Bruce Campbell in Josh Becker’s Acting and Reacting


Bruce Campbell pre-Evil Dead in 1978 is something to behold. In this short film directed by Josh Becker, we see a young actor learning his craft and it is pretty entertaining.

Bruce Campbell, as everyone knows made a series of Super 8 shorts during the 70’s before starring in his breakthrough role as Ash Williams in Evil Dead. While footage exists of some of the more well-known forays such as The Blind Waiter there are those that seem like a quest for Indiana Jones.

I literally stumbled upon ThisIsMyBoomstick on You Tube and discovered some obscure Sam Raimi outtakes and behind the scenes videos. It was during my research for a story that I happened to notice Acting and Reacting.

This is a short film written and directed by Campbell’s pal, Josh Becker who later directed the actor in one of his best indie efforts, Running Time. What is interesting about this production is the cast reads like a list of who’s who in the Michigan Mafia.

You have another Bruce buddy, John Cameron (executive producer of Legion), Scott Spiegel (director of Intruder and Hostel: Part III), Charlie Campbell (Bruce’s Dad) as well as Sam, Ivan and a pre-teen Ted Raimi. When you watch this video the first thing you notice right away is that Campbell was born to be in front of a camera.

He has an ease and affability that makes him likeable and that translates very well onto the screen. In this movie, he plays a guy named Maury who has his heart broken by Carol, a girl he is enamored with. The problem seems to be a lack of chemistry on her part.

She thinks he’s funny but can’t see herself going out with him. Feeling depressed at being jilted, there is a shot of him sitting forlornly on a couch in the middle of a party. To his left happens to be his close friend, Sam Raimi.

However, according to Becker and the Book of the Dead website, the film went through multiple reshoots but the end result pleased him.

"“I think Acting and Reacting remains one of the most interesting of the Super-8 films. It’s the only film of its day to attempt to capture what we all actually looked and sounded like at the time, and it succeeds to some extent, too. It’s also a nice little production with several well-photographed sequences, achieved with helpful lighting assistance from Mike Ditz.”"

Get ready to take a trip back in time.

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While his performance is a bit raw, it has heart. You can’t see any traces of the ramped-up mania of some of his future roles. In fact, it is exactly the opposite which is why this makes for compelling viewing.

What did you think of Acting and Reacting? Have you seen this short before? Feel free to let us know your opinions in the comments section below.