The good news is that BUBBA HO-TEP will be finally hitting U.S. theatres beginning September 26. As for the bad news...there is none. This movie kicks ass.A weirdly original--and just plain weird--horror-comedy from PHANTASM creator Don Coscarelli, adapted from a little-known short-story by Joe R. Lansdale, BUBBA HO-TEP stands out like nobody's business in this year of gore-flick "tributes" (e.g. HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, CABIN FEVER, 28 DAYS LATER). In fact, BUBBA does not quite resemble any movie on Earth, which is every bit to the filmmakers' credit, though the film's mixed-genre plumage will likely turn off the mainstream public. Too bad for the public.
It is a film about the struggle to maintain one's dignity. It is about the trials of growing old. It is about a rampaging Egyptian mummy that sucks out people's souls. Bruce Campbell plays Elvis--yes, that Elvis--who for reasons I will not reveal here is still very much alive and confined to a rest home. One of his few friends is a black man who may or may not be ex-President Jack Kennedy, who also still alive and, somehow, no longer white; these two embattled old men join forces against the aforementioned creature.
What results from all this campy madness is a wildly energetic, cheerfully vulgar confection; it is one of the most sheerly entertaining films I've seen in a while. Coscarelli hits all the right notes. His film is alternately witty, touching, inventive, and thrilling; it takes a peculiar type of genius to wring all this out of such unlikely material. Coscarelli has not often been accused of possessing genius, but I think he's just found his niche.
Admittedly, all the four-letter-word humor tends to become excessive. Too many scenes try to get laughs out of the King's surprisingly foul mouth. But this is easily forgiven--besides, it really is funny.Go see it--you'll have a blast. Trust me on this.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2003 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.