Rockabilly Vampire

The music is in his blood.

Shot on a budget of about $1.65, this giddy mashup of Elvis and Dracula, all set to a rockin’ backbeat, probably won’t get a 25th anniversary celebration.

But, while this 1996 comedy isn’t a big-name event, even by low-rent Troma standards, it’s still a fair amount of fun if you catch it in the right mood.

If nothing else, it features characters channeling The King and the Beatles engaging in a battle for the hand of a fair modern-day maiden, a blood bank robbery, and a dude named Juju the Voodoo Guru.

Now that’s entertainment!

 

Bubba Ho-Tep

Only one man can save us.

And that dude is a karate kickin’ Elvis, brought to vibrant life by Bruce Campbell in full chin-jutting mode.

Living in the same retirement home as a Black man (Ossie Davis) claiming to be a still-alive JFK, the King faces down pure evil.

Or at least an ancient Egyptian mummy who’s rampaging around, sucking the life force out of elderly residents.

Written and directed by Don Coscarelli, the wild man behind the Phantasm movies, this is good, lowbrow fun — the cinematic equivalent of gorging on Presley’s beloved peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwiches.

 

Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii

He still had it.

Not as skinny as in his prime, buried under the weight of the capes and the bling, late-career Elvis Presley could still dominate a stage.

Four years before his death, he headed to Hawaii and unleashed a performance which stands with his best.

The hips might not have gyrated the way they did when he was a young’un, but the voice didn’t fail him.

From See See Rider to Suspicious Minds to Can’t Help Falling in Love, the songs soared – a legend reaching down deep to find his inner raging tiger one last time.

 

Jailhouse Rock

My third-favorite Elvis film.

Viva Las Vegas has Ann-Margaret rockin’ the tightest pants in the history of the free world, while Roustabout boasts an especially-deep song catalog, plus the immortal Barbara Stanwyck.

What Jailhouse has going for it is one of Mr. Presley’s absolute best song-and-dance scenes, as he burns the jailhouse down with smokin’ moves and velvet voice.

There’s a plot here, not that it matters much, as no one ever went to an Elvis movie for deep philosophical discussions or character arcs.

They paid to watch him wail and get down with his bad self.

Mission accomplished.

 

Roustabout

The soundtrack slaps.

Elvis Presley lands one of his biggest co-stars in feisty carnival owner Barbara Stanwyck, and enjoys one of his deepest song catalogs.

“Poison Ivy League,” Little Egypt,” “Hard Knocks,” “Big Love, Big Heartache,” and the hit parade stretches from opening number to closing song.

Presley doesn’t have to stretch too far as an actor, playing a leather jacket-wearing, motorcycle-riding man of the road, but the film is light ‘n frothy fun all the way.

The movie poster hails Elvis as a “roving, restless, reckless roustabout,” and they could have also added “electrifying, entertaining, and e-mazing.”