Top 20 Horror Films Of The 2000s Presents: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

20. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002, Don Coscarelli)

Not all horror movies are scary, and this one has maybe a few creepy moments. However it is utterly hilarious, a wonderful horror/fantasy comedy featuring Bruce Campbell as an aging Elvis living out his remanding days in a nursing home. Ossie Davis plays JFK-well a man who says he is JFK, anyways-in a delightfully cranky and charming performance. Campbell is a natural as Elvis, and when an Egyptian mummy is unleashed upon the home and starts killing people, Elvis decides to “TCB-Take Care of Business.” One of my favorite moments however is a flashback sequence in which Elvis relays how and why he ended up rotting away in an old folks home, and its a tale that’s equal parts tragic and really humorous.

The mummy itself is merely a device to move the plot along, yet anyone who isn’t delighted by the prospect of Elvis teaming up with JFK to battle evil must not have liked this movie very much. I was entertained throughout, and its too bad there never was a sequel-for reasons that people who have seen the movie know all too well. Maybe its for the best however, even though the idea of a trilogy where Elvis continues to battle evil forces would have ruled. Furthermore, perhaps such a trilogy wouldn’t have featured enough musings on growing old, fame once held and now forever lost, and the thoughts of a man who time has passed by. We all have to go someday, and that concept really does suck.

A final word: Reading the quotes from this movie on remind me just how funny this movie is. Let me share a few:

Elvis: Look, man, President Johnson’s dead.
JFK: Shit. That ain’t gonna stop him.

Elvis: That’s it? I mean, we’re investigating a scuttling in the hall, trying to figure out who attacked you last night, and you bring me here to look at stick pictures on the shit house wall, man?

[in the washroom stall, looking at hieroglyphics on the wall]
JFK: Now this top line translates into, “Pharoah gobbles donkey goobers,” and the bottom line, “Cleopatra does the nasty.”
Elvis: Say what?
JFK: Well pretty much, that’s the best I can translate it.

Elvis: Shit, Bubba Ho-tep comes out of that creek bed, he’s going to come out hungry and pissed. When I try to stop him he’s going to shove this paint can up my ass and he’s going to shove me and that wheelchair up Jack’s ass.

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