Monday, November 22, 2004

who's yanni? /And if evil is your black design, you can bet the goodness of the Light Ones ... will kick your bad behind

Session 9 [november 21, 2004] rakes in points by the forest for atmosphere: lots of colour filters, moody performances, and grim proceedings. This is a film that doesn't tout or rely on either its narrative or its end, but in tow with them offers a surreal and nightmarish challenge to our perceptions of dream and reality. Director Brad Anderson also made The Machinist, but that's still in the queue.

Bubba Ho-Tep [November 22, 2004] is a wonderful mix of camp and high concept. With disbelief, you note that it's roots lie in a short story. Here's the general premise: Elvis didn't die. He switched identities with an impersonator of his called Sebastian Haff. So while Sebastian Haff went about being the King, the King himself toured as Sebastian Haff impersonating the King. The King is now killing time and flies in a seedy decrepit resting home. The King is played by Bruce Campbell, who delivers a socks-blowing performance. Our other player is JFK. JFK survived the assassination attempt. They then did a medical switcheroo on him and turned him into a black guy. He is also a patient at the same nursing home. Ossie Davis Jr. affords the part the appropriate blend of seriousness and humour. The villain of the piece is an ancient mummy who is feeding off the residents of the nursing home and only our heroes seem to know and understand enough to deal with the situation. This rollicking enterprise is well serviced by Brian Tyler's surfy soundtrack. There are lots of tiny details to relish: references to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Hustler magazine; a nice sequence that mixes Elvis in his car and Elvis in the creaky hospital bed; Egyptian graffiti on the wall of a cubicle in the toilet; the addendum to the standard copyright protection notice at the end promising infringers the "wrath of Bubba Ho-Tep"; a tip-of-the-hat to the promises at the end of the Saltzman/Broccoli Bond films that informs us Elvis returns in BUBBA NOSFERATU "Curse of the She-Vampires" starring Sebastian Haff [april 22, 2005: this one just got announced!]; and the note at the very end those of you who are watching, be kind rewind. that's right; guess with a DVD you don't have to do that anymore. The special features are cute too. All in all, a sumptuous off-beat offering. Director Don Coscarelli was also the father of the Phantasm series. I've only seen the first part, and it's sufficiently weirdly interesting to merit a viewing.

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