Bubba Ho-TepFebruary 27, 2004
Elvis and JFK, both alive and in nursing homes, fight for the souls of their fellow residents as they battle an ancient Egyptian Mummy.
Release Year: 2002
Rating: 7.2/10 (26,887 voted)
Critic's Score: 57/100
Stars: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce
Based on the Bram Stoker Award nominee short story by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Bubba Ho-tep tells the "true" story of what really did become of Elvis Presley. We find Elvis (Bruce Campbell) as an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, who switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his "death", then missed his chance to switch back. Elvis teams up with Jack (Ossie Davis), a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually President John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as his happy hunting grounds.
Writers: Joe R. Lansdale, Don Coscarelli
Rest Home Administrator
Iron Lung Lady
You don't fuck with the king.
Release Date: 27 February 2004
Filming Locations: Downey, California, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $35,636
(21 September 2003)
(30 June 2004)
Did You Know?
Despite the fact that Elvis Presley is the main character, not one piece of Elvis's music is heard. Coscarelli explained that it would have cost about half the budget to license one of Elvis's songs for the movie.
During the opening newsreel footage, the subtitles say that it is the discovery of the tomb of Amen Ho-Tep, but the voice over is explaining that it is the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb (the sarcophagus shown is also that of Tutankhamen).
It was nice meeting you, Mr. Presley.
Get the hell outta here.
Fabulously original film
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to see this film at a horror and
fantasy convention. Since it is not yet in distribution I jumped at the
chance. Just to set the record straight, I didn't go into this film with
normal expectations. The god that is known as Bruce Campbell stars in
film, and let's just say that any morsel of Bruce Campbell goodness I can
get is going to make me absolutely love a movie.
The basic premise of this film is that Elvis Presley is alive and not too
well. He lives in an East Texas nursing home. It seems that years before
Elvis tired of his fame and switched places with an Elvis impersonator.
Elvis we see in this picture is a 68 year old man with a penchant for
and large, jewel studded sunglasses. Whenever he claims to be Elvis,
everyone just laughs at this crazy old Elvis impersonator obviously going
senile in his old age. Elvis discovers that there's a mummy inhabiting
nursing home who is sucking the souls out of the residents through a
disturbing bodily orifice. So Elvis teams up with an old African American
man (Ossie Davis) claiming to be John Kennedy (his explanation for what
happened to him has to be heard to be believed, and is one of the funnier
jokes in the movie) to stop the mummy and save the souls of the residents
the nursing home.
As crazy and silly as this setup sounds, the film actually achieves depths
that most "serious" movies can't even begin to touch. The film deals with
what it's like to be an elderly person in this country when nobody cares
about you. Elvis and Kennedy are both regretful about not being there for
their children when they needed them. And a last chance for glory and
leaving this world honorably is a recurring theme throughout the film (see
Kemo Sabe's showdown with the mummy). All of these themes are handled
a deft hand, never hammering the point home, but intended to be taken
Ossie Davis gives a terrific comedic performance as "Jack" Kennedy. He
delivers some rather eyebrow raising exposition with such a light touch,
audience is forced to except his explanation as fact and move
And then of course, Bruce Campbell. Campbell plays Elvis as we've never
seen him, a 68 year old man with a bad hip and a cancerous growth in a
uncomfortable place. Anyone who has seen any of Campbell's performances
knows he can play the hero or the buffoon with equal skill. But here, he
pushes the bounds of his talent like never before. Perhaps the highest
praise I can give his performance is that 10 minutes into the film, I
it was him, and truly believed it was Elvis on the screen.
The film was written for the screen and directed by Don Coscarelli.
Coscarelli has been in something of a rut since his breakthrough hit with
"Phantasm" over 20 years earlier. This is truly his best film since that
horror classic, it may even be better.
The film was based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, the gifted writer.
Lansdale routinely puts different genres in a blender together and comes
with something better than a genre outing. This film played just like one
of his novels: Horror, comedy, fantasy, and a little bit of
Bruce Campbell was on hand for the screening I saw and made some comments
before the film. He said that he did the film because it was so weird and
that we need more films that aren't in the cookie cutter format. I
agree more and I can't recommend this film highly enough. It breaks all
molds and expectations. Seek it out when it finds a distributor, you