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With: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, Bob Ivy
Written by: Don Coscarelli
Directed by: Don Coscarelli
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual content and brief violent images
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/09/2002

Bubba Ho-Tep (2003)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The King and the Spook

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

If anyone asks, I'll say my favorite actor is Johnny Depp or William H. Macy or someone respectable. But my real favorite actor is Bruce Campbell; and he's rarely been as good as he is here as Elvis, alive and living in a Texas nursing home. He teams up with a man claiming to be JFK (Ossie Davis) to battle a runaway Egyptian mummy wearing a cowboy hat and boots. Director Don Coscarelli (The Beastmaster, the Phantasm films) unexpectedly concentrates primarily on bringing his characters to life. As Elvis, Campbell provides many introspective moments, giving us insight as to what the King might really have thought and felt. From there, Bubba Ho-Tep manages several terrific moments of real humor, terror and suspense. No "B" movie fan should miss it.

DVD Details: This is one terrific movie. It surprised me how much more I liked it on second viewing. Despite its goofy idea and bargain basement monster, it's a brilliantly written and directed film, full of nuance, character and atmosphere. It's a shame Campbell didn't earn more accolades for his outstanding performance. Fortunately, MGM/UA has given the DVD the "Collector's Edition" treatment with lots of goodies. Campbell provides two commentary tracks, one as himself with director Coscarelli and one as "the King." We also have several making-of featurettes, a music video, a trailer, a TV spot and a photo gallery. Finally, we have Joe R. Lansdale, the twisted writer of the original novella, reading passages from his work. I haven't read this particular story, but I have read some of Lansdale's other work, and it's potent stuff. Especially in this era of brain-dead movies totally bankrupt of ideas, no film lover should pass up Bubba Ho-Tep.

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