A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
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
"Bubba Ho-tep" is a low budget movie that went for the B-movie feel on purpose, accomplishing its goal of being a "fine" piece of pop culture weirdness. The story is set in a current-day East Texas rest home and focuses on two residents who believe they are Elvis and JFK--the JFK character just happens to be black, and the rest home also houses a few other crazies, including the Lone Ranger. Elvis and JFK soon learn that an Egyptian mummy--who was stolen from his traveling museum exhibition--has come to life in their neighborhood and is killing the rest home residents by sucking their life force out their backsides (you can harvest a soul through "any major orifice," you know). Eventually, our decrepit heroes realize that only they can meet the mummy in a showdown.
The film is really a clever piece of pop culture mythology, working up hilarious back stories for JFK (Ossie Davis who is recognizable from, at the very least, several Spike Lee films) and Elvis (Bruce Campbell of the "Evil Dead" movies). Campbell's performance is particularly excellent, Don Coscarelli's as director did a perfect job finding the right mood and balance of humor for the film, and the leisurely plot--from Joe Lansdale's original novella--is totally engaging and a cinephile's dream.
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