A review of “Bubba Ho-Tep” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: Unrated, but should be R for language and intensity

Run Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building….or has he?  In Don Coscarelli’s surreal cult oddity, Elvis is alive and well and kicking Egyptian butt.

Say what?  According to this hybrid horror-comedy, Elvis secretly switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his “death”, and was unable to switch back thanks to a series of unusual circumstances.  Languishing in an East Texas rest home with nothing but his memories to keep him warm, Elvis (Bruce Campbell) is losing faith.

Until a rare Egyptian cockroach begins attacking the rest home residents.  Bored out of his mind and anxious to get the stagnant juices flowing, Elvis joins forces with fellow resident Jack Kennedy (Ossie Davis as an African-American patient who believes that the government dyed him that color to cover up his real identity) to slay the evil Egyptian soul-sucker once and for all.

  The geriatric duo plays out their private melodrama with a fearless enthusiasm born of hopeless denial, while “Bubba” parlays its alternative weirdness into an oddly compelling contemporary fairy-tale. A delicious star-turn by consummate B-movie actor Campbell (“Evil Dead”, “Army of Darkness”) bolsters the action when the pace goes inexorably lazy.  With little to do but live for the memories, Campbell’s Elvis is offered the opportunity to sermonize to his heart’s content, waxing philosophical on life, sex, and death.

Kitschy, lowbrow, and aggressively low-budget, “Bubba” is nevertheless a one-of-a-kind film experience.