Man With The Screaming Brain / Evil Dead 2: Book Of The Dead 2 Bruce Campbell / (Directed by Sam Raimi

Say what you want about Bruce Campbell's acting, and you can be sure he's heard it all before — "bombastic," "cheesy," "brilliant" and "awful" are all adjectives that have been used to describe his work in the Evil Dead trilogy. But as a director, he is nothing if not enterprising. Man With The Screaming Brain is Campbell's "20 years in the making" labour of love/vanity project that thanks to some creative rewriting and ingenious timing was finally able to get made. While in Eastern Europe filming a b-grade schlocker for the Sci-Fi Channel, Campbell, along with partner David Goodman, took advantage of the crew and location work done for Alien Apocalypse and reused them to make Brain. Set in Bulgaria, the film finds Campbell (as a wealthy American industrialist named William Cole) the victim of first a brutal murder and then a mad science experiment, during which a piece of a local cabbie's brain is fused with his to reanimate him. The problem is that the cabbie, who was the victim of the same killer, and Cole aren't exactly on the same page when it comes to cohabitating the same body. As they seek revenge on the killer, the left hand literally has no idea what the right is up to and Cole becomes a one-man Three Stooges routine. Campbell's work in front of the camera on his deliberately corny yet often hysterical directorial debut recalls the tour de force performance he gave in Evil Dead 2, which found him fighting his demonically possessed self for about half the movie. But it's his work behind the camera that stands out as surprisingly competent. A fan of the schlock genre, he knows what works and what doesn't. The DVD offers an insightful and hilarious commentary track that should be mandatory for anyone contemplating making a movie in a former Soviet Republic, as well as a detailed retracing of the film's 20-year journey. Fans of Campbell will also want to seek out the limited edition re-release of Evil Dead 2. The curious "sequel" to Evil Dead, Sam Raimi's gore classic has been repackaged in a fleshy book edition similar to Evil Dead: Book of the Dead but with the addition of a screaming eye. Be warned, the disc's bonus materials, commentaries and making of are the same, save a new photo gallery feature and an enhanced transfer. (Anchor Bay)