Imagine, if you will, being in a nursing home; you have limited mobility and most of the staff believe that you are suffering from dementia, but you know you are not who they think you are. You are in fact Elvis Aaron Presley. You traded places with an Elvis impersonator to get a little peace and quiet and he managed to kill himself, making it very difficult to go back to your rightful place.
You tell the staff this, but they don't believe you. The only person who believes you is an older black man. Physically he is in little better shape than you, but mentally, not so much. He is under the impression that he is John F. Kennedy. This alone would make for an interesting premise for a movie, but add in a mysterious, Egyptian soul sucker that is killing off the residents and the fact that you and JFK are the only ones who realize what is happening and you have the premise of Bubba Ho-Tep , a film starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis.
Billed as a horror/comedy the film takes the idea that Elvis is alive seriously, or at least the fact that this man believes he really is Elvis. While there is some profanity, the film is not filled with blood and gore as many horror films are, which is not to say it doesn't have its moments. This film could have easily been turned into a parody of horror films with little or no value of its own. Instead, director Don Coscarelli plays it straight, which in turns adds to the comedic value. The comedy is in watching two old men, lacking all the agility and skills that younger men would possess, trying to overcome the odds with the little they can bring to the battle. Bubba Ho-Tep is not going to be a fast moving action packed horror film. The stars are believable in their roles. Men at this stage in life are just not going to be swinging from the trees and shooting from the hip. They are going to be shuffling their feet, walking with their walkers and hoping for the best.
Could Elvis really be alive in a nursing home? This film will at least make you seriously consider the possibility. As far as Ossie Davis as JFK, even this might give you pause to think.
- Bubba Ho-tep