starring Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis, Reggie Bannister, Bob Ivy
screenplay by Don Coscarelli, based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale
directed by Don Coscarelli
by Walter Chaw Joe R. Lansdale is best known for his tales of the "weird west," a genre mixing splatterpunk with alternate-history western almost entirely defined by the author in the early-Nineties. His work reads a little like the sort of folklore in which Mark Twain dabbled (or the gothic in which Flannery O'Connor was involved), but with zombies and gore, while Don Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep, an adaptation of a Lansdale short story, is steeped in the same sort of bent sensibility that informs the author's work, performing something like a masterstroke in casting Bruce Campbell as Elvis and Ossie Davis as JFK--if ultimately falling a little short of the astonishing audacity of Lansdale's prose. (That very ballsiness what has kept any film prior to this one being made from Lansdale's work, methinks.) What distinguishes the picture, however, is what feels like a genuine concern for the difficulties of aging and the aged, a melancholy tone to the proceedings that, fascinatingly, equates a mummy unquiet for being buried nameless with a pair of American folk heroes declining, also anonymous, in a retirement facility in East Texas.