Bubba Ho-Tep (2003)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Black Comedy, Horror Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 19, 2003 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

From two of the great minds behind the Phantasm and Evil Dead series comes Bubba Ho-Tep, a refreshingly strange tale that'll put a smile on your face no matter your cult-film appreciation. Filled with incredible performances, highly quotable one-liners, and an undeniable humor that cuts through its offbeat mummy plot line, this is one of those magical films that genre fans and movie lovers alike should walk out of the theater hooting and hollering for. Headed by the almost unrecognizable B-film great Bruce Campbell, the film's elderly Elvis Presley is the new screen hero to beat all others, and he nails it perfectly. In no way offering just a sheer impersonation or on any level reducing the King to simply a cardboard cutout, Campbell crafts a character that not only looks and moves like the real thing, but is imbued with enough swaggering attitude and heart that you cannot help but buy into this wild incarnation of the rock & roll icon. (The 2003 HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival obviously agreed, granting Campbell Best Actor honors.) Key to the film as well is veteran Ossie Davis, going out on a limb in a role that shows off his impeccable comic timing and ends up being the most rewarding portrayal of the latter part of his career. Director Don Coscarelli, as well, not only does a bang-up job of adapting Joe R. Lansdale's quirky tale, but also with bringing back his stylistic eye to the screen in a way that's just as refreshing as the sincere performances he's wrangling in. An inevitable classic that will only grow in popularity through the years, Bubba Ho-Tep is a knockout of a good time and an independent kick in the pants to the formulaic Hollywood drivel that's pumped out year after year. Hail to the King, indeed!