Bubba Ho-Tep [DVD] [2002]

Don Coscarelli
Don Coscarelli directs and Bruce Campbell stars as the King of Camp in this intentionally over-the-top schlockfest. Bubba Ho-Tep is partially about Elvis Presley and partially about the title character, an Egyptian cowboy zombie, but mostly it is about camp. The movie is equal parts story and back story. We learn through narration and flashback how Elvis didn't really die, ending up instead in a rest home in East Texas with JFK (played by Ossie Davis), who was dyed black and had his brain removed, presumably for reasons of national security. Campbell and Davis realize that something strange is going on when their rest-home compatriots start dropping off suspiciously. The whole movie leads up to a final showdown to the death with the Egyptian cowboy zombie who has been sucking the souls of their fellow residents because he thought no one would notice. The movie unfolds a bit slowly; it is, after all, a geriatrics-fight-Egyptian-cowboy-zombie movie. However, one wishes this self-conscious movie's pacing took its cue from the atypically fast-moving zombie instead of from the senior-citizen Elvis and JFK. In the end, though, Campbell is flawless as the aged King; his accent, intonations, glasses, and trademark karate are at the same time sincere and over the top. --Brian Saltzman

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