Bubba Ho-Tep

Elvis isn’t dead–he’s living out his days in a Texas rest home with a dodgy hip, a growth on his pecker, and nothing but geriatrics and patronising nurses for company. John F. Kennedy isn’t dead, either. He was fixed up, dyed black, and tucked away in that same rest home, safely out of sight. Or…so these characters believe. Together, they investigate a couple of strange deaths in the home, which turn out to be the work of an ancient mummy who is feeding on the souls of the residents, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be missed.

This is a very odd film. Like its characters, it moves very slowly. The traditional mummy horror movie is subverted by the this pace, and by its sarcastic takes on key plot sequences. You just can’t take a fist-sized scarab familiar seriously when it’s being fought off by a decrepit Elvis with a bed pan. But it’s not a comedy, either. It doesn’t take any cheap shots at the (potential) delusions of the two main characters. It portrays them in a completely sympathetic light, and thus draws attention to the things that matter to them: the people they love, the people they left behind.

It’s an interesting attempt to mold a low-budget, off-beat genre movie into something more sophisticated and meaningful. And it does work, to an extent. Bruce Campbell gives a wonderful performance as Elvis: he is believable enough to make you question whether he is deluded, and vulnerable enough to make you care about him regardless. I don’t think it was good enough to hit the five stars Richard gave it, though.

One thought on “Bubba Ho-Tep

  1. Richard Brunton

    Nooooooo! Oh Martin. Shame you didn’t love it as much as I did. I thought the underlying theme of how we treat the old stole over the entire story and made it the five I gave it.

    Good review though, and as always, well written.

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