The original Elvis Presley who traded the bonus gravy of fame with an Elvis impersonator, now old n’ crotchety in a retirement home fights an ancient Egyptian mummy curse up and down the stick-whapping halls as they switched “Elvis” had succumbed to fame and died in 1977 as we best know the story. . . . . kind of a rhinestone mummy vs. an Aztec ape in a modern cult-film starring Bruce Campbell.
It’s 2002’s “Bubba Ho-Tep” for a twisted romp through the sort of drug-culture Rob Zombie crowd as there’s nothing that screams “kitsch appreciation” more ironically than the whole retro-world of Elvis Presley and the stranger side of the backwoods “white experience”.
I was introduced to this film by my older cousin who grew-up in the winding back-hills of outlying St. Louis counties as it’s where farmland is replaced by exurbia and speaks to the Atari/Star Wars/Six Flags basis of local Generation-X flavor– like wolfen stares and fringe art workshops you would find “vaguely off-putting” as you sit side by side next to a home computer work-station.
Call it “punk”, call it “stoner”, call it “flat & grim”. . . . . but you’d know it as the new American Gothic and what happens when Generation-X adopts into gamer culture quite seamlessly.
Black “Betty Boop” t-shirts and not forgetting “Speed Racer”.
We, “the children-of-the-night” over whiskey and pasty, stark complexions as life is existential, like forest fungus and rusted-out cars. . . . . and not forgetting “The Residents” as a gang of eyeball-heads stuck on spindly legs and tuxedo outfits with high society top-hats.
Over NES “Castlevania” and the 1980’s Garfield Halloween special you could see spirits from the Civil War tramping up through that paved, woodsy road of gnarled darkness like the deepest, hoariest under-belly that post-World War II America had to offer.
Write what you know– and Beetlejuice would figure out there along the highways by the shale rock cliffs and shoeless “Huckleberry Finn” quality of thicker country folk, earthy yet wise in their own ways.
Just another idea for where to put the sequel: “Beetlejuice 2”.