Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Bob Ivy, Larry Pennell, Reggie Bannister
Subgenre: Horror-Comedy, Undead
Synopsis: Elvis is alive and well, in a retirement home in East Texas. Well, he is alive anyways. He teams up with his friend, a black man that swears he is John F. Kennedy, to battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy that is feeding off the souls of the elderly.
Thoughts: The entire movie is ridiculous, which is what makes it great. You have Elvis in the nursing home and his best friend John F Kennedy, who just happens to be black now, and has a bag of sand in his head. He was stuck in the nursing home by Lyndon Johnson. They discover a mummy, which arrives on the scene due to a botched museum robbery, is responsible for the deaths of other tenants at the nursing home. The mummy, dressed in western garb, targets the elderly because they can’t outrun him and sucks their souls out through any available orifice. Yes, he’s a shit sucker, as Elvis calls him.
How Elvis and the black JFK came to be in the same nursing home is actually a pretty clever story and I give author Joe Lansdale and director Don Coscarelli credit for making it seem somewhat plausible, except maybe the bit about skin dying and a bag of sand in JFKs head. I have been meaning to seek out Lansdale’s original work for quite some time, but just never have gotten around to it.
I’m not sure that this movie could have worked with anyone other than Bruce Campbell playing Elvis, but with him in the movie, this was a fun time. I am an admitted fanboy when it comes to Campbell. I must have watched Evil Dead 2 hundreds of times in college, sometimes in lieu of going to class! Campbell pulls off Elvis to a tee, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play the role again, maybe even in a more serious biopic.
The rest of the cast is great as well. It was amazing that Coscarelli could get such an accomplished actor as Ossie Davis to play such a ridiculous role, but he managed it and Davis did a great job. Reggie Bannister makes a notable cameo as well, which is no surprise as he has worked with Coscarelli numerous times as well.
Bubba Ho-Tep is a fun movie. You can read into some of the social commentary on aging and how we treat the elderly, but I find it best to gloss over that aspect and enjoy the tour de force that is Bruce Campbell as Elvis.