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Mud Creek, Texas, is about to get all shook up. When mysterious deaths plague the Shady Rest retirement home, it's up to an aging, cantankerous "Elvis" (Bruce Campbell) and a decrepitand black"JFK" (Ossie Davis) to defeat a 3,000-year-old-Egyptian mummy with a penchant for sucking human souls! Can the King show the world that he can still take care of business?
Don Coscarelli directs and Bruce Campbell stars as the King of Camp in this intentionally over-the-top schlockfest. Bubba Ho-Tep is partially about Elvis Presley and partially about the title character, an Egyptian cowboy zombie, but mostly it is about camp. The movie is equal parts story and back story. We learn through narration and flashback how Elvis didn't really die, ending up instead in a rest home in East Texas with JFK (played by Ossie Davis), who was dyed black and had his brain removed, presumably for reasons of national security. Campbell and Davis realize that something strange is going on when their rest-home compatriots start dropping off suspiciously. The whole movie leads up to a final showdown to the death with the Egyptian cowboy zombie who has been sucking the souls of their fellow residents because he thought no one would notice. The movie unfolds a bit slowly; it is, after all, a geriatrics-fight-Egyptian-cowboy-zombie movie. However, one wishes this self-conscious movie's pacing took its cue from the atypically fast-moving zombie instead of from the senior-citizen Elvis and JFK. In the end, though, Campbell is flawless as the aged King; his accent, intonations, glasses, and trademark karate are at the same time sincere and over the top. --Brian SaltzmanSee all Editorial Reviews
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These are characters you quickly grow to care about (cantankerous though they may be). While the "outside" world and families may have already forgotten about them, they connect with their fellow patients an become their OWN type of family.
Enter the soul sucking mummy, Bubba Ho-Tep.
What does the aging "Elvis", and "President Kennedy" say to this???
I have to add that the way Landsdale pulled this novella together was fantastic! He took a brief look at how our society treats the elderly in cases, and quickly morphed it into an almost "uplifting" story--if you ignore the soul sucking mummy part... How could you not love hieroglyphics that read "Eat the dog '?' of Anubis, you '??"!"?
But I can see why the story was adapted into a movie. As a writer, Lansdale reminds me of peak era Robert Ludlum: great concepts, characters and stories, but often disappointing writer. To be fair, Lansdale is a good but not great writer who's fun to read, with few gimme-a-break lapses. Ludlum was an awful writer in terms of narrative and dialog. Lansdale seems to enjoy putting together characters and ideas, but tires quickly of the process and tends to slap stories together with a lick and a promise. But his knack for almost comically outrageous hyperbolic lewdness makes for fun reading, if you're not too critical.
Both are residents of the Shady Rest old folks home. Elvis is still alive because he'd gotten tired of the life and switched withe best Elvis impersonator. The idea was when he was ready to return, they would swap back. A contract had been drawn up to that effect. But then the impersonator had died of a heart attack and Elvuis's contract had been lost in a fire.
The two men battle a soul sucking mummy to save the lives and souls of their fellow residents.
How does a mummy get into an East Texas rest home? Read the superb story and find out.
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.
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Bruce Campbell, awesome, Ozzie Davis, awesome... editing and writing magnificent!Read more