"Mind-blowing in its originality, Bubba Ho-tep transcends the "late-night cult" genre by virtue of captivating performances by Campbell and Davis, and the assured direction of Don Coscarelli. Coscarelli handles the bizarre material with such precision that you actually believe that Elvis and JFK are alive and not quite well. He treats the characters, and old age for that matter, with such respect that no matter how absurd things become, you are completely with him. Bubba Ho-tep, with its cinematic flash and terrifically offbeat humor, is a fantastic story of redemption, courage and friendship."
- CineVegas International Film Festival
"What Don Coscarelli has made is a film that doesn't fit into the Hollywood cookie cutter standard. He's made a truly entertaining, funny, dark film that wasn't produced by a Fortune Five Hundred company."
- Gary Schultz, Film Monthly
"It's simultaneously hilarious and poignant, with great performances."
-Pete Von der Haar, Film Threat
"One of the most cool and tantalizingly bizarre flicks this year ... this movie isn't afraid to try anything."
- James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Wicked, Observant and Truthful!"
-Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"One of the best films of the year."
Timotei Centea, Movie-Vault.com
"Bruce Campbell is flat-out great!"
-Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly
"I haven't seen anything funnier in a long time!"
-Mark Rahner, Seattle Times
"A bittersweet meditation on aging and facing one's mortality."
- Kevin LaForest, Montreal Film Journal
ABOUT THE FILM
What a perfect film for Halloween! Everyone is totally ready for a healthy dose of laughter, with a few chills and a few tears thrown in. Like many films offered by CWC, Bubba Ho-Tep is not easy to pigeonhole. If you think otherwise, read the critic's quotes above - clearly, different reviewers are drawn to diverse aspects of this film.
Independently made by Don Coscarelli and now known for its cult status, BUBBA HO-TEP is an unique blend of comedy, horror and drama. It has one of the most original concepts you'll see on the big screen and features outstanding performances by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) and Ossie Davis (Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, The Hill, The Cardinal, No Way Out).
BUBBA HO-TEP is a character study with an interesting back story. We learn that Elvis didn't really die, but traded places with an Elvis impersonator before his "death." He then made a living by impersonating himself until he fell off a stage and broke his hip. We first meet Elvis, under the pseudonym of Sebastian Haff, after he ends up in a rest home – in the room next to JFK (played by Ossie Davis), who is convinced that he was dyed black and had part of his brain removed by the government for reasons of national security. Campbell and Davis deduce that something strange is going on when the rest-home residents start dying under suspicious circumstances. The movie leads to a showdown with an Egyptian cowboy mummy (Ho-Tep) who has been feeding on the feeble souls of their fellow residents.
With a budget of less than $600,000, Director Don Coscarelli (of Phantasm and Beastmaster fame) weaves a deft blend of horror, drama and comedy. While the intentional comedic moments work beautifully, what you really see is an entertaining and poignant meditation on life, aging, and death. And the over-the-top horror moments make you jump without being gory. Bubba Ho-Tep elicits sympathy and empathy for its characters, and manages to be thoroughly convincing – not an easy feat given the subject matter!
Bruce Campbell is perfect as the aging King of Rock-n-Roll; his accent, hair, glasses, and trademark karate chops are dead-on. Campbell's performance is not just a caricature or impersonation, but a transformation. He IS Elvis. And Ossie Davis is brilliant as JFK. The two actors develop an on-screen chemistry that rivals Lemmon and Matthau, Crosby and Hope. And the story depicts the redemption of Elvis Presley, which will warm the hearts of the uninitiated and Elvis fans alike!
So get ready for a fun evening and get your tickets early, because there are legions of Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell fans. And, participate in our costume contest, with prizes for the best Elvis, JFK and Ho-Tep. (Hint - our prizes came from director Don Coscarelli and have a definite BHT flavor!)
As always, we ask that you tell your friends and help spread the word. Thanks in advance for your help -- your personal recommendation to others is important and we very much appreciate your support.
Check out the awards, film notes, cast profiles, etc. that follow and we'll see you at the Art Museum on October 31!
BUBBA HO-TEP AWARDS & FESTIVALS
Winner, Best Screenplay: US Comedy Arts Film Festival
Winner, Best Actor: US Comedy Arts Film Festival
Winner, Prix Publique Audience Award, Best International Film: Montreal Fantasia Film Festival
Official Film Festival Selection:
The Toronto International Film Festival,
South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival,
San Francisco Independent Film Festival,
Brussels International Film Festival,
Florida International Film Festival,
Hong Kong International Film Festival.
The BUBBA HO-TEP trailers on apple.com and other sites are long gone, but here is some footage from the film, overlaid with "Don't Be Cruel," by some person named Wolff who had nothing to do with the making of the movie.
If the YouTube video below does not work in your particular browser, paste in this URL and check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8kEYnMheiI.
"Uncle Sam's favorite son" as the lyrics to the theme of "Jack of All Trades" go, was born June 22, 1958 (the youngest of 3 brothers) in Royal Oak, Michigan. As a child, Bruce watched "Lost in Space" on TV, and ran around dressed as Zorro. He got the acting bug at age 8; his dad was performing in local community theater. At 14, Bruce got to play the young prince in "The King and I" and even got to sing. He went on to appear in several Community Theater productions, including "South Pacific." However, he was also interested in directing, and shot super-8 flicks with a neighborhood pal. Perhaps through fate, he met future director Sam Raimi in a high school drama class in 1975. Soon, along with Sam, and now a bunch of other high school pals, Bruce filmed about 50 super-8 movies.
During the summer of 1976, he was an apprentice in northern Michigan at Traverse City's Cherry County Playhouse, a summer-stock company. Bruce worked 18-hour days putting up sets, being assistant stage manager, doing errands, etc. No money, but it was a learning experience (it was show biz). He attended Western Michigan University and took theater courses. Bruce became a production assistant for a company that made commercials in Detroit.
In the early part of 1979, with buddy Sam Raimi, he decided to become a pro filmmaker. Armed with a super-8 horror film "Within the Woods" which they showed potential investors, they raised $350,000 to make "Evil Dead," which Bruce co-produced and starred in as Ash. Four years later, the completed film became the best-selling video of 1983 in England, and New Line Cinema got it a US release. Around this time, he married his first wife, and they had 2 swell kids. They raised 10 times as much cash for the sequel "Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn" again co-produced by Bruce and starring him as Ash. He moved to L.A. In 1990, while filming "Mindwarp" he met his future wife (costume designer Ida Gearon) on the set.
In 1992, he rejoined Sam, and Bruce co-produced and starred as Ash in the 3rd of the Evil Dead trilogy, "Army of Darkness" for Universal Studios. On TV, Bruce directed many episodes of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." Bruce also acted, as the recurring character Autolycus, the King of Thieves; he portrayed this villain with zest in both "Hercules" and "Xena." More recently, Bruce starred as the title rogue of "Jack of All Trades." Everybody loves Jack. And everybody's heard of him -- "There ain't a French or pirate rogue who don't know Jack!" Written by: K.D. Haisch
Ossie Davis was a physically imposing, passionate black actor of stage and screen, also known for his writing and directing ability. Although he was a college graduate, Davis labored in many menial jobs (and served a stint in the Army during World War 2) before making his Broadway debut in 1946. He first appeared on-screen in No Way Out (1950), supporting Sidney Poitier (also making his film debut) and appearing with Ruby Dee, who became his wife. It was another 13 years before Davis reached the screen again, then in Gone Are the Days (1963), an adaptation of his own play "Purlie Victorious."
He acted in The Cardinal (1963), Shock Treatment (1964), The Hill (1965), A Man Called Adam (1966), The Scalp Hunters (1968), Sam Whiskey and Slaves (both 1969) before becoming the director of Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970, which he co-wrote), a fast-moving crime drama about two unorthodox black cops. Davis has also directed Black Girl (1972), Gordon's War (1973), and Countdown at Kusini (1976).
BUBBA HO-TEP was Ossie's last major film. Before his passing, he had a particularly fruitful association with filmmaker Spike Lee, appearing in School Daze (1988), Do The Right Thing (1989), and Jungle Fever (1991). In Lee's Malcolm X (1992) he read the eulogy he'd delivered in real life at the black leader's funeral, which he also read on the soundtrack of the 1972 documentary Malcolm X.
OSSIE DAVIS FILMOGRAPHY
Proud - Lorenzo DuFau 2003
Bubba Ho-tep - Jack Kennedy 2002
Here's to Life! - Duncan Cox 2000
Dinosaur - Yar (voice) 2000
Alyson's Closet (short) - Postman Extraordinaire 1998
Doctor Dolittle - Archer Dolittle 1998
I'm Not Rappaport - Midge Carter 1996
Get on the Bus - Jeremiah 1996
The Client - Judge Harry Roosevelt 1994
Grumpy Old Men - Chuck 1993
Malcolm X - Eulogy Performer, Writer (eulogy) 1992
Gladiator - Noah 1992
Hands Upon the Heart - Producer 1991
Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love (video) - Actor 1991
Jungle Fever - The Good Reverend Doctor Purify 1991
The Red Shoes (video) - Actor (voice) 1990
Joe Versus the Volcano - Marshall 1990
Do the Right Thing - Da Mayor 1989
School Daze - Coach Odom 1988
Avenging Angel - Captain Harry Moradian 1985
The House of God - Dr. Sanders 1984
Harry and Son - Raymond 1984
Hot Stuff - Captain John Geiberger 1979
Cool Red - Ernest Motapo, Writer, Director 1976
Let's Do It Again - Elder Johnson 1975
Gordon's War - Director 1973
Black Girl - Director 1972
Malcolm X (documentary) - Eulogy (voice) (also archive footage) 1972
Kongi's Harvest - Director 1970
Cotton Comes to Harlem - Writer, Director 1970
Slaves - Luke 1969
Sam Whiskey - Jedidiah Hooker 1969
The Scalphunters - Joseph Winfield Lee 1968
A Man Called Adam - Nelson Davis 1966
The Hill - Jacko King 1965
Shock Treatment - Capshaw 1964
The Cardinal - Father Gillis 1963
Gone Are the Days! - Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson, Writer (also play Purlie Victorious) 1963
The Joe Louis Story - Actor 1953
Fourteen Hours - Cab driver 1951
No Way Out - John Brooks (uncredited) 1950
Deacons for Defense (TV movie) - Rev. Gregory 2003
Feast of All Saints (TV mini-series) - Jean-Jacques 2001
Finding Buck McHenry (TV movie) - Buck McHenry 2000
The Ghosts of Christmas Eve (TV movie) - The Caretaker 1999
A Vow to Cherish (TV movie) - Alexander Billman 1999
The Soul Collector (TV movie) - Mordecai 1999
The Secret Path (TV movie) - Too Tall 1999
12 Angry Men (TV movie) - Juror #2 1997
Miss Evers' Boys (TV movie) - Mr. Evers 1997
Promised Land (TV series) - Erasmus Jones (1996-1998) 1996
Home of the Brave (TV movie) - Erasmus Jones 1996
The Android Affair (TV movie) - Dr. Winston 1995
The Stand (TV mini-series) - Judge Richard Farris 1994
The Ernest Green Story (TV movie) - Grandfather 1993
We'll Take Manhattan (TV movie) - Man in Subway 1990
For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (TV movie) - Writer 1983
Purlie (TV movie) - Writer (play Purlie Victorious) 1981
Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige (TV movie) - Chuffy Russell 1981
All God's Children (TV movie) - Blaine Whitfield 1980
Freedom Road (TV movie) - Narrator 1979
Roots: The Next Generations (TV mini-series) - Dad Jones 1979
King (TV mini-series) - Martin Luther King Sr. 1978
The Tenth Level (TV movie) - Actor 1975
The Sheriff (TV movie) - James Lucas 1971
Night Gallery (TV movie) - Osmond Portifoy 1969
Teacher, Teacher (TV movie) - Charles Carter 1969
The Outsider (TV movie) - Lt. Wagner 1967
Seven Times Monday (TV movie) - Will 1962
John Brown's Raid (TV movie) - Actor 1960
The Emperor Jones (TV movie) - Brutus Jones 1955
Appearing As Himself
A Street Called Pain (documentary) - Actor 2004
Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (documentary) - Himself 2003
Spike Lee's '25th Hour': The Evolution of an American Filmmaker (video documentary short) - Himself 2003
Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property (documentary) - Himself 2003
Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (documentary) - Reader 2003
That's Black Entertainment: Westerns (TV documentary) - Interviewee 2002
Hughes' Dream Harlem (TV documentary) - Narrator 2002
Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television (TV documentary) - Himself 2002
Voice of the Voiceless (documentary) - (Himself) 2001
Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years (TV mini-series documentary) - Narrator 2001
Intimate Portrait: Rosa Parks (TV documentary) - Himself 2001
Jazz (TV mini-series documentary) - Himself 2001
The Unfinished Journey (documentary short) - Narration (voice) 1999
American Masters: Paul Robeson: Here I Stand (TV documentary) - Himself/Narrator 1999
Neighborhoods: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco - The Fillmore (TV documentary) - Narrator 1999
Scandalize My Name: Stories from the Blacklist 1998
Thomas Jefferson (TV mini-series documentary) - Narrator (voice) 1997
4 Little Girls (documentary) - Himself (Actor/Playwright) 1997
The Great Battles of the Civil War (TV mini-series documentary) - W. H. Carney (voice) 1995
Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World (TV documentary) - Narrator (voice) 1994
Baseball (TV mini-series documentary) - Himself (voice) 1994
Malcolm X: Make It Plain (TV documentary) - Himself (Harlem resident) (also archive footage) 1994
The Great Depression (TV mini-series documentary) - Himself 1993
The Real Malcolm X (TV documentary) - Himself (delivers eulogy) (archive footage) 1992
Lincoln (TV documentary) - Frederick Douglas (voice) 1992
22nd NAACP Image Awards (TV special) - Himself 1990
Making 'Do the Right Thing' (TV documentary) - Himself 1989
Death of a Prophet - Himself 1981
Black Liberation (documentary short) - Narrator (voice) 1972
OSSIE DAVIS AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
Acapulco Black Film Festival
Winner, Black Film Award, Best Actor for Get on the Bus (1996)
Black Reel Awards 2004 Nominated, Black Reel
Television: Best Supporting Actor for Deacons for Defense (2003)
Daytime Emmy Awards 2001
Winner, Daytime Emmy
Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special for Finding Buck McHenry (2000)
Emmy Awards 1997
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for Miss Evers' Boys (1997)
1978 Nominated, Emmy
Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for King (1978)
1969 Nominated, Emmy
Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Teacher, Teacher (1969)
Golden Globes, USA 1969
Nominated, Best Supporting Actor for The Scalphunters (1968)
Golden Satellite Awards
1998 Nominated, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for Miss Evers' Boys (1997)
Image Awards 2004
Nominated, Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special for Deacons for Defense (2003)
2001 Winner, Image Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for City of Angels (2000)
Nominated, Image Award, Outstanding Performance in a Youth or Children's Series/Special for Finding Buck McHenry (2000)
1999 Winner, Image Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Promised Land (1996)
1997 Nominated, Image Award, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture for Get on the Bus (1996)
1996 Nominated, Image Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for The Client (1995)
1991 Winner, Image Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Do the Right Thing (1989)
Screen Actors Guild Awards, 2001, Life Achievement Award
St. Louis International Film Festival, 1998, Lifetime Achievement Award
Writers Guild of America, USA, 1984, Winner, WGA Award (TV), Adapted Drama Anthology for For Us the Living: The Medgar Evers Story (1983)