When "Evil Dead" first came out, it was pretty clear it was meant to be a horror movie. I didn't get a chance to catch it until it hit video stores and I can remember the first time I saw it, ironically enough, with all my cousins at a KC reunion. It was scary enough to us. Then something happened between that and "Evil Dead 2". The original had become a cult classic and the sequel was destined for the same thing. The reason being that director Sam Raimi had unintentionally created a comedic horror movie. The sequel was stock full of unintentional moments of hilarity.
Once the Evil Dead franchise had established itself in the world of cult classics, its star Bruce Campbell inevitably became a cult figure. His face used to be synonymous with horror until it became clear that he was meant for laughs, whether they be unintentional or not.
Bruce does it again in "Bubba Ho-Tep". He blends in his comedic timing into a flick that should have a horror premise. Only this time, it's pretty obvious they were going for laughs. What else do you expect when the plot is Elvis and JFK are out to kill a mummy?
Another plus here is the appearance of the late great Ossie Davis as a dyed JFK. Whereas Bruce does a dead-on Elvis, Ossie makes no attempt whatsoever to have any mannerisms, voice or even the presence of JFK. That in itself is what makes it funny.
The movie is supposed to be about this mummy who terrorizes an old folks home to get their souls. However, much of the focus is on Elvis. We see that it deals primarily with his coming to grips with living his life in exile and whether it really was the right choice to make. At least that's what I got out of it, but I tend to be a little analytical sometimes.
While watching this, I gained an even further misunderstanding of the MPAA rating system. This movie got an "R" rating but I failed to see anything in it that was any worse than most of these "PG-13" movies that are out there. I guess since it went straight to dvd, it's all besides the point. Still, if "Meet the Fockers" is a PG-13 compared to this then something is seriously wrong.
Speaking of straight to dvd, this one turned out to be one of the rare instances when that's not such a bad thing. Campbell does an awesome job here and it's always nice to see Ossie Davis in his twilight years as that seemed to be when he did his best work. I'd almost consider this a modern day "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy". Of course I'm basing that on the title alone as I've never seen that movie. Nevertheless, "Bubba Ho-Tep" is worth the rental.
My rating: B