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Overall Rating
4.37

Awesome63.95%
Worth A Look: 19.19%
Average: 11.05%
Pretty Bad: 1.74%
Total Crap: 4.07%

10 reviews, 112 user ratings


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Bubba Ho-Tep
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by Brian McKay

"The Pharaoh vs. The King – and the winner gets a lifetime supply of depends"
4 stars

I walked out of the screening of BUBBA HO-TEP with mixed emotions. But despite a mild twang of disappointment that the film did not quite live up to its hype, overall I was gratified by having seen a well-made film based on a story by one of my favorite authors (Joe R. Lansdale) and starring one of my B-movie heroes, Bruce Campbell, in the best performance of his career to date. If you go to see Bubba Ho-Tep expecting a genuine horror tale – don’t. But if you want a fun and consistently engaging B-movie with some A-list acting from Campbell in the role of an aged Elvis, then BUBBA HO-TEP should be on your must-see list.

Based on the short story by Joe R. Lansdale, a celebrated Texan mystery/horror writer and self-proclaimed master of “Mojo” storytelling (before the Austin Powers variety of the term came along), Bubba Ho-Tep tells the unlikely tale of a small town Texas nursing home plagued by an unholy soul-sucking mummy. The home’s last (and only) line of defense from this menace just happens to be a decrepit and bitter Elvis Presley in a walker (Campbell) and his sidekick, an elderly Black gentleman who claims to be the one and only J.F.K. (Ossie Davis), and who has been tucked away in the home by the government after being died black and given a new identity. When the aforementioned mummy shows up and begins to feast on the denizens of the Mud Creek Nursing Home, these two old nutjobs unite to send the undead redneck packing. Lucky for them, the mummy is also a decrepit old fart (a couple of thousand years old, give or take), and the minimal sustenance he receives from sucking the weak souls of the old even the odds in our heroes’ favor.

While I never really bought Davis as JFK (besides the obvious reason), he’s still a kick in the role - and I never expected to see such a venerated actor appearing in a film by the same guy who made the Phantasm movies (Director Don Coscarelli). But what really gives Bubba Ho-Tep the lion’s share of its humor and heart is a damn good performance from the criminally underrated Bruce Campbell. Even non - Evil Dead fanboys have to respect Campbell as an actor, after the surprising depth and range he brings to the role of the discarded King of Rock and Roll. He’s so good here that not only do you believe that his character really is Elvis, but you often forget that you’re watching Bruce Campbell, the guy best known for a chainsaw hand and his heroic square-jawed good looks. I don’t want to bandy about the overused phrase of “Oscar Worthy” – but God Damn, if this role can’t bring him some long-overdue respect from that cesspool of an industry known as Hollywood, than nothing can.

While fans of both Campbell and Coscarelli will be gratified by the subtle but knowing nods to both the Phantasm and Evil Dead series, an insider’s knowledge is not required to enjoy Bubba Ho-Tep. It does tend to drag in a few places, and the plot barely seems able to stretch thin enough to fill the movie’s 90 minute running time. However, the charm of the two leads, as well as an honorable mention for Ella Joyce in the role of Elvis’s nurse, keep the wind in the sails when the plot threatens to falter. Campbell and Davis have such good buddy chemistry, however, that they would practically be a shoe-in to play Joe R. Lansdale’s two most memorable and prolific characters – Leonard Pine and Hap Collins. If you’ve never read a Joe R. Lansdale novel, I suggest you start with a Hap and Leonard mystery. If you’re not hooked after that, send me an email and I’ll reimburse you for the book myself - after I smack you upside the head with it.

Although only in a very limited release at this time, it’s well worth doing the Ho-tep two-step to your nearest art house if you are fortunate enough to have this film come to your town. Otherwise, pray for a strong DVD release soon. And remember this – “Never, but NEVER, fuck with The King . . . Baby!”

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6101&reviewer=258
originally posted: 09/26/03 12:50:21
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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.

User Comments

12/17/18 Ajp wales Where is bruces oscar. 16 year old already. 5 stars
10/21/15 xkwdutyohth USA 3 stars
8/13/14 PAUL SHORTT LIKEABLE SPOOF, WITH A GOOD STAR PERFORMANCE 3 stars
12/29/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Elvis & JFK vs. mummy. Doesn't get much beeter than this. 5 stars
7/14/09 faiche13 fun, funny, funky 4 stars
6/23/08 bored mom A classic, and Texas has all the best weird fictionists 5 stars
3/21/08 mr.mike Has a few laughs , mostly from B.C. 3 stars
8/28/07 LtA Weird isn't funny. Weird for the sake of weird is NOT creative. 1 stars
5/14/07 Mike Koziol so much potential, a movie that didn't know where it wanted to go: comedy or more serious 2 stars
12/30/06 AJ Muller Story by the Texas Mojo Master done perfect by Coscarelli; Elvis by Campbell even better. 5 stars
12/01/06 kevin haile boring! 2 stars
11/03/06 Hauzy love Bruce Campbell but this just blew me away!! 5 stars
8/19/06 zaw Wow! 5 stars
8/04/06 Agent Sands Really funny premise, but very forgettable. 3 stars
4/24/06 Annie Treat yourself to a great little movie with lots of laughs! 5 stars
4/21/06 Becky Funny, great music. Bruce when Sebastain first meets Elvis= priceless 5 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Hilarious. 3 stars
10/01/05 matt good, but could have been better 4 stars
9/09/05 Mike This was a awesome moive, I never laughted so hard before. 5 stars
8/17/05 ES What a great idea, silly yet excellently done 4 stars
8/09/05 C. Fidance I absolutely love this movie; Bruce and Ossie are terrific! 5 stars
7/24/05 Reverse_Bear-Trap_101_"SAW" Good... But, not great! 3 stars
6/15/05 DM So gleefully bizarre it's almost touching. The fact that it's funny doesn't hurt either. 4 stars
5/28/05 Gary Bruce is great, but everything else was disappointing. Saw in a theatre. 2 stars
4/20/05 Dan Fun cult film, especially for Bruce Campbell fans 4 stars
4/17/05 Cary Gordon Builds brilliant, 5 stars
4/05/05 Eugene Mortensen ok if you like camp strange films 3 stars
4/02/05 Tom Benton Clever, very funny horror-comedy; Campbell and Davis are terrific. 5 stars
3/25/05 malcontent strictly for Coscarelli and Campbell lovers 3 stars
3/24/05 erebus45 Charming, engaging and Very, very well done 5 stars
3/15/05 brody horan the man must only have one nut snd be 13 years old 5 stars
3/09/05 LarryV Nice little B-flick. Ossie Davis and Bruce C. rock. 4 stars
3/05/05 Sam Eskenazi not for the unintelligent 4 stars
3/03/05 HORAN THE MAN!!!!! ELVIS CAN SUCK MY LEFT NUT!! 1 stars
2/07/05 Jeff Anderson THIS IS THE BRUCE CAMPBELL FILM TO REMEMBER & DON COSCARELLI'S AS WELL! TRULY GREAT!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/11/04 Phil M. Aficionado Campy, innovative labor of love; total fun; Bruce/Ossie just plain fabulous 5 stars
11/25/04 Jason If Brian Mckay likes this movie I don't trust any other review he does this movie sucks ass 1 stars
10/28/04 Raven nothing happens in this movie at all NOTHING, its a borefest with some ok characterization 1 stars
9/09/04 Otto Schmidt This movie is the best drama-horror-comedy I have ever seen :) 5 stars
8/31/04 Matthieu very NICE, ORIGINAL story, not a girl and a boy who makes love at the end 5 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge Hope they find the funds to make the prequels! 5 stars
8/23/04 Samuel Great, from beginning to end! 5 stars
7/29/04 American Slasher Goddess One of the best in the genre, that I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
7/25/04 Drew-P Great fun. I even thought the beetles did a nice job of acting. 4 stars
7/23/04 Lord Durvok 2 "NOBODY f**ks with the king!" 5 stars
7/20/04 N. Christopher Bell This movie sucks. And I'm a Bruce Campbell fan (actual member of the fanclub). 1 stars
7/19/04 Jessica Gill If you remember that it's supposed to be campy, you'll love it. 4 stars
7/17/04 Uncle Phucker Fucking genius! Unique and fun film. Great fun and actors. 5 stars
7/11/04 Jim Delivers laughs and a few genuine scares. Campbell & Davis both excellent. 4 stars
6/20/04 Jean Funny, crazy, bruce & elvis, no need to say more. 4 stars
6/12/04 Tony Merlocco Loved it! VERY FUNNY! 5 stars
6/11/04 Wolf Slightly overrated, but good acting all around. Musical score + Ossie were awesome. 3 stars
6/10/04 DodoLurker Tremendous effort by the actors, well-shot, just terrific 5 stars
6/10/04 Jack Bourbon It was a sebaceous cyst 5 stars
6/09/04 othree Elvis' character and dialog was the keeper 4 stars
6/08/04 tatum Original, hilarious, touching, loved it 5 stars
6/02/04 Turtle If an Elvis were to record a song to describe this film, it would be, "I'm All Fucked-Up." 4 stars
6/01/04 maggie imaginative-interesting 4 stars
5/27/04 A F Elvis, black JFK, Mummy, how can you go wrong? Who thinks this shit up? Genius, Pure Genius 5 stars
5/27/04 fixer Great fun... What more could you want? 5 stars
5/27/04 bigmomma its kinda dumb 3 stars
5/15/04 Lord Durvok 2 The fact that Bruce didn't win "Best Actor" for the year shows that there is no justice. 5 stars
5/11/04 Morally Sound Freaking hillarious! Bruce Campell IS Elvis! The part with the graffiti is so funny! 5 stars
5/02/04 DarthFredo excellent movie, very amusing 5 stars
4/11/04 Peter A great film that deals with old age and life in general 5 stars
3/19/04 Cary Gordon A bit slower than I expected in parts but still a really fun watch. 5 stars
3/09/04 Caiphn Finally got to see it! Drags in parts, Bruce as Elvis is top-notch. 4 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Ossie Davis is wonderful is this unique horror flick. 5 stars
1/10/04 AC No tantamount asskicking has ever been displyed. 5 stars
1/09/04 Kara Excellent!!!!! -- except for the final minute 5 stars
12/10/03 JJMAN FAN-Fucking-TASTIC! It's ok Barry, this movie wasn't made for morons without a clue. 5 stars
12/09/03 Dan Davis Excellent, ball-buster for sure!! 5 stars
12/07/03 Punk_Ass This is one great movie. Very funny, yet touching. barry, you are a fucking idiot. 5 stars
12/04/03 Andrew Callaway Most awesome movie ever? Yes. Better than Evil Dead II. See it NOW! 5 stars
12/02/03 Barry Weiner The voice-over is a cop-out. Don't tell me, show me. 1 stars
11/28/03 john oh boy..what a great surprise this movie is...honest, funny, endearing and very moving 5 stars
11/10/03 Lord Jiggy Touching, moving, surprising...in spite of cheesy horror and bedpan humor. 5 stars
10/27/03 Jen hilarious and yet strangely touching 5 stars
10/23/03 Lord Durvok II Great acting and story. At first I thought, "No way in hell is Bruce gonna pull this off!" 5 stars
10/18/03 Kyle FUCKING INCREDIBLE. 5 stars
10/17/03 Jaded I love Bruce and I saw this with a very open mind but it was a big snooze. Not funny. 3 stars
10/16/03 Robbie This was not written by Coscarelli, but adapted from the short by Joe R Lansdale 5 stars
10/15/03 Nancy Cary Truly original. Great acting. 5 stars
10/11/03 nick2k speaking from a non-fanboy stance...i must say this was damn good AND hella funny! 5 stars
10/07/03 Ryan Bruce Campbell IS Elvis. 5 stars
10/07/03 Erik Van Sant You too will want a growth on the end of your schlong...God bless you, Bruce Campbell. 5 stars
10/07/03 Titus I've been waiting for this forever, and it was worth it. GO! 5 stars
9/26/03 Jon This movie is retardedly good! 5 stars
9/26/03 John That was fantastic! Don't miss that movie!!!! 5 stars
9/23/03 The F-Bomb BRUCE CAMPBELL IS THE MESSIAH!!! ASH IS GOD!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/20/03 Lee Bubba Ho-Tep kicked all kinds of boo-tay! 5 stars
7/30/03 Sunnyd The film is great and we hope it gains the presentation it deserves!! 5 stars
7/11/03 Mike Smith Starts in Portland Oregon September 19th. www.bubbahotep.com 5 stars
7/06/03 Darren I drove 2 hours, waited in line 4 hours, got lucky with tickets and saw bruce as the king. 5 stars
6/16/03 matthew fuck 1 stars
5/31/03 Jonathan Stokes (Stokesy) Bruce is better that ever. Its about time he takes the leading over again since Evil Dead 5 stars
5/20/03 Wallace this was one of the best films i've ever seen, bruce is the man 5 stars
5/01/03 I think "steve" is my dad I thought it was very funny and a good mummy movie. 5 stars
4/29/03 Pete A wee bit of class on film 5 stars
3/31/03 Will awesome, awesome movie 5 stars
3/28/03 Mike Smith Incredible flick. See it if you can. 5 stars
3/25/03 Tom like it 3 stars
3/23/03 Goofy Maxwell Saw Bruce@E. Lansing Film Fest.: Presley estate makin' Don do the Ho-tep 2step. (inbreds!) 5 stars
3/13/03 Mister Bigglesworth Hollywood's distrubution sucks.(inbreds!) Give us damn good dvd and watch the sales soar! 5 stars
12/03/02 jason decent but slow. 3 stars
11/20/02 mj Saw it at Toronto. Amazing. Funny, yet surprisingly emotional. 5 stars
10/20/02 Marc Morrison It's like an introspective Evil Dead 4 5 stars
10/05/02 steve This film needs Distribution!!! 5 stars
10/04/02 XH It Rocks! 5 stars
9/16/02 jon solita Saw it at Flashback Weekend in Chicago. Great film, and has an unexpected emotional weight. 5 stars
9/11/02 will saw it at toronto film festival, it was excellent! 5 stars
8/31/02 E. H. Bennett Visually exciting, touching story, great acting all around. Please sell it soon, Don! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Sep-2003 (R)
  DVD: 25-May-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Feb-2005




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