by Shrub 11/4/03
OK! I finally get to see the much anticipated (by me anyway) Bubba Ho-Tep and it really delivered. Let me give a little history first. This is, from my understanding, a totally independent effort on the part of director Don Coscarelli, the man behind Phantasm and based on a short story by the great Joe R. Lansdale. If that’s not enough, Bruce Campbell is the lead.
Running wild with a version of the Elvis conspiracy theory, Campbell plays a geriatric king of rock-n-roll, spending his final days in an east Texas nursing home. The movie opens with a hilarious, yet genuine, monologue delivered by Elvis reflecting on his life and how he came to be in this dreary room next to a dying man and possessing some uncomfortable health issues of his own. Lansdale’s writing is immediately apparent from this speech and its crass, over-the-top humor. Anyone that’s read much Lansdale knows that this story will be out-there, way out-there, and it is. It is much more of a comedy than horror, which makes Bruce Campbell and obvious choice (not to mention his uncannily believable appearance as an aged Elvis). But hey horror fans, there IS a soul-sucking mummy.
Elvis, feeling nostalgic for his “butt-kicking” days along with a bit of regret perhaps over the way his life seems to be fizzling out, enlists the help of JFK (I know, I know. Just see it), and decides to take it upon himself to prevent any further soulless deaths in this particular rest-home at the hands of this particular cowboy mummy.
The movie treats its subjects with a lot of respect. You actually feel a lot of compassion for Elvis, the black JFK (they dyed him to help with the cover-up), and the masked man with the cap-guns. This of course adds to the overall experience as you’re able to root for the good guys. There is also some great use of music in this flick, which really enhances the moods appropriately.
Chances are you haven’t seen anything quite like this, and I imagine that it’s destined for cult-classic status. I thought it was great.
(8/3/04) Hey now, I've finally gotten my eager little mitts on this weird little flick and I was NOT disappointed, although watching it again would be a necessity because I'm sure I missed some things here and there. So here's this little rest home in Texas where Elvis and JFK really are NOT dead, Elvis is a bit on the plausible side (as played by Bruce Campbell) but a tad foul-mouthed for The King, JFK, well, he's now black, and apparently has been that way for years, he was dyed as part of the cover up? OK, so there's the set up, and to boot there's an ancient pissed off mummy prowling the halls and killing poor old folks and taking their souls. Go figure. The main reason I was drawn to this film is it's by Don Coscarelli, he of the (in)famous Phantasm series, which I love, and while this is not stricly a straight horror flick it delivers the goods. Bruce Campbell as Elvis was truly inspired, he's a great hammy actor and he was a natural for the part. Elvis as you've never seen him, and I don't mean from the waist down on Ed Sullivan. For fans of the weird and goofy, mainstream movie fans will probably just not get it, not to mention LIKE it. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5.
Sam Boone, Louisville, KY