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By Steve Anderson | July 28, 2004

There are times in all our lives where we must question our own sanity. Perhaps we are watching footage from an Iraqi prison. Or the State of the Union address. Maybe even a televised meeting of the Federal Reserve. We must look at what we’re watching and ask ourselves, “Am I really SEEING this?”

Bubba Ho-Tep is one of those.

I have to admit, the DVD menu is excellently done. While it isn’t as harrowing as those of Fear of the Dark or Jeepers Creepers 2, it is however highly original. What we have is a collection of newspaper clippings and a circus – style poster, with the available menu choice below. Careful viewers will note bits of the story in the presentation.

So let’s run down the story. And this one’s a doozy, folks. Strap in and pay attention. And no, you are NOT on acid. This is actually what happens.

Mud Creek, Texas, is the home of a relatively innocuous though somewhat sinister nursing home. And there’s a resident or two that’ll really surprise you.

Like Elvis.

That’s right, folks, the King lives on and is living in a nursing home in Mud Creek, Texas. And considering what the King thinks about, he’s not doing much in the way of living.

And of course, we can’t get a movie involving Elvis without the “story” behind his death. It’s very melancholy, and a little bizarre, but it’s very well constructed.

But this isn’t just the home of living rock legends we all merely thought were dead, no sir or ma’am as the case may be. This is the home of some really vicious bugs. Scarab beetles, in fact. And mummies in cowboy hats.

And then, as if things couldn’t get any weirder, JFK apparently ALSO lives in this Mud Creek rest home.

Played by Ossie Davis.

Now, anyone who knows who Ossie Davis is is suddenly picking his or her jaw up off the floor. Ossie Davis, you see, is a BLACK man.

As for our bad guy, the mummy…he’s hanging around the rest home for one major purpose: to feed on the souls of the elderly living. This, of course, kills them. But as Elvis and JFK theorize, who would notice? The elderly? Suddenly DYING? In a NURSING HOME??

It is indeed an excellent cover.

So, without giving away too much more of the plot, what we have here is:

Elvis and JFK versus the mummy. Better, Elderly Elvis and Black JFK versus a redneck soul-sucking mummy who collects said souls in a method that can be at best called unique and at worst called disgusting.

The joke is, I’m not kidding. This is the actual plot behind Bubba Ho-Tep. It is some kind of fight, too. Everything you expect a Bruce Campbell action role to be is right here in Bubba Ho-Tep.

And you will not believe how incredibly well crafted this is.

Bubba Ho-Tep works for a number of reasons. First and foremost is the genius of Mr. Bruce Campbell, the undisputed King of the B-Movie. Second off is Ossie Davis. The man is a regular genius on any number of levels, but as Jack Kennedy, reduced in this film to a doddering conspiracy – theorist, he is the highest kind of skillful.

The scripting is also very well done. It’s very well paced, with excellent dialogue and banter between characters. Elvis’ lines are exactly what you’d expect to hear from a seventy year old Elvis with a broken gyrating hip.

The two bumbling morticians are also an excellent, albeit morbid, comic relief.

The extras menu is very well done. It features deleted scenes, audio commentary from the director, from Bruce Campbell, and from “The King”, a making of segment, a music video, a theatrical trailer, a tv spot, a special thanks listing, and trailers for “Osama”, “Barbershop 2,” “Touching the Void,” “Jeepers Creepers,” and “Jeepers Creepers 2.”

Oh, and don’t select anything for a couple minutes for an audio surprise from everybody’s favorite film wiseass, Bruce Campbell.

The theme is also a pleasure. It’s not very often we get elderly heroes, and instead of making theme comic relief or captains of exposition, we get the elderly fighting the undead, and doing an excellent job of it. Bubba Ho-Tep is actually inspirational, and senior citizens everywhere should probably get a hold of it for the uplifting quality message.

So all in all, Bubba Ho-Tep is exactly what you’re expecting from a movie that not only had the critics singing its praises, but also had fanboys singing backup praises, and the film festivals ringing in on the praise chorus. Bubba Ho-Tep is solidly done comedy with just enough horrific overtones to charge the story.

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