v The Mummy Elvis lives, in a quirky new comedy film
The aged Elvis and the black JFK unite for a joint mission to
destroy a 4000-year-old Egyptian mummy named Bubba Ho-Tep who
has chosen the Shady Rest as his happy hunting grounds when
he comes back to life. That's the intriguing premise of Bubba
Ho-Tep, an audacious comedy that was made in America in 2002
by Phantasm director Don Coscarelli from Jose R. Lansdale's
short story and now is being released nationally by the Brisbane-based
film distribution company, Magna Pacific.
if Elvis Presley hadn't died on August 16, 1977, but
had swapped places with an obviously talented impersonator
who'd suffered the fatal heart attack that made headlines
around the world?
the real Elvis, in his 70s, lives on in the Shady Rest
aged persons' home in rural Texas where a companion
is Jack, who claims he's actually the late US president
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, although he's an African-American.
Bruce Campbell, who starred for his Detroit high school friends
Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert in the 1979 low-budget hit, Evil
Dead, and has had a successful career in independent films
(while taking guest spots in films made by close friends such
as Spider-Man's Raimi), plays the role of the aged Elvis.
Campbell, 46, says from his ranch in the south of Oregon on
America's West Coast that he wasn't someone who held Elvis
Presley in awe as "the King".
I was at high school in Detroit, Elvis was regarded as someone
flaky. He was in his decline – a showman a lot like Liberace.
How seriously could you take a guy who got around on stage
dressed up in a cape? He was dead a year after I finished
high school," he says.
he says he jumped at the chance to portray Presley in Coscarelli's
he'd been looking for the right actor for quite a while and
when he was telling Sam (Raimi) about his problem in casting
the role, Sam thoughtfully suggested he should give me a call."
who describes himself as a "gentleman rancher" when he's not
acting or writing best-selling books, worked with a Las Vegas
Elvis impersonator who also choreographed an Elvis concert
sequence for the movie. The actor physically bears a passing
resemblance to Elvis, but still required 2½ hours in make-up
before filming each day as well as climbing into a fat suit
to carry off the role of the 70-plus Presley.
film was made at a former convalescent home for military
veterans in Los Angeles with a minimum budget over six
"It's a true independent movie made without any studio
assistance or distribution deal," Campbell says.
said he did as much as he could to support the film
when it screened on the American Landmark cinema circuit,
but admits it did not receive the attention he'd hoped
in major cities. Campbell says Metro Goldwyn Mayer bought
the rights to the DVD release in the United States,
which amused him.
a deal with a major studio like MGM for this little independent
movie was amazing. You never think those sorts of things are
going to happen."
says so many movies that are called independent just don't
deserve the title, with big-name directors who can get studio
distribution deals often involved.
all the Academy Award contenders, you only have Sideways there
representing the true independent spirit of movie making,"
says Campbell, who was named Best Actor for his Presley role
at the US Comedy Arts Film Festival sponsored by the HBO network.
said it was sad his fellow actor Ossie Davis had died in Florida
on February 4 aged 87.
"We hit it off during this movie, and he was a great sort
of bloke, very concerned about civil rights matters."
fans should not go to Bubba Ho-Tep expecting to hear the King's
famous voice or any of his songs.
just can't afford the musical rights for that sort of material.
I was involved in a film in which we wanted to use Frank Sinatra's
version of Strangers in the Night, but the rights cost more
than the film budget.
do concert scenes but don't have any Elvis music on the soundtrack.
The movie couldn't afford him."
who recently directed the TV drama The Man With the Screaming
Brain in which he also stars, had a bestseller with his first
book, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor,
and recently has had a new book published, Make Love the Bruce
Campbell Way. He describes it as a humorous exploration into
the nature of relationships set against the misadventures
of a pseudo-anonymous actor, such as Bruce Campbell.
Ho-Tep opens across Australia today.
(Review, Source: Des Partridge, The Courier-Mail,
Brisbane, 24 Feb 2005)
to read EIN's review of Bubba Ho-Tep