Based on the Bram Stoker Award nominee short story by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-tep tells the "true" story of what really did become of Elvis Presley. We find Elvis (Bruce Campbell) as an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, who switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his "death", then missed his chance to switch back. Elvis teams up with Jack (Ossie Davis), a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually President John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as his happy hunting grounds. Written by
When I first heard about his film I thought the idea of Elvis in a rest home doing battle against a mummy with John F. Kennedy was pure genius, and after having seen it, my thought was only confirmed. Not often is there a film that I will hype so much in my head that when I Do actually get to see it I'm still hyped about it. But this is one of those films. It was all that I was expecting... and then some. It has everything anyone could want in a film, original story, original direction, horror, comedy, drama and more than one stand out performance. Something lacking in the motion picture industry these days is originality, so when this came along it was quite refreshing.
We have Bruce Campbell giving the performance of a lifetime, and almost no recognition. The part of Elvis could have come across as just sad and pathetic, but instead, he brought a sense of realism to it, and heart. At times we felt bad for him, but we never forgot that he was the King of Rock and Roll. And he was still very much capable of "Takin' Care'a Business". We do have the option of believing he is Elvis, or that he could really be Sebastian Haff who impersonated Elvis for so long that he actually believes he is "The King"? As for myself- I'm a believer.
Yet another overlooked performance is Ossie Davis. He played the part of John F. "Jack" Kennedy to perfection. His performance was all class. It came off in such a way that We don't believe he is J.F.K. - but we believe that He believes he is J.F.K. Too confusing? Sorry.
Let's not forget Ella Joyce as The Nurse, and the old kleptomaniacal woman who was attacked by the "Cock-a-roach". And fans of Don Coscarelli's "Phantasm" movies will surely recognize Reggie Bannister as the rest home administrator. Well I could name everyone in the movie, they all did a swell job. But I can't stop without mentioning Bob Ivy as "Bubba". He did a fine job as well, and starved himself in the process just to appear undead and severely dehydrated! And KNB Effects made a very spooky looking mummy, I might add.
I'm not sure why this movie is classified mostly as a horror when it's so much more than that. I think there's a much wider audience out there that could (and would) appreciate a film like this but are missing out because it's been marketed strictly as horror. I actually know people who won't even watch it because they think it's all blood and gore! I guess that's because when they see it on the shelves at the video stores it's classified under "HORROR". Oh well, sometimes it's nice to feel like you're in on a secret.
"Where'd my youth go? Why didn't fame hold off old age and death? Why did I leave fame in the first place? Do I want it back? And could I have it back? And if I could... would it make any difference?"
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