The Evil Dead (inc FANalysis)
Say 'Hello' to Bruce Campbell. No, not the soup magnate. The actor, the entertainer, the nice guy, the all round king of cheese, and the documentarian too.
You see, during his time in show-business, Bruce has become more and more intrigued about the concept of fandom. Why does someone obsess so much about a specific film, band, or character? What drives a person to buy books, write letters, dress up at conventions, and generally shy away from the face of the norm? Well, that is what Bruce wants to find out in this pithy documentary about the fans, by the entertainer himself.
Now to help him chronicle this journey, Bruce interviews actors: Ted Raimi, Ryan Wickerham, and Ted Thompson; experts: Harry Knowles, Meri Hazlewood, and Tim League, as well as the fans themselves.
However to carry out this latter task, 'interviewing the fans', Bruce attends a theatrical showing of 'Evil Dead 1', as well as partaking in a sci-fi film convention. Here, this is the basic overlay on what he finds out:
THE GENERAL FAN: This is the type of person who holds down a simple nine to five job, and on occasion, rents the odd movie or buys the odd T-shirt. Just to keep his life from becoming too dismal.
THE INTERMEDIATE FAN: The intermediate fan is the next level up from the general fan, and buys memorabilia, autographs, and related apparel. All focused on a specific genre of film, or actor / actress that he or she admires.
THE FAN-ATTIC: This OCD lite individuality is much more focused on his or her particular fandom. Not only do they do what the preceding levels of fandom do, but on top of that, their collecting is more restrictive, and their overall outlook on life can be perceived as associative by default.
THE FAN-NERD: A fan-nerd is the type of fan that delves into their specific passion within a historical context. Now they do this to heighten their own knowledge associated towards their own leanings, whilst at the same time becoming engrossed to such an extent, that this subject could start to take them over.
THE FAN-OBSESSED: This type of fan is starting to boarder on the unsanitary. Firstly, they do whatever the preceding levels of fandom do, just more so. Secondly, their specific fandom has taken them over to very lofty heights. And thirdly, their perception, their way of life, and their physical being, is just... wagga-wagga-wagga.
THE HARD-CORE FAN: Do not approach this fan unless you want to be immediately blasted with whatever they pine over. This is obviously apparent because: (1) Some sort of cosmetic dabbling has taken place - i.e. plastic surgery. (2) Their fandom impeaches their mannerisms and social intercourse - i.e. email, way of speech. Plus (3) It spills out onto their job, their circle of friends, and their family too - i.e. help.
The level of fandom that comes after this one needs a straight jacket. Something that good old Bruce knows all to well.
Now let me get the only negative things I can say about 'FANalysis' out of they way first, before I can start delving into this review more thoroughly.
Its too short.
That’s right... short. Heck, I am positive that Bruce could have stretched this documentary to more than just a mere 26 minutes! 'Fandom' is an expansive topic, correct? And has the depth which could easily run to at least five times this amount - especially if Bruce broadened his horizons, and really did a tour of the convention circuits. Still, apart from that little niggle - the length - this documentary is just fan-tastic (pun intentional).
Now why is this feature fantastic? Well, it touches upon a subject that all fans of film and fiction alike, probably contemplate on a semi-regular basis. I myself have often tried to psychoanalyze why I am drawn to a particular subject matter more than another, or try to surmise why 'A' is more appealing to me then 'B' – because it is very revealing you know.
And, prey-tell, what did I reveal about myself? That I like what I like, and I like it because I do.
OK, not as exploratory as Einstein, agreed. But basically, as revealing as 'FANalysis' is. Granted, I know that by me saying his, it does not really put this great documentary in a very good light. However, this program does manage to show fandom at its conceptual level, whilst at the same time giving us, 'the fans', something new... the actors perspective.
I found this aspect to be more revealing than the fans themselves! Because I am sure that we all know someone who is an obsessive compulsive about something or another. Though I don’t think that we all know the 'someone' who can look upon this from the ‘something’s’ point of view – if you catch my drift. Moreover, it's just great to hear Bruce tell us why he was inquisitive about this subject mater in the first place. Plus why he felt the need within himself to look into it more closely. On a subliminal level I feel that it humanizes Bruce as a person, and tells us more about him – and the other actors – and how they feel about their fans.
Here, check out these Bruce-facts, to see what I mean: (1) Bruce stole his chin from Kirk Douglas. (2) He used to baby sit Ted Raimi, brother of Director, Sam. (3) Bruce can make cheese with his smile. (4) He was considered to play Agent Dogget in 'The X-Files'. Plus he auditioned for two comic book properties - Batman in 'Batman Forever', and 'The Phantom' in the film of the same name. (5) Bruce is an actor. (6) He wants to work with director, Kevin Smith, one day. (7) Bruce's hair is made out of a camel's navel. (8) He did a audio commentary as Elvis for the film 'Bubba Ho-Tep'. (9) Bruce starred in all three Sam Raimi Spiderman movies, as three different characters. (10) His favorite film is the 1957 classic, 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. And (11) I like this clip...
Oh! Do you know another thing that I really liked about this piece? Bruce’s analysis as to why fandom is something that can be both beneficial and detrimental to all involved. It is as the old saying goes ‘too much of a good thing can be bad for you’, correct? And maybe that is why this documentary – plus this review – is so short.
THE RATING: B+