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Bubba Ho-Tep (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Introduction by Bruce Campbell (Easter egg). Audio commentary by director Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell. Audio commentary by 'The King' (Easter egg).
Disc Two: Joe R. Lansdale reads from his original short story. Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary (as Easter egg) by Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell. Making of featurette. 'To Make a Mummy' – make-up and effects featurette. 'Fit for a King' – Elvis costume featurette. 'Rock Like an Egyptian' – featurette on the music of Bubba Ho-Tep. Music video. 'The King and I' – in-depth excavation with Don Coscarelli. UK Premiere Q&A with Don Coscarelli. 'Bruce Talks Bubba' – an interview with Bruce Campbell. Theatrical trailer. Photo gallery. TV spot. Cast and crew biographies. Character biographies.

WHEN Elvis Presley made 'taking care of business' his guiding philosophy, its doubtful The King ever had this sort of thing in mind.

Bubba Ho-Tep presents a vision of the rock 'n' roll maestro unlike anything you've seen before - as a zimmer-frame wielding pensioner who must fight a soul-sucking mummy in the retirement home he is currently residing in.

Sound warped? You bet! But part of the fun in watching the film unfold lies in seeing just how far-fetched and surreal things can become.

And in terms of making a cult movie, this provides a virtual A to Z of how to do it.

You want a cult director? Then step forward Phantasm's Don Coscarelli. A cult star? Who better than Bruce Campbell! And cheesy special effects? Then what about mechanical flying bugs?

As for the premise - it's pure rock 'n' roll hokum.

Elvis (Campbell) is now residing in a retirement home, lamenting the mysterious growth on his penis, and still trying to come to terms with his life-altering decision to swap places with an Elvis impersonator for a little bit of peace and quiet.

When fellow residents start dying and the bedrooms seem to be infected with over-sized bugs, The King teams up with another veteran, a black pensioner who thinks he's JFK (Ossie Davis), to investigate.

What they find is a soul-sucking zombie, whom they resolve to combat using their own, very limited super-powers, in between talking about the regrets and bad choices they made during the peak of their celebrity.

Bubba Ho-Tep is as offbeat and off-the-wall as its ludicrious premise suggests, but, surprisingly, the film possesses a great deal of charm.

The black humour is well-realised, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny (check out the cooler than cool Reservoir Dogs homage), while there is even some room for a little poignancy, with both Campbell and Davis sharing some great moments together.

Indeed, it is the quality and sincerity of the performances that help to make the film as rewarding as it is, even if the whole thing seems absurd.

Campbell, especially, gets the voice and mannerisms of Elvis down to a tee, and is sure to delight his many fans in the central role. It's a tour-de-force and one that even the most hardened cynic can't fail to be amused by.

So while Bubba Ho-Tep may eventually be destined for cult status and nothing more, it represents the pinnacle of cult movie-making and has enough going for it to melt even the most wooden heart.

 

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