Hignose movie reviews #3

Doing a two-fer of the weirder side of music fandom this time. One is a favorite cult film of mine, the other is more of an indieĀ  “What the hell did I just watch?”

 

1. Bubba Ho-Tep

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Finally, the true story of Elvis’ last days comes out! This movie not only has Bruce Campbell, but a very imaginative premise (it begins a little vulgar, but it works if you’re willing to just go with it).

 

Ya see, being the king of rock ‘n roll is more stressful than you’d think. So, Elvis swaps places with the leading Elvis impersonator to regain his freedom (keeping a copy of the contract that will let him swap back if he chooses, plus some cash to tide him over if times get tough). Unfortunately they do, as his copy is lost in a tragic barbecue accident. So, he makes a new life for himself doing what he does best: impersonate himself. He tours around as Sebastian Haff, “Tribute to the King”. There’s demand for it, as the real Sebastian had a bad ticker, and liked drugs even more than Elvis did. Then one day, while takin’ care of bidness, E’s hip goes out (it had been giving him trouble), he falls off stage, and winds up in a coma for a time.

Cut to the present, the Shady Rest Convalescent HomeĀ  in Mud Creek, Texas. He’s given up pretending, now that he’s using a walker and dealing with the deteriorations of age (and a strange growth on his pecker that the doctor’s won’t discuss), but the staff just thinks he’s loopy. Life has Elvis about as low as a man can get, but one person believes his story, a fellow resident played by Ossie Davis. Slight problem: Ossie’s character claims he’s actually JFK. “But Jack, president Kennedy was a white man.” “That’s how clever they are! The CIA dyed me this color! All over! Can you think of a better way to hide the truth than that?” Ah….. well played, Mr. President!

All is not well at Shady Rest, as some years back, a cursed mummy was stolen from a Texas museum, and the bus carrying it was washed off a bridge into the nearby river. Free of its bonds, the mummy begins to stalk residents of the nursing home, eating their souls and periodically using the visitor’s toilet. Easy prey, a nice flush, and no one suspects anything’s unusual about the frequent pick-ups the funeral home hearse is making. But Elvis begins to share JFK’s suspicions, and the duo find a purpose in life again…. reinvigorated, they join forces to fight an ancient evil and prevent their friends from becoming flushed down the visitor’s toilet. TCB, baby!

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This is one of those B movies with tons of heart. The set-up of Elvis’ back story is so well defined, you can just fall into it and have fun. JFK’s story isn’t solidified as well, but you can see it through Elvis’ initial misgivings and give Jack the benefit of the doubt. There’s great one-liners sprinkled throughout, and a real look at how marginalized the elderly can feel about the undignified ravages of time. Bruce Campbell’s performance is fantastic, and Elvis’ inner monologues of reflection are able to sound genuine. Can’t recommend this one enough, it’s worth it!

 

2. Six-String Samurai

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In 1957, World War 3 happened, and the russians invaded the United States. Largely reduced to a Mad Max wasteland, people took solace in the town of Lost Vegas, where Elvis ruled as the king of rock ‘n roll for 40 years. Now, the king has died and our hero Buddy has a gig to become the new king, if he can just get there. On his way he saves an 8 year old boy who tags along despite protests, but Death (who looks suspiciously like Slash) wants the throne himself, and is tracking down all the rock ‘n rollers heading for Vegas and claiming their picks and souls as trophies. Buddy has other worries, and must work his way past several gangs: the Bowling Team, the Cleavers ( a weird family of cannibals), a group in space suits, underground mutants, and finally the Red Army itself. With samurai sword in hand and a 1957 Gibson hollow body on his back, Buddy encounters (characters somewhat implied) Clint Eastwood, Jerry Lee Lewis, Richie Valens, and gets updates from the local DJ Wolfman Jack. Who will win in this struggle for what’s left of the soul of rock ‘n roll?

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OK, this film is just weird. It has its moments as a satire of pop culture, spaghetti westerns, samurai flicks, and kung fu movies, all of which I like. The film is visually good, the premise is original, but something’s just missing. Made in 1998, it was supposed to be the first of a trilogy that didn’t pan out. It’s worth seeing once on Netflix if you’ve got an evening to kill, but I only recommend it as something different than mainstream, and hope that someone more musically inclined than myself may get more out of it.

 

3 Responses to “Hignose movie reviews #3”

  1. Stumbled onto Bubba Ho-Tep awhile back. It gets my recommendation for off-beat funny film. A mummy sitting on the can…..if thats not funny you may be one of the walking dead.

  2. Lets see I was gonna watch those, But I got High. dadadadum. and I don’t know why. I gotta admit the premise sounds just Stupid enough to be hilarious. In a Monty Python sort of fashion. Know what I mean Nudge Nudge.

  3. Mr.J. and I visited the domain of Hignose and viewed this film….. With all the twists and turns and just outright weird and outlandish plot twists and turns, it a very enjoyable, very strange, very original movie and more than well worth the time, and money (If you spent any money, as in, let’s say, buying a ticket (Ha!))….. You wouldn’t have came away disappointed…… PD Bob and Oscar hid under the couch most of the time with Uri (Higg’s Cat) harassing them continually about being scaredy cats and Prairie Dog chickens (Ha!)…..

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