Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) Poster

(2002)

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10/10
A Real Shock - It's Good!
ccthemovieman-115 November 2005
I laughed when a friend suggested this movie. "Yeah, right," I answered, eyes rolled up.

"Well," he finally said a few weeks later, "Here, just look at it. Take my copy and bring it back."

"Okay, " I answered, "what do I have to lose? "

Obviously, I was shocked. This has to be one of the all-time surprises I've ever encountered in movie-watching. Who would have thought this film was this good? Talk about "original!" This is about as original and entertaining as they come, and, as I have stated in several other reviews, entertainment is the name of the game....so I have to rank this film right up there with my favorites.

I refuse to detail the story because the more you explain what it's about, the stupider is sounds and the less likely you will give it a shot.

I will say Bruce Campbell does a fabulous job of imitating Elvis Presley. In fact, he is the best I have ever heard, speaking-voice-wise. Ossie Davis is also a hoot as the old black man who thinks he's President John F. Kennedy. See? I can't say more, because it gets worse, story-wise, the more you explain.

Just trust me that if you appreciate dark humor with some horror thrown in, you'll love it. It's a bit sleazy and the language is very rough, so be ready for that. I guess you could say this "is not for all tastes." You have to be a little warped to enjoy this, but most of us are to some degree.

Be also be ready for one of the oddest films you've ever seen.
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10/10
Fabulously original film
mattbw7411 August 2002
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to see this film at a horror and fantasy convention. Since it is not yet in distribution I jumped at the chance. Just to set the record straight, I didn't go into this film with normal expectations. The god that is known as Bruce Campbell stars in this film, and let's just say that any morsel of Bruce Campbell goodness I can get is going to make me absolutely love a movie.

The basic premise of this film is that Elvis Presley is alive and not too well. He lives in an East Texas nursing home. It seems that years before Elvis tired of his fame and switched places with an Elvis impersonator. The Elvis we see in this picture is a 68 year old man with a penchant for rings and large, jewel studded sunglasses. Whenever he claims to be Elvis, everyone just laughs at this crazy old Elvis impersonator obviously going senile in his old age. Elvis discovers that there's a mummy inhabiting his nursing home who is sucking the souls out of the residents through a rather disturbing bodily orifice. So Elvis teams up with an old African American man (Ossie Davis) claiming to be John Kennedy (his explanation for what happened to him has to be heard to be believed, and is one of the funnier jokes in the movie) to stop the mummy and save the souls of the residents of the nursing home.

As crazy and silly as this setup sounds, the film actually achieves depths that most "serious" movies can't even begin to touch. The film deals with what it's like to be an elderly person in this country when nobody cares about you. Elvis and Kennedy are both regretful about not being there for their children when they needed them. And a last chance for glory and leaving this world honorably is a recurring theme throughout the film (see Kemo Sabe's showdown with the mummy). All of these themes are handled with a deft hand, never hammering the point home, but intended to be taken seriously.

Ossie Davis gives a terrific comedic performance as "Jack" Kennedy. He delivers some rather eyebrow raising exposition with such a light touch, the audience is forced to except his explanation as fact and move on.

And then of course, Bruce Campbell. Campbell plays Elvis as we've never seen him, a 68 year old man with a bad hip and a cancerous growth in a very uncomfortable place. Anyone who has seen any of Campbell's performances knows he can play the hero or the buffoon with equal skill. But here, he pushes the bounds of his talent like never before. Perhaps the highest praise I can give his performance is that 10 minutes into the film, I forgot it was him, and truly believed it was Elvis on the screen.

The film was written for the screen and directed by Don Coscarelli. Coscarelli has been in something of a rut since his breakthrough hit with "Phantasm" over 20 years earlier. This is truly his best film since that horror classic, it may even be better.

The film was based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, the gifted writer. Lansdale routinely puts different genres in a blender together and comes out with something better than a genre outing. This film played just like one of his novels: Horror, comedy, fantasy, and a little bit of western.

Bruce Campbell was on hand for the screening I saw and made some comments before the film. He said that he did the film because it was so weird and that we need more films that aren't in the cookie cutter format. I couldn't agree more and I can't recommend this film highly enough. It breaks all molds and expectations. Seek it out when it finds a distributor, you won't be disappointed.
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10/10
All is well
Who would have thought it? Don Coscarelli, the man who wrote and directed Phantasm a long, long time ago comes back out of nowhere, after spending his entire career in the dregs, with something like this. A film that is more an exploration of regret, fading dignity and growing old than it is about a soul-sucking mummy.

Very old Elvis is brilliantly played by Bruce Campbell. The voice, the hair, the mannerisms are all perfect. He's stuck in Mud Creek rest home where the cynical staff believe he's really called Sebastian Haff, the man Elvis traded places with back in the 70s. And when Haff died, so did the Elvis the public loved. This only left the REAL Elvis free to live his life in peace and eventually indignity.

He pals up with a man who believes he's JFK, only problem is he's black. Though it's more likely he's senile rather than a truth-teller like the so-called Sebastian Haff. Both men have one concern, to stop some kind of Bubba Ho-Tep mummy from taking the souls of all the rest home residents.

Yes, it's insane. But also wildly imaginative and more than balances out the endless, heartless, conveyor belt Hollywood productions. Elements of the story will stay with you and the character development is graceful and important.

The finishing touch is Brian Tyler's awesome score. The main theme is one of the best ever and will flood you will feeling and emotion. Not only is Bubba Ho-Tep blessed with a cast and crew who care about the film their making, it also has wonderful music too. I am lucky enough to have the rare score CD (autographed by Coscarelli and Tyler). Hunt it down, it's seriously worth it.

Keep a lookout for Reggie Bannister as the rest home manager. And watch all the way to the end of the credits for a weird message...

ELVIS RETURNS IN 'BUBBA NOSFERATU: CURSE OF THE SHE VAMPIRES'
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5/10
brilliant pop culture weirdness
awalter116 August 2004
"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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10/10
At last, a Lansdale adaptation!
LeonardPine20 February 2005
Very faithful to Joe R Lansdale's weird and wonderful short story, this film is a real gem. The gist of the story is that Elvis (Bruce Campbell) didn't die (it was an impersonator he swapped places with who popped his clogs),and is spending the rest of his days in a Texas rest home, with a busted hip and a growth on the end of his pecker,and he's none to happy. That is until a soul sucking mummy turns up at the rest home and Elvis is forced into action to defend his home and it's residents. Teaming up with another resident, an elderly black man who thinks he's JFK (Ossie Davis) they decide to take care of business and defeat Bubba Ho-Tep.

If that sounds weird, it is, it's also very funny, hugely entertaining and oddly moving. It also has THE best performance of The King that this Elvis fan has ever seen! Bruce Campbell, i salute you!

So check this baby out. And if you like it you could do worse than check out the original story by Joe R Lansdale. This guy is some storyteller.
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10/10
Funny and Poignant -- A Modern American Classic
Dan1863Sickles18 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Everything about this movie is wonderful -- the laughs, the scares, the poignant dialog, the richness of characterization. As Homer Simpson says, it works on so many levels.

BUBBA HOTEP is a magnificent blending of many different styles and genres. Like ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST it is a grim, realistic story of institutional living. Like FROM HERE TO ETERNITY or COOL HAND Luke it depicts outsiders fighting a corrupt system. As in GRAND ILLUSION two aristocrats from widely different backgrounds meet inside the grim walls of a prison, their rank and status no longer respected. But instead of giving in to despair, they put aside their differences in a spirit of sacrifice, redeeming those around them even as they accept the end of their own existence.

Okay, enough of that stuff. Let's talk about Elvis. The film gets everything right, not only the sideburns and the accent but all of his weaknesses and illusions. The desire to be a hero, the fat gut, the fake karate moves, this movie knows and shows Elvis at his worst and forgives him --then turns things around so that by the end you actually want to stand up and cheer.

Let's talk about JFK. The story of a black man and a white man becoming brothers in the face of danger is old hat -- come back to the rest home again, Huck honey. But this time there's something new. The black JFK is turning Elvis on his head -- a black man becoming JFK is the mirror image of white trash Elvis singing the blues in a segregated world. The power of the allegiance is based on the bold violation of taboo.

The horror works in BUBBA HOTEP. On a minimal budget they created a monster. What makes the mummy real is the obvious link between his past and the failures of the real Elvis. Watch the scene where the mummy walks, and Elvis stares deep into his eyes and sees his past. The real truth the movie hints at is that Elvis is Bubba Hotep. Elvis was both the "bubba" in our world -- the dumb hick -- and the Hotep -- immortal God King. But the real Elvis, tragically, abused his body and defiled his own divinity with "drugs and stupidity and the coveting of women." (As the movie says.) In the final battle Elvis is not merely slaying the mummy -- he is overcoming himself.

Watch the movie. Rejoice in Elvis. Rejoice in BUBBA HOTEP.
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10/10
"Always the Hopes... Never the Fulfillments"
michiman_722 December 2004
I'd heard that when the end credits rolled for 'Bubba Ho-Tep' during the premiere in Detroit, there was a five minute standing ovation. Having seen the movie, I have to honestly say a five minute ovation seems not long enough. What a film! Other reviewers have called this film, "excellent," "fantastic," "wonderful," etc. While I won't question the reviewers' choice of words, I'm not sure the they're sufficient to describe just what an experience 'Bubba Ho-Tep' is.

"Superlative" probably comes closest.

So what exactly IS 'Bubba Ho-Tep?' Take your pick of one or all: Drama. Horror. Comedy. Tear Jerker. Life Lesson.

'Bubba' not only succeeds in each genre, but excels. Lesser movies have attempted to be jack-of-all-trades, but usually fall far short of one goal. One movie may be hilarious at its core, but preachy in the moral lesson. Another could be a fantastic horror film, but the creature ends up as more interesting and sympathetic than it's human co-stars. Yet another movie can teach a valuable lesson on life, but leave you depressed as you're exiting the theater.

'Bubba' succeeds where others have failed.

Enough praise can not be heaped on Bruce Campbell for his utterly believable performance as Presley. Even the hokeyness of Elvis threatening the mummy with his karate "stuff" was never over the top, as one could OH so see Elvis doing that! Campbell offers an amazing view into Presley's soul. Here lies a man upset with his lot in life, wanting to get away from the limelight yet craving it at the same time. A man wishing for the best but accepting of the worst. A man ready to shake off his failures and embracing his desire to be what he's always wanted to be - a hero. His finest line: "Always the questions, never the answers. Always the hopes, never the fulfillments." Sound familiar?

And how can one go wrong with Ossie Davis, who adds an aristocratic touch of humanity and sympathy as Jack Kennedy. IS he the President? Hey, stranger stories than his have been told! Best line: "It's now up to you, Elvis. You got to get him... You got to... take care of business." I challenge you to still have a dry eye after that.

The accolades should not stop here, however. Director Don Coscarelli didn't just write and direct 'Bubba,' he crafted it. With love, and with the finest attentions to detail, fit and finish. More so, he was faithful to Joe Lansdale's original story. (Which is a tribute to Coscarelli, as most mainstream Hollywood movies would have mangled the source material into something unrecognizable from what it once was.) The supporting cast was as fine as could be had. Pay special attention to Ella Joyce as the nurse. Though her character is meant to be cold and uncaring, Joyce still manages to sneak glimpses of humanity into the performance. One could see the nurse as someone who once had and still wants to care, but has become so desensitized that caring for her charges has all but dissipated. And who can forget the score? Talk about a custom fit between movie and music!

All in all, it is a crime that 'Bubba Ho-Tep' did not get greater exposure. More of a crime is a lack of Campbell's recognition by mainstream Hollywood for his outstanding turn as Elvis. (Then again, one gets the refreshing impression that Campbell gladly accepts this shun.)

Just as William Hurt's outstanding movie 'The Doctor' should be a prerequisite for any prospective medical student, 'Bubba Ho-Tep' should be required viewing for anyone who wants an uplifting, thoughtful, humorous, scary, and just plain great movie!

10 out of 10, no question, ifs ands or buts.
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Suspicious Minds
BaronBl00d8 October 2004
I must confess I had reservations prior to seeing this film. I thought it would be some God-awfully childish film laden with sophomoric jokes, cheesy effects, and inane dialogue. Some of those elements do surface, but this film was a genuine pleasure to sit through. Imagine if you can that Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll, switched places with an Elvis impersonator and now lives a sad, lost life in a small, run-down nursing home in East Texas. Add to the mix Ozzie Davis as a man convinced he is John F. Kennedy and a mummy that sucks the souls of geriatric residents and you have the basic premise behind Bubba Ho-tep. But beyond all that and the jokes about Elvis's genitalia and other low brow references is a film with a tremendous amount of heart and a message about the elderly in our society and how we have, as a society, betrayed them and cast them aside. The script and effective direction of Phantasm's Don Coscarelli make this film work on several levels. It is a comedy. It is a drama. It is a horror film. It has all those elements. You care about the characters and are drawn into this seedy little world. The biggest asset the film has is its performances. Davis gives a fine turn and adds credibility to the film, but Bruce Campbell as the king just bowled me over. I had seen him before, but I had never seen him act like this before. You soon forget Campbell is acting and think Elvis is really there - now 68 and destitute. Campbell's inflection, mannerisms, and poise melt and fuse wonderfully into Elvis. This was one of the very pleasant surprises that come along every so often.
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8/10
Elvis has NOT left the building just yet!
Coventry25 October 2004
The Evil Dead series already made it pretty clear and – after Bubba Ho Tep – there's nobody who should question this statement ever again: Bruce Campbell is one major cool dude! Campbell stars as Elvis. Old, fat and supposedly out of his mind, he's a resident in an East-Texas rest home. An ancient Egyptian mummy that has been stolen from a museum wanders around in the area, soul-feeding on the weak victims of the nursery home. Elvis, tired of his indigent and pathetic life, teams up with a black man who thinks he's former president Kennedy to destroy the mummy once and for all. The story of Bubba Ho-Tep is remarkably simple… Too simple actually, and if it wasn't for Campbell and a few ingenious gimmicks, this would have been an unnoticed and forgettable comedy/horror film. Bruce gives away an outstanding performance and he is the KING in ways you can't imagine. The saddening, self-criticizing monologues he gives while lying on the hospital bed are some of the best lines in recent cinema and his charisma speaks for itself. Veteran Ossie Davis gives great feedback as the 'president', seeing conspiracies wherever he looks.

The comedy aspects of Bubba Ho-Tep show right away, yet it also is a subtle drama, criticizing the way we often mistreat our elderly by placing them in a home and leaving them to their own devices. It is these outcasts that fight back here and save the day! Bubba Ho-Tep is filled with appealing one-liners and imaginative findings. How about the idea of a 2000-year-old mummy writing stuff like 'Cleopatra does the nasty' on a toilet's wall, like we all did in high school? The film also depends on the professional directing skills of Don Coscarelli. He finally found a worthy successor for his classic horror franchise 'Phantasm', even though that premise was a lot more complex and horrific. Recommended to fans of pop-culture flicks and bizarre gems. One of the better genre films since the new Millennium.

Hail to the King, baby!
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9/10
Slightly anti-climactic ending, but excellent overall
BrandtSponseller26 February 2005
Set in a retirement home, two residents--a man who may or may not be Elvis (Bruce Campbell) and a man who may or may not be John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis)--encounter strange Egyptian beetles and a mummy with an attitude.

On the quirky weirdness scale, Bubba Ho-tep deserves a solid 10. Writer Joe R. Lansdale and writer/director Don Coscarelli's bizarre confluence of pop culture references, surrealism, absurdism, mythology and social commentary/criticism is very close to my own preferences and approach to art making. Unfortunately, though, at least on a first viewing, the climax didn't quite click for me the way it should have, and I had to subtract one point. But overall this is an excellent film, and a 9 is still equivalent to a letter grade of an "A".

Although often sold as a horror film, and listed as "horror/comedy" on IMDb, Bubba Ho-tep is more of what I consider a "surrealist realist drama". That's likely to seem like an oxymoron and not make any sense, so let me explain. "Realist drama" consists of fictions that try in most ways to approximate the actual world. The concerns are to show "real kinds" of people in "real kinds" of environments and situations, behaving, speaking and interacting in "real kinds" of ways. There are a number of artists, however, who take that framework and build something more surreal/absurdist on top of it, but the realist drama foundations remain.

For a number of reasons, this tends to be more easily found in literature, and a number of my favorite authors write in this style, including Tom Robbins, Harry Crews, Thomas Berger, Thomas Pynchon and on the more journalistic side of things, Hunter S. Thompson (yes, it's odd that most of them have some variation of "Tom" in their names). Although some filmmakers approach the style (and of course, films have been made from some of those authors' books), like the Coen Brothers, David Lynch, Tim Burton, David Cronenberg, Terry Gilliam, and others, the tendency with films is to let them slide from surrealist realist drama to surrealist fantasy or other kinds of genre films, maybe with some hints of realist drama. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, it's just two sometimes subtly different approaches. I like surrealist fantasy and genre films just as well.

The bulk of Bubba Ho-tep is in that genre; it works extremely well as a surrealist realist drama. We never can tell if Campbell is really Elvis or if he's just crazy, but if he may be Elvis, it gives extra weight to the possibility that Davis is a "dyed" and transformed John F. Kennedy (since Davis is black and has obviously different facial features). Campbell receives a remarkable makeup job that helps him change into an aging, unhealthy Elvis. His performance is spot-on. Campbell does an amazing job physically, as well, particularly when he has to use a walker in some unusual ways.

The production design crew did an admirable job with the minimal sets, with Campbell's shared room being appropriate for the caliber of an Elvis impersonator (which the character may be instead) and Davis' room subtly conveying "Presidential Suite" and an obsession with Kennedy's supposed assassination. Coscarelli and cinematographer Adam Janeiro easily capture a nice dreamlike atmosphere in the retirement home and grounds, with the fantastic hallways especially standing out.

The backstory explaining how Campbell's character is Elvis is one of the more entertaining sections of the film--Campbell makes us believe that he's Elvis impersonating an impersonator impersonating Elvis, which is understandably difficult. The horror material is good, but the mummy seems a bit underdeveloped as a character, making the final section of the film a bit anti-climactic. It probably would have been better to keep the focus on the retirement home and its residents, maybe also exploring a similar backstory for Ossie Davis, at least a backstory showing how he started to believe that he was Kennedy. Just as the Elvis backstory may have been mythologized rather than real, the Kennedy backstory could have been from the character's delusions or fantasies, as well.

The film is easy to interpret with a subtext about discarding people as they are no longer needed, with others who are still in the world treating them basically as lumps of mass that are more often than not disturbing to attend to. It doesn't matter how famous the discarded may have been, or how archetypally or mythologically important, as in the case of the mummy. The mummy's vampiric means of self-renewal (and need for self-renewal) is easily taken as a metaphor for the loss of self that the discarded undergo in such situations.

Of course, maybe the mummy wasn't really a mummy, and even that aspect of the film is a bit fantasized. In any event, the ending does have poignancy from the human side of the story, and Bubba Ho-tep is without a doubt worth viewing. The DVD is also worth picking up, as it contains two commentaries (one from Campbell as Elvis), excellent "making of" featurettes, a funny music video and a real rarity--a pithy, well written insert rather than just a "chapter selection" liner/tray card.
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7/10
Original, Funny and Highly Entertaining Comedy-Horror Film
claudio_carvalho21 May 2018
In Mud Creek, Texas, at the Shady Rest Convalescence Center, a man called Sebastian Half (Bruce Campbel) claims to be the real Elvis Presley. He has been living in coma at the home for twenty years since he tripped off the stage. Sebastian explains that he switched places with an Elvis impersonator since he was tired of his fame but their contract that could prove his real identity was accidentally burnt to ashes in a barbecue. When his friend Jack (Ossie Davis), who is a black man that claims to be President John Kennedy, shows evidence that an ancient Egyptian mummy is sucking the souls of the residents of the nursing home, the skeptical Sebastian sees evidences that show that his friend is correct. Now the two old men plot how to stop the mummy.

"Bubba Ho-Tep" is an original, funny and highly entertaining comedy-horror film. The storyline is absolutely insane and weird, but it is worthwhile watching. Bruce Campbel is unrecognizable in the role of Elvis Presley, the true or the impersonator. Ossie Davis posing of a dyed John Kennedy is hilarious. The fight with the mummy is amusing. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available
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9/10
Mucho Mojo
Evil-Dead-Girl11 February 2006
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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9/10
T.C.B. Baby!
PredragReviews4 April 2017
"Bubba Ho-Tep" is a great mix of horror, comedy and surrealism that is a rare find in film. It deftly runs the gamut from the obscene to the poignant as well as being great entertainment and a lot of fun to watch. Bruce Campbell gives a brilliant and what should have been an Oscar nominated performance as Elvis Presley/Sebastian Haff not only taking on the iconic persona of the King of Rock and Roll but also deeper levels dealing with the realization that he no longer has sex, he has to move about with a walker and he may be dying. His voiced over inner monologue is fantastic as we get to commiserate with his conflicted thoughts of having left stardom behind and his vacillating on whether he did or did not do the right thing. Most poignant are his still deep feelings for Pricilla and his torment and guilt over not being the father he wished he could have been for his daughter Lisa Marie.

The humor in "Bubba Ho-Tep" ranges from slapstick to satire to wry pathos. But underneath the crazy silliness of the premise lies a very moving depiction of a man who has allowed his soul to die, and who comes to very much want to live again. Bruce Campbell's performance is amazing. He manages to bring the King to life even as he satirizes him. From the beginning of the story where Elvis is depicted as a sad joke, to the character's development into a man whose dignity has been stripped away by old age and an indifferent society, to the man who finds that dignity and honor and purpose reside within and not in the eyes of others, Campbell masters the part. By the end of the film you'll believe he is Elvis. Or at least you'll want to.

Overall rating: 9 out of 10.
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10/10
One of The Best Movies I Have Seen In A Long Time
sixpack-35 November 2004
Every once and a while, you run into a film that hits you on a level you never expected. Bubba Hotep is one of those films. I am a big fan of Bruce Campbell and I like quirky little movies, so I knew I would enjoy this movie. But, I never expected to see a film that would actually affect me on an emotional level, nor was I expecting a film that very poignantly examined life, growing old, and dying in our society. Any notions you have about this movie before you see it are instantly washed away the minute it starts.

The seemingly ridiculous premise is legitimized by the outstanding performances in the film and by the underlying honest portrayal of how we strip the dignity away from our elderly in this country. The concept of the mummy in this film is really just a vehicle to drive the characters pondering of how they got to such an undignified point in their lives. In the end, you are moved by what these characters do to actually feel alive again. What cannot be overstated here is the brilliant performance that Bruce Campbell turns in. He achieves something in this film that does not happen very often. From the very first frame of the movie, you believe you are watching an aged Elvis and it never crosses your mind that you are looking at Bruce Campbell. The make-up in the film is not intended to make Bruce look like Elvis; it is intended to make him look aged. It is Bruce's mannerisms and facial expressions and vocalizations that convince you that you are looking at Elvis and that is the key to the power of the film. Sure, it has its comedic and hokey elements, but they never take away from the movie and you buy the story every step of the way. In the end, you really don't care if Bruce's character really was Elvis or if Ozzie Davis's character really was JFK. The characters are so genuine that all you need to believe it is their word. They know who they are, so you know it. It is these elements that make this one of the most pleasant surprises in recent years and I wish that we could see more movies like this that are simple, honest, and that are crafted with passion and heart. Bravo to all involve din making this fine movie.
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10/10
Finally!
Gafke30 January 2004
I've been waiting for over half a year to see this movie and finally got my chance today. It was well worth waiting for.

Bubba Ho Tep tells us the story of a sad, run down nursing home in east Texas. Among its many elderly and infirm residents are the King of Rock N' Roll, Mr. Elvis Presley, and JFK, who is disguised as an old African American man. Elvis, as portrayed by Bruce Campbell, is a wreck of a man, spending his days in bed, lamenting his wild, misspent youth and nursing a vague fear about the growth on his nether regions. Campbell does an excellent job as Elvis, showing us an old, sick man who misses his wife and daughter and struggles to keep his dignity in an environment which robs him of it on a daily basis. Ossie Davis as JFK is absolutely hysterical, delivering his lines with a frank matter-of-factness no matter if he's talking about chocolate Ding-Dongs or an anally invasive soul sucker. Both of these characters are most welcome in a world where horror movies are too often ruled by the young and the beautiful. Elvis and Jack are two old forgotten men, left to die and refusing to do so. Despite their physical limitations and their fear, they are determined to go out with a bang!

And let's not forget Bubba Ho Tep himself. This centuries old soul sucker appears after a freak accident releases him from his curse. There are some really, genuinely spooky scenes here, as Ho Tep stalks the silent halls of the rest home, seen only fleetingly through the lights that flicker whenever he walks beneath them. From what I could make out, he rather resembled a cross between a Fulci zombie and the Jeepers Creepers dude; his face is that of a dried out, lemon-sucking mummy and his wardrobe, consisting of a huge yee-ha cowboy hat and some nifty boots, is disconcerting to say the least. This film also features some really icky HUGE flying scarab beetles, some very imaginative subtitles whenever the mummy decides to cuss someone out in ancient Egyptian, and cult favorite Reggie Bannister, though sadly, there's no sign of his white ice-cream man uniform anywhere to be seen.

This is one of the most original films I've seen in years and deserves better attention. The performances are all wonderful and strong; I actually cared about the characters and wanted them to triumph. There are no disposable heroes here. If you like fast paced slasher films with lots of gory deaths delivered to shallow, young, post-coital teens, then don't waste your time with "Bubba Ho Tep." But if you're looking for an engaging, innovative film that has solid performances, great dialogue and is just a lot of fun, period, then find out where this film is playing and go see it right now! It's worth the effort.
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9/10
What a great and weird movie!
dagallop29 March 2020
I had no idea what I was getting into with this! I'm glad I didn't, I probably wouldn't have even given it a chance but I am so glad that I did. It is a wonderful and strangely 'out there' but worthy of a watch movie.

The 'background story' (in quotations because it is odd at the very least), makes this a stranger than strange, while fun romp. Yes, it is cheesy at times, yes, it is a little 'out there' but it encapsulates all of the facets that make weird movies great.

The set designers were probably less than over worked, the lighting folks did enough (although to their credit there are some pretty impressive moments!). The music is, which it ought to be, pretty darned good and the acting.. Bruce Campbell is spectacular! Ossie is as great as ever and even Ella Joyce carries the role to perfection.

Synopsis: if you like really strange, out there weirdness and a good farce then watch this and enjoy. If you watch this with high expectations; you will not be surprised to be less than impressed!
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"How Could My Plans Have Gone So Wong?!"... "Let's Get Decadent!"...
azathothpwiggins19 March 2019
BUBBA HO-TEP is the result of a "perfect storm" of sorts. First, the source material was put in the hands of a proven master of macabre weirdness, Director Don Coscarelli (PHANTASM 1-4, JOHN DIES AT THE END). Then, the perfect casting of Bruce "The Chin" Campbell (THE EVIL DEAD 1-3) as decrepit, rest home prisoner, Elvis Presley, and living legend Ossie Davis as fellow inmate, John F. Kennedy clinched the deal.

The resulting movie is a beautiful experiment in sheer lunacy... that works brilliantly! Campbell shows what made him all-3-Stooges-in-one in EVIL DEAD 2, as his hilarious inner and outer dialogue make up the bittersweet, comedic heart and soul of the film. Obviously, a murderous mummy's rest home rampage is primo stuff for Campbell.

However, what sets this movie apart from other horror comedies is it's setting, and the way it handles the bleakness of old age. In spite of all of the side-splitting humor and oddness, the true terror lies in growing old and being forgotten, making a cowboy hat-wearing mummy a welcome distraction. Coscarelli captured lightning in a bedpan here. Watching it is like whistling, giggling, and defiantly marching past the graveyard.

EXTRA CREDIT FOR: Ella Joyce as Elvis' no-nonsense nurse...
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7/10
Thoughtful reflection on aging and regret. Seriously.
Fluke_Skywalker16 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Plot; Elvis Presley is alive but not very well, living out his last days in a decrepit retirement home in Texas. When an ancient Egyptian Mummy arrives, it's up to Elvis and a fellow resident, who may or may not be John F. Kennedy, to stop it.

Bubba Ho-Tep is a thoughtful, moving reflection on aging and regret. No really. It's also about Elvis and a black man who thinks he's JFK battling an ancient mummy, but that doesn't detract from the pathos of the piece. Bruce Campbell is simply outstanding as Elvis. Not just easy with the quips which have defined his style for decades, he gives a legitimately moving dramatic performance. Teamed with the great Ossie Davis(?!?!) and given some meaty dramatic material, you can almost see Campbell finding the same mojo as the character he's playing.

The entire production is a rare balancing act. It's fun, but sad. Ridiculous, but real. Shot on a budget of just over a million dollars, it delivers a bang for the buck that the vast majority of bloated Hollywood productions can't match.
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10/10
Not The Movie Most People Were Expecting
lazarii19 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
*SLIGHT SPOILERS* Bubba Ho Tep was not the film I expected when I finally got to see it last year. Nor was it the movie many of my friends, and many of the people I speak to online were expecting. The trailer pointed to the ultimate Bruce Campbell movie: Ash as Elvis, kicking an ancient mummy's butt.

While that features as a prominent aspect of the movie, it's not what it's about. Those expecting Evil Dead in a retirement home will most likely be surprised to find it has more in common with the wonderful About Schmidt. It deals not only with being Elvis and the world not believing you, but the horror's we face in life when we become too old and too fragile to look after ourselves.

I awarded it a 10 out of 10 because this is the most vital contribution to cinema in the last five years. Forget any movie that won an Academy Award, or was hailed by critics, or was directed by Quentin Tarrantino or whoever else. Don Coscarelli's film is one of the sweetest, most heart-breaking films I've ever witnessed.

Roger Ebert wrote in his review that as a horror film it doesn't work because of the drama and comedy. And therefore as a drama or comedy it doesn't work because of the horror. I have to agree with him in some respect, especially in terms of comedy and horror. But Bubba Ho Tep to me is a classic because of how dramatic it is. And Don, Bruce and the films composer Brian Tyler all get this. The film is about lamenting not only on a life you may have wasted, but one you'll never get back even if you wanted to. That is what makes the idea of this being Elvis so wonderful and apt.

How would you respond to an old man dying of cancer who tells you he's the real Elvis? You wouldn't respond because it sounds preposterous. And it really is. But what if it was true, and the only person who believed you was a certifiable loon? A black man who believe's he's JFK? That's a funny situation to find yourself in, and one the film uses to base much of its comedy on. But I also happen to find it heartbreaking.

When the world tires of you and wants to put you aside until you die, how do you live those last remaining years, months or day's? What can you possibly do to justify yourself when nobody really cares for you anymore? In Bubba Ho Tep, two men save the lives of the only people who really matter to them now - other elderly folk. It's beautiful and it's poignant. But above all else, it's heartbreaking. And the film never wants you to forget that.

Special mention has to go to Brian Tyler's score - which is, in my opinion, one of the greatest soundtrack's I've ever heard (if not the best). I'll admit that I don't much care for the rockabilly tunes infused to fit the Tex-Mex element the film has, or the horror themes for whenever the mummy pops up. What I care about is the dramatic score used to highlight many of the films pivotal moments - the Elvis switch, the Elvis dream, the Heroes Walk, the All Is Well ending.

Don Coscarelli, Bruce Campbell and Brian Tyler have made an astounding movie - and one that will forever live in my heart.
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10/10
Who would have believed it...
stevenkoehler28 July 2015
It isn't often that one watches a movie starring Bruce Campbell and thinks to oneself... dang.... dude is actually a good actor. Don't get me wrong, it is still a B movie(and that isn't a bad thing) but certainly not B grade acting.

Is it Elvis and JFK vs. the mummy? Or just 2 old timers slipping into dementia? I am good with it either way.

Bruce and Ozzie Davis turn in amazing performances. Plenty of chuckles. An interesting story. A quick pace.

If you haven't seen it(and don't take my review to mean the Academy was knocking on their doors) and can live without the 200M blockbuster of the week then spend an hour or so with an enjoyable B** flick.
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8/10
Sensational Film. A true gem.
robert-bradley12 April 2006
There are few films that can intrigue a viewer as well as Bubba Ho-Tep. I saw this film last evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is theater of the absurd that somehow manages to convey sincerity, believability, and heart. Some films require a steadfast dedication from a viewer to suspend disbelief in order to digest the topic of the story. Bubba Ho-Tep requires no such effort. Bruce Campbell delivers, what I would project, his greatest performance. Gone is the tongue-in-cheek persona that was rightly crafted for his best known work, The Evil Dead, and replaced by a compassionate and genuine portrayal of an elderly, regretful, Elvis. It is absolutely the best Elvis I have every seen. That is a bold statement, I know, but truly deserving.
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10/10
All Shook Up!
ferbs5424 May 2013
It can be a tricky balancing act, coming up with the perfect film in the genre known as the horror comedy; a picture that is hilariously funny while at the same time being truly scary. And while there is no shortage of films with a decidedly uneven ratio of horror::comedy--such as 1960's "The Little Shop of Horrors," 1974's "Young Frankenstein" and 1975's "The Rocky Horror Picture Show"--such films usually come off as pure comedies, only with a horror setting. But when the balance is just right, such as in "The Ghost Breakers" (1940), "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948, and still probably the finest exemplar of the horror comedy ever made) and "Spider Baby" (1964), the result can be a timeless and wonderful entertainment. To my great surprise, to this latter category must be added Don Coscarelli's "Bubba Ho-Tep," which has become a deserved cult item since its release in June 2002. I was not expecting overly much from this film, to tell the truth, as I happen to share the minority view that Coscarelli's beloved horror film from 1979, "Phantasm," is an overrated, muddled head-scratcher, and was in no way compelled to seek out its three sequels. But "Bubba Ho-Tep," which was shot in only 30 days in Downey, CA, has redeemed the writer/director in my eyes, and I can say with little reservation that I absolutely love this hilarious, moving, imaginative, one-of-a-kind--and yes, genuinely scary--movie.

In the film, the viewer learns two startling facts. One, Elvis Presley did NOT die on 8/16/77, at age 42 at his Graceland home of heart failure and drug abuse, but rather, after having switched places with an Elvis impersonator named Sebastian Haff prior to that date, lived on! When we first encounter him, he is a senior citizen, residing at the Mud Creek Shady Convalescence Home in east Texas, recuperating from a broken hip and suffering with what might be penile cancer. And secondly, JFK was NOT assassinated in Dallas in 1963, but rather was kidnapped, had part of his injured brain removed and the empty space in his noggin filled with sand, and then had his skin dyed black. Thus, now an old black man, also at the Mud Creek facility, JFK is one understandably mixed-up ex-president! Fortunately, for the two down-on-their-luck historic figures, some genuine excitement enters their lives when a 4,000-year-old, soul-sucking Egyptian mummy invades the Mud Creek grounds, in search of easy prey. All shook up, indeed! But do the King of Rock and Roll and the King of Camelot, at their advanced ages, stand half a chance against this newly resurrected King of the Undead?

Yes, "Bubba Ho-Tep" surely is a sui generis creation, but the wacky conceit is completely successful, thanks to Coscarelli's clever and poignant script (based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale) and the performances of Bruce Campbell (who most viewers will know as Ash from the "Evil Dead" trilogy) as Elvis and Ossie Davis as JFK. The makeup job on Campbell is remarkable, and the actor at times sounds amazingly like the real deal; he easily steals the show. As the president, Davis brings to the role a degree of dignity and strength that makes us believe that his backstory just might be legit; perhaps this ISN'T just same crazy old geezer! The film features any number of lines that are laugh-out-loud funny, and I found myself grinning happily during its entire 92-minute length, when I wasn't cackling aloud outright. How amusing it is when Elvis thinks to himself, of his pretty nurse (a memorable performance by Ella Joyce), that 30 years earlier, "I could've made with the curly-lip smile and had her eatin' out of my as_hole"! Then again, the film is in parts sad and touching, as when Presley ruminates on the lot of the senior citizen: "Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing," and says to himself, while watching an Elvis movie marathon on TV, "Sh_tty pictures, man. Every single one." Yes, the film, at its heart, does have a sweet, sensitive and contemplative soul, as we watch these two magnificent men in their twilight, and ponder the fate of the cast-off senior in this youth-loving society. ("A & C Meet Franky" might still be the best in class, but "Bubba Ho-Tep" is surely the more touching film.) Thus, how wonderful it is to see Elvis and Kennedy come alive, reclaim their dignity (the scene where Elvis calls his nurse a "patronizing b_tch" is priceless), and unite to defeat their common foe! And as to that foe, again, the film boasts a truly impressive makeup job on actor Bob Ivy, the result being one extremely intimidating monster mummy from antiquity. Thus, a horror comedy that gloriously succeeds on both fronts, and one with a melancholy soul, to boot. Oh...I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderfully moody, twangy music that Brian Tyler has composed for the film; amazingly, the man plays every instrument on the soundtrack by himself. What a talent! Anyway, at the end of this hugely entertaining film, the following words appear on the screen: Elvis returns in "Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires." And really, I cannot imagine any viewer who wouldn't be thrilled to see a sequel to this priceless picture. Sadly, that sequel seems to have been permanently stalled, but we "Bubba Ho-Tep" lovers can only hope. Hey, if flying scarab beetles can turn into soul-sucking mummies in this world, then anything is possible....
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10/10
Brilliant
matrixclone6 August 2019
I had my reservations about buying this movie but having purchased it on blu ray this is the best movie I have watched in years I really original script and really well acted especially Elvis Watch it you will love it
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9/10
Thank you, thank you very much...
Manthorpe4 January 2005
As far as trying to classify this into any category, BBH-T has got to be one of the hardest to pin down because it's a mix of genres. Part horror, part comedy...with sentimental and reflective aspects. Campbell has starred in horror-comedies before, quite impressively, but none that has a reflective side and a statement. Although most films would have a difficult time with this mixture, it's what makes this one so special....and freakin' hilarious. Kudos to all involved.

Bruce Campbell plays the King of Rock, Elvis Presley, who must team up with fellow nursing home resident, John F. Kennedy, to destroy an evil mummy that's been terrorizing patients. Sounds absolutely ridiculous doesn't it? Well it is, and a good thing too as that is what makes it so enjoyable and is what gives it such a high replay value. Very rarely does such a diverse and particularly odd story come along, but it seems the creators knew what they were doing as they did cast Campbell as the lead, Elvis. Perfect. A long time Bruce Campbell fan, I wouldn't have even imagined he could pull off the King with such believability and humor. His accent is perfect. Campbell is a true joy to watch and justifies the price of admission alone. Ossie Davis plays JFK, another nursing home resident and the King's partner. Although he is a black man, he believes he's the real JFK and was painted by those who wanted to cover this up and make people believe JFK really died in Dallas. Davis plays his part marvelously and has an unexpected chemistry with Campbell. Excellent casting choices.

Aside from having many knee-slapping laughs and completely ridiculous situations that go beyond even my own imagination, BBHT has a deeper meaning and a statement, as strange as it may seem. It's about how we, as a society, push away the elderly and place them in nursing homes out of sight and forget about them. The statement here is that although the elderly of our society are swept under the carpet and forgotten, they are not useless....they can still fight mummies, and get erections. And while many things may be lost, if you're still alive and kicking, not all is lost. And even though there is a deeper meaning involved, the film never takes itself too seriously or forgets its role.

I find myself at a loss for words on this film, mainly because I can't come up with any that could accurately describe how and what it is. It must be seen. What it all boils down to is an instant personal favorite and an automatic addition to my collection. An excellent comedy and film, period.

Very highly recommended, ten-fold for Campbell fans.
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8/10
Bruce Campbell shines in this funny and original title
JungleManki9 October 2020
A great underrated gem. It is a movie that covers the topic of being old, and forgotten. Wrapped up as a comedy with a demon that preys on old people in a care home.

This was funny, surprisingly touching, and sad in moments. It was shot wonderfully with a grainy and detailed camera film. I love the camera work and lighting. The music is excellent throughout and this really was enjoyable to watch. The acting was believable and Campbell in particular was great as an old Elvis.

This film was written in a way that makes me question was it real at all? Was there really a demon? Were the old guys just crazy? Were they really old Elvis and black JFK? I don't know, but the film portrays it in that way on purpose, and it made me think about it which I love.

8/10 for being original, well filmed, with excellent music and pulling on some emotions along the way.
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