I wasn’t expecting what I found with this movie. I was definitely looking forward to it, the story had me hooked. An Elvis impersonator and a man who thinks he’s John F. Kennedy discover that their fellow occupants of the old folks home are having their souls stolen by an ancient Mummy. Fine, I know where I am now and it sounds like great fun, especially with the great Bruce Campbell as the Elvis character, Sebastian Haff.
So imagine my surprise when I see the movie and realise what it really is about. Of course on the face of it the movie is the above story, but that’s not what it’s really about. It’s about how we treat the aged in our society, and how we behave when we become old. We push them away and begin to treat them again as children, as second rate failed citizens. They begin to fade away, to give up hope and any thought of living as they have done. They allow their lives to be signed off and handed over to the homes and the nurses, no longer doing anything for themselves, being spoon fed in every way. They give up.
It’s the opening scenes and the wonderfully written voiceover of Haff that brings this home to you in the most touching and personal way. Haff feels this, he has given up, and slowly he realises this and through being active and doing things he always wanted to do, he finds that he’s not a helpless, bed ridden old aged occupant of a home, but a human being with something to give and a genuine purpose.
This for me is the movie, and it’s handled in such a wonderful way by Director, Writer and Actor it too slowly dawns on you and you can feel waves of empathy which move you throughout the movie. The growth of the character of Haff through the movie, and the reclamation of his life is an invigorating and inspiring one. After the initial scenes I felt I had learnt something about growing old and how to treat the elders of our society, as well as understanding what I should do as I grow old.
The movie also provides something in abundance, humour. The absurdity of the situation of these two characters, even before the purpose of the movie is revealed, is comic genuis, and their strong, single minded belief of who they are provides for more amusement. Yet there’s also a huge amount of respect for the characters, you want to believe who they are, and you can feel yourself actively rooting for them. Not as their real characters, but for that which they believe they are. When Elvis makes his speech to the President over the phone, or salutes him, you feel that pride right along with him.
I can’t talk enough about the performance from the utterly wasted Bruce Campbell, he’s a stunning actor in this film and I hope that becomes a huge wake up call for Hollywood, get this man in more movies now, we need to see him as more than just Ash and a comedy part. He’s got some serious talent, and his reflective moments as the aged Elvis are just wonderful.
This movie was stunningly good, and just carries the DVD that I watched, it had no extras, and that mattered not a bit. The acting is excellent, the writing superb and the entire story just pulls you in on both levels. Moving, funny and excellent entertainment. A perfect package.