|Plot Outline: Elvis is alive and well, and he’s Bruce Campbell. That’s right. Just when you thought movie plots couldn’t get any weirder, Bruce Campbell, playing an old, decrepit Elvis impersonator who thinks he’s actually the one true King of Rock and Roll, teams up with Ossie Davis, an aging black man who thinks he’s President John F. Kennedy, as the two of them try to rid their nursing home of a 3,000 year old Mummy. The Mummy has been terrorizing Elvis’ Texas nursing home ever since it was stolen from a museum and the thieves drove the get away bus (with the Mummy in it) off a nearby bridge. Since the accident, the Mummy sneaks into the nursing home every night to suck the souls out of the asses of the elderly, but not for long if the King has anything to say about it.|
The Review: I should start out by saying that I bought this movie because Bruce Campbell starred in it and I love several of his movies, especially the Evil Dead series. Unfortunately, with the excessive make up and the Elvis accent, it didn’t really seem like Bruce Campbell in this film. Even so, he’s still fun to watch and the film production and acting were both quite impressive. I also should note that I had to watch this movie twice in order to give it an accurate review because this film is not anything like I expected when I first popped it into my DVD player. This caused me to be disappointed after the first viewing. Now, after watching it a second time, Bubba Ho-Tep is starting to grow on me like the cancer on Elvis’ penis in the film—well maybe it’s not growing on me in actually the same way, but you get the idea.
Some might consider this film a Horror/Comedy, but I think it works much better as just a comedy. For those of you that like gory horror films, look elsewhere. There just isn’t any. There’s very little violence at all. The Mummy takes most of the souls without much of a struggle. This could have been potentially a very disturbing movie. After all, the Mummy does take the souls of the elderly by sucking the soul out of the anuses of senior citizens. Also, the picture makes many references to a cancerous growth on Elvis’ penis. However, the film never shows the growth or the ass-sucking scenes. This is a good because I could probably do without seeing both of those things. However, these missed opportunities are indicative of the movie as a whole. The film consistently sacrifices horror for comedy by not showing anything too disturbing. To be fair, there were a couple of entertaining fight scenes between Elvis and the Mummy, including one scene where the Mummy was a large scarab and Elvis catches him in his bed pan. However, these scenes were few and far between. On the comedic front, the movie works much better. Bubba Ho-Tep is full of zany characters: a cancerous penis massaging nurse, a man who thinks he’s Elvis, a black man who thinks he’s President Kennedy, a senior who thinks he’s a Wild West bandit, a couple of clumsy morticians and of course, a 3,000 year-old Mummy. Mix them all together and you’re in for a wild ride. In addition, the movie has some decent one-liners, but nothing as memorable as some of Bruce Campbell’s other classic lines. Still, all in all, the film kept me giggling throughout.
My biggest problem with the film is the beginning. Elvis spends what seems like an eternity in bed during the beginning of the film while Bruce Campbell does a voice over saying how bad the King’s life has been lately. These bed scenes are full of self-loathing, which can get a little annoying once in awhile. Also, this flys in the face of the first golden rule of screenwriting–show, don’t tell. Bubba Ho-Tep does a lot of telling through the use of excessive voiceovers. Still, there are plenty of fun things going on and once Ossie Davis’ character (the black guy who thinks he’s J.F.K.) enters the picture, the movie starts to take off. I noted earlier that the acting and the film quality were both quite good. In my opinion, Ossie Davis really steals the show in this film. He actually convinced me that he thinks he’s John F. Kennedy. And some of his one-liners about the C.I.A. replacing his brain with a “bag of sand” and his paranoid ramblings about L.B.J. coming to murder him are quite humorous. In addition, the unique plotline kept my interest throughout the story. All in all, it was an entertaining ride—the second time I watched it. The first time I saw the film, I was utterly disappointed. I expected it to be more of a horror film, with some witty lines and a zany cast of characters. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Bubba Ho-Tep is a good film, but you might have to watch it more than once in order to appreciate it.