Obscure Cult Horror Movie with a Funny Theme

Bubba Ho-Tep is a 2002 American comedy horror film written, co-produced and directed by Don Coscarelli. It stars Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley—now a resident in a nursing home. The film also stars Ossie Davis as Jack, a black man who claims to be John F. Kennedy, explaining that he was patched up after the assassination, dyed black, and abandoned.

It is based on novella of the same name by Joe R. Lansdale, which originally appeared in the anthology The King Is Dead: Tales of Elvis Post-Mortem. Originally the film was “roadshowed” by the director across the country. Only 32 prints were made and circulated around various film festivals, though these garnered critical success. By the time it was released on DVD, it had already achieved cult status due to positive reviews, lack of access, and inclusion of (and similar on-the-road hard work by) Campbell.

While the novella and film revolve around an ancient Egyptian mummy (played by Bob Ivy) terrorizing a retirement home, Bubba Ho-tep also deals with the deeper theme of aging and growing old in a culture that values only the young. The film also features a cameo by Reggie Bannister from Coscarelli’s Phantasm series.

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