Bubba Ho-Tep

So rummaging around on some forums I’ve been a long time member of, I’ve found some brief reviews I splurted out about movies from years back. I thought I’d throw some up, starting with one of my favourites-

Bubba Ho-Tep
First, this movie is as much about getting old as it is about Elvis or mummies. This movie is about regret, but more importantly taking that chance to set things right.
It takes its time to get going, or rather some may feel that, and they may complain that it is morbid. But that is the point: you start off low, with these old men fading rather than actually dying, and little by little they, and you, claw their way up.

Just to explain, Bubba Ho-Tep is about an old, and obviously alive, Elvis Pressley living in a retirement home, being miserable. Everyone thinks he is mad and refer to him as Sebastian Haff, who was an impersonator Elvis swapped places with years ago. Now he’s just an old man who spends a lot of time in bed and only gets about with his walker.

Yet there are doings afoot. A mummy is going around and sucking the souls from old people. Bit like snacking, sure, but they’re easy to catch food. Elvis and a man who believes he is JFK realise this and try to figure out how to confront the mummy, save their home and fellow old folks, while not getting devoured as well. It invigorates the pair, making these old men feel purposeful and alive.

Bruce Campbell is brilliant, although I love Ossie Davis; he acts the President, not some guy who thinks he is.
The mummy looks great too, especially in cowboy hat and boots, slow steps clinking each time. A far more impressive figure when stalking its victims than the usual.
I do wish we knew why this Egyptian ex-ruler had decided to wear these, and how he got them, but the idea itself is too much fun to really worry about it.

The music is astounding as well, never a wrong note to an inappropriate part. Everything fits. More than that, it raises the level. I defy any beating heart not to feel tugged on when Elvis and JFK come round the corner, set to defeat the Mummy, with the music playing.

Don Coscarelli directed this one. It isn’t nearly as mad as his Phantasm series, but then what is? Reggie (well, the actor, Reggie Bannister) appears as the Rest Home Administrator, but that’s about it for links. This has some good horror in it but I felt the focus was more on character building and personal redemption than scares.

By the way, if you get the DVD there is a fantastic bonus of Elvis Pressley himself doing a commentary on this movie, which he finds bewildering and insulting at times, while eating and singing songs (pssst – it’s Bruce playing the role). There is also commentary from Campbell and Coscarelli which I enjoyed a lot. This was a passion project for both.

Great atmosphere, some funny and also energetic set pieces, as expected with Campbell, and some fine acting makes this one of my favourite movies ever.

TCB, baby.


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