Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
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Overall Rating 74%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,027
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Connections: Person: Elvis Presley

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 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, 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. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: June 04, 2004
Back in the day, Elvis was getting sick of the fame and fortune associated with his career, so he decided to get out of the business. He met up with one of the best Elvis impersonators around at the time, a guy named Sebastian Haff, and made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Sebastian would take over as Elvis, keeping all the fame and fortune that the real Elvis had accumulated, and Elvis would take Sebastian's life as an impersonator. This way, Elvis could keep doing what he enjoyed doing without having to put up with the pressures of stardom, and he could switch back with Sebastian when he was ready to go back to it all. However, things didn't work out as expected, as Sebastian died of a drug overdose, leaving the real Elvis stuck as an impersonator for the rest of his life, since nobody believes his story. Now, Elvis is spending his last days residing in a Texas nursing home, where he meets a black guy who claims to be John F. Kennedy. He claims that his brain was removed and is being kept alive by batteries in Washington D.C., and that the government dyed his skin black to cover things up. Nobody would believe that he's JFK if he's black, right? So these two old-timers are kicking back in the retirement home, when some of their fellow elderly start dying off in some rather unusual ways. Some grand detective work is done, including reading hieroglyphics off a bathroom stall, and we learn that a Bubba Ho-Tep is on the loose in this retirement home, and he's sucking the souls of the elderly to keep himself alive. Now, Elvis and JFK must put a stop to this mummy, before he sucks their souls as well.

I think it goes without saying that this has a lot of comedic scenes in it, however, I wouldn't exactly put it in the comedy category. Sure, there's some funny scenes and some great one-liners ("I'm Elvis-goddamned-Aaron-fuckin'-Presley" was a good one), however, it's much more than that. There's a legitimate story behind the mummy being there, and it's actually built up as a credible threat instead of an excuse to throw the Elvis / JFK story into a movie. But, even with that, I wouldn't place this into the horror category, nor would I call it a horror-comedy. I think this movie would fit more into the drama genre than anything else, as it focuses a lot on Elvis' regrets of what he did, wishing he could see his daughter, and the general treatment of the elderly in retirement homes; these are the general underlying themes of the movie, and the comedy and mummy scenes seem to be there just to keep things moving, which turns out to be a winning formula.

Bruce Campbell plays Elvis here, and does a great rob in the role. Looking at a normal picture of Bruce, you wouldn't think he resembles Elvis in the slightest; however, the makeup made him look exactly as I'd imagine an elderly Elvis would look. Bruce takes the character one step further though; by getting the voice of Elvis perfectly, and using Elvis' trademark sayings (though not overusing them), he really came off as a convincing Presley. Ossie Davis, playing JFK, was also great in his role, though obviously didn't come out as close to the person he was portraying as Bruce did. He definitely kept his character going though, and really kept his scenes interesting with his performances. Also, Ella Joyce plays the part of a nurse who tends to Elvis' needs; she only had a few small scenes, but she did quite the excellent job with those few scenes. Her interaction with Bruce was just priceless on so many levels, and made for some of the better scenes in the movie.

The beauty of this film lies in the fact that it's very versatile. It can be enjoyed by those who just want a good horror-comedy film, because it sure has plenty of that to go around... but it could also be enjoyed by those who want some sort of storyline and emotion in a movie. Having both of those in the same movie is quite the daunting task, but it was pulled off here flawlessly. Therefore, I'd be willing to recommend this one to just about anybody, regardless of which genre you dig more. 9/10.
Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 12/20/2004, 03:00 AM
I really love this movie. There are parts where you just laugh and there are parts that just make you sad. If you're a fan of Bruce C. then I think you'll enjoy this. "What'da care? I've gotta a growth on my pecker!"
dadarulz #2: dadarulz - added 05/22/2005, 04:39 AM
Why can't people understand and enjoy this movie? Everytime I mention it to people they laugh or make a funny look. Sure it's a B. Sure it's cheap and has a pretty strange storyline. But I do think it's a great movie. Bruce acts superbly and this weird unusual drama/comedy/soft horror mix seems nothing less than refreshing to me.
ScarsRstarS #3: ScarsRstarS - added 01/10/2006, 07:36 AM
This movie is one of the strangest story lines i have ever watched but i loved every second of it. I thought it was one of the funniest things i watched in a long time.
Zombieboy #4: Zombieboy - added 12/30/2008, 12:31 PM
A geriatric Elvis teaming up with a black JFK to fight an ass sucking mummy in cheesy cowboy attire in an east texas rest home. If that is not brilliance then I do not know what is.

What surprised me was how touching the film was for a great deal of the time. Sure there are laughs, but I found myself actually caring for the characters and not just because of the actors that played them.
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 04/28/2009, 08:23 PM
This movie was pretty damn funny, but it dragged on a bit in the idle of things. Bruce did a great job with Elvis and Ossie had the best damn lines. 8/10
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