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Maybe you’ve heard of my now-defunct podcast, High Art Camp, that I made a while back with Parzz1val. In the podcast, we discussed the artistic merit of a film on a few different levels, including technical skill, total aesthetics, and cultural relevance. I usually took the low “campy” road, while Parz took the “high” artistic road, and we met somewhere in the middle. 

I think part of any movie’s charm or artistic merit also relies on the ability to seep into the collective consciousness. How many terrific and technically sound movies have just slipped away from our minds, just because it was not engaging enough with its audience? Sure, there are some that strike both such as Us, Hereditary and The Lighthouse, but it’s not always the case.

Same with the other side, of course, but when it comes to camp, there’s an endearing and engaging quality to it. It reaches out to the Every Man (or the marginalized) and envelopes us into the, albeit sometimes shitty, story and characters. Yes, these are often not the budget or vision of more technically sound movies, but to pass them off as having no artistic merit is an insult. An insult to the audience of these movies – which is HUMANITY, man.

Now listen to my revolutionary poetry to the backwards tune of Wonderwall– (<a href=”http://-(<a href=”http://Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/snapwiresnaps-692569/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=597179″>SnapwireSnaps</a> from lousy 15% fresh. Also, that being said, I adore this movie. 

Let’s discuss.

The Plot (Spoiler-free):

As the Earth crosses the tail of a comet, machines start going crazy and have a maniacal thirst for human blood. They just can’t stop killing people! They love it. 

A working stiff, recently on parole, is just trying to cook some damn eggs while his boss is shorting him money. A hip chick is catching a ride from a gross Bible Salesman. Clones of Haley Joel Osment, just celebrating their new marriage, fight their way to get to a safe haven. And a small child is the lone survivor of the pop-can massacre of his little league team. 

All of these strange characters come together as more machines start taking over, being stalked and terrorized by the worst of them – The Green Goblin!

Apparently the Spider-Man truck was busy

How will they survive this folly of man? Will things ever get back to normal? And will Curtis ever get the chance to watch his newly-wedded wife take a leak?

All this and more in…MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE!!!

Thoughts (Spoilers):

Yes, yes, even our mothers and Great-Aunt Cathy know that Stephen King was quoted in Hollywood’s Stephen King as allegedly saying he was “coked out of (his) mind all through its production, and (he) really didn’t know what (he) was doing.” We know. We all know.

That’s everyone’s go-to for this movie and why it exists, but let’s be real, King has always had a wild side and just usually doesn’t have the reins. But in this one, we got to see the full force of his (and the 80’s) hubris and grandeur. 

Honestly, this should be so much higher on the list of cult films because it has, I believe, literally everything in this film – smack-talking ATMs, gore, a gross romance, civil liberty disputes, a montage of filling up gas tanks, explosions, AC/DC, aliens (???), and some of the most amazingly quotable quotes:

Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Image by Bessi from Pixabay
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

(And 100% that’s what the photographers of Pixabay thought their pictures would be used for)

And of course, the classic:

But within this kaleidoscope of 80’s whimsy and wonder, there’s some legitimately good performances, most notably from Emilio Estevez (Golden Raspberry, aside) and Ellen McElduff. I thought Estevez played the role with focus and intent, acting like a man looking for amends in a shitty world that cared very little for him. And, well, Ellen McElduff was just a delight from start to finish, especially giving her all for the “We Made You!” scenes. 

Plus, in the end of the movie, they made it to freedom in a LGBTQ boat. And we’re all asking…was this actually a LGBTQ allegory?

Maaaaybeee!
Oh wait, the whole entire human race is telling me, “no”.

Brain Roll Juice:

I really loved Pat Hingle’s secondary villain character. He was a shitty businessman exploiting those who were most vulnerable, and enjoying the thrill of subjugating those he felt were under him. Pat Hingle played it to a T, being the cigar-chomping, dumb-line-spouting son-of-a-bitch that we’ve all probably had a brush with at least one point in our lives. That one guy that made us work harder or longer than we were supposed to just because he could. I’m not naming names…

**Cough**

And it’s a valid concern for people who were or are incarcerated. Finding decent work is difficult, whether it was in the 80’s or now. In fact, as of 2018, “formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period, including the Great Depression.” 

With such shitty prospects, that’s often why people turn back to crime…and subsequently get sent back to jail. And while those number are going down and things are getting better, it still remains part of a systemic issue

I mean, Emilio Estevez’s character had a job, was working, and still faced discrimination and was exploited for work. Jobs for people who had prior convictions is often segregated, and is often shittier work in comparison to their peers. And society seems okay with that, while “up-right citizens” pat themselves on the backs for finding these “down-and-out ex-prisoners” a scrap of bread for the long winter.

I don’t get it. You work three minimum-wage jobs, how come you’re not rich yet?
Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay

And…of course, race plays into it. Because of course it does. And while some studies have shown that the disparity is dropping, it’s dropping slowly for Black men. 

At least Handy made it out alive in this movie. (GIANT, ETERNAL SHRUG)

Bottom-Line:

This is a hoot and a half with a rockin’ soundtrack and fun, typical King cast of characters. Is it art?…Sure. Let’s say, “Sure”.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you want to check the book/movie/show out, feel free to click on below via Amazon. Remember, if you buy, we do get $

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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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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