After waster dog catcher Bubba loses his girlfriend Bobbie Jo to a local tough guy, he sells his soul to the devil for the strength to win her back, only for the ambiguous wish to transform him into a werewolf. When the devil decides to stick around and cause no end of mayhem for the townsfolk, Bubba must step up and become the hero he always wanted to be, provided he doesn’t get distracted while doing so.
With a title like Bubba the Redneck Werewolf, you know exactly what you’re getting in for. Its low budget is apparent from the outset, but like many such productions, it’s clear it was made with hard work and passion from all involved. Based on an underground comic of the same name, the tone, practical effects and creature star all invoke a comparison to WolfCop, but that was a mystery film with horror comedy stylings, whereas Bubba is all about mining the humour of the scenario.
The film is as straightforward and undemanding as its dim-witted protagonist, the gleeful immaturity and over the top characters giving the feeling of a live-action cartoon. Some of the jokes are a bit in-your-face (the setting is the town of Broken Taint in the heart of Cracker County, Florida), and some are a little more subtle (a dog pound named Barkham Asylum), while a little intellect is added by some wordplay humour that includes a riff on Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First” routine with a gory payoff.
Visual gags abound from background details and set dressing akin to those seen in the likes of Airplane! and Naked Gun and several running jokes keep things constant, such as a drunkard trying to tell people how he lost his testicles, or nobody actually noticing Bubba’s transformation into a huge hairy monster, writing it off as him simply having grown a beard.
While the film is an unusual horror comedy in that the former takes a backseat for much of the time, when it does come out it explodes in ludicrously violent eruptions, like a scene where Bubba rips off one thief’s arm and hits another with it so hard it decapitates him. In the portrayal of such, a mix of decent practical effects and variably convincing CGI adds to the film’s homemade flavour.
Although the story is awash with redneck caricatures, it’s done with a sense of parody rather than malice, in the same way, that Misfits played up to the stereotypes of chavs and young offenders without being judgemental or spiteful about it. There is a genuine affection on display for the assortment of morons, drunks, lowlifes and perverts that make up the town’s populace, even if their short-sighted greed left them tricked by the devil. Aside from the cigar-chomping, beer-chugging lycanthrope himself, the collection of blighted townsfolk, such as a horny butcher wanting a spare hand to fondle himself or a sexy nun being corrupted by the pleasures of the flesh, expand the setting beyond its core focus. In particular Bobbie Jo, who despite being the source of Bubba’s desire and spending the whole film in a trailer trash stripper outfit, has enough personality and agency that she remains distinctive in her own right.
Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is a film as shamelessly trashy as the town in which it’s set and the people who populate it but is an endearing piece of low-budget filmmaking that belies its limited resources with audacity, creativity and heart.
BUBBA THE REDNECK WEREWOLF / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: BRENDAN JACKSON ROGERS / SCREENPLAY: STEPHEN BIRO / STARRING: FRED LASS, MALONE THOMAS, MITCH HYMAN, SARA HUMBERT, GARY NORRIS, CHRIS STEPHENS / RELEASE DATE: TBC