Yep. It is pretty safe to say that age-ed American octogenarian, Sebastian Haff (Bruce Campbell), has a pretty unique dilemma on his hands. No. Don't worry. It does not have anything to do with his pecker having to be exfoliated by a nurse (Ella Joyce). Moreover, it does not have anything to do with his best friend thinking that he's the black dead president, Jack Kennedy (Ossie Davis), either. You see, Sebastian's problem is that he is in fact the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and that he is currently living in a rest home which is being stalked by a Hilly Billy Egyptian Mummy.
Yes. That's right. I said his best friend was black.
Well, quite a few years ago, 'the real' Elvis swapped roles with some schmuck Elvis impersonator called Sebastian Haff. Now whilst this schmuck died of a drug over dose not so long after this reversal, Elvis himself accidentally fell into a coma and found himself in this rest home sometime later.
Oh! And as for the Hilly Billy Egyptian Mummy on the other hand? Err? According to Jack, this 'Bubba Ho-Tep' (Bob Ivy) is a despondent entity that feeds off of the souls of the fellow residence living in this place of care. I think. Plus, in addition to this, after both Elvis and Jack have a very close encounter with this fiend, they also discover that this pain in the hieroglyphics came to this location by chance of fate.
Still, that is most probably why what next transpires begins when two legends get ready to kick ass and take names. As Bubba wants a snack - Jack watches his back - Elvis goes on the attack - and this adventure ends with a one hell of a whack!
Now before I praise 'Bubba Ho-Tep' within an inch of its filmic life, please allow me to spin some trivia first. (1) Bruce got the role in this movie care of his director pal, Sam Raimi, because he told the director of this project, Don Coscarelli, that Bruce could do a great Elvis impersonation. (2) This film was based on a short story written by country author, Joe R. Lansdale, who has the website www.joerlansdale.com. (3) It took thirty days to record this film; which is slightly longer than what it takes to record most low-budget movies. (4) None of Elvis Presley's songs was heard in this piece because it was a low budget movie and Bruce cannot sing for sh*t. His words. Not mine. (5) Bruce Campbell helped promote this flick by taking it along with him on his book tour, 'If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor'. (6) The majority of this adventure was shot in an abandoned veteran's hospital somewhere in
(7) This picture cost one percent of what most Hollywood
big budget films cost -- just over one million dollars. (8) The explosion in the trailer park was
captured in one take. (8) The bug-effects and creature costumes were
developed at cost price thanks to an old pal of Bruce and Dons, Greg Nicotero,
who worked on such horror films as 'Evil Dead 2', and 'From Duck Till Dawn 2'
[click on the links for the reviews]. (9) Unluckily for Bruce, because of the
confines of the shooting, he had to answer 'natures call' at times within a
bed-pan. Still, he never had to expose 'Little Bruce', did he? And (10) Originally the director of this film, Coscarelli,
wanted a dual narration, and not just an Elvis narration. This second strand
would have come from the source book that this movie was based on.
OK, so now that the trivia is out of the way with, how good is 'Bubba Ho-Tep', huh? Well, in my eyes, it's what I would call a very creative character based story. Granted, some of the subsidiary characters could have been given something more to do (like the Nurse or the other residence for instance). Plus the overall pretext could have had a bit more scope as well (mainly the whole Egyptian angle). But apart from that, this is a great-great movie.
To explain: (1) The concept behind this film is a very imaginative one overall. Elvis verses the Mummy. OK, I know that it does sounds very cheesy too. However, it is precisely because of this well defined cheesy-ness, which makes the story work as a whole. (2) Elvis's inner dialogue is just marvellous to listen to throughout this flick. Hearing about what 'Elvis' should have done, and how he felt about his life in general, was a very revealing and personal incite. Fair enough, I do realize that this is not the real-real Elvis. Nonetheless, this extra layer does give the 'Elvis character' some personality to connect with. (3) The cast in this film are just brilliant. Ossie has that air of authority about him which would put Obama to shame. Ella is great as the nurse, and I honestly would have liked to have seen more of her in this film. And as for Bruce? Bruce is the King. Long live the King. Say no more. (4) In a strange way, the two things that this movie lacks - money and music - inadvertently enhance it also. Now where the lack of funds are concerned, I felt that the filmmakers have become even more ingenuitive with their approach -- giving the style of this film some depth, and bold rustic panache, that merges with the tale quite nicely. Plus the special effects were not too showy to distract from the premise either. Moreover, where the music's concerned, I can hazard a guess that there wasn't enough cash to splash for any Elvis songs to be inserted in this flick. Still, the song's which were created for this project; did have a light and breezy vibe about them that was fit for the King.
OK, so if you have not guessed by now, I think 'Bubba Ho-Tep' is a great film. The cast are magical. The story is creative. And the execution is just out of this world. Truthfully, I can't wait for a sequel to be made. That's if they ever agree and get round to making one of course.
THE RATING: A