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A Few More BUBBA HO-TEP Reviews Get Unwrapped!!

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Okay. Literally passing out now. Too tired. Reviews. Here. Read.

Bonjour Señior Knowles,

Saintsyn here stepping out of the shadows of the Talkbacks with my first ever review. I was given this grand opportunity due to the fact that I spent this past evening basking in the glory of the inconceivable godliness that is Bruce Campbell. You see we here in the Houston area had the honor of not only getting to see and hear the Grand Poobah of Poozers, but also were witness to one of the few screenings of Bubba Ho Tep. The evenings festivities at the River Oaks Cinema started with a Q & A session with Mr. Boomstick himself where he was his usual witty, charming, sarcastic, humble, completely hilarious self. If anyone has ever had the pleasure of hearing him speak, they know just what I mean. He is great with the crowds and knows how to work those fanboy buttons! After this was the less than spectacularly organized book signing for If Chins Could Kill.... Following the arduous long lines for this, we were corralled back into the theatre for a special screening for Bubba Ho Tep. I have to say this now.... Hollywood, get your friggin head out of yer ass and distribute this movie!! In the words of the man himself: “Not all B-Movies are bad, and not all Big Budget movies are good.” This film was a wonderful piece shining from amidst the sea of turds currently floating out of Hollywood.

The movie, based on the short story by Joe Lansdale (himself in attendance last night) was the bizarre little story of what REALLY happened to Elvis. Not to give too much away, the King has been wasting away in anonymity in an east Texas rest home. How he got there and why is part of the charming backstory that I won’t divulge here. Through a series of strange mishaps resulting in the deaths of some of the rest home residents, Elvis (Bruce Campbell under some serious make-up) and the man who may be an incognito JFK (Ozzie Davis) end up tangling with a soul sucking mummy. That, in a nutshell is the plot. But while the story itself may be simple, it allows for a great deal of character development and subtle layering that is not present in many of todays movies. Campbell here is given a chance to really act and his take on Elvis is at once bitingly funny and sadly pathetic. He’s angry at what his life has become and lashes out at the people and events around him in what are some of the movies funniest moments. Ozzie Davis’ JFK is also quite humorous in the bizarre sincerity of his belief that he was JFK before conspirators turned him into a black man with sand in his head. The climactic showdown with the mummy had some of the most crowd pleasing moments and it was a true rush to be in a movie that received cheers and applause in so many parts. This is a great movie in search of a home. Bruce Campbell’s grassroots push to get it seen should itself be applauded. if this movie plays anywhere near you, you should definitely seek it out. It IS worth your time, and maybe, if we bitch and moan loudly enough, the right people will see it and it’ll get it’s true place in your local multi-plex.

One more. Here it comes.

The Abstruse One here with a review of Bruce Campbell's latest effort (no, not Serving Sara)...BUBBA HO-TEP! For those that like spoiler warnings, I will be discussing the plot, but not the ending...and I'll try to not spoil any of the good gags...

Just to put this in perspective, the screening started about 9:45 or so with Bruce giving a short talk and being his normal, smart-ass-but-you-love-him-for-it self. I got at the building about 6:00 or so hoping to get in to the Q&A and book signing. However, the organizers of the event were either unprepared for the huge turn-out of Bruce Campbell fans, or they were just unprepared in general. The signing was a complete clusterfuck with no one knowing what was going on. However, I got in line to get into the theater early just for the hell of it. After sitting on the sidewalk for about half an hour, I realize my feet are asleep. So I stand up to walk around a bit, not realizing both my entire LEGS were asleep and that I had no muscle control in them at all. The next 20 minutes or so are a blur and involve a broken taillight on a jeep in the parking lot and the back of my head. Lots of dizziness. So I recover from my head trauma and everyone within about 30 feet, realizing I'm now okay, proceed to laugh their asses off at me. I don't blame them, though. If it weren't for the ringing in my ears still, I'd probably be laughing my ass off about it.

Anyway, we get into the theater ten minutes after they told us they'd let us in and Bruce takes the stage fifteen minutes after they said he would. Again, not blaming Bruce, blaming the people who didn't realize Bruce Campbell is god and would attract that many people. Bruce did a brief talk and Q&A which, unfortunately, I don't remember much of (I blame the concussion). However, one part I do remember is someone asking Bruce what the least favorite of all his films is. He proceeded to turn his back to the crowd to keep it anonymous and asked us to shout out the one movie of his everyone wants their money back for. Nearly everyone shouted "CONGO!!" in unison. Bruce turned around and asked for a volunteer to play a Paramount Studio Executive. Bruce then pitched a film directed by the man who did Alive and Arachnophobia who also produced almost every one of Steven Spielberg’s films, written by the Academy Award winning screenwriter of Moonstruck based on a best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, shot by 5 time Academy nominee cinematographer for The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and ET, and edited by the man who cut Chaplin and In the Line of Fire as well as won an Oscar for cutting Lawrence of Arabia...would you greenlight it? "Some things look better on paper than they actually are." Shortly after that, someone (who, due to head trauma after having the back of his head hitting the front bumper of a jeep, should have kept his mouth shut) shouted out "Serving Sara!" Bruce's reply was simply, "That just proves that just because it's a A-list movie doesn't mean it's good and just because it's a B-movie doesn't mean it's bad!"

On to the actual film, BUBBA HO-TEP. The plot is simple. Elvis Presley is alive and not-so-well in a retirement home in a small town in East Texas (big pop for the mention of Nacogdoches in the film from the Houston crowd). Having grown tired of his life of fame in the mid-70s, he sought out the best Elvis impersonator to switch lives with for a while so that he could slow down and enjoy life. Unfortunately, before he could switch back, the impersonator died and the only proof the real King had of his identity was destroyed in an accident. Elvis's main worries at this point in his life are a bum hip and some strange puss-filled infections on the end of Li'l Elvis. Staying at the retirement home with him is a black man who claims to be the assassinated president John F. Kennedy. However, not all is well in the retirement home, as an ancient Egyptian mummy has been released and somehow (probably the ingestion of the public water supply) has become a redneck. A redneck mummy. A Bubba Ho-Tep as it were.

This film is not a mainstream film. This is a very unfortunate fact because it's a very entertaining film. The mood tends to jump a lot and it's not quite sure what kind of movie it wants to be -- genuinely creepy, really cheesy, or hilariously funny. So it pulls you in all three directions, but it doesn't fully devote to any one of the three. The funny parts are INCREDIBLY funny, the creepy parts will send shivers up your spine, and the cheesy parts would make Lloyd Kaufman and Roger Coreman proud. It has a kind of magic that glues you to the screen, but at the same time you want it to focus more.

Bruce Campbell does an amazing job as The King in his twilight years. He has the kind of charisma on the screen that makes you believe that this is a man who is used to women throwing panties and hotel keys at him but is reduced to using a bedpan and creeping along with a walker. Ossie Davis is also incredible as Jack Kennedy. By the end of the film, you'll be wondering yourself if Lyndon Johnson just might have dyed the man's skin and replaced his brain with a sandbag. Ella Joyce plays the nurse in the film and nails the role of someone who is used to humoring the senile and insane ramblings of her patients but is also worried that they may fall too far into their alternate reality.

It would be a horrible shame for this film to be buried in a direct-to-video release. It's a wonderful film that, despite it's flaws or perhaps even because of them, just works to keep you entertained throughout the film. As a comedy, it's a breath of fresh air in that it is funny without being overly crude. As a horror film, it relies on atmosphere and acting to create tension rather than using cheap scare moments or unnecessary gore. Even though some of the special effects could be better, their effectiveness on-screen isn't diminished in the least. This film deserves to be seen and seen on the big screen with a theater full of people. Hopefully, someone will see how well it works and give it to the public in the manner it deserves.

The Abstruse One

Thanks, guys. I’ll be back with more updates later. Sweet god, I must rest now...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 9, 2002, 9:21 a.m. CST

    I bet this movie rocks

    by Glass

    I can't wait.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Hollywood Can't See This Movie With Its Head Up Its Collecti

    by hipcheck13

    THAT'S the problem. The Suits are too busy making "Glitter II-Mariah's Electric Boogaloo." Quality flix like "Bubba" have to scrap and fight for a distributor; meanwhile, "Fear Dot Com" gets worldwide releases. Ye gods.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 10:15 a.m. CST

    MUST. SEE. THIS. MOVIE. (gasp. gasp.)

    by The Dude Abides

    Somebody please force the higher-ups to give this a wide release. NOW!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Start a buzz!

    by Glass

    THe only thing to do is talk about it all the time. It's gotta happen. I can't imagine this film not getting distribution. It won't be huge, that's just not possible, but it's GOT to get distribution. I can't imagine where it will play in New York, though. Film Forum? I can't see that. Angelika? No. Maybe the Quad Cinema, that sounds about right. Anyway, it's got to happen.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 11:31 a.m. CST

    I will champion this film!!

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Gentleman, Ladies - The Hotep is a treat - Campbell does more than mug in this one, and it works, he elevates the camp into classic - but he does so with a JFK for the ages - Ossie Davis - yeah, that's what I said - what the hell is Ossie Frickin' Dvis doing in the mummy movie? - kicking ass!! That's what! He stole every scene - "They put sand in my brain. I'm thinking with sand, here." and really looked like he brought Bruce's effort up too - I know that talking about the acting in a retired Elvis/JFK vs. the Redneck Mummy movie sounds phony, but its the truth - "and the truth'll set you free, baby".

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Christ, put the movie somewhere NOW

    by Glass

    I need to see this movie. Everything's so fucking buggered. What the hell is the problem? GIVE US THIS MOVIE NOW.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Who owns the rights to Crimewave?

    by grillskill

    There is a company has shown interest, but they need to know who is the current owner.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 2 p.m. CST

    by grillskill

    Forget to put "that" in the sentence.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Distribute this film!

    by 7ZeroCorpse

    I'm eager to see this, too. It's a shame that fun flicks like this have to fight for survival, while crap like "Crossroads", "Scooby Doo", "Josie and the Pussycats" and the aforementioned "Glitter" are shoved under our noses constantly. GIVE US BUBBA HO TEP!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Here's an idea.

    by Nordling

    Here's a way to get the film released and to actually even get attention for the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I would hate to get political with a film as innocuous as BUBBA HO-TEP, but anything to get this out into the cinemas, even the arthouse circuit, at this point would be worth it. Screen it for the NAACP. Screen it for the Image Awards. Then do a push for Ozzie Davis for Best Supporting Actor. I'm serious. He's that good. Bruce, of course. is the man in BUBBA HO-TEP, but Ozzie Davis not only steals every scene he's in, he brings to the role a certain dignity that a lesser actor could not hope to accomplish. And frankly, his IS the Best Supporting Actor role this year. If you've seen BUBBA, you'll agree. This isn't just Bruce Campbell buzz here. The film is good. And Ozzie Davis holds weight with Academy members. He is a strong civil rights activist. He's met Dr. King and Malcolm X, even spoke at Malcolm X's funeral. I wouldn't want to play the "race card" just to get a horror/comedy released, but maybe that's the only way. I'm a film fan. I loved BUBBA HO-TEP. And there's no reason at all why people wouldn't see this film. Get the rights to some Elvis songs to put on the soundtrack, and you're done with it. I know I already wrote about this film once this week, but I've never felt so strongly that a movie should see the light of day in my life. This film is never going to get $100 million dollars, admittedly. But if you sell it right? And the film's already finished? There's no reason why you couldn't make a profit. None at all. Please, SOMEONE. Release this. Sincerely, Nordling.

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Too early for Oscar?

    by Electric Tsunami

    Landau got an award for playing Lugosi (even it may not have been accurate, according to his pal Forry). Certainly the academy could give a supporting actor nod to Ozzie Davis for going against type and playing JFK. How about Bruce Campbell in what may have been the biggest stretch in his career (playing an elderly man with a life threatening disease, c'mon academy!)?

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 5:46 p.m. CST

    I am literally beating myself up for not seeing this.

    by chickenmonkey

    I live three blocks away from the theater...OOF!...and thought it was going to be there for more than... UMPF!... one night... SLAP!... HURT!... MAIM!... PASS OUT!

  • Oct. 9, 2002, 7:16 p.m. CST

    ED IV my ass, no one pressed him for details on...

    by Electric Tsunami

    Phantasm's End. Bruce has a role in this one, don't know how big. All we got out of him was that they were trying to get funding.

  • Oct. 10, 2002, 2:36 a.m. CST

    my homoerotic man-crush

    by Hypno Toad

    Bruce is a beautiful man. Hes no James Van Der Beek, but beautiful regardless.

  • Oct. 10, 2002, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Tom Cruise to the rescue!!

    by Thunderbuns

    If AICN can organise a petition urging Hollywood not to fuck up "Superman", can

  • Oct. 10, 2002, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Bruce Campbell's next Stop

    by MidgetDealer

    Hello everyone, I just wanted to gloat for a moment. Why you ask? Because I will be dining with Mr. Bruce Campbell this weekend when "Evil Dead" and "Evil Dead II" are screened for him while he visits his old pal David Yewdall, MPSE in North Carolina. I realize the last statement was a run-on sentence, but then again, are YOU going to eat lunch with him this weekend?

  • Oct. 11, 2002, 4:09 p.m. CST


    by Larry_Dallas

    I always suspected it before, but it has now been confirmed...........You are all the biggest bunch of LOSERS on gods green earth.........yah, let's start a push to get Ossie Davis nominated for an Academy Award based on his work in BUBBA HO TEP....pfftttHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH......Oh, I can see you all now, pulling the detachable Ash chainsaw hand outta your asses, all your Irish up, ready to write back......well, listen, I like Bruce Campbell as much as the next guy and yes, Hollywood is a bunch of morons but C'MON PEOPLE.....this is a B-movie, possibly a GOOD B-movie, but a B-movie the petitions and protest's for something important, not for a hopefully mild distraction of a B-movie......oh man, I've taken the name of Bruce in vain.....I'll be dead by the weekend, if all the geeks reading can actually leave their parents basements and face the sunlight.....FLAME ON LOSERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Oct. 11, 2002, 7:14 p.m. CST

    indie film, not exploitation

    by Electric Tsunami

    It's an offbeat film more akin to David Lynch's unfilmed "Ronnie Rocket", Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train, Aki Karismaki's Leningrad Cowboys Go America, etc than it is like Phantasm: OblIVion or Return Of The Medival Dead. Small films are never contenders for Oscars. I for on am glad that Ozzie Davis has sacrified his prestige/credibility to be in this film as the eccentric "Jack" talking about obscene hieroglyphics on shithouse walls.

  • Oct. 13, 2002, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Holy frog hopping sumo chicken footed white shaft ninja lizards

    by Neosamurai85

    First off, fuck spelling, need sleep... I can't add anything to this! All I have to say has been said. I could jump at the guy above who bashed people for wanting Ozzie to get an oscar but i'm too tired and i haven't seen the damn film yet. (insert agonized bitching moans and more bitching about hollywood, bad movies that get to the screen and how much i really want to see this movie... did i mention hollywood and bitching?)there is nothing else that i can say and i'd only repeat myself if i continued so... peace!

  • Sept. 8, 2003, 8:06 a.m. CST

    The world wants Bubba !!!

    by Leetha

    Comming from a country with 5 million people total(Denmark), It is a sad fact of life that most indies have fuck all chance of even making it near our borders. But with Bubba Hotep it is and forever will be a crime if it doesnt make it here or to the other markets outside the US, small or large. This movie looks awesome, it needs to be released world wide!!!! The world wants bubba Hotep