Directed by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Ella Joyce, Heidi Marnhout, Bob Ivy and Edith Jefferson.
What if Elvis had never left the building that one last time? Where would he be now? Director Don Coscarelli takes an award-winning novel from cult author Joe R Lansdale and gives it the big screen treatment in a story that ends up being comical, ridiculous and yet somehow touching.
'Bubba Ho-Tep' is nothing if not original. An ageing Elvis Presley (Campbell) resides in a Texas nursing home, contemplating what could have been if he had not swapped places with Elvis impersonator Sebastian Haff shortly before the stand-in died. Now as a wrinkly old man that bears some kind of resemblance to the King in his younger days, he can't convince anyone that he is not just another deluded resident at the rest home.
His case isn't helped by fellow nursing home resident Jack (Davis), who firmly believes that he is President Kennedy - despite being black. Through flashbacks in his storytelling we get a brief glimpse of the performing Elvis, before he ducked out of fame in favour of the quiet life. In the present we are treated to what can only be described as a downright bizarre sequence of events. Mostly they are entertaining, although intentionally far-fetched in the extreme.
As Elvis finds an ally in Jack, the pair are drawn together in their quest to hunt down whatever supernatural forces are at work in the nursing home, where residents are dropping like flies. Could a mysterious Ancient Egyptian mummy be responsible for literally sucking the lives out of their fellow residents? Only such a theory could explain the hieroglyphics on the bathroom walls. So begins the legend of 'Bubba Ho-Tep'.
Behind the spoof horror and comic moments lies a very real take on old age, as an utterly dejected Elvis realises that his brilliance has been transient and that he is now merely a burden to those around him. The energy and excitement that he once embodied has become a distant memory. "Everything you do is either worthless or sadly amusing," he muses.
Wacky and not very commercial, you'll either think this is an awkward pity-fest or you'll be so entertained by the pair's wisecracks that you'll want to see it again. There's little room for a middle-round in this eccentric 'what might have been'.