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Bubba Ho-Tep

Reviewed by Ogre3000

The first reaction is Bubba-who-what tep?

Bubba Ho-Tep, a fine, funky, dark, funny story about the last days of The King, Elvis (no, he didn't die way back when) and JFK (ditto) going down in a blaze of glory. It opens in Mud Creek, Texas, "present day," at the Shady Rest Convalescence Home. Elvis is feeble, miserable, with gray mutton chops and hair and has problem with his, ummmm, "li'l Elvis," that he believes is some kind of cancerous wart.

His room-mate, Bull, a WW2 vet soon dies and we can see Elvis is shaken to his soul and made further bitter by the appearance of Bull's sexy daughter that never came to visit her father. He's also angered that when he roundly cusses her and his nurse, they both laugh and think it's cute. "Ya can't even cuss nobody when you get old..." he mutters bitterly.

Welp, the story moves on to a klepto resident that helps herself to about anything not nailed down and that night, she is attacked by a nasty, ugly "cockroach" (a huge creepy scarab beetle, actually). She fights it off but finds that was only the herald of Bubba Ho-Tep, who seems to flow up out of the dark. In a horrible dream-nightmare state, Elvis wakes up, sees her holding the frame of his room's doorway in a deathgrip, laying on the floor, but she is snatched away at supernatural speed and he puts it down as a dream hallucination.

The next day, we see the first of many visits by the local funeral home's hearse and two nerdy attendants. The poor klepto resident of course, had a "heart attack." Welp, the days drag on, Elvis remembers and dreams of his past glory (the switch with the Elvis impersonator is shown in detail), worries about his wart problem and one night wakes up cold and needing to go. But fate steps in, and Elvis decides he's through with the bedpan and goes to his bathroom. Then he is attacked by one of those giant "cockroaches" (which in a way, remind me of the crazy flying critters and deadly silver/gold balls in both the "Evil Dead" and "Phantasm" series).

He defeats it and hears a noise and follows it to find his only friend, Jack, aka John F. Kennedy (who didn't die in Dallas) on the floor of his room, passed out. He wakes him, and JFK informs him that it was another assassin, maybe LBJ himself! Oh yeah, look close when Elvis is checking on Jack, he has a big surgical scar, like if he had been shot in the neck or something...

Welp, more time goes by, Elvis and Jack get closer and try to figure out what is going on. Jack apparently is into to occult reading (thus filling the role of our Van Helsing, like all classic horror movies do) and noticed weird graffitti appearing on the walls of the public crapper. They figure out some kind of soul-sucking monster is stealing 'small souls' (by looking it up in the "Men And Women's Everyday Book of Souls," doesn't everyone have that book?). But how did a soul-sucking monster get to Mud Creek, Texas? That night, Elvis finds out.

As Jack and he struggle to understand, they hear sinister creepy noises from down the hall, close to "Kemosabe's" room (a fellow that was Elvis' friend, that believes he's The Lone Ranger, but now, can't remember who Elvis is anymore). Elvis determines to see what is going on and........ then, there's Bubba! Like some barely seen evil black spider slowly scuttling down the hall, he finally comes into view, evil glamour surrounding him, stunning Elvis. He passes, then stops and looks into Elvis' eyes. Suddenly, Elvis' head is filled with images, flashes of Egypt, Texas again, and finally a bus going off a bridge and into the water. Then, it's over and Bubba strides away, slowly, painfully, like his legs are atrophied beyond belief. Suddenly, Kemosabe comes out of the dark, chasing Bubba, cussing him and firing his cap-pistols (since we saw earlier, Bubba was feeding on Kemosabe's room-mate) and after Bubba mists through the exit doors, collapses, dying with his boots on...

Now, Elvis has part of Bubba's memories (in the original story we learn when Bubba eats someone's soul, he gets part of their personality, thus the cowboy hat and boots for the Bubba part of his title). Later, after he's seen the crashed, buried bus in Mud Creek, Jack returns from the local newspaper morgue with info about a stolen mummy and the two rednecks that stole it. So, now they know it's a truly evil Egyptian mummy and they aim to take it out and save the souls at the Shady Rest...

Welp, I really enjoyed this movie, just seeing our two unlikely heroes stride down the nursing home hallway in white Elvis-style jumpsuit and presidental suit with walker and wheelchair, with almost Western showdown music was worth the wait. Oh yeah, there's lots of folks from Phantasm including Reggie Bannister and believe it or not, Kemosabe was played by The Beverly Hillbillies' "Dash Riprock!" I give it 5 out of 5 stars, lots of fun, lots of inside jokes, great music and I will buy the DVD for sure...Carl - aka OGRE3000

 

Also available: Alex's review

 

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Writer/Director
Don Coscarelli

Released
February 27, 2004

Cast
Bruce Campbell
Ossie Davis
Ella Joyce
Heidi Marnhout
Bob Ivy
Larry Pennell

Full Credits at IMDb

Available on DVD