on October 21, 2003
Yes, I love this film dearly.
Yes, it's [very] funny.
Yes, it's probably one of the best films I have ever seen...and not just of the year but one of the best films of all-times.
"Bubba Ho-Tep" is a joy to watch, not because of the ludicrous premise and the silly situations, but because of the acceptance of the ludicrous premise and silly situations.
And the feeling that (except for the mummy bit) this may all be true.
Bruce Campbell (of the "Evil Dead" series of movies) gives the performance of his LIFE as Elvis Presley...an Elvis Presley who did NOT die. Instead, Elvis resides in a Texas resthome, waiting for death to take him out. His glory days are forever behind him and he's in a state of depression after watching his roommate kick the bucket next to him.
Time passes slowly and so do his days and it makes him even more sick knowing that he can feel his demise coming.
It's wrongheaded for most critics to overlook the metaphor in "Bubba Ho-Tep". Director Don Coscarelli ("Phantasm") cleverly adapts the story (from author Joe R. Lansdale's short story) and successfully brings the concept to life. You believe that Bruce Campbell is Elvis because he plays Presley with such heart and dignity that any Elvis fan will want "Ho-Tep" in their movie collection when it hits the video-shelves. Ossie Davis gives a warm-hearted performance as "Jack" AKA JFK. He's so sweet and lovable and you want him on your side because he's noble.
And that's the brilliance of this movie: Campbell and Davis plays their rolls with a straight face. You believe that THEY believe they are who they say they are. It's deadpan comedy at its finest. It just better illustrates that this is a movie about growing old and confronting regret and fear before your time is up. Dress it up and make it dance but that's still what's at the core of the film and you can't deny it.
As writer Stephen King once said, "We're all gonna die someday, baby. I'm just trying to make it interesting."
I loved it.
on May 29, 2004
In the tradition of the "Evil Dead" movies, Bruce Campbell is back in true form in this horror/comedy/drama flick that's a roaring good time. You just don't know what to expect next once you start this bad boy. Filled with laughs, horror and surprisingly, heart, "Bubba Ho-Tep" is everything you'd want from a B-Movie and more.
Campbell stars as an elderly Elvis who lives in a Texas retirement home. People keep thinking he's just an impersonator off his rocker, but in reality he had traded places with an "Elvis" impersonator so he could get away from all of the fame and hardships of a rock-n-roll star. However, something strange has been happening in this retirement home. Folks are dying mysteriously every night without any clear explanation. As it turns out, an Egyptian mummy is the cause for the deaths and it needs to feed on their souls to stay alive. It's up to Elvis and his buddy, JFK, to take on this monstrous foe before it slaughters every living person in the retirement home. The end results are unpredictable and off-the-wall.
The premise alone intrigued me to see it. That, and Bruce Campbell. I'm always in the mood to see a good funny horror movie, and this movie did a great job of fulfilling that need. Not one minute went by where I was bored or disappointed. While the story may be over-the-top, it's done in such a creative and clever way. The movie has fun with itself and it's very easy to see. Bruce Campbell does a marvelous job as "Elvis," and let's not forget the great Ossie Davis as the one and only "JFK." The movie combines elements of comedy, drama and horror. It doesn't know what it wants to be at times, but the cast knew that from the get-go and they even goof on that fact (watch the featurettes and listen to the commentary).
The DVD has some outstanding features. The movie sounds and looks really good for a flick that was done under such a low budget. The commentary tracks are definitely worth you time, and you MUST listen to the commentary track where Bruce Campbell does it as "The King" and stays in character the entire time. It is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Other extras include featurettes, a music video, deleted scenes, the original trailer and more. All of this makes one heck of a great package.
"Bubba Ho-Tep" is a great time from Campbell and company. Any fans of the "Evil Dead" movies will definitely want to put this on their list. Just keep in mind that this is a movie that you watch to be entertained and nothing more. This movie was pure enjoyment from beginning to end. It's bound to become a classic sooner or later. The King still lives, Baby! -Michael Crane
OK, I'm one of those suckers. I think Bruce Campbell is a God! I don't find him to be the most talented actor, but he sure is a PERSONALITY. And his deadpan delivery elevates even the most mundane of material. Of course, everyone has seen the "Evil Dead" films--but any Bruce Campbell fan who does not own and cherish the short-lived series "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." should be punished severely!
Now that I've put my heart out there, let's talk "Bubba Ho-Tep". I'm not at all surprised that the film is as divisive as it seems to be. The concept, the conceit is brilliance! Casting Campbell as a senior Elvis in a retirement home battling a mummy--who wouldn't be in love with the idea of this movie? I could, and have, watched Campbell in anything. And I was genuinely amused by this film--although not blown away. Do I think this is a great movie? Absolutely not. But I know many people, including myself, who are proud to own this DVD.
To be completely objective, however, I have to warn viewers to know what they are getting into. This is neither a true horror film nor a laugh-out-loud comedy. It's one of those bizarre hybrids. You'll watch in amazement as the silliest of plots unfold and you'll either go with it or not. I believe people who love this film support the originality of its plot and the gusto of its performances. And I believe detractors of the film have an equally valid point--it simply isn't as funny as you might hope.
For me, the film is about 3 1/2 stars--but Bruce always get an upgrade from me, so let's call it 4. Heck, Campbell's commentary track as Elvis is probably strange enough to warrant 5 stars--but I'll restrain myself for the sake of objectivity. KGHarris, 10/06.
on September 28, 2004
There are parts of BH-T where the direction threatens to get a little serious on us, centered on mortality and regret and squandered chances -- then the director goes back to the mummy. Perfect balance. It's far from flawless, but I love what it's trying to do. Of course the scarab looks like a prop -- it's a movie prop. Do you really need the bug to be crafted by ILM to enjoy this movie? Sheesh. Look, this movie doesn't try to be more than it is, and in doing so, you can find a lot in it. Coscarelli is giving the audience members ample room to use BH-T as a metaphor for their own lives. But with mummies and Elvis. Don't you wish you had more mummies and Elvis?
on January 29, 2005
I think Amazon recommended this movie to me because I am a huge fan of Christopher Moore (an author who stories are very much like this movie) and my interest was immediately piqued. When I got it for Christmas, no one understood why I would want something like this movie, but I couldn't wait to watch it. It was worth the wait. Campy and cute, my only concern was the frequent mention of Elvis's "crankshaft" issues because that meant that it's TV exposure would be limited and few others would ever see the highly enjoyable movie. Even my father liked it and he usually hates this kind of film. I highly recommend it!:)
on November 24, 2003
"Bubba Ho-tep" is a bizarre, ludicrous, grossly funny movie. You need to know that from the start. It is not a vulgar film, but it does use profanity. It is not a bloody film, but it is kind of gross in parts. And it features a flimsy, wildy fantastic plot, but it is still a great movie to watch. It is almost a walking contradiction.
Bruce Campbell stars as an aged Elvis impersonator who is now holed-up inside a creepy retirement home. He lays in bed all day, and we hear his voice-overs as he ponders his life up to that point. He believes himself to be the *real* Elvis, and wishes he could speak with Priscilla and his daughter again. He explains to the audience why he is the 'real King', and not just an impersonator. Honestly, by film's end, I couldn't be sure if he really was supposed to be Elvis, or not. But that is besides the point. The always reliable Ossie Davis co-stars as a man who believes himself to be JFK. He says that after the 'fixed' assassination, his skin color was dyed so as to appear as though he were a black man. We also have the fabulous Ella Joyce as their sassy nurse. Without her, the movie would definitely lose something.
Things take a hugely bizarre turn in "Bubba Ho-tep" when our two leads realize that their retirement home is under attack by an ancient Egyptian mummy dressed-up in a Stetson hat and cowboy boots. He comes each night to suck the souls of the living, so that he might continue his undead existence. 'JFK' goes to the library and does some research on the soul sucker, and 'Elvis' decides that the two must defeat the creature in order to defend their retirement home, and the souls of all those who reside within its dank, decaying walls.
So, does this all sound quite off the wall? Well, it is. But it's delicious in its oddity. It's got the perfect blend of firm direction and excellent acting needed to pull it off successfully. The people involved in "Bubba Ho-tep" know that their movie is ludicrous, and they walk a fine line between conveying that and also treating the plot with respect. Campbell's portrayal of 'Elvis' is at once mocking and dignified. We know that Davis' 'JFK' is nothing more than a delusional old man, but the way he is portrayed kind of attaches you to him, makes you root for him, and lets you forgive his mental problems. You care about these characters, and that is one of the fundamental rules of filmmaking.
Yes, the story is silly beyond question, and yes, the humor is about at a near-teenage level, but the movie manages to actually use this to its advantage, and involves you rather than keep you at a condescending distance. I wanted to see how this story played out, and I had a grin on my face the entire time.
Take, for example, the joke in the film about a ding dong. It is a silly, jockular, immature joke which one knows they should be above laughing at. But the actors pull it off in such a way that, whaddayaknow, it *is* funny. That's what this movie is all about: Part comedy, part horror movie, part farce, "Bubba Ho-tep" is unlike any movie you have ever seen. The new experience is worth it. Just be prepared. It's not what you might expect. It's low-brow humor for a high-brow crowd. It's written by intelligent people *for* intelligent people. And it's good. Go see it.
on November 14, 2005
It's the instant cult classic, a film praised by its strange story and amazing story telling. The film is based on a story by writer Joe R. Lansdale and adapted to screen by director Don Coscarelli. The main character is played by non other than Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell and legendary actor Ossie Davis. Studios ran away from the idea of two old guys in an old folks home fighting an Egyptian Soul Sucker. Both Campbell's and Davis's agents said it would be a horrible idea to do the film. Well both the agents and studios were wrong about the film. Its success takes cult film to a new level. New York theater lines rapped around entire blocks for its limited release, hard to believe that only 33 prints were originally created.
Thanks to this film I got to take a break form the cookie cutter Hollywood factor. Elvis and JFK fighting a Mummy that sucks souls, that combination makes people turn away. I say if you are a fan of horror film give it a chance. Hey if you are a fan of Elvis Bruce Campbell does a really good impersonation. The movie received a number of awards at lesser known film festival and award ceremonies. To bad it wasn't given more respect at some larger festival.
My reviews do not give away story detail or even summaries but I will say that this is a refreshing movie that brings together what is great in independent film making. With the very small budget and favors from some of the most prestigious special effect and custom companies in Hollywood Coscarelli was able to pull off a remarkable film. How easily he has put to shame movies with ten times the budget or more. I am completely baffled at how major film companies can trust unknown, director that lack true experience.
Well the movie is funny. Some of the lines caught me off guard. They contained a dark humor that appealed to my comedy love. Bruce Campbell is a funny person and no one can doubt that but this role takes his true acting ability coupling it was a perfect role making for one of my favorite movie is the last couple of years.
Presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen anamorphic ratio, this print is surprising excellent. Most independent films will low budget when transferred to DVD give a horrible quality print. Not with this film. MGM has taken extreme care to create a DVD that takes advantage of detail, color and black levels. Some scenes are grainy but most are flawless retaining a great film like quality. The print does seem to get better as the movie progresses.
I think they used the sound field good to give the movie an edge. There is only a DD 5.1 track on the DVD but it sound really good. Voice levels are also good without having to play with the volume level like I have found on several DVD purchased recently. And lastly the music, an original score was created by Brian Tyler. It is what really brings out the distinct appeal of the film.
on June 29, 2004
For some reason, I wasn't really looking forward to this film. Considering it's all I've heard for the past couple of months, I was wondering if it would live up to the hype of one person. And since I had no choice, cos they wouldn't watch it alone - they were too scared - I watched it.
What surprised me, was for an 'Elvis' film, there were no Elvis songs played and when Elvis turns on the TV and sees the Elvis Presley Movie Marathon, none of the clips are from any of Elvis's movies (I should know, my mum has most of them). For both, the licensing costs would have been too much for the budget, so they showed stock footage. I was disappointed at there being no Elvis songs, but the theme used throughout the film more than makes up for that! That theme is absolutely fantastic, sad and lonely, but also happy at the same time.
I wasn't sure about Bruce Campbell as Elvis. I've always seen movies with Kurt Russell, and he did a fine job. I've only seen Brucie in two Evil Dead movies - and managed to fall asleep during the second one - so I wasn't sure what to expect. Although, he is a nice looking guy, and reminds me very much of Jim Carrey in those movies. Plus, he was playing the older, fat Elvis, not the young and cute Elvis. For a guy who's now in his forties, he's no longer young and cute, but by the looks of it, it wasn't all him that was Elvis. There must have been a LOT of padding in there, especially that 9-months pregnant stomach. And Brucie had the voice down pat, and even some of the little moves - although none of the hip swivelling unfortunately! So I was fair away with him as Elvis.
Ossie Davis provided some light entertainment as John F. "Jack" Kennedy, who would only answer to Mr. Kennedy most of the time. (And in a very cheap joke, he was "dyed" black) He was hilarious, as he tried to accuse 'Elvis' of knowing Harvey Lee Oswald who 'tried' to kill him. And in his little electric chair he's so funny!
This is a terrific movie, despite the lack of Elvis songs. It also makes you think about the whole myth that Elvis is still alive - but not flipping burgers! I loved that whole aspect of the movie.
First, I read the story by Joe R. Lansdale, then I heard there was a movie starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. One of my favorite shows of all time is The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (featuring Campbell and the late Julius Carry, lll), and, well, Ossie Davis was the consummate actor, so I had to see Bubba Ho-Tep, no matter how campy the synopsis sounded! I'm glad I gave it a chance because while it is campy, it also had me laughing out loud, I cared about the characters, and in the end, it was even quite touching. Yeah, it's for adults, not the kiddies, due to f-bombs and use of sexual references (but no nudity). Go ahead, watch how Elvis wound up in an old folks' home in East Texas with JFK who'd been dyed black. See these two icons bravely hunt down a mummy preying on the helpless residents of said old folks' home. I recommend it.
on December 18, 2006
Bruce Campbell is indeed the cult icon of our day--with more acting AND comedic talent than William Shatner, he has managed to create a corner of the cinematic world that might as well be named after him: that of the outrageous, over-the-top genre of horror and sci-fi. And aside from doing a fantastic Elvis (all right, more of an imitation of the Elvis persona than of the man), the premise of the movie alone is worth watching it for.
Sebastian Haff (maybe Elvis...read on) is stuck with a bad hip in an Eastern Texas retirement home. He claims to be THE Elvis, who swapped places with the real Sebastian Haff so he could get out of the limelight and get back to basics, but then Sebastian Haff as Elvis went and killed himself through too much drug use and Elvis ended up being stuck in his Sebastian Haff identity for life (follow that one?). His best friend in the place is Jack (Ossie Davis), who thinks he is JFK who was dyed black to hide his identity and let the world think he was dead. And to top it all off, the rest home is also the dwelling place of a soul-sucking mummy in cowboy duds who also likes to put Egyptian graffiti on bathroom stalls. Turns out, only Elvis and JFK know of his existence and are the only ones who can stop the evil spirit...
The movie takes a little while to get going, but even in its slow start, the story clearly revolves around the redemption of Elvis, so he can get his 'stuff' back. This movie is wacky and absurd and yet somehow tender and leaves you thinking that maybe Elvis wasn't such a bad guy after all...if only he had mummies trying to suck out his soul every moment of his life.
All hail the king...King Campbell.