Popcorn Hour: Don Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep.

Cover Photo:
Bruce Campbell in Bubba Ho-Tep (2002),
Vitagraph Films.

Don Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep has become a modern cult classic thanks to the wild concept behind it. Bruce Campbell plays an old Elvis Presley—and this version of Elvis lives in a nursing home, terrorised by an ancient Egyptian mummy.


At its core, this film is about two older men and how they start to feel young again. The thrill of a mummy trying to steal their souls brings excitement back into their lives.

However, with a rumoured budget of only £500,000, the film’s special effects definitely have their limits. The mummy resembles a zombie cowboy much more than anything remotely Egyptian; yet the dodgy special effects and the look of the villain definitely add to the charm of the film. Due to the small budget, Bubba Ho Tep also does not include any of Elvis’s music or actual footage of him.

Bubba Ho Tep is a roller coaster of emotions due to the innate sadness of the elderly being forgotten about in our society. The film balances the initial sadness of the characters’ situation with funny and heartwarming moments between Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis’s characters as they gear up to fight off the mummy’s curse.

This extremely hectic film offers one of Bruce Campbell’s best performances; he finds a unique way to have heartfelt moments while embracing the weirdness of his character. Campbell gets many of the mannerisms of Elvis spot on and drops a few of his famous one-liners throughout the film. 

Bubba Ho Tep feels like the most entertaining fever dream you could ever imagine. 

Jamie Kitcheman is a Leeds-based freelance journalist with a finger on the pulse of the current music scene and film.
Follow him on Twitter here and Instagram here.

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