Lucien’s Retro Review: Bubba Ho-Tep

Bubba Ho-TepMan, there are so many days when I am feeling like I’m so old.  Why?  Because the year 2003 doesn’t feel like it should be so long ago.  No joke, where does the time go?  A good question for this film, about two old codgers in a resting home who are up against an evil monsters in cowboy attire.  This movie is silly, stupid, full of dry humor, and too much fun not to talk about.  Given that this film seems to be more cult status than anything, I thought I would do my part to try and talk about it.  Because it really does need it.  I haven’t seen a movie quite like this in ages.  But enough of me prattling on.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that Elvis Presley (or a man claiming to be him) is in a rest home in Texas.  He switched identities with an Elvis impersonator some years back, and lived out his life in hiding.  Now, he is wiling away his twilight years in a state of utter apathy.  His only friend is a man who think that he is JFK, given a new identity after his botched assassination attempt.  But even Elvis thinks he’s crazy.  When a mysterious entity starts killing people at the rest home, it’s up to these two unlikely heroes to step up and ask not what their rest home can do for them, but what they can do for their rest home.

One of the things that I have always believed is unfortunate is the fact that Bruce Campbell is associated with B movies.  That’s not to say that this isn’t a B movie.  It most assuredly is.  However, the reason I am bummed is because there is a genuinely good actor in this man that can shine, when given the right material.  This film is the right material.  Here, we have a man who is old, cranky, longing for his youth, and apathetic about life.  He has this cold, dry sense of humor with a side of pitch-black.  His internal monologues aren’t gut-busting funny.  But for those who can appreciate some old codger humor about the ugliness of aging, it puts a big smile on my face.

This is an absurd movie.  It’s B movie through-and-through.  But the thing about this movie is how it has a kind of cranky fun with it.  You have these two characters who are both probably crazy using TERRIBLE logic to try and solve a puzzle about an undead monster who is killing people off.  And they are both so wonderfully dumb, but you can’t help but love them.

The side characters are also fun.  There’s this running gag with these two morgue workers who take out dead old people.  Every time, it’s funny.  This film has a good habit of never letting a joke go too long.  The sense of humor is dry, but the movie knows not to overstay its welcome with certain jokes.  I like that.  It’s rare to see.  Especially in American comedies, which are almost always just dialogue in a room.  I won’t say this film has a lot of visual comedy, but what it does have is funny characters that we have around just long enough to not grow tired of them.

The villain of this movie is nine kinds of stupid.  This movie is very much telling you – don’t take this guy seriously.  The movie doesn’t, and neither should you.  But watching two old idiots trying to figure out how to kill it is too much.  With that said, this movie does have some sense of atmosphere.  They set up the scenes where you are meant to know that this is supposed to be scary very well.  Maybe it’s because this old folk’s home looks like the most miserable place on Earth.

I honestly can’t say much more.  It’s not a very complicated movie.  The people who will enjoy this most are those who can appreciate some smarmy old people humor and a B movie that is a little out of the typical for Bruce Campbell.  If you want to see two old fogies taking on a monsters from days gone by, I recommend checking this out.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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