Let me just put this out there as straightforward as possible: Bubba the Redneck Werewolf (2016) is funny as hell. Based on the Mitch Hyman’s long-running comic book series of the same name, it tells the tale of a simple country dogcatcher who sells his soul the Devil to win back the heart of his former girlfriend, only to find himself turned into a werewolf. When other folks in town get similar bum deals, Bubba takes on the Devil win back the souls of the residents. In spite of its tiny budget, the film sports surprisingly good effects, especially Bubba’s wolf makeup, which allows the actor to emote. The music in the film adds perfectly to the atmosphere – both the excellent score by George Shaw as well a the numerous rockabilly tunes from the Blast-Offs. Most importantly, and I believe I have already said this, the movie is funny as hell, with gags within gags and a cast with perfect comedic timing.
Bubba Blanche (Chris Stephens) is the sad-sack dogcatcher of the town of Broken Taint in Craker County, Florida. He spends his off-hours at the Rusty Bombshell bar, run by feisty bar owner Jamie Sue (Sara Humbert). Other denizens of the bar include Drunk Cletus (Gary Norris) and Bubba’s none-too-bright Cousin Clovis (the film’s director Brendan Jackson Rogers). When Bubba’s former high school girlfriend Bobbie Jo (Malone Thomas) comes in on the arm of his rival Dangerous Dwight (David Santiago), Bubba swears he would do anything to get her back. This brings the Devil (comic creator Mitch Hyman) to the bar to offer Bubba a deal that will make him big, strong, and confident in exchange for his soul. Bubba accepts the deal, but does not realize that the Devil has tricked him. The next morning, when Bubba awakes, he is indeed big, strong, and confident, but he is also a werewolf (Fred Lass). This does not phase Bubba; he is still the loveable doofus he was before – just hairier and with a bit more self-esteem. Bubba wins back Bobbie Jo, but now he has bigger problems. It seems the Devil has been bargaining for the souls of many of the other residents of Bubba’s hometown and their deals have gone sour in equally bizarre and disastrous ways. The cursed townsfolk turn to Bubba to help them get their souls back from Devil, and he is up for the challenge.
Werewolf makeup is notoriously hard to pull off successfully, and that goes doubly so for low-budget werewolf films. The makeup team on Bubba the Redneck Werewolf (Michael Davy, Rick Gonzales, Karyna Martinez, Jennifer Okerlund) does a fantastic job. Embracing the comic book source material, they give werewolf Bubba a look that straddles the line between cartoony and realistic (leaning toward the cartoony – in a great and deliberate way). Most importantly, they apply the makeup in such a way that the actor can still emote fully. The makeup looks like a natural part of his face and not like a cheap rubber mask or overly stiff appliance. The Devil makeup is more low-key – primarily horns and red greasepaint, but the shading used gives the character’s face cool contours and a nice bit of menace. The gore effects sprinkled throughout the film are equally impressive. Dismemberments and holes through various body parts are all done practically and look great. For all of the practical effects in the film, it is odd that they add a lot of digital blood splatter as well, but that is a minor quibble. To be honest, the digital bloods adds a goofy, fun quality to the gore.
The makeup for Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is not the only department where the results far exceed those anticipated by the budget; the soundtrack is excellent. The score is richer than one would expect for a low budget production. Perhaps this is because it is by composer George Shaw, who has a resume that spans over one hundred shorts, documentaries, and even televisions series such as TableTop (2012). The top notch score is complemented by a slew of great, jamming rockabilly tunes from the Blast-Offs, which make this a soundtrack worth getting.
One of the best ways measure a comedy’s success is to ask, “Does it make you laugh?” By this yardstick, Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is a hit, as it is filled with literal “laugh out loud” moments. Visual jokes are scattered in the backgrounds of most scenes, highlighting bizarre brands local to Bubba’s hometown of Broken Taint, Florida. Classic cornball humor, double-takes, and slapstick moments abound. Sure, it starts with a poop joke and does not shy away from bathroom humor, but it is smart as well. There are gags nested within gags nested within gags – so much so that one needs to pay attention so as to not miss anything. Wordplay is also a big part of the film’s humor. Screenwriter Stephen Biro even throws in a fun homage to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine – albeit with a bloodier, goopier ending.
The comic timing of the cast is impeccable and contributes greatly to the success of the comedy. Gags that would normally elicit a simple chuckle are elevated to serious belly laughs by the grace of the excellent delivery of the cast members. From the leads to the supporting characters, it is a strong cast across the board. The comic’s creator Mitch Hyman is a particular standout as the Devil. Even though he has plenty of humorous dialog, he does not even need to utter a line to generate laughs; his facial expressions are perfect. Fred Lass, as werewolf Bubba, is equally adept with his delivery and facial expressions, which is more notable, seeing as he is acting underneath the extensive werewolf makeup. Even the minor characters are well cast, which is saying a lot, as a number of those roles are filled by key crew members; director Brendan Jackson Rogers, as Bubba’s seriously clueless Cousin Clovis, and cinematographer Will Phillips, as the rather perverted Butcher, are particularly hilarious.
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is a seriously funny horror comedy. While the “horror” elements take a backseat to the comedy, the filmmakers still pull off some impressive practical gore effects. Bubba’s werewolf makeup is well done, allowing the actor practically the full range of facial expressions. A great soundtrack adds to the fun. The film combines highbrow and lowbrow humor, packing in the gags and laughs. The cast’s precise comedic timing elevates the jokes and situations, making the movie far funnier it they would be in less capable hands. If one is looking for a horror comedy that will literally make one laugh out loud – then Bubba the Redneck Werewolf fits the bill.
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf (3.8 / 5)