Home / The Duke De Mondo On “Bubba Ho-Tep”

The Duke De Mondo On “Bubba Ho-Tep”

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It’s a good time for Bubba’s right now, with regards the popular culture. First, Bubba Sparxx surprises everyone by making a good album, and next thing you know, there’s this here film by the name of Bubba Ho-Tep, directed by Don Coscarelli, which turns out to be a whole shitload of wonderful. It’s like that old parable about the buses, about how you wait ages for one and then three fall off a cliff or something.

What this here Filmic Affair concerns itself with, is the mummies and also the Elvis and the JFK. It turns out Elvis didn’t die after all, and wasn’t even abducted by aliens, even though some folks claim he met up with Greedo just after that Comeback Special. What really happened, it turns out, is that he swapped places with an impersonator, so as the real Elvis could go off and live a normal life.

Celebrities, eh? Never content. “Oh, we don’t get enough recognition and I’m so poor and I want the world to hear my music.” Ten minutes later they’re booking themselves into sanatoriums on account of “the pressure”.

Anyhow, Elvis has ended up in a retirement home, with an unsightly growth on the end of his male sex. Also in residence is JFK, who has since been dyed black and had that famous piece of missing brain replaced with a sand bag.

Trust some damn Egyptian deity, then, to show up and wreck the whole idyllic scenario.

That’s as much as The Duke is gonna reveal about the plot, on account of not wanting to spoil it for y’all. The only thing you really need to know about this here flick is that it has Bruce Campbell as Elvis.

Maybe you’re not aware of it, but Bruce Campbell is the cult hero du jour, by which I mean he’s the coolest motherfucker you ever did see. Some cult folks, like that Marilyn Manson Family from the 60’s, they don’t deserve the attention they get. That Jim Jones fella too. Those cults are to be avoided, if you ask me, like that Heavens Gate lot or The Michael Jackson Appreciation Society. But the cult of Bruce is a different matter entirely, and you don’t even have to kill yourself, which is a bonus as far as I’m concerned, since it means you can reap the benefits of the man’s work.

Bubba Ho-Tep is the good kind of horror-comedy. You’re probably familiar with the bad kind, the kind that came after Wes Craven Presents The Scream. These films tended to think there was nothing funnier than to have the characters named after fellas what made the tea for Jess Franco, and to have them say things like “Man, this is just like that scene in Dawn Of The Mummy when the guy gets his guts ate.”

That kind of humour is just plain lazy, unless it’s done by the delightful Kevin Smith, AKA Silent Jay.

But the humour in this here film what goes by the name of Bubba Ho-Tep, it puts the effort in. In fact, when things go all horrorised, you kinda wish it wouldn’t, on account of the characters being so brilliant, and Bruce delivering the best lines this side of Sam Raimi.

The Duke’s personal favourite – “There’d been two presidential elections since I had a boner like that one.”

See also, “Come and get it you undead sack a’shit.”

Seriously, there’s more great lines in this than there is on Richard Pryor’s coffee table.

Surprisingly, there’s also a deep level of pathos running through the whole shebang, so much so that you actually feel a bit teary-eyed when Elvis watches some of his old movies on cable, cursing himself for ever making them. He can be well pleased with this one, though.

Even if for some reason you don’t like Bruce Campbell, you’ll still find that this is fantastic, I’m guessing. What’s not to like? Elvis and JFK fighting a mummy in a rest home. And it’s a decent mummy too, and even looks kinda scary, a bit like The Creeper from Jeepers Creepers. Victor Salva, I think his name was. It’s not like those CGI crap-fests from The Mummy and The Mummy 2 – The Return Of The Mummy. This is one evil lookin’ sack of nostril-maggots right here.

But it’s Bruce’s show as far as The Duke is concerned. This man has the best comic timing you’ll ever hear. And as screen Elvises go, he’s a lot more convincing than the one in Elvis – The Movie, or Jailhouse Rock.

This might even be the best Elvis impersonation ever. Now, there’s a big fella lives around these parts what has The Duke’s house, who goes by the name of Billy Elvis. I used to think no-one could do a better sneer n’croon ensemble than him, but it turns out I have to take the mantle from you, Bill, whatever in the fuck a mantle might be, and hand it on over to Mr Campbell.

Apparently there’s a sequel in the works, tentatively rumoured to be titled Bubba Nosferatu. Even if it turns out to be a load of bandage-crud, the thought of seeing Bruce reprise his role as The King would make the whole affair worthwhile.

By way of conclusion, and also by way of tribute to Sir Campbell, I offer this sonnet, that you all might know his wonderments.

Ode To Bruce

By Aaron McMullan, The Duke De Mondo

Oh Bruce, won’t thou lay down a one-liner?
You’re square-jawed musings,
Awake within me sleeping beasts,
That sleep no more,
On account of thine Glory,
And such

Bruce, who can even smell thine slurry?
Not I, but oh, to ponder!
You wave to the sky, and say “Farewell my pigeons”
And you have no hand, for it done got bad,
But fear not oh Bruce!
For a big motherfucking chainsaw,
Rests where once thine digits,
Did humbly lie

Bruce! Hark, doth thy hear mine yodels?
Yodel, say I, in praise of thee,
Thou who art so gallant with thine boomstick,
And who gave spider-man has proper name,
In the popular motion-picture

Shit, Bruce, how can I even,
Assemble these here syllables as testament to thou?
Smite me, strike me with thy bloodied chainsaw,
Like that motherfucker,
What came out of the cellar

The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando

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About The Duke

  • Looks like i’ll have to check this out. I loved bruce in Evil Dead 3 (so far the only one of his films i’ve got around to watching), which is why i clicked the pic on Blogcritics’ front page.
    Does the Necronomicon make an appearance in this film too?

  • No necronomicon I’m afriad, but JFK does produce a book all about the evil and how stuff likes to eat souls and so forth. It did bring Ash to mind, for sure. As to other Campbell classics, might i suggest his piece de resistance, Evil Dead 2. If you ever see better physical comedy this side of Chaplin, then i will be tres suprised.

  • smenkharon

    Evil Dead 2 is definately his peice de resistance! Also there have been many rumours flying that his Ash character from those movies maybe added to a Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash sequel!

  • Yeah, FvJvA was touted after the release of the initial team-up (which i personally found very enjoyable. Ronny Yu’s earlier horror icon revitalisation – bride of chucky – was great fun too) . I think it had to do with New Line having the rights to all 3 characters. It’d be fun, but i don’t know how much of Ash’s wonderment is due to Sam Raimi. Would an ash flick without Sam work?

  • btw, i hope by now you’ve heard of the upcoming Evil Dead comic series. Apparently not an actual adaptation of Evil Dead 3, it will be set in that past universe with the deadites and Arthur and so on. Hopefully it will do the base material justice

  • Wow! That could be very cool indeed. Will Ash be in it i wonder? Hmm. The Medieval Dead comic book. Hopefulyl when its done they’ll collect them all in a nice graphic novel – AKA the comics that its ok for grown-ups to read.

  • Nah, it’s just going to be only about SMart. Think “Malcolm In The Middle” without the kids. Just Bruce and Lois. And shotguns and zombies.

  • What makes Bubba Ho-Tep really frightening is what is worse: cancer of the dick, or being left alone in an old folks home where the best you can do is look at some occasional love muffin.

  • I think i’d choose the rest home. Especially if that nurse from off the cover of Enema Of The State by The Blink 82’s was on the staff.

  • Elvis used to come in just before we’d go onstage, we’d be leaving the dressing room to prepare and he’d come in with that huge entourage. And inevitably Elvis’d look across that group of people and single out one person. One night, on that last tour, I was ready to go on the stage and … “Hey, Tony ….” I’m thinking, ‘Whoah, the King has called’. So I turned around and walked back towards him. And he looked at me and said, ‘Er, damn. I forgot what I was going to say.’

    And isn’t that what life is like?

  • Hey jadester, if you’ve seen any other Sam Raimi films, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen another Bruce Campbell film (although he might not have been the star). Sam has Bruce in pretty much all his films (ie: Spiderman).

  • i did spot him in spiderman (it’s been awhile, but wasn’t he the newspaper guy? i *did* only see it twice so far…) and i’m pretty sure i’ve seen him in other cameos/etc.
    I must get his autobiography thingy next time a get a few books from amazon. Should be good for some laughs.

  • The bruce cameo in spiderman was as the wrestling announcer (although he was fairly unrecognisable if you didn’t know to look for him) who tells peter parker that “the human spider” is a crap name, and gives the name spider-man instead. Its also the best cameo in a film bursting with great cameos, notable “macho man” randy savage, and stan lee himself.