Horror icon/actor/great chin Bruce Campbell recently revealed his thoughts on the most recent Spider-Man movie, and he was…not impressed. The Evil Dead star was recently in his natural habitat, a fan Q&A at the Fandemic Tour Atlanta (a new type of fan convention that The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus was unfortunately unable to attend), when he was asked his thoughts about the blockbuster film Spider-Man: No Way Home. More specifically, a fan first asked if he had seen it, to which Campbell feigned ignorance of the movie, then explained that he himself had been in “the good ones.” It’s a pretty good diss on the recent Tom Holland-starring film, which has broken box-office records left and right. Being the charmingly relentless self-promoter that he is, Campbell went on to break down his appearances in Spider-Man movies.
Bruce Campbell first showed up in a cameo in the Tobey Maguire 2002 Spider-Man film (which starred William Dafoe in his first turn as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin), as the wrestling announcer who belligerently introduces Peter Parker to the ring as “Spider-Man” rather than his preferred “The Human Spider.” In Spider-Man 2 (which turned to Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius for a villain), he showed up as a theater usher who dresses Peter down for his slovenly appearance and then still refuses to allow him into Mary-Jane Watson’s (Kirsten Dunst) performance. Finally, in Spider-Man 3, Campbell pops in as a French maître d’ who attempts to help Peter propose to Mary-Jane (it doesn’t go well). These cameos were all a bit of an in-joke for fans, as the Tobey Maguire trilogy of Spider-Man films were all directed by Campbell’s longtime friend and collaborator, Sam Raimi.
The decades-long relationship between Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi began when they attended high school in Michigan together. Their mutual interest in film lead to them making numerous short Super 8 movies together, which eventually culminated in the 1981 horror classic The Evil Dead. One of the most acclaimed movies in the modern horror canon, the ultra-low budget movie would influence pretty much every following movie that involved spooky books, ghouls, or cabins in the wood (especially Cabin in the Woods). It would launch Sam Raimi into mainstream Hollywood, and brought The Coen Brothers along with it. Campbell starred in The Evil Dead as Ash Williams, the only survivor of the film; he would go on to reprise the role in The Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness, and a Starz TV series called Ash vs Evil Dead. Campbell has claimed to have retired the character, but given the latest reboot of the franchise, we will never be surprised to see him pop up with a “groovy.”
While Bruce Campbell has never quite achieved the star status that Sam Raimi tried so hard for, he has become a beloved fixture of fan conventions as well as a best-selling author and raconteur. Reportedly, Raimi had Campbell pop up in a cameo for the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, though there is some word that it may have been deleted from the finished film. However, it’s clear that Campbell’s diss of Spider-Man: No Way Home was meant in good fun, and it will be a shame if we don’t see him in the MCU eventually.