Posted: 06/10/2004


Eddie Presley


by Barry Meyer

Eddie has left the building, and he’s trying to get back in.

Available from Tempe Video.

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Eddie Presley (Duane Whitaker) is a down on his luck Elvis impersonator, with his heyday of glory and big club stardom behind him. He’s now stuck in a dead end job as a security guard, working for a real hard-nose ballbuster (Lawrence Tierney), and living out of the back of a beat up van. Eddie dreams of a comeback, but his restless girlfriend thinks he’s wasting his time. So does the sleazeball agent (Clu Gulager), who Eddie is trying to impress. When a desperate small club owner (Roscoe Lee Brown!) cuts him a break, Eddie makes his glorious return to the stage, donning his Elvis-style jumpsuit and ready for his big comeback… until he has a Las Vegas-sized breakdown.

Eddie Presley was originally a stage play, written by Duane Whitaker, who also wrote the screenplay. The conversion to screen is directed by Jeff Burr (who also directed horror gems like Leatherface) who paces the action a bit slowly, only really picking it up when Eddie finally takes the stage and has his big meltdown. There are a lot of good performances, including Whitaker’s, and a bit by Tim Thomerson, but the prize goes to Clu Gulager—the star of many a 70s TV movie-of-the-week — as the sleazy, skirt-chasing Hollywood agent. You can just picture the casting couch in the bastard’s office, with the well-worn springs. Also watch for a couple of cameos from Bruce Campbell, and a pre-Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino in the DVDs extra extended director’s cut version of the film (more on that later).

Eddie Presley has turned into quite a cult hit, and has now been packaged and released by the champion to the cult underground Tempe Entertainment. The DVD is packed full of extras, like a behind the scenes doc, some pix from the production, a commentary track with Whitaker and friends, plus an entire alternate version with another half hour of footage (look for Quentin and Bruce!). Tempe has given this one a wide release, so you can find it in local stores and online. There is also a 2-disc Eddie set, that has even more extras.

Barry Meyer is a scriptwriter living in Jersey, waiting for his own comeback.

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