So begins “Bubba Ho-Tep,” one of the most interesting and original films to come along in years. It seems that Elvis (Bruce Campbell) is still alive and living in an old folk’s home somewhere in East Texas. You see he traded places with Sebastian Haff, an Elvis impersonator, years before to get away from all of the fame, fortune and sycophants. He wanted to lead a “normal” life for a while, but never got the chance to switch back due to the fact that the contract he had between himself and Haff, burned up in a trailer park accident and then Haff who had a weak heart and a taste for drugs went and died on him. Now, years later, an invalid due to a broken hip which was caused by falling off a stage, no one believes that he truly is the “King”. His only friend in the nursing is a Black man (Ossie Davis) who believes that he is John F. Kennedy. He says that the government dyed him black and replaced part of his brain with sand. They begin to suspect that the residents at the home aren’t all dying of natural causes, but in fact are being killed off one by one in the middle of the night by some soul-sucking Bubba Ho-Tep (a Texas redneck cowboy-looking mummy.) Since no one in their right mind would believe these two old coots, they proceed to take matters into their own hands. So with walker in hand and electric wheelchair in tow our two unlikely heroes set out on a TCB (Taking Care of Business) mission to rid the their home and save the residents souls from this Bubba Ho-tep.
Directed and adapted from a short story, Don Coscarelli of the Phantasm franchise, deftly moves the story between crass jokes, moody old-school horror atmosphere and a large dose of genuine poignancy. Both Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis give believable and touching performances. Campbell as the aging Presley brings out a quirky inner sadness with his portrayal of the aged bed-ridden King. Elvis, with a past full of regrets, wishes to redeem himself for a lifetime he feels he’s wasted away. His redemption comes in the form of this adventure in which he and JFK go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with a soul-sucking redneck mummy.
“Bubba Ho-Tep” was one of the best films of last year. It is completely different and more original than any other film I have seen in a long time. A film that is not afraid of crossing over multiple genres to create something new and different. The film is funny, bittersweet and genuinely heartwarming. The kind of movie the Hollywood studios would never think of making.
This DVD comes with some cool special features. The audio commentary with Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell is fun and informative. The commentary by “The King” is only for die-hards. Funny for a few scenes, but it gets tiring pretty fast. The four featurettes are really enjoyable, especially “Rock Like an Egyptian” about Brain Tyler’s music score.
Dick says, “Check it out!”
DVD Special Features: