Friday, April 1, 2011

Bubba Ho-tep (2002)

"Come and get it, you undead sack of shit."

If your taste runs to oddball concepts but away from horror movies, go with this one anyway. There isn't that much in it of a horrific nature—there's a re-animated mummy who sucks the souls out of aging convalescent home patients through their assholes (yes, another one of those movies), but the soul-sucking takes place off screen. Bruce Campbell stars as an old Elvis Presley, probably, although he could be an Elvis impersonator named Sebastian Haff, and Ossie Davis co-stars as Jack, who thinks he's John F. Kennedy dyed black and hidden away in an East Texas nursing home by Lyndon Johnson. When the home both men live in becomes besieged by the mummy, these guys know they have to protect the defenseless.

Written for the screen and directed by Don Coscarelli, and based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, the picture is as peculiar as it sounds, but it isn't a horror satire a la The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. It's mostly humorous, but it's also a study of aging, missed opportunities, and the shabbiness of pop culture celebrity.

Both leads are terrific and they work together wonderfully. Davis was 84 when he made the film, which alone proves the movie's point about the retention of value in old age, and Campbell is so good as a grouchy King it makes you wish the guys who hand out acting awards weren't such clutch-butts.

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