What if Elvis and JFK weren’t dead, but alive (barely) in a run down Texas rest home? Sound crazy? Well, how about an ancient Egyptian mummy who sustains life by sucking the souls from human orifices? These warped scenarios come from the mind of director Don Coscarelli whose latest cinematic venture, Bubba Ho-Tep, places the two legendary men against an evil force seeking to nourish himself on the withering souls of the elderly.
Sebastian Haff aka Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell: Army of Darkness) claims that he switched identities with the world’s best impersonator to escape the tolls of stardom. He and the duplicate had an agreement to switch back whenever either of them wished, but when “Elvis” left the building for the last time, the King found the possibility of returning to his former life severely limited. Several years later, Haff met with hard times after suffering a career ending injury, and without proof of his real identity, which was destroyed in a trailer park fire, he wound up in this marginal care facility.
Then there is Jack, as in John "Jack" F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis: Grumpy Old Men) a dignified black gentleman who claims that the President did not die of a bullet from the grassy knoll/book depository, but survived the attack. To keep his identity a secret, the CIA, at Lyndon Johnson's orders, changed his skin color, labeled him a loon, and put him in that geezer grouping.
After a series of frequent and suspicious deaths at rest home, the pair begin to investigate and discover that a cursed ancient Egyptian mummy (embodied by Bob Ivy) was recently lost, and subsequently learn, from a bathroom wall, how to halt his nefarious quest. Oblivious to the threat and occassionaly getting in the way are their haughty nurse (Ella Joyce) and the uncaring facility administrator (Reggie Bannister).
This strange film, adapted from a Joe Lansdale story, is a drama, comedy, and a [mild] horror tale all at once. The idea that Elvis might actually be alive, fighting wicked corpses with the help of a walker alongside a pigmentally enhanced, wheel-chair bound sire of the Camelot era, is both funny and frightening. There are a few moving scenes wher the two reminisce on their former lives including regrets about not being the fathers and husbands they should have been. Bubba Ho-Tep makes for a refreshing movie idea that shows that you can make a respectable film with a small budget, aging and obscure screen veterans, and an unconventional story concept. Here is another praiseworthy production from independent cinema, and an admirable accomplishment. Check it out!!!!
Note: Bruce Campbell does a great Elvis.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: Bubba Ho-Tep is less of a horror movie, and more of a comedy, but great overall.
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