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.
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.
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 / 5)
Best Line: “I’m going home… Or maybe to a bar, yeah, whichever I pass first.” – Matt, speaking for all teachers, everywhere.
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.
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 / 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.
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
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 / 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.
Want to Buy the films mentioned in the review?
1971’s ‘The Corpse Grinders’ is purrrfect
Have you ever wanted a movie from the 70’s where a woman gets home from work, strips down to lingerie to lounge on her couch, only to be killed and eaten by her cat?
Of course, you’re a regular human, just like the rest of us. Who doesn’t fantasize about that?
Well, kids, I found us that perfect movie in the salacious and groovy Arch Hall Sr. film, THE CORPSE GRINDERS.
The Plot of The Corpse Grinders:
Corruption! Capitalism! Murder! Fake-ass sign language! Cats! This movie has IT ALL.
Partnering with a couple who owns a cemetery, they begin grinding up the mystery meat and sell it to unsuspecting consumers. But the consumers begin to be consumed themselves (that’s my best joke of the year, you’re welcome), a veterinarian begins to investigate the reason why our feline friends have turned feral.
Can this nefarious plot be found out in time by investigators? And by “investigators”, I mean, literally just this veterinarian and some nurse. Or will they too become victims in the feeding frenzy?
Thoughts on The Corpse Grinders:
This was only written by Arch Hall Sr. and not directed, but honestly, for being a low-budget comedy-horror, it cements him as a cult classic icon. Probably known most for Eegah, of MST3K infamy, he wrote and directed many camp movies during the 60’s and 70’s. Usually to showcase his son’s, er…talents.
But he legitimately had some fun ideas and execution, especially when someone else was in the director’s chair. THE CORPSE GRINDERS is fun and exciting schlock, a feast for the eyes in its limited cinematography, acting, and lighting.
And call this a hot take, but I think THE CORPSE GRINDERS would have made a better edition to MST3K than Eegah did because it works so incredibly well as campy horror. There’s a lot of honest humor in it, but metric tons of things to poke fun of and riff.
So, I have two brainrolls.
First, give me the rights. Gimme. Because this movie is RIPE for a reboot. Yes, that’s right. Not Pinhead, not Chucky, not gay icon Chucky – no! Corpse Grinders is a perfect example of something with enough cheese, enough spark, and enough of a story that still gels. With the right writers, director and cinematographer, this could really be a great reboot.
And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – reboot movies like THIS. Old, beat-up movies with enough spit and polish to be fun and enjoyable. Something you could add to with more budget, technology and direction. Stop, please, stop making ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ part 24. It’s done, it’s old, lie those types to rest and focus on movies that kind of sucked but would be phenomenal after time has passed.
The second is, um…American Sign Language (?) in the film. Which, okay, I’m a million percent with having those with disabilities shown on screen. I love it. Gimme 2.0. But…But why this, specifically?
We have a side character who is Deaf, but…um…the ASL is, well…
Remember that séance scene from Wild World of Batwoman? Yeah. It’s on par with that.
In MY new Corpse Grinders, she’s going to have a much wider role and actually be a Deaf actress and not…whatever that was. Because you took a cool idea and made it incredibly offensive. So, six of one and half-dozen of the other.
If you love campy fun movies about cats eating people and-…
Jellybeans, what are you doing?
helloo itsme branyl i wriet horro movis nd not a jellllllybens cAt. can i haz humnbrger?(4 / 5)
February Titles for Arrow Streaming
Wow, January sure flew by fast! But guess what? It’s time to see what goodies Arrow is bringing to the small screen soon. Let’s find out!
Feb 3rd: Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In and Made in the USA
February 3 Joyce documentaries about the American indie film scene: Robert Altman: Giggle and Give In and Made in the USA (both US/UK/CA/IRE). Joyce’s documentary profile of Altman, originally produced in 1996 includes contributions from Altman, Elliott Gould, Shelley Duvall, assistant director Alan Rudolph and screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury.
Feb 3rd: Charles Band: The Puppetmaster
February 3: Charles Band: The Puppetmaster (UK/IRE/US/CA). Triple-threat writer-producer-director Charles Band has been pulling the strings making horror, sci-fi and fantasy features since the 70s and his films were a massive part of making the 1980s home video boom, well, boom.
Charles Band: The Puppetmaster brings together many of his wildest and most fun work, from murderous pint-sized puppets to re-animated horrors, from time-travelling Trancers to a terrifying Tourist Trap, and even the re-tooled Doctor Strange movie starring Jeffrey Combs as a slightly different sorcerer supreme. And I LOVE Jeffrey Combs!
Titles Include: Puppet Master, Doctor Mordrid, Trancers.
Feb 6: Killer Tech
February 6, while shopping for a gadget for your sweetheart, ARROW uploads Killer Tech (UK/IRE/US/CA) to the service.
We all want the latest gadgets, but in Killer Tech screen time means scream time.
From cursed videotapes and phone calls to the dangers of the dark web and vicious virtual reality, ARROW’s newest, smallest, lightest, fastest, most expensive curated collection doesn’t just have the best screen, largest amount of storage and the coolest camera – it also comes with a guarantee that the newest tech equals instant death.
Titles Include: .com For Murder, Laguna Ave, Edge of the Axe.
I recommend Edge of the Axe!
Feb 10: Cinematic Void Selects
February 10, ARROW hands the keys to the kingdom to Cinematic Void, a Los Angeles-based cult film screening series into the mouth of cinemadness. Focusing on all oddball gems of all genres, the Void unleashes an onslaught of horror, eurotrash, exploitation and gonzo action on the silver screen at the American Cinematheque. CV film programmer Jim Branscome has selected a few of his favourite films of the genre for your viewing pleasure in Cinematic Void Selects.
Titles Include: Deadly Games, Deep Red.
February 14 celebrates Valentine’s Day with the perfect pairing: the undead and the living dead.
Two Orphan Vampires (UK/IRE/US): A pair of teenage girls, who are blind by day, but when the sun goes down, they roam the streets to quench their thirst for blood.
Zombie Lake (UK/IRE/US): In a small village, somewhere in France, German soldiers, killed and thrown into the lake by the Resistance during WWII, come back.
Also Valentine’s Day:
Jean Rollin: The Fantastique Collection Part IV (UK/IRE/US).
Led by the brand new and exclusive documentary from filmmakers Kat Ellinger and Dima Ballin, Orchestrator of Storms: The Fantastique World Of Jean Rollin, welcome to ARROW’s final volume of horrifying dream-like sauce from the master of conjuring up erotic nightmare fuel, Jean Rollin, The Fantastique Collection Part IV.
Titles Include: The Living Dead Girl, Lost in New York, Dracula’s Fiancee.
Feb 17: The French Hitchcock: Claude Chabrol
February 17, with The French Hitchcock: Claude Chabrol (UK/IRE/US).
For five decades Claude Chabrol navigated the unpredictable waters of cinema, leaving in his wake more than fifty feature films that remain among the most quietly devastating genre movies ever made. Sardonic, provocative, and unsettling, Chabrol’s films cut to the quick with a clarity and honesty honed to razor sharpness.
Though influenced by Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock and Jean Renoir, Chabrol’s voice was entirely and assuredly his own, influencing in turn filmmakers like Bong Joon-ho, James Gray and Dominik Moll. His amused, unblinkered view of life and refusal to judge his characters makes his films timelessly relevant and accessible to all.
Dark, witty, ruthless, mischievous: if you’ve never seen Chabrol before, you’re in for a treat.
Titles Include: Cop au vin, Madame Bovary (1991), The Swindle.
Feb 24: King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection
February 24 hits it off with King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection (UK/IRE/US/CA).
Put up your dukes and prepare yourselves for brutal and lightning-fast martial arts action starring the King of Karate: Sonny Chiba.
Whether you’ve only heard of Sonny through Clarence and Alabama’s True Romance triple-bill, have seen him sword-making for The Bride in Kill Bill, or know Shinichi Chiba from way back in the 70s martial arts boom where his lethal mastery of karate, judo and kenpo made him an in-demand anti-hero to legions of fans, there’s plenty of bruising bad-assery to be had in King of Karate: The Sonny Chiba Collection.
Titles Include: The Street Fighter, Wolf Guy, Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Death Match.
Feb 28: Millionaires’ Express
February 28 closes out the shortest month of the year with Millionaires’ Express (US/CA).
All aboard for the all-star action-packed adventure of a lifetime as martial arts maestro Sammo Hung (Heart of Dragon) brings East and West crashing spectacularly together in Millionaires’ Express!
Sammo himself plays Ching Fong-tin, a former outlaw with a wild scheme to make amends with the citizens of his struggling hometown of Hon Sui: explosively derail a brand new luxury express train en route from Shanghai so that its super-rich passengers will have no choice but to spend money in the town. He’s not the only one with eyes on the passengers’ deep pockets, however; a gang of ruthless bank-robbing bandits are on the way, looking for a priceless map being guarded by a trio of Japanese samurai. Bullets and fists will fill the air in equal measure, but will Hon Sui Town be left standing?
Head over to ARROW to start watching now.
Subscriptions are available for $6.99 monthly or $69.99 yearly.
ARROW is available in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland on the following Apps/devices: Roku (all Roku sticks, boxes, devices, etc), Apple TV & iOS devices, Samsung TVs, Android TV and mobile devices, Fire TV (all Amazon Fire TV Sticks, boxes, etc), and on all web browsers at https://www.arrow-player.com.
ARROWEssentials curates collections based on genre, decades and themes; and ARROWStories takes a fresh look at the world of film and TV with exclusive documentaries, interviews and video essays diving deeper into the many curated seasons and titles on the platform for a richer and deeper viewing experience.
With a slickly designed and user-friendly interface, and an unparalleled roster of quality content from westerns to giallo to Asian cinema, trailers, Midnight Movies, filmmaker picks and much, much more, ARROW is the place to go for the very best in on-demand entertainment.
ARROW is also home to ARROW Stories – an ever-growing collection of interviews, trailers, documentaries and additional extras, both newly created exclusives for the service and from the company’s extensive archives. The service will be updated regularly with fresh content, new curation focuses and never-before-seen content, all selected by the ARROW team as well as the filmmakers themselves. With a slickly designed and user-friendly interface ARROW is the new alternative place to go for the very best in On-Demand entertainment.
Be on the look-out because in the coming months, ARROW will be adding Oscar-winning hits, European classics, Asian cinema masterworks, rediscovered Westerns, offbeat gems and much more as part of ARROW’s international strategy to support and celebrate the medium of film.
Dahmer, The Good Boy Box
I think if it were possible to awkward someone to death, Dahmer never would have had to use any other weapon. Because if episode four is any indication, the man was a walking personification of awkwardness.
We start this episode with Dahmer talking with the police detectives after his arrest. He doesn’t seem to have any issue laying everything out for them, starting with the murder of the hitchhiker from the last episode. He’s seeing a psychiatrist, which feels overdue. And the psychiatrist is bringing back some memories. Starting with his graduation from high school.
A few days after graduation, Lionel Dahmer finally decides to look in on his family. He comes home to find no one but Jeff there, drunk and scribbling out the faces of his classmates from his yearbook.
After taking some time to blame Joyce, Lionel sets himself to the task of fixing his son. He first sends Jeff to Ohio State. Within a semester, Jeff is expelled with a GPA of .45. So, Lionel sends him to the army. And for about a year, that seems to work out. Jeff goes through basic training and everything is fine. But then, he’s discharged.
It’s not outright said in the show why Dahmer was discharged. He later tells a woman that it was because of his drinking. But he lies and gives half-truths to everyone without any remorse. So there’s no way of knowing.
Finally, we pick back up where we left off a few episodes ago, with Jeff’s grandmother finding the stolen mannequin in his bed. She throws it away, and he starts to unravel.
He goes to a state fair and gets arrested for masturbating in public.
Honestly, there are a lot of masturbation scenes in this episode and the last. Probably more than we needed.
Every time Jeff seems to get some sort of handle on his life, he manages to mess it up. He loses jobs and starts drugging men at bars. Finally, he finds himself in bed with the body of a beautiful young man he brought home the night before.
I liked this episode. It was a deeply disturbing portrait of a mentally ill young man trying and failing to get himself together. It’s easy to feel bad for Dahmer. To feel like there should have been a way to save him from himself.
And there should have been, to be clear. Dahmer was throwing up enough red flags early enough that someone should have been able to do something.
And yet, nobody did until seventeen men were dead. It does make you wonder if it would have gone on so long if Dahmer hadn’t preyed on gay men. If he hadn’t been a white man. And maybe it should make us wonder that.
I’m sure this point will be made clear to us as we watch the second half of the season.(4 / 5)
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