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November 10, 2003

Bubba Ho-Tep

Bubba Ho-Tep (IMDB) is one of the most enjoyable movies I've seen in a long time. It stars Bruce Campbell, the B-movie king, as Elvis Presley, in his seventies and living in an east Texas retirement home. It turns out that Elvis, bored with life as a celebrity, switched lives and careers with one of his more adept impersonators, and the impersonator died before the "real" Elvis had a chance to get his life (and his substantial fortune) back.

Now, strange things are happening in his retirement home, with several people dying mysteriously, and after Elvis is attacked by a giant cockroach, he learns that the home is being preyed upon by an ancient Egyptian mummy who is cursed to feed off the souls of the living in order to survive. He learns this from John F. Kennedy (played by Ossie Davis). When "Elvis" reminds "Jack" that Kennedy was black, Jack tells him that "they" dyed his skin and reminds him that it is, after all, the perfect disguise.

I could talk about the ways that the film is about the derealized images produced by the cult of celebrity, and that's certainly there, but more enjoyable for me was the sheer fun of the B-movie experience: the playfulness, the sight gags (Jack's bedroom has posters with photos of Oswald), the cheap special effects. I don't want to give away any more of the film's gags, so hopefully, Bubba Ho-Tep will soon be playing at a theater near you...

This is my first visit to the newly renovated Landmark Midtown Theater, which is an eight screen art house theater under new management here in Atlanta. The ATL has suddenly transformed itself into a film mecca (lucky for me!). I was impressed by my first experience there. At the early shows they had an Elvis impersonator in the lobby, and for the midnight screenings (one of which I attended), they had a raffle featuring all kinds of cool stuff (none of which I won--unlucky for me).

Posted by chuck at November 10, 2003 1:07 AM

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oh, my. thanks for writing about this one, chuck. i'm certainly not going to miss it.

Posted by: dave at November 10, 2003 12:35 PM

This sounds brilliant. I hope to catch it at some point.

Posted by: kari at November 10, 2003 3:26 PM

It's a fun little film. Bruce Campbell's voice-over narration really captures what Elvis might sound like if he were in his seventies. Again, I'm trying to avoid spoiling all the good gags...

Posted by: chuck at November 10, 2003 4:59 PM

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