Bruce Campbell: If B-Movies Crashed the Oscars

Jim Mahfood
Illustration: Jim Mahfood

The horror-geek icon reimagines the cutthroat night with real violence: vampires, zombies, gore -- and all bad jokes punishable by death.

Look, everyone knows the geeks have taken over Hollywood. So why shouldn't we take over the Oscars, too?

Every time I go to conventions, I remind people they're in control of Hollywood. If it's outta control, it's up to you to fix it. That show is like a roomful of zombies with better dermatologists. I'm going to disturb their ancient slumber.


First, the red carpet would be red because of blood. Waterfalls of blood. We'd serve Bloody Marys. Instead of reporters on the red carpet, zombies would attack movie stars at random -- picture the staggering undead trying to figure out how to rip Johnny Depp's aorta out through his nose. C'mon, Will Ferrell, let's see if you can outrun these four incredibly fat mummies on the red-carpet obstacle course! Actresses, you think you look perfect in that L'Wren Scott number, but could you get over a retaining wall while being chased by a vampire? You might have wanted the back on that dress. I'm just sayin'.

The Kodak Theatre I would redo as a decrepit old antebellum mansion with cobwebs and an inch of dirt, and there'd be leaves on top of that and a stream running down the aisle. It'd be like you are in the woods. And instead of another monstrously boring Oscar show, I'd pull the plug after an hour and 42 minutes with commercials. Let's speed it up, add some drama.

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The show will be like Evil Dead: The Musical, where the first three rows are the splatter zone. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, streams of bowels and blood. And it will be a great relief to all the stars because then it doesn't matter what Gucci dress you're wearing. How can a garage mechanic watching at home relate to George Clooney in a monkey suit? Ah, but a monster chasing Clooney around the stage, shredding his tux down to his boxer briefs -- that you can relate to. A hand will come through Betty White's stomach.

But it won't all be random, senseless violence. If your jokes die, you die. If a musical routine is bad, the audience shuts it down by throwing rotten tomatoes. The Oscars would become the Just Rewards Awards. So you made $60 million this year, Will Smith? As a presenter, you'd have to pay the actor who's been out of work the longest. For every Lifetime Achievement Award, you gotta kick someone out of the business.

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And Academy Awards won't just go to those blowhard The Remains of the Day kinda movies. Because people on genre movies work just as hard as people on those movies. The only reason A-movies beat B-movies is prejudice. District 9 was a satisfying story told in a fantastic way, a great excuse for effects. But the Academy doesn't give awards to movies like that much. A slow-moving, muddled mess with actors not working that hard -- make that movie, and it'll get an award. Especially if it's obtuse and by Terrence Malick.

Every A-movie now is really a B-movie I could've made for a tenth of the price. My last movie, My Name Is Bruce, cost $2 million. Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great and Powerful is, what, $200 million? I could make 100 different movies for that! B-movies are better. They're not trying to trick you with star photos on Taco Bell cups. B-movies give you twist endings, strong characters, universal stories. Dollar for dollar, The Blair Witch Project is better than Titanic or Avatar, so at my Oscars, it would win.

And who needs Pricewaterhouse? Fangoria, they're freaks. Let them keep track of the numbers.