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Bubba Ho-Tep
15Bubba Ho-Tep (2004)

updated 04 October 2004
reviewer's rating
4 out of 5
Reviewed by Jamie Russell


Director
Don Coscarelli
Writer
Don Coscarelli
Joe R Lansdale
Stars
Bruce Campbell
Ossie Davis
Ella Joyce
Heidi Marnhout
Bob Ivy
Length
95 minutes
Distributor
The Associates
Cinema
08 October 2004
Country
USA
Genre
Comedy
Horror
Web Links
Official site



Cult horror classics don't come more instantaneous than Bubba Ho-Tep, a fiendishly funny comedy horror, in which an ageing Elvis Presley battles an Egyptian mummy with a little help from former President John F Kennedy. Horror-icon Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) dons a fat suit and sideburns to get all shook up as the King, a 60-something geriatric, convinced that a soul-sucking mummy is stalking the corridors of the Shady Rest Convalescence Home. Brilliant and bonkers in equal measure, it's a fanboy's dream come true.

A genre-blending joy, this inventive little flick imagines what might have happened if Elvis had lived and retired in obscurity to a Texas nursing home. Surrounded by disbelievers, the grey-haired King ekes out his final days with a puss-oozing growth on his pecker. Then a string of senior citizen murders stir him into investigating the return of an ancient Egyptian mummy with the help of Jack (Ossie Davis), a black man who claims to be JFK ("That's how clever they are: they dyed me this colour! Can you think of a better way to hide the truth than that?")

"HAIL TO THE KING BABY!"

Full of outré flights of fantasy, some surprising tenderness, and plenty of David Lynch style Dixie Fried weirdness, Bubba Ho-Tep is a quirky diamond in the rough. Turning the Elvis Vs The Mummy set-up into a touching metaphor for the impotent ignominy of old age, writer-director Don Coscarelli (Phantasm) avoids the easy laughs in favour of letting Elvis's lonesome voiceover do the talking: "Get old, you can't even cuss someone and have it bother 'em. Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing."

The result is an oddball B-movie oddity, that showcases square-jawed Campbell's impressive Presley impersonation (surely the role he was born to play?) while piling on some ultra-silly gags about Marilyn Monroe, Lyndon B Johnson and chocolate dingdongs. It's more than enough to make any self-respecting fanboy (or girl) cry: "Hail to The King, baby!"

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