Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Who would think that a movie featuring an aging Elvis impersonator joining forces with a man who believes he is John F. Kennedy dyed “black” fighting a soul sucking mummy could work? How about Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis as our leads in director Don Coscarelli’s film from a short story by Joe R. Lansdale.
In a totally quotable movie we have Bruce portraying an aged King of Rock’n Roll. No one believes he’s the real King but in a flashback story he relates how he wound up living out his final years in a decrepit home for the elderly. He befriends Ossie’s JFK and the two of them embark on searching out this soul sucking entity from Egypt who preys upon the elderly in Mud Creek, Texas.
Davis determines that the Mummy needs to feed and in so doing preys upon those at the home he and “Elvis” inhabit. All he needs is an orifice to drain one’s soul.
“Watch your ass.” Davis tells the King as they intend to draw out the creature and “take care of business.”
As way out there in plot as this film is, it works. Partly because the actors are taking their roles seriously like Lee and Cushing used to do. Campbell is wonderful as Elvis and the flashback scenes to a younger version of himself are memorable in relating how he became Sebastian Haff, a noted Elvis imitator.
Adding to the fun is the fact that Ossie and Bruce accept the other for who they claim to be. There’s a respect there as they learn to call each other by their supposed identity.
Quite a bit of the humor comes from Campbell’s narration and his very sexual imagination of how it used to be when women fell at the King’s feet. Once again there are plenty of quotable lines from his voice overs which I won’t repeat here but will hopefully elicit some laughs should you take the time to seek this title out if you already haven’t. But you can expect some of the King’s favorite lines from Campbell’s fine work here as the King. TCB baby, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and ‘thankyou, thanyou very much” come through loud and clear.
The film is directed by Don Coscarelli who has given us the Phantasm series of cult films. Reggie Bannister who starred in that series featuring the silver balls and Angus Scrimm as the Tall man also appears here as the rest home administrator in what amounts to more of a cameo.
Sadly the much rumored Bubba Nosferatu never materialized leaving Bruce’s legion of fans highly disappointed. The film is still rumored to be in the works and was at one time attached to Paul Giamatti as Colonel Tom Parker and Ron Perlman stepping into the Kings belt buckle.
I have revisited this one a number of times and it never fails to hit my funny bone. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been an Elvis fan and find humor in the imitators and Elvis festivals that go on around the globe since the King’s death. So take some time here to give this one a watch while enjoying a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. “TCB Baby.”