Elvis Is Everywhere

Bubba Ho-tep Limited Edition
(MGM)
Intentional camp is difficult to do well. It's a contradiction that usually comes off cutesy and forced. The old Batman series pulled it off, and it's been B-movie god Bruce Campbell's livelihood. But in a long career of overacting and mugging, Campbell's peak may be Bubba Ho-tep, the plot of which informs us of the "true" fate of Elvis Presley. Campbell plays Elvis as an old man locked in a nursing home and teamed with a black JFK to do battle with a mummy. Yup. It works too, thanks to both the frankly insane script from writer-director Don Coscarelli and Campbell mixing real pathos with the potty humor (much fun is had over the King's lumpy balls). This special edition comes as loaded as an Elvis sandwich, with everything from a commentary from the King to a slick post-comeback jacket to hold the case. — Jordan Harper

This Is Elvis: Two-Disc Special Edition
(Warner Bros.)
This crazy-quilt of death porn gets two takes in this DVD boxed set: the original 1981 version and the longer '83 VHS copy, which shows an actor playing Elvis actually slumped over the shitter within the first five minutes. Hard to say which is the better, as both movies are as exciting as they are exploitive: Commingling footage of the real Elvis with overwrought interviews and an imposter's half-baked narration, this thing is captivating only in how it manages to encapsulate Presley's entire life within the confines of a garish "tribute" overseen by grave robbers. Because, see, every time you're ready to shoot the TV, up comes some essential footage—usually in shades of black and white—of Presley himself, all swagger and sneer, before he crossed over into pooped parody. — Robert Wilonsky

Darkman Trilogy
(Universal)
In 1990, Sam Raimi's Darkman, the tale of a scarred, super-powered, crime-fighting scientist, was seen as an ode to the old-fashioned serials of the '30s. But it is its influence on the movies that followed it that makes it worth watching today. It was the first mainstream film for Raimi, and the mixture of brutality, spectacle, and high-talent stars (Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand) will ring familiar to fans of Batman Begins, partly because Neeson was in both. The film also has some scenes, like one where Darkman leaps across rooftops, dodging explosions, that have more Biff! Pow! Bam! than is available in our modern CGI moneyfests. As for the sequels, well, they have a lot in common with the Fantastic Four films—like being crappy, but still watchable. — Harper

Oh, come on. You didn't really think the King died on a toilet, did you?
Oh, come on. You didn't really think the King died on a toilet, did you?

Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe Edition
(Universal)
Alex Ross, whose lifelike paintings of superheroes tingle the spider-sense of men far too grown-up for such things, gets a whole mini-doc on this disc to explain his passion for this 1980 cult classic. Both he and writer Lorenzo Semple Jr. (in his own featurette) make a good case: Mike Hodges' take on the comic-strip-turned-cliff-hanger looks like a hip, garish live-action comic—it's as much rock opera (courtesy of Queen's score) as it is space opera, and it's well aware of how cheesily camp it is, which is part of its charm. Sure enough, it withstands 27 years' worth of scrutiny. Sure, Sam Jones as Flash can't act a lick, but Topol as Dr. Zarkov more than makes up for it; you keep waiting for him to break out in song. — Wilonsky

Our top DVD picks scheduled for release this week:


Beneath (Paramount)
Brigitte Bardot 5-Film Collection (Lionsgate)
Luis Bunuel: 2-Disc Collector's Edition (Lionsgate)
Disturbia (DreamWorks)
The Dog Problem (THINKfilm)

The Dresden Files: The Complete First Season (Lionsgate)
8 Simple Rules: The Complete First Season (Buena Vista)
The Fly: Collector Set (Fox)
Full House: The Complete Seventh Season (Warner Bros.)
The Hills: The Complete Second Season (Paramount)

I Think I Love My Wife (Fox)
Elvis!: Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection (Paramount)
Man Stroke Woman: The Complete First Series (BCI/Eclipse)
The Muppet Show: Season Two (Disney)
Private Fears in Public Places (IFC)

Rome: The Complete Second Season (HBO)
Shadow of the Thin Man (Warner Bros.)
The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season (Fox)
Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show — The Complete Series (Warner Bros.)
That Girl: Season Three (Shout!)

 
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