Bubba Ho-Tep: Movies for Mothers and Daughters

BubbaHoTep

My girls have been after me for either comedic films or scary ones. So naturally I was itching to dust this one off. Bubba Ho-Tep is a litmus test of sorts. It measures what I like to think of as a fondness of quirkiness. This film is a horror, comedy drama mash-up with a dash of social commentary about how we treat our elders. It also stars Bruce Campbell as Elvis, why did I wait so long to revisit this gem? I am glad to say that both daughters (ages 10 & 12) loved it and “got it”.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) is a low-budget contemporary film, set in an East Texas nursing home. This unlikely place is haunted by an ancient and cursed,  soul-sucking mummy. Not many seem phased when the elderly residents bite the dust. But Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) and John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis) know their neighbours didn’t die of natural causes. They don’t want to be next, so they take it upon themselves to bring the sucker down.

What sounds so silly in such a brief summary is really a delight! The writing and direction by Don Coscarelli transcend the limitation of his budget. The performance by the 2 leads never falls into camp territory. This is a film with heart and poignancy. It is a film that not only tackles a mummy but also the themes of friendship, aging, fame and the meaning of life. Okay, it is ridiculous at times, yet oh so fun. There many winks to Elvis fans and Kennedy buffs. It has great dialogue that is infinitely quotable. One of my favourite lines occurs after Elvis is attacked by a large scarab beetle and he is asked to describe it to an administrator.

Elvis:  Look, man, do I look like an ichthyologist to you? Big damn bugs, all right? The size of my fist. The size of a peanut butter and banana sandwich. What do I know? I got a growth on my pecker!

This remains a quirky, amusing and not so scary film that was just as fun the second time around. I have loaned my DVD to many friends and relatives who enjoyed it and I remain surprised that it still appeals to a broad age range. I was really glad when my daughters gave me the thumbs up on this film selection.

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