Comedy Horror
Bubba Ho-tep
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Dir: Don Coscarelli
Star: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2002
Format: DVD R1
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Elvis Presley the king of rock and roll is alive. Bored with fame he swapped places with an impersonator but missed his chance to swap back before the other guy died. So now he is a resident in an old peoples home where the staff think he's mad. However when the residents start becoming the victims of a soul sucking Egyptian mummy, he and a colored guy who swears he is JFK are their only hope.

After watching the endless stream stylish but vacuous modern movies Bubba Ho-tep is a breath of fresh air. What we have is one of the most original, entertaining, and funny films to be released in the last few years. The sad fact is you have probably never heard of it, as it never got a major cinema release. This is a crime when you compare it the most of the garbage out there.

The story sounds insane but actually it is well explained and sort of makes sense. It's sort of Cocoon meats A Nightmare on Elm Street. Elvis and his friend Jack are the heroes but they are also old men watching their lives ebb away in an old folks home. It is a credit to the excellent story that their plight is tragically sad yet it contains so many funny moments.

Bruce Campbell is simply outstanding as Elvis. Some convincing make up gives him the right look (although you can't hide that chin) and the voice he uses is spot on. Nice touches like his Elvis shades now being his seeing glasses ensure great comedy value and reinforce the Elvis feeling. Although despite all of this it is his performance that is the most impressive. He plays a convincingly ornery old Elvis trapped outside of his own life. Added to this we have just a little bit of that Campbell comedy action slapstick that is always funny. This is possibly his best performance ever, and it is perfectly complimented by Ossie Davis as Jack.

Don Coscarelli is the man who bought us the entertaining low budget Phantasm movies, and here he both writes and directs. I have already mentioned what an excellent job he has done with the script but what surprised me was the skill he shows in direction. This really is a slickly shot film, with the decrepit corridors of the old folks home combined with great lighting to give Bubba Ho-tep a scary feel. Especially nice is the speed up effects used to denote confusion when Elvis is waking up. This impressive work really holds things together when maybe they could have fallen apart.

You see things aren't totally perfect, and there are a few of problems. For a start the scarab beetle animatronic is amazingly bad. I know this is due to a lack of budget but maybe it should have been on screen a bit less. Also the film can be a little talky and pedestrian at times, luckily the quality of the dialogue mostly negates this. Lastly the script may be a bit guilty of containing one too many knob gags, they are funny at first but it does feel that this joke is taken a little too far. However on the whole these are minor gripes that don't ruin the film in any way.

Bubba Ho-tep is a scream; it is the most original horror comedy I've seen for a long time. Bruce Campbell is a stunning good Elvis, and Ossie Davis is an incredibly funny as a black JFK. Forget the bizarre and poorly constructed Cabin Fever, or the endless bunches of teenagers getting hacked to death by tired slashers, this film brings a fresh slant on a genre mired in a lack of invention. It is criminal that this film didn't make it big in the cinema but finally on DVD you can get to see what you missed out on. So get your hands on it a watch the king verses king of the dead. I thank you very much, Elvis has left the cinema.

Tagline

The King Verses The King of the Dead

Quotes

Elvis: Don't make me use myself on you baby.

Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD
Picture 1.85:1 Looking good baby.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Good and well used.
Features 12 page colour booklet
Audio Commentary by Bruce Campbell and Don Coscarelli
Audio Commentary by The King
4 making-of featurettes
A reading of the orginal short story
Deleted scenes with audio commentary
Music video
Photo Gallery
Trailers
Verdict What a cracking disc. A great transfer and more extras than many big studio releases. It goes to show just what love Bruce Campbell and Don Coscarelli had for this project.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home