SCREAMING AT THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS!

Howdy there, Scream Freaks! Woowee, that was one doozy of a Friday the 13th if ya know what we mean, and we think ya do. Yup, horror host hall of famer Joe Bob Briggs was back in the national slimelight for one last hoorah with a live streamin’ marathon on Shudder called The Last Drive-In, featurin’ his long missed wisecracks and commentary the public’s been denied since MonsterVision‘s unfortunate cancellation on the TNT network back in 2000. As soon as news broke ’bout his comeback, die-hard Joe Bob fans’ heads exploded with joy and did all they could to prepare. Fans answered Joe Bob’s call for video testimonials to help seal Shudder’s commitment to the event, workin’ stiffs rearranged their lives to watch most if not all the marathon, online merchants raised the prices of Joe Bob’s inexpensive books, and overexcited parents and spouses corralled their loved ones ’round the TV to expose them to their own sick brand of nostalgic joy. Our gang was no different.

We made a testimonial video, blocked off time for the marathon, and brought our gang together to party and witness the return of one of our show’s biggest idols of horror host entertainment. The build-up to the event was especially surreal when Joe Bob responded to our video with a complimentary email, started respondin’ to our tweets here and there, and even hit us up after mentionin’ we had a script for a potential cameo/crossover with him on our show. Anticipation only grew more as Joe Bob gained momentum toward the marathon with online interviews, answerin’ fans ‘ questions on Reddit, and makin’ public appearances celebratin’ movies that were unknowingly part of the marathon at the time. Add all that with the hype this event was goin’ down the night of Friday the 13th, it was a perfect storm of expectations.

Scheduled to start at 9pm EST, Joe Bob would dominate Shudder TV’s livestream for roughly 26 hours, playin’ 13 horror flicks back to back. Followin’ the same format he had hostin’ Drive-In Theater and MonsterVision, Joe Bob returned on a set built to resemble his ol’ trailer home and effortlessly fell back into his familiar groove with openin’ rants ’bout today’s society, drive-in totals, intermittent movie trivia, answerin’ fan mail, and closin’ the whole shebang out with charmin’ jokes most PC millennials probably can’t stomach today. Kept under wraps ’til the marathon aired them one by one, here’s the roster of Joe Bob’s flicks in the order they were presented:

Now, this return to glory was advertised as a one time deal. Even Joe Bob himself warned fans in the promo this wasn’t planned to be published as a video on demand series anyone can watch at anytime anywhere. No sir, he practically double dog dared folks to a gruelin’ iron butt challenge if they wanted to witness his self proclaimed cicada song. Most scoffed at the idea of bein’ forced to watch somethin’ live given all the advancements in idiot box technology, but Joe Bob explains this madness in one of his weekly online articles he writes for Taki’s Magazine. In a nutshell, Joe Bob believes movies are somethin’ to be shared and experienced with others as a community and sees this feelin’ of cinematic communion fadin’ away with every yahoo spotted watchin’ movies on their handheld device by their lonesome in a bubble of solitude. That’s why he wanted to do this marathon via livestream so Joe Bob fans old and new could come together at the same time and place to celebrate the infamous three Bs: blood, breasts, and beasts. To paraphrase Joe Bob’s motivation any further would only do harm to his poetic wisdom, so we’ll stop while we’re ahead. If ya can spare a second from watchin’ Screaming Soup! on your iPhone from the toilet, we encourage you to give this incredibly insightful article a read. It serves as a prefect warm-up to the marathon.  Check it out HERE.

That said, whether folks read that inspirin’ article or not, Joe Bob’s dream of a united experience came true as homes ‘cross the nation shut out the rest of the world, saddled up in front of their boob tubes, and prepared for the return of their favorite drive-in critic. Super markets were sellin’ Lone Star beers by the case load, families were zappin’ the bejabbers out of bacon curls, and countless social media junkies hopped on Twitter to interact with Joe Bob who promised to be available durin’ the movie segments. As 9:00 rolled around, our gang joined a small army of horror fans tunin’ into Shudder’s livestream and  . . . nothin’. Blank screen, error messages, and endless loops of spinnin’ graphics.

What the ever lovin’ fuck?!!

By this point, we’re cursin’ our Roku, racin’ to log into Shudder on more than one computer, and strugglin’ to keep our cool as we desperately fumbled over every electronic device we own to be there for Joe Bob’s entrance which we think is the most important part of the marathon next to his exit. Believin’ everythin’ was failin’ us from bad internet connection to defective devices, we were smart enough to keep tabs on Joe Bob and Shudder’s Twitter accounts and felt easier after fans started postin’ the same problems with blank screens and error messages. Turns out so many people tuned in to watch Joe Bob, it crashed Shudder, and the hang-up was on their end. The Neilsen ratin’s just shit its pants! What’s that say ’bout someone’s popularity?

At this point, fans on Twitter held out hope for a quick fix to this technical hiccup. Joe Bob had full run of Shudder’s Twitter account for the first movie and maintained a lighthearted atmosphere with reposts of fan’s funnier reactions to the disruption while Shudder officials kept viewers up to date they were hurryin’ to fix the problem. After ’bout three hours and still no sign of Joe Bob, patience was wearin’ thin. While we were comically on the edge of our bar stools like gargoyles when we weren’t spot checkin’ different devices like decapitated chickens, other fans were a mixed bag of reactions durin’ the blackout. Most were obviously annoyed but kept a cool head waitin’ this disaster out. Others expressed their embarrassment at holdin’ guests and family TVs hostage ’til the show came on. For once, the suspense was killin’ us waitin’ for Shudder to load!

Then there were the groups of more irate fans thinkin’ this was all a plan for the man to stick it to them. See, there’s a number of fans who weren’t already Shudder subscribers, so these folks took advantage of Shudder’s free 7 day trial for the sole purpose of watchin’ Joe Bob this one and only night. No biggie. We did that to binge Cobra Kai on YouTube Red. Anyway, after three to four hours of zilch, Shudder started tweetin’ apologies and how they’d make up for the inconvenience by re-airin’ the marathon next weekend. Well, next weekend ain’t Friday the 13th or enough time for some folks to rearrange their lives again, and most importantly, would be past the trial period meanin’ those particular fans would now have to pay a small subscription fee to watch the marathon. Understandably, this made them more upset than they already were. As soon as cynics’ blew up Shudder’s twitter with crooked conspiracies posts, the high sheriffs at Shudder went back on their promos and announced the first movie most everyone missed would be available on demand as soon as possible.

Well after midnight, our gang finally figured out the Shudder apps on our cellphones and iPads were workin’ and managed to tune into the marathon halfway through the second movie. The livestream issue for watchin’ the marathon on a TV was finally resolved sometime in the middle of the night, but there were still issues with it crappin’ out whenever a new movie started and not workin’ again ’til ’bout a quarter into the movie. Recognizin’ what was owed to the viewers when the marathon was all said and done, Shudder quickly made it a point to announce all the movies with Joe Bob’s segments would be posted as videos on demand through their various services and those are up as of now.

Ironic. Joe Bob’s wish was to bring all his fans together for this one of a kind experience, but it worked so well, it ultimately prevented them from enjoyin’ it to its fullest splendor. Despite this frustratin’ fail of technology, however, the loyalty of Joe Bob’s fan base and the underestimated kindness of the horror community powered through and endured all the glitches and crashes to Joe Bob’s final sign off late Saturday night. Talk ’bout sharin’ an experience, especially over social media. Fans tweeted supportive jokes to Joe Bob, acted as each other’s IT desk, and one fella with access to the marathon durin’ the blackout was sharin’ it with the rest of us through Twitch ’til they canned his ass, and now he’s gettin’ a t-shirt from Joe Bob for his efforts.

When everythin’ was workin’ for the most part, and we could get back to simply enjoyin’ a trip down memory lane with one of the hosts responsible for our humorous perspective on the horror genre, we’re here to tell ya Joe Bob Briggs was back and never missed a beat! Not that the man’s been out of practice whatsoever. If you’ve been keepin’ up with his career since his MonsterVision days, then you know he still books public discussions on film topics, tours the convention circuits, regularly works as a journalist, and continues to make appearances championin’ cult films and drive-ins. The man’s never stopped doin’ what he does best, it just hasn’t been on TV.

For the most part, the sweets of The Last Drive-In is Joe Bob stickin’ to his tried and true format he perfected while on the Movie Channel’s Drive-In Theater and TNT’s MonsterVision. What made it more interestin’ and fun was we got to see it unfiltered this time! Without any “high sheriffs” from the network tellin’ Joe Bob what he can and can’t say on screen or show in a movie, we finally got to see him in his prime. Joe Bob was droppin’ F bombs every so often, played uncensored flicks with all the boobs we could handle, and even went off on tangents ’bout penises more than once. You got to see it to disbelieve it!

Another sweet return many ’bout bulldozed Joe Bob to know beforehand was the mail girl. Numerous talents have toted Joe Bob’s mailsack full of letters from drive-in mutants and jailbirds over the years, and the honor this time out went to the beautiful Diana Prince, a cosplayer with an affinity for horror movies. Each mail segment, she’d walk on set dressed in an inventive costume inspired by the movie currently playin’ and always brought this energy we don’t think the show exploited enough. Joe Bob always had this comedic rapport with his mail girls that normally lead to tongue in cheek sexist remarks, but we didn’t feel that chemistry here. Be it how well Joe Bob and Diana did or didn’t know each other, or maybe some exec on the show thought folks would find it creepy if Joe Bob hit on her, we still think this was a missed opportunity to humorously have them play off each other as a 20th century horror fan tryin’ to understand or even tolerate a millennial horror fan. Untapped potential there, we tell ya what. The letters Joe Bob read were a little hit and miss as well, given (we believe) everythin’ was pre-recorded and he was readin’ emails and whatever from before the marathon ever started. That fan mail would have been waaay more interestin’ if they were read durin’ a literal live feed with all the technical difficulties goin’ on. For those wantin’ to see more of the dynamite Diana, you can look up her Twitter account, @kinky_horror, and let us know if ya find any photo collections of her outfits from the Last Drive-In, ya hear?

As far as the movies are concerned, that’s a sweet and sour combo for us. All of them were excellent picks that completely jive with Joe Bob’s style of hostin’ and the drive-in atmosphere he was aimin’ to give us, but we think they were a little stuck in the ’80s. A handful of the movies were pre-’80s with the oldest one bein’ Blood Feast from ’63, but the rest were from the ’80s with Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama as the most recent flick from ’88. As you can tell from our own reviews, we love horror movies from the ’80s and always get a kick from Joe Bob scrutinizin’ them. We just wanted to see him tackle at least one film from each decade after the ’80s, so we can get his two cents on horror’s progression into the 21st century, you know? We wanna hear all ’bout his feelin’s on the torture porn movement, the found footage boom, and maybe why Universal seems incapable of bringin’ their classic monsters back in a satisfyin’ movie. Shudder’s got plenty of these kind of movies, so why can’t we get just one recent flick to at least spark a conversation ’bout what to watch or who to watch for among today’s horror films?

We felt that way again when Joe Bob started talkin’ ’bout the history of horror hostin’ in the final stretch of the marathon which perked our ears right up. After instigatin’ a controversial debate with a valid argument John Zacherle, not Vampira, is history’s first true horror host with his act bein’ the format every horror host copycats to this day, he lectures on TV stations’ original need for horror hosts, highlights a few graveyard shift personalities, and wraps it all up with stories of his own run-ins with the late Zacherle who he feels deserved more recognition than he got. Again, we found ourselves frustrated at how the ’80s seem to be the stoppin’ point, and so badly wanted to know what Joe Bob thought ’bout horror hosting’s evolution into the digital age and how modern hosts’ platforms and audiences changes the game for better or worse. It’s like watchin’ one of them annoyin’ bio-pics of a musician’s life when the filmmaker’s end their story at the halfway point of their existence when they kick a drug habit or get married like in Ray or Walk the Line.

Regardless of all that, it was clear Joe Bob’s point was recognizin’ Zacherle as the true granddaddy of horror hostin’, and most importantly, a friend he could look up to. This was one of the most electric and vulnerable moments of the marathon when Joe Bob connected with us on a level we’ve never had before. While talkin’ ’bout Zacherle’s passin’ and what it was like to work with the original horror host legend a few times, Joe Bob shared words of wisdom the Cool Ghoul imparted to him with a near crackin’ voice. “He knew the journey was not about the stage, it was about the life and the joy you create while you’re standing on it.” After that, he dedicated his final movie of the night to Zacherle with an almost teary eyed stare that was an unexpected but touchin’ moment we don’t think any fan could have anticipated.

In our opinion, Scream Freaks, the marathon was a success, technical difficulties and all. Whether you watched it durin’ the livestream or after the fact on demand, Joe Bob gave this program his all, and we relished every second of it. From his disgusted explanation of the schizo titlin’ and marketin’ of the Demons sequels, to singin’ Big Foot songs with a ‘squatch hunter, makin’ us look-up what the Kuleshov effect is, and talkin’ deformed penises with Sleepaway Camp star, Felissa Rose, we were lucky enough to finally be allowed a glimpse at Joe Bob Briggs at his best without any interference. It was so fun, 26sh hours passed like nothin’, and we sadly watched our long awaited drive-in critic exit the stage once more. That is, ’til he strolled back seconds later and burned a hauntin’ image in our brains of him sittin’ quietly in the dark as the credits rolled, leavin’ us to wonder where cicadas disappear to?

For those of ya needin’ a little pick me up after such a surprisingly movin’ finale, we want to share this vid with ya that was Joe Bob’s last broadcast from his time hostin’ Drive-In Theater on the Movie Channel. He never got the chance to say good-bye to his fans when MonsterVision was suddenly canceled, but he was given enough of a heads up before Drive-In’s demise. You’ll notice a lot of similarities to his sign-off from the marathon, and even get to hear a lot of behind the scenes secrets you may have never known before. This just serves to remind y’all you never know what’s comin’ next, so like his jump from the Movie Channel to TNT, who knows where Joe Bob will turn up!

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’.

For all you fearmakers out there workin’ on your next scary feature, remember to shoot it our way as an entry in our Scream Freak Film Contest! Three winners will be reviewed in our 50th episode and promoted to all the Scream Freaks lookin’ for the next big thing Hollywood’s too scared to capitalize on. Deadline’s 8/20/18, so hurry!

Warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

See ya later, Scream Freaks!

PS

We know everyone’s been watchin’ that interview Joe Bob had with James Rolfe the week before the marathon, but we’re much bigger fans of this interview where Joe Bob goes way more in depth with his time hostin’ MonsterVision to its unfortunate end. Enjoy!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brandon Riggs
    Jul 22, 2018 @ 00:16:50

    I was checking your twitter on your site and is this true Joe Bob’s coming back again he said The people have suffered enough. Assemble the squad. We’re gonna need bigger servers.

    Reply

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