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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Bubba Ho-Tep’ (2002)

The best-worst movie you never heard of

If it wasn’t for the internet, this would’ve become just another cult classic… I guess that sorta means it still is a cult classic, but this movie could have faded into obscurity if it was released only a couple years earlier in the late 90s. Meaning, they kinda lucked out riding the crest of the internet age. Right at the start of it all, a time when you could still go viral but right before going viral had lost all meaning.

But who the fuck came up with this movie?! Oh yeah, Joe R. Lansdale and, Don Coscarelli. Two twisted mine I can appreciate. I mean, Elvis Presley and Black John F. Kennedy take on an undead menace?! I want to know where they were getting their drugs and if they’re willing to share.

The thing is, you could easily have the plot without the two main characters. The plot itself is enough to make quite a story. A mummy preying on old folks at a retirement home has all the makings of a great horror-comedy. But they went the extra mile with the characters, and I’m glad they did. Elvis and John make this movie what it is. If it wasn’t for how ridiculous the idea of both characters are, this movie might’ve been kinda lame. And of course, these characters would be nothing without Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis, respectively.

The acting is both beautifully good and hammy in all the right ways at all the right points. There’s some pretty deep moments in this movie about life, identity, and purpose. It has a way of kicking you in the gut, and still manages to drag a chuckle out of you in the same damn scene.

The FX are laughable at best. A fight with a rubber scarab comes to mind. But it’s sorta perfect for this movie. Anything less than old Elvis Presley’s tussle with a giant rubber bug prop would have killed the mood. It’s perfect, and honestly, what they did with the FX that they could afford was kinda impressive.

This Shoe-Stringer was so under budget, they shot scenes in their backyard. You know, I do believe that means this little gem belongs on my ‘All time top’ Indie and top Horror Comedy list.

Of course, this movie is a must-see for Horror Heads, but here’s the thing… It’s silly, fun, and moving enough where I think a general adult audience would appreciate it. If you go in taking it for what it is -a silly horror comedy- you’ll get so much more than that out of it.


Is it really JFK and Elvis? Here’s the thing, they go out of their way to make the idea seem somewhat possible but never answer it for certain. Campbell plays both the real Evils and the impersonator, and main character could be either. Davis reveals subtle details about himself that make you start to wonder if he isn’t just crazy.

The point is, it doesn’t matter if either character is crazy or actually who they claim to be, it makes up so much of who they are and their motivations that it practically writes the script.

And the final showdown with the mummy is just ridiculous. The two walking onto the scene in full regalia, fighting the damn mummy with walkers and electric wheelchairs. Seriously, I want the drugs these people were on when conceptualizing and writing this movie.

Everyone really needs to give this movie a shot. It’s a hoot.

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