Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - BUBBA HO-TEP on Blu-ray ""

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Scream Factory - BUBBA HO-TEP on Blu-ray

BUBBA HO-TEP (2002; Don Coscarelli)
I cannot overstate the importance of PHANTASM to me as a budding young horror fan. I usually mention EVIL DEAD II as one of the main seminal works that turned my head around and got me into horror, but PHANTASM is really right up there for me too. The little flying steel balls that would stab you in the head and drill out your brain mixed with odd little jawa-type dudes and the amazing "Tall Man" (Angus Scrimm) absolutely captivated me when I saw it. It was a film that I thought was so cool and perplexing when I saw it that I tried to create my own role-playing game for it (which I also tried to do for GHOSTBUSTERS, JAWS and THE TERMINATOR by the way). Don Coscarelli immediately became one of my favorite directors and from then on, I sought out anything and everything that he made. 
As a result, I found it quite fascinating then that connective tissue between two seminal and influential films of my youngsterhood should combine many years later and make something as fun and wacky as BUBBA HO-TEP. To have Bruce Campbell and Coscarelli together was really a dream come true for me in a lot of ways back in 2002. The fire of my fandom for Campbell and the EVIL DEAD movies had been thoroughly stoked by working at a video store for a few years prior to that time. The store I worked at was a hugely formative thing for me as it put me in touch with a lot of other film geek types that were young and passionate like me and we shared and encouraged each other's love for movies every day. Bruce Campbell was a god to us and so when we heard BUBBA HO-TEP was coming out, we were beside ourselves with glee. I mean, when you described the movie out loud - it sounded pretty glorious (at least it did to us back then). You've got Bruce Campbell as Elvis (or an Elvis impersonator if you think he's off his rocker), living in an old folks home that is besieged by a murderous Egyptian mummy who is killing off all the other septuagenarians in the place. First off, let's back up - Bruce Campbell as Elvis!? Amazing choice and it is as fun to watch as you'd think it would be. The scenario is made even better by the fact that he is joined by the great Ossie Davis as a man who claims to be John F. Kennedy and also claims to have been dyed to look like a black man and also says he's had his mind replaced with a bag of sand. Brilliance. Utter oddball brilliance right there. So you've got Elvis and "JFK" fighting an evil ancient mummy and as ridiculous as it sounds, Coscarelli truly makes it his own and creates something unlike any film you've ever seen really. Though this film is taylor-made for a cult audience, it has seemingly gotten a little lost since it's release fourteen years ago and is not as widely heralded as it should be. Granted, it's a film that doesn't have any sort of broad appeal, but the fact that it has been more embraced since 2002 disappoints me a little. I know it absolutely has a devoted following among genre fans, but my point is that I think it should be bigger because the movie is such ludicrous, silly fun. I'm guessing that all the references that Elvis makes to the difficulties with his dick and getting erections might turn a few people off, but I think it all just adds to the movie's goofy charm. That and the mummy himself along with giant killer cockroaches should have horror comedy fans flocking to the film in droves. This is one of many times that I have been quite thankful for the existence of Scream Factory and their affection for digging up cult items like this and presenting them with new transfers and a bunch of extras so that they might be enjoyed by a new fanbase. 

Disc Features:
Scream Factory has added several new supplements to the already nice selection of goodies from the surprisingly epic MGM DVD from some years ago:
-NEW Audio Commentary With Author Joe R. Lansdale
-NEW All Is Well – An Interview With Writer/Director Don Coscarelli
-NEW The King Lives! – An Interview With Star Bruce Campbell
-NEW Mummies And Make-up – An Interview With Special Effects Artist Robert Kurtzman
-Audio Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
-Audio Commentary By "The King"
-Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Don Coscarelli And Bruce Campbell
-"The Making Of Bubba Ho-Tep" Featurette
-"To Make A Mummy" Make-up And Effects Featurette
-"Fit For A King" Elvis Costuming Featurette
-"Rock Like An Egyptian" Featurette About The Music Of Bubba Ho-Tep
-Joe R. Lansdale Reads From Bubba Ho-Tep
-Archival Bruce Campbell Interviews
-Music Video
-Theatrical Trailer
-TV Spot
-Still Gallery

Buy BUBBA HO-TEP on Blu-ray here: 
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