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Happy 4/20/20, my friends! It’s time to responsibly and legally toke up, make them brownies, and enjoy the happy high of this great national/international holiday.

In honor of 4/20/20, the 4-est and the 20-est of them all, I’ve sat down to partake in the Charles Band’s film, Evil Bong.

The Plot:

Nerd character is now renting room with slacker/d-bag character, jock character, and surfer character. They are all bros and/or dudes. They like to get high. Surfer’s catchphrase is “monkey”. Jock has, like 5 small trophies that he doesn’t want anything else to touch. Nerd is getting a MA in chemistry with a BA in metaphysics. They like to get high except nerd.

Welcome to the Bro pad, my man

Slacker finds an ad about a cursed bong rumored to give ultimate highs. He buys it. It arrives. It’s very big and ugly, but slacker thinks it’s beautiful. They get high.      

Pictured: Super spooky bong

There are two girls. One is into nerd. The other one is into jock. They leave.

Pictured: girls and jock

Surfer and Slacker get high. Surfer’s soul is sucked into the bong. It’s a strip club filled with other Full Moon lesser character cameos for some reason. Blade is not there. I’m sad.

Surfer is seduced by lady with a very rubbery vampire skull bra. The bra bites him and he dies. I’m still hoping Blade will swing by and just cut everyone’s throats. I won’t even mind the mouth-sounds.

Anytime, Blade…anytime…

Surfer is dead in the real world. Bummer. They hide the body. Nerd is upset. Slacker’s grandpa comes by and is the only actor in the movie for a really unnecessary but the only enjoyable scene with life. Grandpa leaves.

Bong keeps killing people by bringing them into Stripperland. It now has a face and a voice, but the voice must be telepathic because the lips don’t move. I am watching the time. It feels like eternity.

They get high. The bong keeps killing. Tommy Chong makes an obligatory cameo.

So…who will…I don’t know…win? [insert teaser ending here when you care enough]

Thoughts:

This was actually not my first rodeo with this film. Nor second (I have no respectable life). I had a friend that actually liked this movie and because Charles Band will sell his property for a penny and a song, I have this on a Full Moon compilation DVD that I picked up for less than a penny and a song.

This has Charles Band’s recent and greasy fingerprints all over it and feels like it was shot in a very hectic and long day. There’s no real comedy. There’s no real horror. There’s no real emotion or story. It seems like every take was the first and only. There’s even a point when Nerd pokes himself in the eyes with his own glasses and they don’t re-edit it.

Nope, keep it in the film. He’s embodying the audience’s desires right now.

The music is unbearable, although the beginning song was enjoyable. My aforementioned friend was a little obsessed with the hip-hop version of Old King Cole, so I’ll give a shout-out to that.

There were more obnoxious transitions than in any sit-com, even including That 70’s Show. The creature design was disappointing and rubbery. The best character was grandpa and only because he actually had life and energy to him, ironically. The set up for the new grandma was too long, but was the funniest thing in the movie and even then, it wasn’t super funny (although new grandma was adorable).

The actress (Robin Sydney) that had that one spaz scene with the pogo stick and adult-snuggle device, screaming she’s ready for adult-snuggle time – just…good for her. I hope she got extra for that scene. She gave it her all. It wasn’t funny, but it was…something.

Frantic pogo-ing should be a sport

Brain Roll Juice:

Yes, this did give me some juice to roll my brain in. Weird, huh?

It’s not a good film. I really don’t even know who the audience is, except for maybe the “dudes” and “brahs” of the early-mid 2000’s that think just the concept of an evil bong is funny enough? There were a lot of films like this in what I would consider a counter-culture of the late 90’s and mid-20’s – the burnouts. Some films were successful like Harold and Kumar, while others were…this.

It’s interesting how the culture has changed recently, though. We are in the midst of several states introducing the legalization of cannabis and cannabis reform proposals. From medicine, to anxiety, to just recreational use, weed is becoming more of a social norm than taboo. We are separating from the stoner caricatures of past. One can smoke weed and still be a decent and functioning member of society, breaking the shackles of our Reefer Madness days.

Hell, even my grandma, stout Catholic, had given her shrug of approval when the vote came to her state. She said that it just didn’t seem to matter because it was “different than before”. While strains of pot have changed, sure, it’s our perceptions that have shifted the most. That being said, I would love for an evil bong movie. Either a comedy or a straight-up horror movie. As comedy, the shift in our attitudes could be a great place to start, ala 21 Jump Street and Netflix’s The Babysitter. As horror movie, there’s a lot of potential to recall our hysterias of the past. Hell, even true stories like when some teens dug up a child’s body and turned the skull into a bong would be a great launching pad.

There’s a good story in there, one that doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence and doesn’t exhaust their patience. Maybe we can ask Jordan Peele to have a go at it. I’m sure we’d at least have better music and zero scene transitions.

Bottom-line:

Nope. Don’t waste your time and/or weed on this.

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub mascot, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”

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Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Silenced

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Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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