north americaeurope
  in brief
may 25 release


bubba ho-tep
  don coscarelli
  bruce campbell, ossie davis
the good: Campbell delivers a great performance, and some fantastic directing. unquestionably unique.
the bad: sometimes the humour can take away from the atmosphere. it's not truly scary.
we say:
in depth

There something you need to know, as you've been labouring under a misconception most of your life. (assuming you lead a normal life, that is). You see, Elvis never really died. What happened is of course very simple. Good ol' Elvis was tired of his fake life, and music that wasn't even his anymore. So he decided to hire an impersonator, the best damned Elvis impersonater ever - Sebastian Haff, to take his place. Freed of his fake celebrity, Elvis took Sebastian's place, and started a new life impersonating himself. It wasn't necessarily a permanant deal, just something to try out.

Unfortunately, Mr. Haff had a bad heart and a worse drug problem, and soon he was dead. And the real Elvis? Laid up with a hip injury in addition to a rather uhm, embarrassing condition, he's now doomed to spend the rest of his life in a rest home. He's surrounded by a few strange characters, notably a man who swears he's the real JFK. He also happens to be black, and is convinced Lyndon Johnson himself is coming to finish the job he started. Even the grave can't hold LBJ back.

When it comes to the undead however, Elvis and JFK have bigger problems then Johnson. There's been a death, and some strange happenings around the home lately, and all signs point to an ancient egyptian being, now resurrected and preying on the admittedly paltry souls of the home's inhabitants. It's up to our mismatched but intrepid duo to find out exactly what's going on, and put a stop to it.

Bubba Ho-tep is an excellent movie, through and through. Coscarelli is astonishingly adept at handling material (suprisingly, this from the man who brought us the dubious 'Phantasm' franchise') and brings the movie roaring to slick and stylish life. Distorted scenes and fast motion cuts are seamlessly spliced into the body of the movie - and instead of ending up as derivative, it plays as wholly original. Coscarelli does a fine job of managing to entertain his audience with humourous characters, while at the same time building up the mystery of his odd plotlines.

Campbell delivers the perfect performance as a washed-up, but still cool Elvis Presley. He spits one-liners with his fabled 'Evil Dead' skill and manages to make even the worst of them sound pretty damn cool. That's not to say he's been dealt bad material - the dialogue throughout the movie is sharp and witty, and Campbell and Davis (JFK) have an excellent chemistry. Davis himself has a fair share of funny lines, and his delivery is almost as strong as Campbells. The movie's worth watching just to see the two of them in action.

The best part about 'Bubba Ho-tep' is how decidedly odd it is. It's a refreshing pleasure to see Elvis Presley and JFK trade witty banter, all the while tracking down a soul-sucking undead egyptian entity. As one might imagine, this isn't your standard horror fair. Odd as it is, the material never comes across as ridiculous, thanks to the capable performances and tight direction.

At a few points, the movie isn't quite able to walk the fine line between a darkly humourous horror flick, and an unscary campy spoof. For the most part however the movie manages to deliver the laughs, while mantaining a creepy atmosphere. Coscarelli buils a surreal ambience throughout the film, and only rarely does it slip away for a moment.

It's a welcome change to see so see movies such as 'Bubba Ho-tep' and 'May' breaking away from the traditional horror movie mould. Not that this is necessarily a new trend, but lately it's been done with higher production values and a greater level of skill and style then ever before. 'Bubba Ho-tep' is a great movie by any measure, full of intelligence, dark humour, and an thoroughly enjoyable storyline. Don't hesitate to pick this movie up when you have the chance - you won't be disappointed.



reviewed by dragonsworn staff
  in closing
an all-out great movie. off-beat, quirky, weird, odd - however you describe it, it adds up to first rate entertainment. on the other side, if you like your horror movies in the traditional hack'n'slash presentation, this may not appeal to you.