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the pathetic caverns - movies by title - Bubba Ho-Tep

eclectic reviews and opinions

Bubba Ho-Tep

2002, D & S: Don Coscarelli

Bubba Ho-Tep is based on Joe Lansdale's short story of the same name. Lansdale's a horror/mystery writer I respect, and Bubba Ho-Tep has one solidly good idea -- setting a horror story in a rest home, where the residents are too frail to effectively combat the supernatural menace and where frequent deaths arouse little official interest. That's maybe a little vanilla on its own, so Lansdale throws in a wrinkle. One of the next victims might be an aging Elvis impersonator who's a little confused (played surprisingly straight by camp/cult fave Bruce Campbell) ... or he just might be the real deal (although his friend (Ossie Davis) who's convinced that he's JFK -- minus brain -- almost certainly isn't really the former president).

I bet it was a swell short story, and it might have been a killer short film -- but of course, there's hardly any market for short films. As a feature, it feels distinctly padded -- and more like a linebacker than like a bra, at that.

The scarab and the mummy are more TV-quality than feature-film-quality, and the movie has what Dr. Sigmund Freud would have called an "anal fixation" -- the mummy's preferred method of inflicting hurt is soul-sucking analingus, but it doesn't stop there. All the ass talk gets a little sophomoric (not to mention borderline homophobic) before it's over.

It wasn't exactly terrible, but I'm a little bemused by some of the kudos it's gotten (e.g, Best Screenplay at the US Comedy Arts Film Festival). And I think it would have been much stronger if it had been edited down to an hour or less.

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