This one seriously has a little bit of everythingóinsane creativity, dark humor, a few scares and just good olí fashioned entertainment. On the pure level of plot it succeeds in spades; a bitter, nursing home-ridden Elvis and a black man who claims to be the dyed and exiled John F. Kennedy team up to fight off a cowboy mummy that sucks out the souls of the elderly through their assholes. I could try to write fiction for the rest of my life and I couldnít come up with anything as genius as Joe Landsdaleís original short story or Don (PHANTASM) Coscarelliís adaptation.
I applaud Bruce Campbell just for breathing and existing on a daily basis, but The Chin honestly gives a great performance in BUBBA HO-TEP with some real acting, not just a rehash of his usual persona. (Though he does keep a few great one-liners). Campbell completely embodies the late singer in appearance, speech and mannerisms. And like The Kingís self-diagnosed penis cancer in the film, Campbellís Elvis is both equally amusing and tragic, so much so that I was surprised to find pieces of a heartfelt drama about growing old and overcoming lifeís regrets sprinkled in with all the undead voodoo. The late Ossie Davis also adds a lot to the movie. Itís awesome just to see such a great, respected actor in such a bizarre role, one which he plays with the utmost seriousness.
The film moves at a fast pace and Coscarelli makes the most out of his obviously low budget, saving it from being cheesy and, letís face it, stupid. Iíve heard complaints that the final battle is a bit anti climatic, but I donít know what people were expecting in a fight between a guy in a wheelchair, a guy in a walker and a 3000 year old mummy. Even with a non-action packed finale, the movie still does it with originality, enthusiasm and fun, all things that BUBBA HO-TEP has plenty of.
Commentary by director Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell: Both dudes are pretty funny their rapport together is great. It may not always be on topic with the film, but this is still a very informal and fun listen for fans of the movie and its star/director.
Commentary by The King: Iíve listened to a lot of commentaries, and this ranks among the best. Campbell, fully in character as Elvis, gives his thoughts on the film. Itís a little weird, a lot hilarious and well worth your time.
Making Bubba Ho-tep (47:55): A pretty in-depth feature broken down in to various segments on make up, costuming, stunts (fire! fire!), Brian Tylerís awesome score and some great interviews with The Man himself.
Deleted Scenes (5:25): Three quick scenes with optional commentary by Coscarelli and Campbell. Thereís more Elvis, more of the thieving old lady, as well as the uncut version of the ancient Egypt flashback (i.e. more topless female servants!). You also get a glimpse at Coscarelliís initial attempt at third personal narration.
Joe R. Lansdale Reads From Bubba Ho-Tep (7:56): The author of the original short story narrates an excerpt set against still images from the film. Itís surprisingly dirty (moreso than the actual movie) but hilarious and entertaining. You can definitely see why Coscarelli wanted to capture that voice in the original narration.
Music Video (2:27 minutes): Watch as composer Brian Tyler play each part of the score himself during the recording. I definitely dug the music, so itís cool to see its creation.
A Theatrical Trailer, TV Spot and Photo Gallery are also included.
Extra Tidbit: If you enjoy genre-bending Elvis projects, check out Dread Zeppelin...a reggae Led Zeppelin cover band with an Elvis impersonator on vocals.