Tag Archives for " Horror-comedy "
The director of Bubba Ho-Tep, Don Coscarelli, is in this writer’s opinion one of the great American horror directors but seems to remain remarkably underrated. He may not be in the same league with the likes of Carpenter, Romero or Craven but given that he has given us the Phantasm series and this film he should not be seen as that far off. As well as that, while not quite as good as some of the movies mentioned above, he made the underrated gem that is John Dies at the End and outside of horror the cheesy but entertaining sword-and-sorcery cult classic Beastmaster.
It is hard to pinpoint why Coscarelli remains so underappreciated I suspect it is due to the often confusing, dream-like nature of much of his output and the scrappy quality of his films in terms of effects and editing. Bubba Ho-Tep is no different in these regards as while more linear than say Phantasm there is still a something weird and dream-like to some of it and there is scrappiness to it, but that is undoubtedly part of the charm.
The movie started life as a short story by Joe R Landsdale before being picked up by Coscarelli after having eye caught by dustjacket which proclaimed Elvis battles Mummy! Lansdale was shocked that Coscarelli wanted to buy the rights as he assumed it would be the last of his stories that someone would want to make into a movie but made it into a film he did, and we can all be thankful for that.
As you have probably guessed by now, your writer here is a big fan of this movie. However, that does not mean I am blind to its flaws such as the convoluted plotting, and some of the humour leans a little too heavy on toilet and erection based gags that can at times be eye-roll worthy. Also not all the actors are not precisely blue-chip. It should be noted the ones that matter are though which brings us to the performance of Bruce Campbell.
There is no doubt a crucial part of Bubba Ho-Tep’s appeal is the performance given by Campbell as Sebastian Haff/Elvis. That plus the chemistry that he has with Ossie Davis who plays a black John F Kennedy and is his friend and ally in fighting the mummy. Both of these elements greatly help to ground film as let’s face it Elvis and black JFK fighting a redneck mummy who is stealing the souls of retirement home residents via their anus is a very, very silly (albeit hilarious) concept. There is nothing within that concept that screams pathos or intelligence but all those are here and while some of that is in the script a lot of it comes out the central performances particularly Campbell who put in one of the finest and in some ways most nuanced performances of his career. As while the film leans on Campbell’s natural strength like his flair for slapstick and his quippy line delivery, there is a real gravitas and melancholy to his performance which again may seem surprising given the context.
If you have not seen the film, you may be thinking, but they are not really Elvis and JFK in the story right? Well even within the context of the story doubt is cast on both. According to Campbell’s Elvis he got tired of fame and swapped identities with an Elvis impersonator Sebastian Haff, and it was Sebastian Haff who died not him. The plot leads us to believe this is Elvis but the door is left open the character is delusional. Even more, doubt is cast on the JFK character as even Campbell’s Elvis believes him to be delusional which lead to a hilarious scene where Davis’s JFK explains “That's how clever they are. They dyed me this colour, all over. Can you think of a better way to hide the truth than that?” Frankly, it’s hard to argue with that!
The above is just one of the many quotable lines peppered throughout the movie many of which are nabbed by Davis even if Campbell gets his fair share of zingers too like “Even a big bitch cockroach like you should know... never, but never, fuck with the King.” Delivered after fighting off a scarab in his room.
In amongst all the monster silliness, you may wonder where this previously mentioned pathos is. Well as previously stated a lot of that comes through Campbell’s performance, but the script also tackles the vagaries of both aging and fame in a way that takes you by surprise and the movie ends up being by genuinely quite touching in its wacky way. These elements are both what makes the film so memorable and the reason why many will struggle with it as it is a monster movie, a farcical comedy and melancholy drama all at once. The gears shifts between these modes are not always seamless but, by and large, Coscarelli pulls it off.
Given Bubba Ho-Tep does have its foot in so many differing it was, of course, a nightmare in terms of marketing. Coscarelli had a smart solution for this however by getting only 32 prints made and “roadshowing” the film around various film festivals which led to it reaching cult status before it hit DVD given the strength of reviews and word-of-mouth. That cult status has only grown in the years since its release.
There have also long been rumours of a sequel first taunted in a joke post credit title that announced Elvis would return in Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires. No serious plans were made then, but Coscarelli has tried to get a follow-up film of the ground but to no avail. Coscarelli also mooted the idea of a TV show in a 2018 interview with Syfy saying:
“Bubba Ho-Tep, as detailed in the book, we had a lot of setbacks with regard to a lack of involvement with Bruce Campbell on the thing. He gave such a memorable performance, it was very hard to do something without him involved. Again, I think that that story would make for a great sequel or series.”
So fans could yet see Elvis ride again, the only downside being it would not be Campbell playing him.
NHE host Scott Murphy talks to director Fernando Alle about his debut feature, the action-horror-comedy “Mutant Blast.” Which since it’s debut last year at MOTELX – Lisbon International Horror Film Festival has been at festivals all over the world, including a few here in the UK (Frighfest, Leeds International Film Festival, Derby Film Festival).
In the interview, we talk to Fernando about how he came up with such a crazy idea for the movie, how he managed to balance various tones and genres in the film and how his cast reacted to the script on the first read. Moreover, we talk about how he and his crew managed to achieve the movie; multiple effects shot on such a low budget. Fernando also tells us how the film was picked up for distribution by famed genre outfit Troma and how he feels his movie differs from many of Troma’s own pictures.
On top of all that, Fernando tells us about some unexpected influences on the film, his omnivorous tastes in cinemas, and the danger of putting directors in a particular genre box. Plus, how he feels he wants his next project to be something quite different from “Mutant Blast” (possibly even a drama).
You can watch the trailer for “Mutant Blast” here
You can also check out this Behind-the-scenes trailer here
NHE host Scott Murphy chats to filmmaking collective Radio Silence (Matt Bettenelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella) about their second feature “Ready or Not.” In an interview that took place just after the movie made its World Premiere at Fantasia Fest in July before the film was rolled out for the widest US release in Fox Searchlight’s history.
Over the course of the interview, Chad, Matt & Tyler tell us all about how they came on board to the project, how they assembled their starry cast and what their joint directorial process is like in practice.
The guys also tells us about what type of reviews frustrate them the most, how they formed as a filmmaking team and why they chose the name Radio Silence for their group. Plus, they explain how their big breakthrough on the first V/H/S film came about.
You can watch the trailer for “Ready or Not” here
“Ready or Not” is out now in UK cinemas
Director: Tony West
Starring: Chris Geere, Tina Ivlev, David Newman, Martha Higareda, José María de Tavira
Run Time: 92mins
There may be plenty of other haunted house movies spoofs (including the execrable “A Haunted House”), but it does not feel as over-saturated in the way that the zom-com does. Giving this movie a slightly easier task to stand out, something it mostly fails to do although it does in flashes.
Things start well enough with a promising set-up skewering the ghost hunting shows which populate cable television. The opening scene sees our hapless team of paranormal investigators led by Sam Whitner (Geere) trying to convince a terrified bakehouse owner that the property is haunted using a variety of dirty tricks to improve their dwindling rating. There is fun to be had here, and the movie nicely skewers the tropes of the genre from the flashy visuals to over-the-top narration, etc.
The initial promise is not followed up on as in the next scene; we are introduced to an unbearably obnoxious TV exec who plans to axe the show. He however gives the team, which also consists of Sam’s brother Lloyd (Newman), his fiancée Kate (Ivlev) and Javier (De Tavira), one last chance by sending them to “Mexico’s Most Haunted House” with a new producer Abril (Higareda) and FX guy Bob (Mark Riley) in tow. This scene is both excruciatingly unfunny and sets the template for the movie, which seems to believe all the lines are much funnier just by being delivered very, VERY LOUDLY.
On top of that, the majority of the gags are signposted a mile away. Including the central joke that, of course, the Mexican house is haunted for real. Not that they initially realise as the team thinks the ghostly happenings are simply the work of their special effects guy — a half-decent gag but one that is overstretched. Much like a lot of jokes here such as the only one who does believe is ghost-obsessed Lloyd, who is ridiculed and ignored beyond the point it makes sense plot-wise. Not that everything is a miss here as there is the occasional gem but for the most part these raise chuckles rather than real guffaws.
On the positive side, Geere is an engaging presence and makes a good fist of parodying the type of host you get on one of those paranormal investigation shows. He also successfully manages to make an oft unlikable character sympathetic and rounded. An attribute sorely lacking for some characters particularly the screechy ratings-obsessed Abril and the grizzled horror cliché Bob, both of whom are entirely one-note. Also, despite a decent performance from Ivlev, the character of Kate rarely gets the chance to break out further than your typical harassed-girlfriend-who-has-to-put-up-with-a-man-child role.
Frustratingly things get quite good in the climax. Suddenly the comedy clicks more, dropping the need to block capitalise every punch line. Plus, the relationships are played more endearingly, and you actually find yourself rooting for the team. Shame it all comes so late in the day.
Overall: A very hit-and-miss affair that occasionally manages to skewer paranormal investigation shows cleverly and features a decent central turn from Geere but is just as frequently more loud and obnoxious than funny. Ultimately it’s unlikely to be remembered long after watching.
“DeadTectives” is available on Shudder UK here
NHE host Scott Murphy chats to director Chelsea Stardust about her debut feature “All That We Destroy” AND her second feature “Satanic Panic”, both of which premiered within weeks of each other. Over the course of the interview (interview begins at 2:00), Chelsea talks us through how exactly she managed her schedule given they overlap of the the two projects as well as the development, casting and shoot of each film. Plus how she came to be onboard both pictures and her excitement at “Satanic Panic” being produced by the freshly resurrected Fangoria and scripted by Grady Hendrix (Paperbacks From Hell)!
We also chat to Chelsea about her long filmmaking apprenticeship working as an assistant to the likes of Ivan Reitman, Judd Apatow and horror mega-producer Jason Blum (who she worked alongside for 5 years) before she got her directing break through Crypt TV. Also, we hear from Chelsea if it was at all weird having her debut produced by her former employer Blumhouse!
You can checkout the trailer for “All That We Destroy” here
“Satanic Panic” will next be shown at Montreal’s Fantasia Fest (July 11th-August 1st) and is also set to be released in theaters, digital HD and VOD in on September 6th .
In this edition of New Horror Express, we have our very first returning guest! That is right returning from Episode 10 is “You Might Be The Killer” director Brett Simmons. A film NHE host Scott Murphy and Brett could only talk a little bit about as the film had not received its premiere at the time of recording that interview. This time though Brett tells us all about “You Might Be the Killer” from how the movie derived from a Twitter conversation to the writing process to the casting and more. Scott and Brett also follow up on a previous chat on horror movies for kids as well as lots of others horror related fun!
In our latest episode NHE host Scott Murphy has a big announcement about the future of the show – namely we are going fortnightly. This news means you will be getting twice as much New Horror Express in your life! Besides that big news NHE host, Scott Murphy chats to “You Might Be the Killer” director Brett Simmons. They only talk a little about this film as the movie had not yet received its premiere at Fantastic Fest at the time of the recording. There still plenty to talk about though as Scott talks to Brett about his other features “Husk” and “Animal,” his directorial influences, Brett’s squeamishness about other horror movies and lots of other horror-related banter.