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We’re going to Joe Bob’s Heartbreak Trailer Park for a celebration of love… of a kind! Welcome to Haunted MTL’s “Notes from the Last Drive-in,” where we cover the fun of Shudder’s best series featuring the venerable Joe Bob Briggs. In a special Valentine’s Day event, we feel the love as Joe Bob welcomes special guests to the trailer, including The Boulet Brothers from Shudder’s Dragula, as well as Drive-In legends Frank Henenlotter and James Lorinz.

So, the question is, did viewers feel the love during Joe Bob’s Heartbreak Trailer Park? Did the night’s films, Black Roses (1988) and Frankenhooker (1990), leave the fans fulfilled?

Let’s find out.

Black Roses (1988)

Black Roses is a 1988 metalsploitation horror film directed by John Fasano. The movie stars John Martin, Ken Swafford, Julie Adams, and Carla Ferrigno. It also features an impressive soundtrack of metal, including Tempest, Lizzy Borden, and King Kobra. The members of King Kobra would make up the Black Roses in the film.


The film follows a teacher at a high school (Martin) who grows concerned about the effect a band, Black Roses, is having on normally straight-laced students in the town of Mill Basin. The town’s parents express concern, but the demonic frontman of the band tricks them as he pulls more of the local children under his thrall.

Poster for 'Black Roses' (1988) one of the movies on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park on Shudder
The poster is pretty dang cool.

The story isn’t great. This Satanic Panic metal film plays on the anxieties of the censorship crowd by presenting a movie that makes the case that maybe metal does push kids to bad behavior. The film is a satire, but the film doesn’t quite hit the satirical note to be very effective. Broadly, I found myself wishing the film were a little more extreme in its depictions of chaos. The town under Satanic influence seems localized to a block or two, and most of the bad behavior is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. The film would have been stronger if it had given into excess as the titular band urges.

The performances are nothing to write home about either. John Martin as Matthew Moorhouse, the teacher, is good given what he has to work with. But really, the most memorable thing about the cast I recall is a brief appearance by Vincent Pastore, “Big Pussy” himself, screaming as he gets eaten by a monster spawned from a record. Not even screen-horror-legend Julie Adams does much here, playing a social crusader who doesn’t get a lot to work within the film’s scope.

Visually, this film doesn’t offer much beyond a handful of fun creature effects. The framing is primarily flat and budget-friendly, much like the Canadian tax shelter used by the production. I wasn’t overly impressed with how the film looked. With that said, the creature effects were a lot of fun, as practical effects usually are. It just feels so small-scale and feels like a direct-to-video affair, which it was.

The real appeal of the film comes from the music. Bang Tango, Lizzy Bordon, Hallow’s Eve, and Tempest are among the bands who contributed to the soundtrack. As for the fictional Black Roses, the band comprises actual metal performers, most notably Carmine Appice of Cactus, King Kobra, and Blue Murder.

Though, from the director of the MST3K staple Zombie Nightmare, I expected a bit more of this movie. Especially given it is a favorite of the Boulet Brothers, the first guests of the evening.


Joe Bob-servations on Black Roses

Our venerable host Joe Bob Briggs was joined at the “Heartbreak Trailer Park” by the Boulet Brothers of Dragula fame. Overall, the guests and the host were affable and played well off one another, with Joe Bob asking about the world of horror drag and the Boulets’ party scene between dispensing information about the film. It is an example of shrewd calculation of Shudder’s part to take two popular shows and generate some crossover viewership. Still, it is ultimately fun, and there is no shame in that at all, especially with how fantastic the Boulet Brothers are as guests.

The Boulets offer a fun way to introduce a little glamour and filth onto The Last Drive-In, and as a whole, the Valentine’s Day angle worked well enough. It helps that Swanthula and Dracmorda Boulet are generally game and quick on their feet. Their story about the “teacup incident” is one of the grosser things presented on the show in the first half of the evening.

It wasn’t just Dragula getting a nod in the show during the night, either. Another Shudder original Creepshow has a connection to Black Roses in that one of the Creepshow writers, Frank Dietz, played the evil frontman of the band in the movie. Probably one of the most interesting Joe Bob factoids in the first half of the evening.

Final Thoughts on Black Roses

Black Roses is generally fun as a direct-to-video oddity, but it is ultimately too toothless to be satire and too tame to be a drive-in masterpiece. Joe Bob Briggs gave Black Roses 3 stars, but I think it was given a bump given it was a guest selection.

I can’t see myself giving Black Roses anything greater than 2-and-a-half Cthulhus. I had fun, but I think it was more because it was on The Last Drive-In rather than the merits of the movie itself. The real appeal of the film comes from the metal soundtrack.

2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Best Line: “I’m going home… Or maybe to a bar, yeah, whichever I pass first.” – Matt, speaking for all teachers, everywhere.

Still from 'Black Roses' (1988) depicting a student turned into a demon, one of the movies on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park on Shudder
What, don’t you find her desirable anymore?

Frankenhooker (1990)

Now 1990’s Frankenhooker is what I expect from The Last Drive-In and is a perfect Valentine’s Day movie for the “Heartbreak Trailer Park.” Frankenhooker is a black comedy horror film directed by Drive-In legend Frank Henenlotter. The movie stars James Lorinz and Patty Mullen, a former Penthouse Pet.

The film follows the ambitious experiments of a power plant worker and medical school drop-out, Jeffrey Franken, who seeks to revive his fiance, who died in a tragically avoidable accident. Only he also plans on making a few upgrades, pulling him into the shady world of sex workers on the streets of New York to build his bride.

Poster for 'Frankenhooker' (1990) one of the movies on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park on Shudder
A true classic.

The film is a hilarious play on the classic Frankenstein story and offers incredibly dark comedy. Exploding bodies, piles of human limbs and breasts, self-regulating through a power drill in the head. The film is like a pitch-black cartoon and carries the same ridiculously fun energy of Frank Henenlotter’s other Drive-In classics like Brain Damage and Basket Case. Frankenhooker is, ironically enough, Henenlotter’s most mainstream film of his 80s and 90s output, but even then, it still revels in excess in the best way possible.

A lot of this film boils down to the performances of Lorinz and Mullen, and they each absolutely sell the hell out of this movie in their wildly different purposes. Lorinz carries the film as Jeffrey, a slightly amoral scientist who jump-starts his thought process via a power-tool lobotomy. Lorinz plays Jeffrey as sympathetic and worthy of scorn within the same scenes. While I am sure another actor could have delivered on Jeffrey, I can’t think of any. Lorinz owns the role.

Mullen, however, has a much smaller part in the film. Her character dies nearly immediately, and she does not get revived until the third act, where Mullen shines in this brief time as the undead streetwalker with a heart of gold who shouts “Wanna date?” and “Got any money?” to confused onlookers. Mullen plays this up wonderfully, and it’s no wonder that her delivery has become an iconic part of why this film is beloved among drive-in mutants.


The film looks pretty great, shooting on location for New York’s scenes, while the suburban setting of Jeffrey’s neighborhood and garage evoke a strange sense of whimsy I feel is akin to Edward Scissorhands. That being said, Frankenhooker is nowhere near as wholesome as that film – it is funnier, though. Regardless, cinematographer Robert M. Baldwin did well in shooting these two worlds. After all, there is a world of difference between New Jersey and New York.

Frankenhooker is one of those films that works as a thesis statement for The Last Drive-In. If it were in that inaugural marathon back when we thought this would be Joe Bob’s last rodeo nearly four years ago, this film would have been the highlight. It has blood, breasts, and beasts, features a drive-in legend is Joe Bob’s friend, Henenlotter, and is funny as hell.

Joe Bob-servations on Frankenhooker

Frankenhooker is dearly a beloved film by both Joe Bob and Darcy, and there was a much more enthusiastic feeling around it than Black Roses. Drive-In Mutants, in general, love the film. The only way to make a showing of Frankenhooker better is to bring on the man himself, Frank Henenlotter, to talk about it. He not only brought his memories but a prop breast for the show and even managed to bring James Lorinz with him.

Hearing Joe Bob and Frank talk as friends and movie fans proved incredibly compelling. Mainly because they took the time to find their little indulgences, such as a discussion of Herschell Gordon Lewis. Hearing all three of the men discuss various interpretations and trivia about the movie was also entertaining as Frank can sometimes be a bit cantankerous in a funny way. Really though, Frank Henenlotter knows how to control the room.

Maybe one of the best bits of the night was the discussion of Robert “Uncle Bob” Martin, co-writer of Frankenhooker, who first met Henenlotter while working on a novelization of Brain Damage. Martin would be an essential figure to horror, as he was the original editor of Fangoria. Horror is often the domain of outsiders who find one another, and hearing these stories shows how tightly knit this community can be.


Final Thoughts on Frankenhooker

Every once in a while, The Last Drive-In plays a movie that can easily be declared the ultimate Drive-In movie. This time it is Frankenhooker. The film delivers on the promise of The Last Drive-In as a concept and evokes so many fun associations in drive-in movie history.

Frankenhooker makes the Heartbreak Trailer Park. Joe Bob gave Frankenhooker 4 well-deserved stars, a grade he would have given even if his friend Frank wasn’t on set. I am in agreement with our host on this one. Frankenhooker is a 5 Cthulhu film. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Best Line: “Yeah – Well so am I, Ma. Something’s happening to me that I just don’t understand. I can’t think straight anymore. It’s like my reasoning is all, uh, twisted and distorted, you know? I seem to be disassociating myself from reality more and more each day. I’m anti-social. I’m becoming dangerously amoral. I – I’ve lost the ability to distinguish between right from wrong, good from bad. I’m scared, Ma. I mean, I feel like I’m – I’m plunging headfirst into some kind of black void of sheer and utter madness or something.” – Jeffrey, knowing himself.

Still from 'Frankenhooker' (1990) depicting the titular undead escort working a John in NYC, one of the movies on The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park on Shudder

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As usual, we have the totals direct from the show. Thanks, Shudder!

As for the Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals, we have…

  • 2 Darcy Cosplay
  • 4 Guests
  • 40 years of praise for Frankenhooker
  • 97 million women buying potpourri
  • 196 Million Roses on Valentine’s Day
  • Gratuitious Big Pussy
  • Grautitous Drag, Filth, Horror, and Glamor
  • Gratuitous Musical Performances
  • Topless Monster
  • Bodyless Tops
  • Brain Drilling
  • Sex Club Joking
  • United Way Joking
  • Teacup Storytelling Fu
  • Karaoke Fu
  • Poetry Fu
  • Overly Involved Teacher Fu
Still from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs Heartbreak Trailer Park showing Joe Bob laughing with the Boulet Brothers from Dragula.
The Boulet Brothers are fabulous as ever.

Joe Bob’s Heartbreak Trailer Park Episode Score

Overall, this was a solid special for Valentine’s Day. Both sets of guests were very entertaining. Each group of guests provided a different kind of compliment to their respective movie. The Boulet Brothers were able to share a film they loved that maybe wasn’t my favorite of the evening, still had a level of camp, and made for a fun evening. Likewise, Frank Henenlotter and Frank Lorinz gave us the Valentine’s Day gift of a love letter to drive-in movie culture.

Throw in a couple of Darcy cosplays, karaoke interludes, prop limbs, and one shocking story about a teacup you have for a pretty memorable Valentine’s Day.


Don’t you just feel the love? I give “Joe Bob’s Heartbreak Trailer Park” 4 Cthulhus. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

And with that, Notes from The Last Drive-In takes a break until the next special or seasons of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs – whichever comes first. We’ll keep an eye out for the return of Joe Bob and Darcy on Shudder this year. We will continue to cover the show as it continues to air new episodes and specials.

Please let us know what you think of the review and recap. We would love to read your comments about the films as well. Please let us know what you think.

Until next time, Mutants.

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Movies n TV

The Beach House, a Film Review

The Beach House (2019) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, and Jake Weber.



The Beach House (2020) is a body horror film directed and written by Jeffrey A. Brown. This film stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. As of this review, this film is only available on Shudder.

Desperate to rekindle their strained love, Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) escape to a beach getaway. They soon learn to find that family friends of Randall’s father, Mitch (Jake Weber), and Jane (Maryann Nagel), also had a similar idea. After getting used to each other, a mysterious fog engulfs the town. Unfortunately, they realize too late the danger they find themselves in.

A woman with her mouth agape. Behind her is a dark background. Next to her reads, "The Beach House." Below is a scenic beach with a mountain in the distance.
The Beach House Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

Body horror gets under my skin, and The Beach House certainly lives up to the standard. There’s something magical about creatures terraforming your body to their preferred environment, turning humans into nothing more than conscious prisoners in their own flesh. While I wouldn’t consider this film the most traumatic or unsettling example, it utilizes wonderfully grotesque scenes.

Aside from the body horror, the film drops a few Cosmic Horror–or Lovecraftian–vibes that go together perfectly. Another favored genre of mine, this combination ensures the odds are overwhelmingly against our human leads.

Beyond the grotesque, visuals might not overwhelm but certainly succeed in their goal. Several scenes provide an intentionally tranquil experience that contrasts with the grotesques and improves their effectiveness.


In terms of performance, each actor hits their mark. While some roles require less effort, each contributes to the plot as intended. The standout performance goes to Liana Liberato’s Emily, who acts as co-lead. She simply has the most to work with and lives up to the part.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As “body horror” should indicate, this film will hit hard for the more squeamish viewer. While horror by nature has some amount of grotesque, body horror brings that grotesque to the next level. While I don’t particularly find The Beach House hitting harder than its competition, it certainly respects its chosen genre.

Woman looks shocked or horrified. Bushes or trees make up the background.
Liana Liberato as Emily

What I Dislike or Considerations

A few scenic montages may hit or miss depending on your interpretation. While I have my own theories, that speculation goes beyond the scope of this review. Many of these scenes overlap more philosophical conversations and musings that may annoy or add layers. This strategy seems a common practice in Cosmic Horror, which forces characters to rationalize the irrational.

It’s hard for me to understand how secretive or known this event is supposed to be in the film’s world. Individuals know something outside of the town, with evidence implying governmental knowledge. This information creates a contrivance–perhaps, even a plot hole–because the characters had to reach this isolated town without any opposition.

One of the visuals didn’t exactly grab me. While I won’t go into too much detail, an effect looked too visually similar to a common animal that barely survives rain. It’s hard to be threatened by that. It also doesn’t exactly match up with some of the other visuals. Even the creatures that look similar to it still look different enough to provide a more alien assumption.

There are moments when the infected chase our main characters by crawling at them. While the context works, with injured characters helping to sell them, I can’t help but find these scenes amusing as opposed to frightening. Yes, it’s certainly visually different from the plethora of zombies out there, but it’s also less frightening than zombies that leisurely walk to their targets.

Final Thoughts

The Beach House combines cosmic and body horror to create an uncomfortable film that tests its characters. For those who enjoy these genres, it will certainly entertain you, but I doubt it will frighten you. I imagine the mood to watch it again might strike me, but I’m not entirely certain it will stand the test of time. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

If this movie suits your fancy and you want more, Honeymoon seems an appropriate recommendation.


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Movies n TV

Every Secret Thing, a Film Review

Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener, based on Laura Lippman’s novel.



Every Secret Thing (2014) is a crime thriller directed by Amy J. Berg and written by Nicole Holofcener. This R-rated film stars Diane Lane, Danielle Macdonald, Dakota Fanning, and Elizabeth Banks. Based on Laura Lippman’s novel of the same name, the film adaptation is accessible through MAX and DirecTV.

When a little girl goes missing, Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks) spirals into an all too familiar tale. As pressure mounts, Alice Manning (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie Fuller (Dakota Fanning) become the leading suspects. The strained frenemies unravel under the attention and reminders of their shared past.

Laura Lippman stands out at the top of the cover, over a black background. Every Secret Thing appearing over a pool
Every Secret Thing Book Cover

What I Like

The film unravels in a non-chronological structure but makes it easy for the viewer to follow. It helps that the age difference clearly divides the younger actors, who change actors. One casting choice resembles their older counterpart, and the acting reflects a strong direction for their shared role.

Unreliable narration remains expertly communicated with scenes that change perspectives depending on whose perspective we view them from. This choice adds a reason to view the film twice, providing extra ambiguity for some of these events.

The camera gets up close and personal to an uncomfortable degree, which almost certainly presses the actors’ performances. This choice places the viewer in the character’s perspective and limits us from others’ perspectives to add extra credence to these biases.


Every Secret Thing provides a spiraling mystery that unravels with several twists and turns. Assuming the novel provided the outline, this film executes these points and keeps a consistently engaging experience throughout the runtime.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Child abuse and neglect remain the central plot points of Every Secret Thing. Little of this abuse appears in scenes, but there is no escaping the danger children are in throughout the film.

Self-harm and suicide are shown throughout the film (once in the case of suicide) through one specific character. It isn’t glorified or romanticized nor addressed with particular sensitivity. For those sensitive to these subjects, it might be triggering.

Racism, the assumed motive for the bi-racial victims, plays a small role in the film’s narrative. However, character motives remain more complex, but going further spoils some elements. This film decision does create the reality that bi-racial children are the victims of child neglect and abuse in the film with little additional context. It does invite uncomfortable speculation, but speculation it would be.

Sexual assault is another concern for viewers, specifically statutory rape. This issue seems particularly mismanaged, considering the survivor remains an antagonist. One can be both survivor of assault and an antagonist of a film without needing to discredit the assault. While little appears of this issue, and the manipulation angle can indicate a perspective shift, it’s hard to refute how the film wants to represent this attack.

Daughter resting on her mother's shoulder. Both are in the back of a car.
Diane Lane as Helen and Danielle Macdonald as Alice

What I Dislike

Loosely tied to the above point, one character seems mentally off and purposely so. This point doesn’t inherently create an issue, but there seems to be a choice to make this character a mastermind. Perhaps this is better addressed in the book, but the execution is far from perfect here.

A newspaper montage reveals essential information which feels oddly misplaced. Practically the entire setup for the film appears through this montage, which creates the necessity to read these headlines in the minimal time given.


As a horror, nothing but the events are haunting. Children being abused or kidnapped always haunts, but the terror of this remains secondary to the mystery. While the mystery is nice, this film won’t particularly scare the seasoned horror fan.

Final Thoughts

Every Secret Thing unravels a mystery of opportunism, selfishness, and deception. While the movie won’t haunt the viewer, it certainly unravels a mystery that shocks them. The nuanced and deceptive characters add a layer of engagement that creates a unique experience, but I doubt this movie will linger in my mind.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Quid Pro Woe



We’ve now reached episode six of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And after the last episode, this one did not disappoint.

We start with Wednesday attempting to contact Goody Addams. Last episode, if you’ll recall, Morticia explained the difference between a psychic dove and a raven. Since Goody Addams was the last raven psychic in the family line, it’s got to be her that trains Wednesday. 

But her seance is a failure, and Wednesday is interrupted by a magazine note shoved under the door. It says to meet someone at a crypt for answers. 

When she gets there, it turns out that her friends have put together a surprise birthday party for her. Before she can cut the cake, however, she has a vision.

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

Goody Addams tells her that she must find a specific gate. After some investigation, Wednesday discovers it’s the gate to the old Gates house. 

Wednesday goes to investigate, but she isn’t the only one. She is nearly discovered by Mayor Walker. He is also investigating the Gates family, even though they’re all reported to be dead. He leaves a message for Sheriff Galpin and is almost immediately run over by a car.

This incident is enough to get Wednesday’s town villages revoked. Though this seems like an empty punishment since the whole school is on lockdown. Someone burned Fire Will Rain on their front lawn. 

Wednesday isn’t one for believing the rules apply to her. She has it in her head that she’s meant to save Nevermore Academy, probably from whatever descendent of Crackstone who’s still around. So she has no problem lying to Enid and Tyler and convincing them to help her sneak off campus and explore the Gates house further.

This, of course, is an incredibly informative trip. The kids find a hidden altar to Crackstone, as well as the missing body parts from the monster’s victims. They also find evidence that someone’s been staying in the house. Someone who’s staying in what looks like a little girl’s room.

Before they can find anything more, the monster finds them. They barely escape, and go to the sheriff with what they find. 


Of course, the house has been cleared out by the time Sheriff Galpin arrives. Furious that his son was almost killed, he tells Wednesday to stay away from him.

Because that always works, right?

Galpin isn’t the only one angry. Enid is fed up with the way Wednesday has been treating her. And so she leaves their room to bunk with someone else, leaving Wednesday alone. 

This episode was well done. The discoveries at the house were exciting, and I’m almost sure I know who’s behind the murders at this point. Overall, this was a good ramp-up to the season finale. 

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday.

Finally, this episode did something I was worried just wasn’t going to happen. And for that alone, it deserves praise.

Wednesday has been incredibly selfish and inconsiderate since the first episode. She’s been rude and demanding towards Thing. She’s ignored her friends’ needs and emotions while insisting they put themselves in danger for her investigation. She has respected no one’s boundaries, even while other people have at least tried to respect hers.


And now, it’s finally come back to bite her. All of the people who have been doing their best to show her kindness and support are finally done with her bullshit.

Yes, this is a good thing! Characters are best when they’re allowed to learn and grow. When they don’t come to us flawless. When they mess up and learn from it. Especially for a show aimed at kids, this is essential.

If you’d asked me at the beginning of the season if this character was going to experience honest character growth, I’d have assured you it would never happen. Much to my surprise, it’s happening. I hope that Wednesday is going to come out of this a better person. With two episodes left in the season, there’s plenty of time for that.  4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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