardo Franco, Argyle on the TV series “Stranger Things."

  • Brad Loree, co-stunt coordinator for “Halloween: Resurrection."

  • Richard Masur, Clark in “The Thing."

  • Twiztid, a hip-hop duo from Detroit.

  • The Jasons, rock band from New Jersey.

  • Spencer Charnas, singer-songwriter from Ice Nine Kills.

  • Scott Ian and Frank Bello, members of the thrash metal band Anthrax.

Executive producer Bruce Campbell gets interviewed on the red carpet for the premiere of “Evil Dead Rise” during South by Southwest in 2023.
Executive producer Bruce Campbell gets interviewed on the red carpet for the premiere of “Evil Dead Rise” during South by Southwest in 2023.

What else is happening at HorrorHound?

Each featured guest has separate charges for autographs, professional pictures and selfies, and you can find the days they will be featured at horrorhoundweekend.com. Vendors will sell toys, movies, posters, clothes, art and other merchandise.

HorrorHound will host film screenings, filmmaker Q&A sessions and workshops. They will host the Kids Costume Contest on Saturday from 5-6 p.m. Ink Fusion allows guests to schedule an appointment with one of 11 scheduled ink artists.

There will be several events held offsite at the Marriott Delta across the street. They will present Scareoke on Friday from 10 p.m. to midnight, and on Saturday, the Scareoke and Dance Party event from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and After Hours Night Terror from 8 p.m. to midnight.

If you go to HorrorHound Weekend

Where:  Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road

When: March 24-26.  5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: Friday and Sunday passes cost $30 each, Saturday passes cost $40, and weekend passes cost $70.

Information: horrorhoundweekend.com

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Bruce Campbell spills his guts on how hard it was to film 'Evil Dead'