A big shout out to a special first screening at Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Halloween Weekend for letting this dog off the chain and into our little black hearts.
Bubba Blanche (Fred Lass) is a small town, backwoods Floridian who works at the local dog pound when he isn’t drinking his sorrows away or worrying about his hair falling out. With a big heart and a small brain, he’s lost the love of his life; all Bobby Jo (Malone Thomas) wants is for Bubba to defend her honor and stand up for himself. Careless words summon Old Scratch (Mitch Hyman) to offer Bubba everything his heart desires, but Bubba will have to use his newfound power to save the simple folks of Cracker County and send the Devil packing…assuming Bubba doesn’t get distracted by anything or everything else first.
In the twenty years since “Bubba the Redneck Werewolf” first appeared in comics, opportunities to make theatrical and televised versions have come and gone. Where the studios have failed, the creator and a handful of industry folks found the time to realize the character concept and make something special. Maybe it was fate that independent filmmaking tools have caught up to studio-level technology in the time Bubba has languished, and the results are dead solid perfect. Horror, humor, and hubris make this wing-eating, cigar-chomping, whiskey-swigging werewolf the hero we all deserve; even Bubba’s theme song is unashamedly addictive. Seeing this production come together in small teases online was fun, but watching the finished film shown for the first time anywhere felt very special indeed.
Boasting a makeup design intended to allow Bubba to be the first cinematic werewolf that can actually smile while he’s killing, the production entertains with a cool combination of both practical and computer-generated effects. Clever details and some good-natured ribbing toward small town life that many of us grew up with manage to keep the story moving along. Every conceivable angle is played up, from Bubba first seeing himself in a bathroom mirror to watching the townsfolk being deviled by, well, the Devil! Think Saturday morning cartoons – the really violent ones before networks decided kids couldn’t figure out the difference – along with a few strategically placed f-bombs and you’re on the right track. This is one of those films like the original Evil Dead which just wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the love of the material and a well-spent micro-budget forcing maverick filmmakers be as creative as they are passionate.
The Devil is literally in the details. Bubba’s creator Mitch Hyman plays the horned antagonist himself, lured to Cracker County by a well-meaning but otherwise idiot yocal foolish enough to sell his soul to get his high school sweetheart back. Hey, hasn’t everyone done the wrong the thing for the right reason at one time or another? Okay, well, maybe not…but after you meet Bobby Jo, at least you’ll understand where Bubba has his head at (wink wink, nudge nudge). With the film in the can, the big question is: how can they get it in front of the disembodied eyeballs it deserves? Here’s hoping this review will go a long way toward doing exactly that.
(a four skull recommendation out of four)