SCREAMING AT MEETING THE KING OF Bs!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! Recoverin’ from Halloween hangover, we’ve been takin’ it fairly easy after wrappin’ up such a huge season last week. But if concludin’ an epic crossover with Full Moon wasn’t enough for celebratin’ the greatest holiday, we tried to make this year even more memorable when we heard the King of Bs himself, Bruce Campbell, was blowin’ through our town.

In case you haven’t heard, Bruce recently wrote his newest auto-biography Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor and has been pushin’ it on loyal fans with a cross country book tour. To make his book signin’s more fun than standin’ forever in lines for an autograph, Bruce entertains folks as a host of an all inclusive pre-show called Last Fan Standing, a trivia gameshow for geeks who know their pop-culture. We didn’t need a lot of convincin’ to know Bruce Campbell + Halloween = a one of a kind experience we’d kick our own asses for missin’, so we hurried to buy tickets for what we hoped would be an unforgettable Hallow’s Eve. Well, it was unforgettable alright.

The first thing we regret are the tickets. At the ticket site we were directed to, there were three options. General Admission buys you a signed copy of Bruce’s new book and admission to the gameshow everyone can play. Plus-One tickets are cheap deals for those supportive spouses or indifferent family members taggin’ along who don’t want a book but can still play the game. VIP tickets offer the more exclusive experience, of course, givin’ you an assumed autographed book (see that missin’ detail below), entry to the gameshow, and a meet and greet with Bruce himself. Investin’ too much into the “limited number of VIP tickets” available, we snagged those babies up in a hurry, thinkin’ we were some lucky few who would get the chance to mingle with Bruce in some backroom with a handful of others like a backstage pass at some hot shot concert. More on that later.

The first bit of confusion came with the time the event started which was posted as 6:30 PM. Is this when the doors open or when the game starts? More importantly, was this exclusive VIP meet and greet happenin’ before or after the event? After some callin’ around, we got our answers and showed up in time to file in the buildin’ with other eager fans a few minutes before 6:30 PM. Once inside, we’re given these multiple choice clickers for the game along with our pre-signed copies of Hail to the Chin. We find us some seats near the stage after grabbin’ drinks to help ease our fandom nerves and gaze at the gameshow set consistin’ of five podiums and a projection screen. It was about this time we started seein’ other horror fans in the crowd we knew, everyone exchangin’ the same glance of disbelief with each other that said, “You knew the King was here and didn’t bother tellin’ me?!” It was apparent everyone in town wanted Bruce all to themselves, present company included.

A little after 7 PM, nearly everyone found a place to plant their butts and the shin dig was underway. We had seen Bruce once before in passin’ on a convention floor, and that was our first and only experience with bein’ starstruck. This imaginary guy we spent so many years watchin’ on TV and collectin’ in comic books was real and within arms reach. This time ’round, his presence didn’t carry quite the same impact. When Bruce bounced on stage, we thought he resembled Bob Saget from Full House more than the knucklehead hero we watched in Ash vs Evil Dead. We think his glasses are to blame for that.

Anyway, Bruce cracks a few jokes, mingles with audience members dressed for Halloween, and introduces us to somethin’ called Bruce Bucks. In addition to the game, Bruce said folks in the crowd could earn this fake currency for doin’ or sayin’ random things he finds humorous, but we’ll be damned if he ever said where to turn it in or what it got anyone. Good thing he gave out so little of it. It’s not long before Bruce breaks away from gettin’ personal with the crowd and jumps into the first round of questions. Now, we thought this was a new show bein’ tapped on the road for future broadcasts on some unknown channel, but turns out this was just a fun little roadshow performance without a single camera in sight. Basin’ the winners on how quickly they answered questions correctly, Bruce asked a handful of trivia rangin’ from comics to horror flicks. We would say these questions weren’t anythin’ too advance for a modest fan, most of it focusin’ on Marvel comics and popular horror movies. The toughest questions were details from The Last Starfighter, Game of Thrones, or Labyrinth. Intimidated by the quick draw part of the game, we sadly missed several things we actually knew and didn’t get to advance to the stage as one of the final four.

Bruce personally greets each of the final four and starts the next round which is pure comedy thanks to a knowledgeable she-geek from out of town. The final four flank the sides of the projection screen that displays the questions as Bruce asks them. She-Geek is buzzin’ in with the answers as soon as Bruce opens his mouth, ’cause she’s readin’ it on the screen quicker than he’s readin’ it out loud.  Stagehands realize this and chastised her for not listenin’ to Bruce instead. With this bein’ their umpteenth rodeo, you’d think these knuckleheads would have figured out they either need to get the contestants behind the screen or tell them to not read it beforehand.

Luckily, She-Geek pressed on and dominated the next two rounds, ’cause the questions were provin’ so relatively easy to answer, she’d just buzz in before even thinkin’. And why not? No one was penalized for givin’ the wrong answer. When all was said and done, she was the last fan standin’. Everyone was eager to see what her grand prize was, most believin’ it would be some valuable piece of merch or prop from one of Bruce’s movies. Before we get to that, however, game reps first told us what the other four finalists got which raised all kinds of confusion. We conferred with other folks in the crowd, and most agreed it sounded like the reps of the event said third and fourth place won gift cards to our local comic shop along with weekend passes to our area’s upcomin’ comicon. What? Nothin’ for second place? And after that bafflin’ announcement, we witness the winner gettin’ her grand prize, a signed certificate from Bruce that said she was a nerd. That’s it?!! Afterward, we had to follow up with the comic shop that served as the event’s sponsor, and they helped clarify things. The winner actually got the weekend passes for comicon with a hefty gift card to their store. Second through fourth place won similar gift cards to the comic shop of lesser varyin’ amounts. These winners had to be hunted down by the comic shop reps to be awarded their prizes thanks to slack gamin’ officials. A little disappointed we couldn’t whiz kid our way on stage with Bruce to win another John Hancock (the signed book is enough for us), we became anxious to begin the meet and greet phase of our Halloween night with the King of Bs. This is when trouble started.

While we were ignorantly prepared for an some personal meet and greet with Bruce in a private VIP backroom with an exclusive group of fans for a few minutes, Bruce’s bad cop counterpart takes the stage and starts givin’ everyone explicit directions for what was happenin’ next. After readin’ Hail to the Chin, I found out this guy’s name is Mike, and he’s Bruce’s point man at appearances, ensurin’ everythin’ goes Bruce’s way or no way at all. He was the one to break the news that the only perk us VIP ticket holders got was to line up in an orderly fashion at the front where Bruce would be sittin’ at a table and take turns shakin’ his hand while he added our name above his signature already found in our books. Another lame perk  to this VIP experience not mentioned on the ticket site is the opportunity to have Bruce sign a second item in addition to his new book, as long as it was a body part or relevant to his career. At first, the crowd was mighty upset, because everyone was understandin’ Mike was sayin’ both VIP and regular ticket holders could get in line to meet Bruce which undermined the reason people like us ponied up the extra dough for VIP tickets. This took forever to clear up, and folks finally calmed down when it started bein’ announced only VIP could stand in line for Bruce. We later found out that for such a limited amount of VIP tickets, 60-80% of the crowd that night were VIPs waitin’ in line, and that just made the experience feel a lot less special.

Upset at findin’ out we paid extra for a common celebrity encounter most people experience at conventions, it only got worse when we were told we couldn’t have pictures with him, ’cause no one was allowed behind his table. We were allowed to take pictures or video of him signin’ our stuff, however, so long as we stayed on our side of the table. Bruce must have as many do’s and don’ts as the president when it comes to meetin’ the public.

Not wantin’ to feel like we wasted money, we waited in the long twistin’ line and waited patiently, while we passed the time sharin’ our Bruce Campbell videos with others in line and spreadin’ the word about our show. When we finally got to the front of the line and approached our cinematic hero of the last 20 years, it was pretty uneventful. We knew it was a long shot, but we asked if he had seen our ultimate tribute video he retweeted. He said he didn’t know and whisked us on our way. With the next fan runnin’ up on us, we wanted some form of satisfaction, so we urgently asked if he receives any royalty from any of the comics that feature his most popular characters.

“Why do you care?” He passively said.

“Just curious.”

“Don’t buy Dynamite. They steal images.”

With that, we walked off and our highly anticipated night with Bruce Campbell was over. I asked some knowledgeable folks about the Dynamite Comics comment later, and seems that publisher’s taken some heat for usin’ a lot of actor’s images in their licensed comics associated with movies and TV shows. For instance, they bought the rights to publish Army of Darkness comics regardin’ its story and characters, but not necessarily the rights to use Bruce’s likeness for Ash. It’s legal details like this that’s why the Real Ghostbusters cartoon characters don’t look anythin’ like Bill Murray or Dan Akroyd.

So, the event was okay at best. There was a lot of miscommunication Bruce’s people were at fault for, and some unfortunate disappointments were partly due to us expectin’ more from the experience than we probably should have. As described, we did get a book, we did participate in a private gameshow, and we did get to meet Bruce even if it was for less than a minute with a bare bones exchange of words. While we don’t feel the VIP ticket prices were worth what we got in return, the regular tickets were definitely worth the price of a book and hour spent playin’ a game with Bruce. In hindsight, however, we should have just bought the regular tickets with the plus one deals and gone for the gameshow and a copy of Hail to the Chin. If we still wanted a VIP ticket knowin’ what we know now, we would have just bought one and had Bruce sign our copy of the Moontrap comic, his first appearance in a comic book which would have surely gotten a chuckle. But it is what it is, so live and learn.

Oh, and before we forget, how ’bout our thoughts on Hail to the Chin? What we love about Bruce’s first auto-biography If Chins Could Kill is how it chronicles his energetic whirlwind of underdog struggles as an ambitious young man travelin’ the world in search of his dream through sincere trial and error. In this next act of his life, things are a little more settled with him speakin’ as a weathered adult sharin’ details about buyin’ a house in Oregon, how his actin’ career affects his second marriage, the perks and downsides to findin’ steady work on Burn Notice, and his contemplations on losin’ loved ones. The most surprisin’ chapter is his candid admittance to bein’ charged with a DUI back in the day in a chain of car wreck stories. There are some fun stories behind the scenes of My Name is Bruce and Man With the Screaming Brain, but this book kind of lacks that daredevil spirit now that Bruce has been established in the movie business. I also wish there were a lot more personal photos used instead of these Photoshop gag images that seem to dominate the book. Worth a read by any fan.

In the meantime, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our YouTube channel, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail coming.

Warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

If you need the hook-up with instant Troma and Full Moon movies, we’d suggest watching Troma’s films for free on their Youtube channel, and you can get full access to Full Moon’s catalog of work from their movies to their Videozone clips at Full Moon Streaming and their Amazon channel.

See ya later, Scream Freaks!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. simsgirlgem
    Nov 10, 2017 @ 00:08:12

    Omg I wish I had the money

    Reply

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