Welcome to the DoT Daily Horror Film Fest! Throughout the month, I’ll be featuring new horror every weekday. Sometimes that will be indie films, sometimes it’ll be big-name stuff, shorts, or even TV shows. Scary, funny, schlocky, quiet, eerie – something for the well-rounded horror fan. Plus interviews with filmmakers and a chance to support projects still in the works. Today’s feature is the comic horror film, Bubba the Redneck Werewolf, out today from MVD Entertainment Group.
I was hooked on this film from twangy opening line of the rockabilly theme song by the Blast Offs, “The Ballad of Bubba,” a kind of Jerry Reed narrative that sets up the action. It sets the tone for the goofy, gory tale that’s coming. I’ve always loved a horror film with a sense of humor, something Bubba director Brendan Rogers also appreciates.
“I think horror and humor blend perfectly with each other,” he says. “They’re two genres you have visceral reactions to and because of that are completely dependent on timing. If timing is off in a joke, it will fall flat, just as a poorly paced scare won’t illicit a scream. They also can compliment each other by keeping the audience off balance. A joke can set up a scare or vice versa. Bubba is definitely more in the comedic camp, but I love that the horror elements definitely compliment the film. Audiences freak out at the gore and laugh at the jokes. The whole experience becomes a roller coaster, and those are the kind of movies I love.”
The master of humor and horror is Sam Raimi, who created a style with the Evil Dead series that has influenced countless filmmakers. “Any chance to pay homage/rip off Sam Raimi I am all for,” says Rogers. “Evil Dead 2 was a huge inspiration for this film and yes there are several visual nods to it in Bubba. Raimi blends camp and horror so well so his film served as the perfect model for a movie like this. You’ll also find some visual nods to Young Frankenstein and of course The Toxic Avenger.”
The movie is based on the comic book series of the same name. Rogers loved the idea of it from the moment he first heard the title. “My producing partner Will Phillips and I had heard of the comics by Mitch Hyman for years and Mitch’s enthusiasm for the project was quite infectious,” he says. “But in all honesty, the thing that drew me to the project the most was the title. Bubba the Redneck Werewolf is one of those perfect titles that really says it all. You don’t even need to pitch the movie. You just say the name and people know instantly if it’s a film for them or something to run the hell away from. Fortunately for me, it sounded awesome.”
Though the campiness of the original is preserved, fans of the comics will notice several changes in Bubba’s story in the film version, including how Bubba came to be a Redneck Werewolf. “We had a great script by Steve Biro that introduced several new characters as well as a new origin story for the werewolf,” says Rogers. “In the comics Bubba is bitten by a radioactive poodle and that’s how he turns into the wolf. Steve went for a more ‘Faust’ approach and had Bubba make a deal with the Devil. Bubba asks to be strong and powerful and in his mischievous way, Satan interprets that as being turned into a werewolf. While there were changes, the thing I think the script excelled at was matching the tone of the comics and I tried to carry that over visually as well. So while there are changes, I think this film is very much in the same spirit as the comics, which was very important to me.”
There might be more Bubba yet to come. “I would love to return to the world of Crack County,” says Rogers. “Bubba as a comic book series has been around since the mid 90’s so there’s plenty of source material to pull from. Ultimately we’ll have to see how this one does, but I think there’s tons of possibilities for a sequel in the future.”