Welcome to Haunted MTL’s interview series – this time around we have five questions with the legendary Joe Bob Briggs. While we only had time for five questions, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the insights from the world’s best drive-in movie host. Be sure to catch Joe Bob on Shudder again this October as well for Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown.
Haunted MTL: It seems like the amount of love the fans have for The Last Drive-In is something that fuels you and it is clear that you love what you do. Are there any anxieties you have when it comes to working on the show, however? Does this all feel like some sort of crazy fever-dream?
Joe Bob Briggs: I don’t really have any anxieties because I’m doing the same show I did twice before, starting more than 30 years ago! It amazes me that I’m allowed to do the same show three times. The difference this time is the closeness the audience feels to me. I can’t really explain it, don’t really understand it, so my greatest anxiety is that I’ll let these people down.
HMTL: You have worked hard your entire career to spread the gospel of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Do you see yourself as an influencer in the critical and artistic assessment of the movie today? You’re pretty humble so I expect you might disagree with this assessment on your influence here…
JBB: I think the article I wrote for Texas Monthly in the year 2000 was influential, but only among a small group of genre film fans. The event that turned “Chain Saw” from despised to popularly accepted was the big-budget remake. And, beyond that, it turned horror into a respected genre.
HMTL: Blood, breasts, and beasts… which of the three has the most influence in creating a drive-in classic? And yes, you need to choose only one. Have fun with it.
JBB: Beasts for sure. Breasts aren’t scary and blood is only scary when it’s yours.
HMTL: One of the things I admire most about your commentary on The Last Drive-In is the wide array of knowledge you have from everything to the Chicago theater scene to redneck history and I’m expecting that comes from a lot of reading. So what are you currently reading between filming the show and going on the road?
JBB: My desk shelves are always full of unread books, but right now I’m reading Stephen Harrigan’s massive history of Texas and comparing it to T.R. Fehrenbach’s massive history of Texas.
HMTL: You’ve spoken at length across your career about great directors, particularly those who worked during the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, we’ve lost some of them, such as Larry Cohen and Stuart Gordon. They cannot be replaced but looking forward do you have any observations regarding the future of horror direction? Who out there has a bright directorial future ahead?
JBB: We have more young directors working in horror today than at any time in history. Or let me put it this way—we have more young directors with financing than at any time in history. Certainly, Leigh Whannell should be on anybody’s list—the reimagining of The Invisible Man is a masterpiece. David Gordon Green is doing both a Halloween trilogy and an Exorcist trilogy and may soon be attacking the Hellraiser franchise. Ti West seems to have temporarily stepped away from horror features but we’ll beg him to come back. And, of course, everybody eagerly awaits the next Jordan Peele film. Jason Blum, the leading producer of horror today, says he makes “micro-budget” films for $5 million—that would be a stunning statement for Larry Cohen or Stuart Gordon or the young Wes Craven or Tobe Hooper or Fred Olen Ray or Jim Wynorski, all of whom would have loved to have such a micro-budget.
Did you enjoy those questions with Joe Bob Briggs? We’ll reach out again in the future and see if he has more insights he would love to share. If you want a little more Joe Bob in your life, be prepared for Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown on Shudder this October 8th and the eventual 4th season of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs in 2022.
You can also catch some of his new writing on The Lost Drive-In Patreon.
Do you produce content in the horror community? Reach out to us on Twitter and we’ll see if we can arrange for five questions of your own.