Bruce Campbell, King of the B Movie Actors, is known far and wide for playing the all-knowing idiot Ash from the Evil Dead series. He seems perfect for the role given what he can do, but who knew he could do more? He’s done horror, he’s done comedy and even combinations of the two. It’s not too often he plays something serious, but here he really shines. In fact, it’s probably the performance of his career, in my opinion.
Director: Don Coscarelli (Phantasm)
Starring: Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead series) and Ossie Davis (The Stand)
Blood? A little.
Tits? Don’t blink or you’ll miss em!
Rated: R (or 14A in Canada, WTF?) for language, some sexual content and brief violent scenes.
The movie starts up answering your first two questions after reading the title of the movie, “What’s a bubba and what’s a hotep?”
Ho-tep – n. 1. Relative or descendent of the 17 Egyptian Dyanasties, 3100-1550 B.C. 2. Family surname of an Egyptian pharaoh (king).
Bubba – n. 1. Male from the Southern U.S. 2. Good ole boy. 3. Cracker, red neck, trailer park resident.
Ahhh, after this quick history lesson, I’m led to believe the film is about an Egyptian hick who drives a gold-plated pick up and beats up his wife for not cleaning up their pyramid-shaped trailer. I could be wrong.
A short clip, very old and in German, is shown describing that the remnants of a recently-found tomb will be on tour. I’m sure this will factor in later, though the clip seems to be from the 50’s.
Skip ahead to present day in Mud Creek, Texas in a home for the elderly. An old man wakes up to describe that he was dreaming and checking to see if the infection on the end of his pecker had filled with puss again and if it had he’d name it after his ex-wife Priscilla and bust it open by jacking off. It’s at this point my brother leaves the room, fearing we’ll actually see the guy’s pecker. I’m sure I’ve seen worse. The guy next to him gets into a coughing fit and can’t seem to stop. He begins questioning everything from when lucnh is gonna be served to if his ex would show up and want to fuck him and he ends on a question, “Is there anything left to life other than food, shit and sex?” Well, good fucking question. He looks into a mirror and wonders how his plans had gone so wrong and flashes back to a concert, but not just any concert, he was the star. Yes, seems our elderly friend is none other than Elvis Presley (Campbell), alive in a rest home. He goes back to talking about his dink and wondering if the growth is cancer or not. The guy next to him starts yelling and reaching out before dying. That’s a life in a rest home for ya.
Quick cut to the morticians putting the body in the back of the car. One guy wonders what his life was like, the other couldn’t care less.
Elsewhere, an old woman hobbles down the hallway and runs into another old lady in an iron lung. They exchange smiles before the walking woman takes off with the other woman’s glasses and goes to her room. Along the way she also rips off a tin of chocolates, no doubt meant for someone else in the home. In her room, she’s enjoying the candy until she hears a strange noise. She looks at the end of her bed and something’s moving. She reaches under and gets bitten. She falls out of her bed but bashes the creature with her cane. She pulls the covers off to reveal a very large bug. Before she can do anything, a large figure emerges from the dark, which is not a good sign.
In his room, Elvis hears crying and looks around. He sees some old lady holding onto his door getting pulled away. She sighs, “help me” before getting dragged out of view. Elvis puts his glasses on to make sure he saw something, but figures it was nothing and goes back to bed.
The morticians carry another body out and complain about the smell. Comedy isn’t these guys’ forte.
Inside, Elvis wakes up to a young lady rummaging through the dead guy’s dresser. She looks through a bunch of photos, random stuff and a Purple Heart medal. And what does she do with these treasured items? TOSSES THEM IN THE TRASH! Elvis would like a picture of the guy and his Purple Heart to remember him by. So she reaches down and… he thinks his dick fluttered for a second before dying again. This lady winds up being the dead guy’s daughter, whose only other time visiting was when she admitted him into the home. He gives her a little grief for never being there while he died, to which she gets very defensive. Elvis thinks about his daughter, wondering if she’d ever visit him if she knew where he was.
The nurse comes in, calling him Sebastian Haff. He prefers to be called “Mr. Presley” or “Elvis.” He doesn’t go by Sebastian Haff anymore, so she humors him by calling him Elvis. She then tells the woman about how Elvis really is dead and this guy here just thinks he is. She sets him straight by telling him he was just an Elvis impersonator and fell off the stage one time and broke his hip, which got infected, and he wound up going into a coma for a long time. He says she’s just trying to say his brain’s messed up but he knows who he is. The girl questions him about why he wanted to be someone else. He got tired of what he was doing, taking too many pills too. So he switched with one of the best Elvis impersonators and they switched places. Trouble was, this Sebastian Haff loved the pills more than he did and he’s the one that wound up dying.
Elvis flashbacks a couple decades to a point in his life where his wife was gone and his music just didn’t seem like his anymore. And all his so-called friends were hanging around just for the money and leaching off him. So they all took a drive down to Nacogdoches, NM to look at Sebastian Haff. Elvis goes in to meet Haff (Campbell without the Elvis make up) who’s porked down most of a blueberry pie. He goes on his knees, and with a little bit of pie at the corner of his mouth, and kisses Elvis’ ring. Didn’t know Elvis was a mafia don. After a while, Elvis, wiping a bit of pie from his mouth, leaves with the entourage. The real Elvis watches them, and his old life, drive away. He signed everything over to Haff in a contract, leaving Elvis some money to keep living. Also part of the deal was if Elvis wanted his life back, he could, but there was a bit of an accident. With a few friends, Elvis has a barbecue but the lighter fluid leaked onto the grill and blew up the surrounding trailer homes, of which his had the contract.
The nurse brings him out of his little flashback and jokes about him. He cusses her out but the girls only laugh at him. The nurse tells him she’ll be back to do “that thing” she needs to do later. I can only imagine what that is.
The next day, Elvis says no one ever listens to him except one guy, whom he thinks is crazy. The old black man (Davis), who says he is President Kennedy, is telling Elvis about how a little piece of brain was cut out of his skull and a little bag of sand is up there now. Elvis points out that Kennedy was white, but the guy tells him he was dyed black to help with the cover up. Well, he’s got a point, right?
Later that night, Elvis dreams back to the day when the accident happened. The crowd is going wild for the real Elvis who’s actually impersonating an Elvis impersonator. Too bad they didn’t have the money to secure the rights to any Elvis music. Anyway, while he was doing his act, his leg gives out and he falls off the stage and he wakes up in the middle of the night to take a piss. He doesn’t want to go in the bedpan, he wants to pee like a man in the bathroom. He hears a noise and walks out to see a tin of chocolates he had overturned on the floor now. He checks it out and inside is that huge bug from earlier which jumps out at him, knocking him to the floor. He turns around to see it crawling up the ceiling so he threatens it with kung-fu. Of course, he damn near falls cause he let go of his walker. The thing starts flying around until Elvis uses his bedpan to catch it. He grabs a fork, sticks it and stabs it into the electric heater. Trouble is, he’s using a metal utensil and jamming it into an electric device, giving him quite the shock and blowing the bug up.
He walks outside looking for help and happens into crazy Kennedy’s room which is full of memorabilia from when he was president and even a miniature of the Kennedy shooting. Jack, as Elvis calls him, is on the floor. He notices a little cut on the back of his neck from earlier before waking Jack up. Jack asks Elvis if he saw the man in the hallway, someone he thinks was sent to finish him off. The nurses come around to put Jack into bed while the home’s administrator (Reggie Bannister) questions Elvis about what happened with the bug.
The next day, the nurse is in to do “that thing,” and lubes her fingers up with some cream while Elvis drops his blanket and drawers. He starts thinking about how 20 years ago he’d have her eating out his asshole, but then thinks about how there’s no excitement in his life until the events of last night, which give him a bit of wood, to the shock of both he and the nurse. He teases about getting into the shower with him, but she declines. He takes a second look and smiles.
That night, Elvis hears something and looks to the door, thinking he saw his wife. Instead it’s Kennedy waking him up, saying the guy is back again but Elvis isn’t listening to a legitimate crazy man. Kennedy tells him that he knows Elvis is the REAL Elvis and tells him about a rumor he heard about Elvis hating him. But if Elvis really hated him, he would have finished him off last night. He wants to know if Elvis knew Oswald or Ruby or had anything to do with Dallas. Elvis reassures him he had nothing to do with anything so Kennedy gets him to follow him.
They walk into the visitor’s bathroom where there’s some hieroglyphics written on the wall of the stall. Kennedy says he saw it on the wall so he copied it down and translated it from a book he had. Y’know, a lot of dead but dyed ex-presidents have Egyptian translation books in their home. The bottom line reads, “Cleopatra does the nasty.” HAHA! Elvis doesn’t see a connection, and neither does Kennedy but it is something interesting. Kennedy explains more about the previous night when he was on the floor. The thing in his room had his mouth over Jack’s asshole. He’s convinced the thing is after his soul and he read that you can get it from any major orifice on the body. Obviously this is way too weird so Kennedy says he’ll show him the book.
Outside, the nurse is taking a smoke break and notices the lights going off and on in a nearby building. She runs into the administrator and tells him about the problem. He says the place is just falling apart and that a lady is waiting for her enema. Ewwwww. From inside, we see the nurse from the creature’s perspective, and it’s all wobbly and red. Poor thing has fish eyes. It walks out, wearing cowboy boots.
Back in Kennedy’s room, Elvis is looking through the book and finds a part that mentions being resurrected and to stay alive, that person must eat souls. Small souls mean the life force doesn’t last long. They suspect that small souls are ones without much life, like them. There’s a hilarious bit with Kennedy asking Elvis if he wants a chocolate Ding-Dong, and I’ll let you fill in all the blanks. They put everything together and realize that an Egyptian mummy is hanging around the home sucking on the assholes of the elderly and swallowing their souls! Of course, how did he get there in the first place and why is he writing on the shithouse walls?
In another room, the mummy’s after someone but the room mate is a crazy old fart who thinks he’s the Lone Ranger, complete with mask and cap guns
Kennedy suspects the mummy gets bored and just writes on the wall and when the question of what he shits out since he doesn’t eat comes up, the only logical explanation is that what it excretes is the residue of the soul. You don’t go to Heaven if your soul gets eaten by him, it gets flushed. They hear some noises in the hallway and Elvis checks it out. He sees some dead guy in a cowboy outfit walking towards him as the lights go out in the hall. In the brief moment their eyes lock, Elvis sees many images; from way back to Egypt with some guy getting his brain pulled out of his nose to an accident involving a bus in the river. The mummy walks away as the old cowboy with the cap guns comes out yelling “asshole!” before collapsing on the floor. The mummy walks through the door and disappears. Elvis explains he died of a ruptured heart before he hit the floor, but he died with his soul. They get questioned by the administrator about what happened, so they lie about it, like anyone would believe them. Elvis picks up the Lone Ranger mask as another reminder.
The morticians are at it again, this time, dropping the body in the bushes by accident.
Elsewhere, Elvis is outside for the first time in what must be ages. The nurse comes out to tell him (in her patronizing way) he should get back inside for his nap and she has to lube him up too. He turns around ands tells her to fuck off, he’s tired of her shit and he’ll do “that thing” by himself. She gets a bit flustered and walks back inside. He walks around to check out the door the mummy disappeared through the night before, can’t explain how it did it. He carefully walks down a hill to a nearby lake to check things out, and notices a bus license plate in the water. Things are making a little more sense now.
He makes it back, although very winded. He lubes himself up, figuring the growth probably is cancer, figures no one is going to tell him. He turns on the TV in time to see a 24-Hour Elvis movie marathon (no actual clips of course). He thinks retrospectively about how he had a good life and anything that was bad was his fault. Kennedy interrupts to tell him he’s found out more info. Turns out there was an Egyptian exhibit that was stolen a while back, but the thieves couldn’t get away due to a terrible storm that happened and drove the bus carrying a sarcophagus into the river. Elvis mentions he saw an old bus by the river near the home. Kennedy says that it’ll be a good idea to move to another rest home, and in the meantime, stay up during the night since the creature feeds at that time. Elvis thinks about it and feels that it’s not much, but where he is is his home and won’t let some creature kill off his friends. He calls Kennedy, rips off one of his lines, and thinks they should hunt down a mummy.
The sooner the better, so that night they get their supplies together. Lots of rubbing alcohol, matches, a lighter, a few other things including their best clothes. Kennedy wrote down some words of power from that book of his, not sure if it’ll work or not. But he’s really hoping that the whole “fire vanquishing evil” bit a lot of people have said in the past works.
Outside, they get their shit together, but before going on patrol, Elvis mentions him not being a very good father to his daughter. Kennedy says they were the best fathers they could be under the circumstances. Elvis has to ask one question about what Marilyn Monroe was like. Kennedy says that it is top secret classified information. But between the two of them, “WOW!”
They meet up near the river, waiting for the mummy to come out, and sure enough he does. They can’t seem to catch him, he keeps disappearing and re-appearing. He comes out of nowhere to take on Elvis, who tries to wow the creature with his crazy kung fun moves and damn near pulls something trying to do a kick. Kennedy shows up and the mummy decides he’s not ready and disappears.
Kennedy decides to flush the mummy out and wheels himself around but the mummy jumps out, knocking Kennedy to the ground. The mummy starts attacking him and going for his soul. Elvis figures there’s no way he’d make it on time, but just so happens Kennedy’s motorized wheel chair is heading straight for him! He hitches a ride and high tails it to meet up with the creature. The mummy actually says something (with cool Egyptian sub-titles!) and walks up to Elvis who casually soaks the creature with the alcohol and sets him on fire. He walks over to the President to see if he’s ok, but he’s not doing well at all. He gives Elvis the magic words before passing away. Elvis salutes him before reading the words:
“You nasty thing, from beyond the dead. No matter what you think or do, good things will never come to you. And if evil is your black design, you can bet the goodness of the light ones, will kick you back behind.”
Elvis is quick to analyze that whatever he read was incredibly stupid and didn’t even rhyme well. Whatever it was, didn’t work. The mummy gets back up with a few choice words for Elvis. He gets into the chair again and charges the creature and they both go down the hill. Elvis checks to see a nasty wound coming from his stomach. He sprays the creature who knocks the canister away and starts beating Elvis with a nearby stick. Elvis releases the rest of the canister’s contents all over the ground. He punches the mummy off him and sets the alcohol on fire with some matches, which sets the mummy on fire again, this time for good.
Elvis checks out his wound, and it doesn’t look good. He knows he can’t get up and can’t stop the bleeding. In his last moments, he knows his soul is still his, as well as the rest of everyone at the home. He looks up to the stars which re-align, just for him, to say that everything is fine, which brings comfort to Elvis, who gives a faint “thank you, thank you very much” before dying.
Overall: It’s crazy really, thinking that a movie about Elvis and a black JFK fighting off a soul sucking mummy in a rest home could actually be good, hell, great, and actually be taken seriously. But it is great! Sure the movie has it’s share of cheesy humor, but never at the expense of the elderly or at how stupid things may seem in the first place; its all serious and it works! Sure, you need to have an open mind when watching this (God knows I’ve told many people how great this is, but when told of the storyline, all I get is eyes rolling into the back of their heads), but it works. I can honestly say, this is one of the BEST independent movies to come out in many years, and must be seen. Bruce Campbell gives the performance of his career (Evil Dead series aside, fanboys) with having to play a 70-year old Elvis. Props go out to the late Ossie Davis for playing JFK, he was very entertaining as well. Any downside to the movie? Well, it’s slow, but when you consider its in a rest home, you don’t really expect liveliness or action. The limited budget doesn’t really show until you see the concert scenes, which look very low budget and nothing like and Elvis concert. As mentioned earlier, they couldn’t get the rights to any music or movie clips, which sucks, but they’re not exactly needed. Coscarelli knows how to stretch a small budget and make it look good. Those morticians though? Man, were they ever not funny. At least they’re screen time only amounts to 2-3 minutes. This flick is highly recommended, 9.5 out of 10.
Looking forward to Bubba Nosferatu even though Brucie isn’t in it. 🙁