Going into see Bubba Ho-Tep I was disgustingly excited, pumped up by many positive reviews and rumors floating around already about a sequel. But after seeing this film, I’ve come to one major conclusion, there are too many people out there who like a movie just because someone is in it, and that would be the case with Bubba Ho-Tep.
Bruce Campbell, probably the most famous ‘B’ movie star ever, plays a 67-year-old man who thinks he is Elvis. He tells the ‘true’ story of what really happened and how the Elvis that dies on the toilet wasn’t the real Elvis, because he is the real Elvis! Anyways, Elvis teams up with Jack Kennedy who is played by Ossie Davis. Jack is an African-American who thinks he is JFK and thinks there are plots to finish him off. The side plot is that these two crazy old goons find out that there is an ancient mummy named Ho-Tep on the loose who is stealing souls from the old people’s arses, and then pooping the souls out in their bathroom. They go on a ‘short’ adventure to stop Ho-Tep together in an attempt to save the world.
Bubba Ho-Tep is a black comedy with a little bit of the horror genre mixed in, kind of like From Dusk till Dawn. Don Coscarelli’s screenplay is pretty well done, the only problem is the running joke’s gets old and stale fast. The fact that Bruce thinks he’s Elvis and Ossie thinks he’s JFK can only make you giggle for so long. The jokes are funny at times, but don’t get you bawling in tears of laughter. They are short and quick-witted, in the midst of Royal Tenenbaums, but fall short of giving the audience the same unique feeling.
A plus for Bubba Ho-Tep is the acting, which is fantastic for such a low budget flick. Bruce plays a fantastic 67-year-old who thinks he’s Elvis and Ossie does a great job in being a psychopathic old man. Problem is they give you only so much entertainment, considering the slow pace and the less than entertaining conclusion. You cannot fully rely on one man to make a movie, example’ The Mask with Jim Carrey.
Most of the directing is fantastic and another bonus to the film, Coscarelli uses many different effects with the camera, some to imply Ho-Tep was in the midst, and some to give the flashbacks effect. He shows his experience in this extremely well shot film, but can’t save it from its boring dialogue and slow pace.
The make-up and special effects in Bubba Ho-Tep are incredibly well done. Ho-Tep is a very creepy and eerie mummy, who seems to blend into the dark well. Bruce’s Elvis make-up is awesome, you feel like you could actually be watching a 67-year-old Elvis in the flesh!
Overall, Bubba Ho-Tep was fun, and worth the view, only it was nothing amazing. I felt let down by the fact that I don’t feel that it achieved what it set out to accomplish. It was short, slow paced and wasn’t meant for the big screen. I feel that everyone is giving it rave reviews because Bruce Campbell is in it. I am a huge Bruce fan myself and think he did a wonderful job in Bubba Ho-Tep, but I’m secure enough to say that Bubba Ho-Tep was nothing spectacular, nothing worth yelling and screaming about. It feels like a drug overdose with some bland humor in it. The story is flat and moves at a pace that doesn’t keep you in anticipation. I’d wait for the video release for this one, unless your one of the people who thought Menno’s Mind or Love Bug was awesome just because our hero Bruce is in it.
Although I’m not the biggest fan of Don Coscarelli’s film Bubba Ho-Tep, and was extremely disappointed with the film the first time I saw it, now I I kind of like it as a “what should we watch tonight while we talk” type film. Not only that, but MGM really out did themselves with this awesome DVD and packaged it beautifully, in a way only this DVD deserves.
Usually independent films don’t have much to offer on DVD, but Ho-tep is quite the opposite. The DVD is jammed packed with Deleted Scenes, Two Audio Commentaries, ‘Ho-Tep’ Short Story Reading, Behind-the-scenes featurette, “To Make a Mummy”, “To Score a King”, “Fit For a King”, Animated Photo Gallery, Trailer, Easter Egg and more! But what really makes this DVD worth a buy, and what makes me give this DVD a perfect 5 out of 5 skulls is the audio commentary by “Elvis”. Bruce Campbell watches the entire movie and pretends he’s Elvis and it’s freaking hysterical! He talks about his old films, and how they weren’t as racy as Ho-Tep. He jokes about why he always wore those glasses and how he has glaucoma. Not only do you get that commentary track, which is well worth the DVD price alone, you get another track with Bruce Campbell (as Bruce) and director Don Coscarelli.
Besides being nicely packaged, the DVD has some cool interactive menus, which show Mummy posters and articles about Ho-tep moving in the background. Then of course I went straight to the special features.
First there’s an eight minute feature where Joe Lansdale reads the first chapter of Bubba Ho-Tep while rendered screen shots from the movie are shown on the screen. I extremely cool addition to the DVD.
Then there were three deleted scenes, two with commentary from Bruce and Don. The first was Bruce (Elvis) contemplating that he might not actually be Elvis. I thought it was an important scene, but I understand why it was cut. The second deleted scene was worthless, but pretty funny; it was just some old lady going through her old things. The final deleted scene looked like it was a flashback of Ho-tep’s past, but I’m not quite sure since there was no commentary- it was called “Footage from a temple room floor.”
Then there was a “Making of” section, which was separated into three parts. Part one was called “To make a mummy”, which was a make-up and FX feature. Part two was called “Fit for a king”, which was a feature on Elvis’ costume. The final one was called Rock like an Egyptian”, which was a feature on the score. All together the featurette ran a whopping 45 minutes! There was tons of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Bruce, Don, Ossie and more! To top it all off, they had an awesome image gallery of shots from behind-the-scenes! I could never understand why DVDs had production still from the movie you just watched… but this made sense and it was pretty cool checking out Bruce getting all “fatted” up.
To round out the DVD there was a music video, which was quite cheesy, a trailer and a TV spot. There’s supposed to be an Easter Egg somewhere but I couldn’t find it, I’ll have to try again later and then fill you in.
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this DVD. If you have not seen this film, this is a great buy, if you’ve seen the film and loved it, it’s an even better buy, and if you were slightly disappointed with the film, you still might enjoy this DVD.
Perfect score 5 out of 5 skulls– let this be a lesson to other studios out there who release bare bones DVDs.