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Mini-Analysis of Bubba Ho-tep
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Bubba Ho-tep, 2002, Vitagraph Films

Directed by Don Coscarelli
Starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis

One doesn't expect to see a whole lot of movies dealing with death and aging in American cinema.  One really doesn't expect to see that in a movie where an aging Elvis and a Africa-American JFK are required to fight a cowboy mummy.  Bubba Ho-tep provides that kind of film and is enjoyable because of that exploration of mortality in the context of the horror genre.  Bruce Campbell is an actor in several well known cult films, the Evil Dead series being his most famous, but here he gives a career performance.  He combines his natural comedic chops with this warped gravitas that really humanizes an Elvis that gave it all up to live a normal life.  His Elvis isn't necessarily the most accurate one but he captures his fatigue and self pity well while at the same time making his return to action believable.  Even if it's not the most accurate Elvis, I think it's the most accurate portrayal of the myth of Elvis; a man who was famous at one point but has become a punchline since his zenith.  Ossie Davis's JFK is a perfect compliment. JFK is a man who wholeheartedly believes in who he is with all the zest he can muster even if no one else believes him. I think the most ingenious tool in this movie is having them fight the mummy which is the pinnacle of decay and age.  Here we have two guys hanging on to life by a thread battling an immortal whose body gave out long ago.  Its seriously one of the finest cult films made in ages and I say that as a compliment.


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