November 2, 2003

Is there anyone better to spend Halloween (and my wedding anniversary) with than Bruce Campbell?

After waiting probably over a year, Bubba Ho-Tep finally opened at the Angelika as part of the Deep Ellum Film Festival. I almost peed on myself from excitement as we were waiting in line to get into the theater. Less than five minutes into the film, I knew it had been worth the wait.

Bruce Campbell stars as Elvis – Elvis now, present day – an old coot in a rest home. Elvis traded places with an Elvis Impersonator and it was the Impersonator who really overdosed on the toilet. His compatriots in the nursing home begin dying at an even higher rate than usual and he must get to the bottom of it. He’s assisted by John F. Kennedy, passionately played by Ossie Davis. Yes, THE Ossie Davis. He says the CIA kept a piece of his brain, dyed him black and let him go. Yeah. After some investigation, the old codgers discover that the nursing home residents are being knocked off by a grafitti-happy mummy that kills his victims by sucking their souls out via an orifice…I’ll give you three guesses which one…

Most of the big laughs in the film come from Elvis’ ruminations on the dysfunction, infection and later resurrection of his pecker. There’s no nudity, very little gore in the film, but by golly, it still warrants a solid R Rating on the running commentary of the state of his penis. Thankfully, we never see the pus-oozing sore causing all the soliloquies…

Maybe Bruce Campbell will finally get the credit he deserves as an actor. He really was Elvis. Admittedly, there was always a little bit of Elvis in Ash – “Hail to the king, baby.” There was not even a tiny smidgen of Ash in Campbell’s depiction of Elvis. Despite Campbell’s penchant for physical comedy throughout the Evil Dead films and beyond, the physical comedy of portraying a geriatric Elvis required subtlety…and Campbell definitely came through. Gone was the sheer joy of seeing Ash being hit in the head 43 times in a row…instead the audience was given the pleasure of Elvis going after the mummy on a Hoveround.

Sitting through the end of the credits, we were teased with the message “Elvis returns in Bubba Nosferatu: Wrath of the She-Vampires.” Please, please let this be true.

Damn, damn, damn good film. It’s playing at the Angelika until Thursday, November 6 – so get your ass down there pronto!


Year – 2002
Rating – R
Runtime – 92 minutes
Genre – Horror, Elvis, Bruce Campbell
Director(s) – Don Coscarelli
Writer(s) – Joe Lansdale, Don Coscarelli
Actor(s) – Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Daniel Roebuck
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – "Ask not what your rest home can do for you, but what you can do for your rest home." - Elvis (Bruce Campbell)