Being friends with writer and director Sam Raimi definitely seems to have its perks. That certainly was the case for talented actor Bruce Campbell (aka “The Chin”), who shared a decades-long friendship and film career with Raimi. From a leading role in the evil Dead franchise to a cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessthe two seem barely able to make a movie without the other.
But not all of his cameos have been in Raimi’s films. In fact, Campbell has quite a long list of fun and surprising appearances under his belt, including movies, video games, and TV.
Final Shemp in Darkman (1990)
When Raimi imagined his 1990 film dark man, he had imagined Campbell in the lead role. Eventually, it ended up going to Liam Neeson, who played protagonist Peyton Westlake AKA “Darkman.” Still, he made sure Campbell got the chance to appear in the film’s closing scene. Westlake flies through the crowded streets, puts on his latest mask –
And it’s Campbell! Although the scene is technically serious, the movie is so over the top and campy that there is still something deeply comedic about the scene.
Asylum Officer in Eddie Presley (1992)
Bubba Ho-Tep wasn’t Campbell’s first foray into an Elvis story. This honor goes back to the years 1992 Eddie Presley, a film about a broken down Elvis impersonator. It describes his stay at a mental health facility where he is monitored by two attendants played by none other than Quentin Tarantino and Bruce Campbell.
While the scene isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, there’s something surprising and fun about seeing Campbell and Tarantino star as orderlies in a series of overworked scenes. Not to mention the fact that frequent collaborator Sam Raimi’s brother Ted also makes an appearance.
Announcer in Spider-Man (2002)
At Raimi’s Spider Man starts things off, as Campbell appears in all three films, each time in a different role. His first role was the fight announcer in Spider Man. Once Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) gets his web superpowers, he decides to take his skills to the wrestling arena and earn money doing cage matches.
The announcer is none other than Campbell, who looks his best here, dressed in a truly absurd animal print blazer and wearing a pair of glasses. But his unique moment is important – he gives Peter the name “The Amazing Spider-Man”.
Usher Theater in Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The Chin reappears in Spiderman 2, but this time as a theater usher. Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) has made her theatrical debut and Peter tries to get there in time to see her in the play. Unfortunately, his crime-fighting duties get in the way, and he ends up arriving at the theater after the play begins.
Enter Campbell as an incredibly pompous usher. After seeing Peter struggling through the door, he thwarts his attempts to see MJ perform. The doors are closed, which means no one can sit down. “It helps maintain the illusion.”
Tour guide in Spider-Man 2: The Game (2004)
After the film’s release, Spider-Man 2: The Game became available for most systems. Like any video game, it starts with a tutorial level. In the case of this title, however, the tutorial level is also complete with a wise and deeply sarcastic voice following the player and telling them what to do.
It’s pretty obvious when he says, “Are you following me? Well, stop following me or I’ll have you arrested,” which is this very special tour guide. Since then, Campbell has voiced characters in several games, including the recent Evil Dead: The Game.
Butler in Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Finally, by the third Spider-Man, Peter is ready to ask MJ to marry him. He’s got the whole scene in place: beautiful restaurant, the ring, and he’s spoken to Campbell’s butler to make sure he’s delivered at the right time. However, things don’t go exactly as planned for Peter, and the couple eventually pull through.
Campbell is at his best, and the role helps break the seriousness of the scene. He and several other service personnel keep appearing, realizing it’s not the right time and back off. It’s a hilarious back and forth.
Winkie The Gatekeeper in Oz the Great and the Mighty (2013)
Another picture of Raimi, Oz the Great and Mighty is a prequel to the technicolor masterpiece The Wizard of Oz. The film follows the transformation of Oscar Driggs (James Franco) from a real-world con man to the would-be Oz, the man behind the curtain. Along the way, he and his friends eventually enter the fabled Emerald City.
But they have to sneak past a surly and suspicious guard named Winkie. It can be hard to see past the makeup and prosthetics, but the guard who gets hit with a cane is Campbell. Her role is minor, but it’s another fun cameo.
Dr. Ashford N. Simpson in Psych (2014)
Psych was a show never short of cameos and pop culture references. So it’s no surprise that Campbell appears in the Season 8 episode “A Nightmare on State Street.” The episode deals heavily with horror movie tropes and sees Gus (Dule Hill) suffer through a series of terrible nightmares.
The name is most definitely a nod to Campbell’s role as Ash from diabolical deathand he and the rest of the cast have fun winking at the film throughout — he even throws an Ash-style “come get some!”
Photo model in Spine Chillers (2016)
Josh Becker’s web series Spine Coolers is a fun goofy, low-budget horror show. Most episodes are short and feature good music and bad wigs, but the overall effect is fun to watch. In the episode “The Wraith”, paranormal investigator Raoul O’Hara (Paul Harris) takes on a case involving a lonely widow and her haunted computer.
She keeps getting strange messages and at first she and some friends think it’s someone making fun of her. They start browsing a database of people using “facial recognition”. Blink and you’ll miss this moment, one of the people is Campbell.
Pizza Poppa in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Would it be a Raimi film without him? Not in this universe. Or one of the universes in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, because Campbell appears on an alternate Earth as Pizza Poppa. He meets Doctor Strange and America Chavez, the latter stealing part of his pizza.
It ends in a hilarious confrontation in which he is cursed by Strange to punch himself in the face. What he does, several times, for three weeks. In the after-credit scene, he is finally freed from the spell. Sore? Yes. Funny? Yes too.
Next: 9 Times Sam Raimi Got Completely Evil With Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness
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