DVD Review of BUBBA HO-TEP(2004)


It has been some time since Don Coscarelli, director or PHANTASM(1978) & THE BEASTMASTER(1982) has directed anything in the sci-fi/horror/fantasy genre, but this time, he has come back with a vengeance with his new film, BUBBA HO-TEP. Based on a Joe R. Lansdale short story of the same name, this film stars Bruce Campbell(EVIL DEAD series, ADVENTURES OF BRISCO COUNTY) as Elvis Presley in his 70's, convalescing of a broken hip fracture and a possible cancerous growth on his penis in a old folk's home in Texas. According to this film, it seems that Elvis didn't die in 1977 and that he just decided to get out of the rat race and change places with an Elvis impersonator who dies of a heart attack in 1977. The real Elvis ends up in the old folks home when he fractures his hip during an Elvis impersonation concert. When he gets at the old folk's home, he discovers that there is an Egyptian mummy/evil spirit called Bubba Ho-Tep that is preying on the old people at the home and sucking their souls & life essence to keep itself alive. Elvis then decides to take matters in his own hands when he sees that the hospital staff doesn't believe him and then he teems up with two other residents of the retirement home, JFK(Ossie Davis) who is now an African American and Kemosabe aka The Lone Ranger(Lance Pennell) to help him do battle against Bubba Ho-Tep.
As you can see, this is not a straightforward horror movie, but in my opinion the film's sense of humor is what gives this movie it's charms with it 's quirkyness and off the wall characterizations. Campbell has the best role in his career since Ash in the Evil Dead films, playing a much older Elvis and Ossie Davis really shines as an older JFK trapped in a black man's body without his consent( it turned out to be part of the Kennedy conspiracy). There is also really good performaces by Reggie Bannister(PHANTASM series), Lance Pennell and Bob Ivy as Bubba Ho-Tep. The Bubba Ho-Tep made by Robert Kurtzman of KNB Effects is the best muumy makeup in a while(no CGI effects here!) and the score by Brian Tyler(SIX STRING SAMURAI) is very effective and evocative of guitarists Dick Dale & Duane Eddy.
The Special Edition DVD by MGM Home Video has two audio commentaries on it, one by director Coscarelli and the other by Campbell in his Elvis mode. There is also a featurette on the making of the film, a music video, interviews with composer Brian Tyler & special make up designer Robert Kurtzman, a photo & poster gallery, movie & TV trailers and even a section where author Joe R. Lansdale read the first chapter of his BUBBA HO-TEP story! All in all a great DVD release of the film and I would reccomend it to Coscarelli fans as well as Campbell fans too.

"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."

I'm definately getting it.

Thanks for the review.

Nice review, I've been waiting for this one a long time. Bruce Campbell is always good Anyone else read his autobiography, If Chins Could Kill?

Originally Posted by Citezen_Toxie
Nice review, I've been waiting for this one a long time. Bruce Campbell is always good Anyone else read his autobiography, If Chins Could Kill?
Indeed I have. Currently one of my favorite books.

Living in the UK, i have yet to see this film and its really p!ssing me off! I can either wait and see if it screens at the local Art House in September or spend my hard earned money on importing the dvd, which i imagine i will anyway. You think after your lovely review you could give a bit more personal feedback on it and how highly recommended?

Dang, I almost bought this tonight but I wanted to rent it first to see if I'd like it. I love Campbell and the trailer for this cracked me up.
"You don't know the power of the Darkside."
-Darth Vader

I finally got around to ordering it since it was sold out everywhere.

Psion's Avatar
In Tyler We Trust
i just finish watchin Bubba Ho-Tep it was pretty good 7/10
"Hey if you wanna make an Omelet you gotta break some eggs"