What we have here at Shady Rest is an Egyptian soul-sucker of some sort.”
–Jack

Here’s another film from last year which has found a larger audience on video. Just as Buffy (especially in the earlier seasons) used horror-movie conventions to comment on adolescence, serving them up in a blend of horror, humour, and drama, Bubba Ho-Tep does the same for the geriatric set. A monster’s stalking old people, but our heroes refuse to go gentle into that good night.

It may be purchased from Amazon.com (includes a special price if you purchase it with Kill Bill, Vol. I) or Amazon.ca.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Director: Don Coscarelli

Writers: John R. Lansdale, Don Coscarelli.

Cast:
Bruce Campbell…..Elvis/Sebastian
Ossie Davis…..Jack
Ella Joyce…..Nurse
Heidi Marnhout…..Callie
Bob Ivy….Bubba Ho-Tep
Daniel Roebuck…..Hearse Driver
Daniel Schweiger…..Hearse Driver

Based on a short story by John R. Lansdale

Premise:

A man who claims to be Elvis and another who believes he’s JFK realize that a soul-sucking mummy stalks the corridors of the Old Folks Home at night– and only they can stop it.

High Point:

As obviously silly as this film is, it gives us multiple reasons to genuinely root for the heroes by the final scene.

Low Point:

The unnecessary and very fake giant scarab effects.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 Having geriatric Elvis and JFK wannabees battle an Egyptian mummy certainly qualifies as original. The plot, however, really plays like a conventional horror film: monster stalks isolated setting, the heroes alone know what’s really happening, heroes take on monster.

Effects: 4/6. The scarab beetles don’t work very well. However, the film otherwise makes effective use of conventional techniques, to evoke horror and to suggest Elvis’s perspective on events. The filmmakers also demonstrate that you don’t need a fortune and CGI to create a convincing boogeyman.

Story: 4/6: The script wins points for not overplaying the humour. Of course the film works as a comedy, and it contains some funny moments. But the writers, director, and actors make “Elvis” and “JFK” more than just one-note caricatures.

Acting: 5/6. See “story” comments.

Production: 5/6

Emotional Response: 5/6 .

Overall: 4/6.

In total, Bubba Ho-Tep receives 30/42.