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Swallow This: Attending Evil Dead 2 with Bruce Campbell

11:13 AM EDT on May 1, 2023

Sometime around sixth grade, my younger brother and I would make the arduous journey to Sound Warehouse somewhere near N. May and Grand Blvd on Saturday afternoons.

Being a kid with no social skills or, really, any friends, I was working to complete a list of cult movies to rent—99 cents a movie—based on reference books from the public library.

One of the movies was Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn.

Being a fanboy of the Sam Raimi trilogy of Evil Dead movies, I was finally able to meet star Bruce Campbell in early 2000. Allegedly, I was the first person to get his autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, signed at Full Circle Books in Oklahoma City.

I bet I was the first person in Oklahoma, too.

The fandom of Campbell has grown with me over the years, and proudly, has become a Fowler family tradition.

Taking the flame of the Necronomicon and its infernal slapstick to new boundaries, my nephew – now, at twelve years old – is a massive fan like I was, and thanks to the digital age, doesn't need to walk to Sound Warehouse.

Last weekend, for his birthday, my brother and I took him to see Bruce Campbell live at a screening of Evil Dead 2 at the Tower Theater.

After a rousing dinner of processed burgers, we went to the growing theater, queuing outside on the venue. With his Ash t-shirt in tow extolling the virtues of his “boom-stick”, my nephew was spewing fake blood in pure excitement, spouting the trivia that he recently learned, hoping for an autograph.

As the line shuffled in, we found seats in the back balcony. It was a ways away, but my nephew didn't care. Forget the Avengers, Superman or Luke Skywalker—this was his hero and he finally got to see him in person.

When Campbell took to the stage, he provided a good comedy show, with his cocky personality taking jabs at the OU/Texas rivalry, the swelting heat of Florida film locations, the 1963 assassination of JFK, the schoolbook depository, and the blaming of Kevin Stitt, all in one joke.

In the guise of a trivia show with the “biggest fan” on the line, it was very entertaining, as was the second act—the screening of Evil Dead, with plenty of questions by the audience, most of them inane.

And, of course, the movie was good too.

As we walked out, though a personalized signature was not attained, it was a pop-cultural experience that most of his friends will never get and never understand. But at least he does.

And, to be honest, I realized that this is another act in my ongoing recuperation, as I come back to life following that horrific stroke. That journey continues this week as a make a return trip to Tower for Psychedelic Furs. Say hi, if you see me.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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