REVIEWED
6/13/04

STORY



LOOK

Bubba Ho-Tep
Director: Don Coscarelli
Year: 2003
TRT: 1:32


This is a movie where you mention the title, and people go "huh?" The name itself is a strange warping of english vocal skills, and pretty much applies that to the screen, but in a good way. This is a weird amalgamation of horror, drama, and black comedy that's like a, well, fucked if I know, I still can't put my finger on it. All I know is this is a well done independent film that somehow meshes two (well, three actually) mythologies into one odd viewing experience.

What we're dealing with here is Elvis, in the present day, stuck in a somewhat shabby convalescence home in Mud Creek, Texas, just kinda making it by from day to day. Nobody really knows/believes it's him, and his meager existence makes him wonder how exactly he came to be there (and what the nature of a certain growth he's got is really is all about). But then some odd things start happening, and wakes him up out of the stupor he's been in. One of the other residents, a black man who thinks he's JFK, thinks there's an assassin loose in Shady Rest and the two band together to fight off the threat.

It seems rather silly in the quick translation, but what we have here is, well, yeah, a horror movie at heart, but really is a great alternate reality kind of deal of the King. Bruce Campbell tones down the campiness to put in a great performance as the geriatric Elvis, but what really grounds the movie is an amazing turn by Ossie Davis as JFK. Pure genius. Sure the story gets a little out there at points, but there's really a great drama here (if you can believe it) dealing with the effects of old age, regret, and what to do if faced with a living mummy. Based on the award-winning short story of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale.

Great Scene: Jack explaining to Elvis how he came to be a black man.

DVD Notes: MGM really stepped up to the plate and showed this movie the love it deserves. Not only did it get a pretty decent limited run in the theaters, the DVD is very well produced, with plenty of extras. The main thing is not only a good commentary track with director Corscarelli and Campbell that's both informative and amusing, but a bonus commentary by "the King" himself, which is just freakin' hilarious in its own right. Also included are some deleted scenes with optional commentary, a great 24 minute "making of" featurette that relies more on interviews with the major players and behind-the-scenes footage than useless filler of clips from the film and lame-o sound-bites. Also included is a 6-minute compilation on the making of the mummy itself, 8 minutes on how they turned Bruce into the King, from fat suits to the jumpsuits needed for authenticity purposes. Last but not least is a 12 minute look into how the score for the film came about, primarily the work of Brian Tyler. All great and informative. There's also a picture gallery (much of which is seen cut into the above), trailers, and a music video that is kinda lame when taken out of context; watch the "Rock Like An Egyptian" feature instead.