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It’s a happy horror holiday as we get another Joe Bob Briggs Christmas special on Shudder with Joe Bob Saves Christmas. This night has everything! Killer Santas! Home invasions! Charity auctions! QVC-stylings! It makes for a nice, full night of heartwarming horror fun. Between Dial Code Santa Claus, Christmas Evil, and heartwarming auctions, there is something worth stuffing into every mutant’s stocking.

On another note, however, I may have gone a bit overboard with Christmas puns during the live tweets throughout the night…

Dial Code Santa Claus

Opening Rant: “Shut the fuck up.”

My experience with Christmas horror films has been fairly limited and because of this, 1989’s Dial Code Santa Claus (also known as 3615 code Père Noël, Game Over, and a billion other titles) was not on my radar. It turns out that I have been missing out. This French holiday horror film is such an odd but wonderful movie.


The movie follows perhaps the bougiest child protagonist since Richie Rich who, eager to contact Santa Claus, uses the internet to reach out to who he thinks is Saint Nick, only to get the attention of a disturbed Santa Claus wannabe who sets his deadly sights on this child and begins a fairly low-key murder spree. The film is an odd sort of artifact for horror fans and has some striking similarities to the holiday classic Home Alone. Both films climax with a home invasion, and while Home Alone‘s is far less lethal, Dial Code Santa Claus does not shy away from deadly consequences and disturbing revelations. The revelation of the state of mind of the pseudo-Santa Claus upon gaining the upper hand in this Christmas battle is absolutely terrifying.

It’s a gorgeously shot movie and the craftsmanship is readily apparent. René Manzor’s stylish approach to the material creates such a wonderfully messed up story that explores growing up in the absolute worst way possible during the Christmas holiday. Manzor still mostly works in French cinema, but as Joe Bob Briggs reveals during the host segments (in between hawking wares) that he directed some installments of various series such as The Red Shoe Diaries and The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. At times earnest, horrific, and that special sort of late-1980s cheesy, Dial Code Santa Claus is a holiday horror film that deserves to be seen and is a perfect sort of film for the spotlight of The Last Drive-In.

As for the inter-film shenanigans we come to expect from The Last Drive-In, the coronavirus is still wreaking havoc with the production dynamics of the show. I felt that it hurt the last Halloween special, feeling oddly isolated and melancholy, but this time around the gimmick does a lot of work to keep the proceedings light, funny, and also allowed for friends of the Drive-In to leave behind holiday wishes. For this special, the team does a sort of QVC-cum-horror network experience, complete with requisite graphics and title cards. It’s a lot different from the usual experience but in a way that fits the tone of the night, particularly given the film selections.

Throughout the night 18 different auctions were dropped on a special website and the proceeds of the bids which climbed throughout the night were designated for four distinct charities. These charities were very much right in the wheelhouse of hosts Joe Bob and Darcy, including The Trevor Project, The National Women’s Law Center, The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, and the Organization for Autism Research. One of the highlights throughout the night was seeing the bids climb both on social media and the occasional reference on show to the impressive numbers. Bidding continues until the 22nd of December, so if you are interested in some incredible swag for good causes, be sure to take a look.

As far as the first half of the night goes, one couldn’t ask for a better holiday horror film; Dial Code Santa Claus was funny, thrilling, incredibly French, and had a requisite out-of-place Bonnie Tyler sad music montage. Joe Bob Briggs gave the film three stars, but I’d argue he scored it a little low. It is easily worth an extra half-star for the wide-eyed beard-flocking sequence alone. The movie is a great Christmas experience, surely nothing could be better… You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. The second film of the night is even better than the first. But don’t let that detract from the pure, unadulterated joy of Dial Code Santa Claus. I give the movie the four Cthulhu treatment.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Best Line: “I don’t like your face.” – One perceptive little girl

Not the worst Reindeer Games I’ve ever seen.

Christmas Evil

Opening Rant: Crystal chakras or some insanity in the desert.

The second film of the night, also a new experience for me, was my favorite: Christmas Evil. A film adored by John Waters is always a great sign. Released in 1980 on the heels of Halloween and Friday the 13th, one would expect the film to be just another sort of holiday-themed slasher copycat, but this is far from. Lewis Jackson’s film is relatively tame in violence, skewing more psychological than a slasher, but the film benefits all the more from the approach, crafting an ultimately heartbreaking chronicle of a man drifting further into madness over the holidays.

The film is a b-movie at heart, however, and for however subtle and nuanced it can be, it also delights in the absolute insanity of creating a Christmas-themed horror story. It delivers on multiple levels. The movie follows a man, Harry, who has grown up traumatized by a childhood witnessing of his parents engaged in sexual acts while his father is dressed as Santa Claus. As an adult, Harry has grown obsessed with Christmas, decorating his home with various seasonal decorations and knick-knacks and working at a toy factory. At home, he engages in dressing as Santa and taking on the requisite duties of observing and recording the local children, documenting their behavior in his book.

Harry, put upon by his coworkers and his frustrated younger brother, begins to spiral and believes himself to be Santa Claus, acting oddly but harmlessly, donating stolen toys from the factory to the local children’s hospital. This doesn’t last long, however, and soon Harry’s actions turn to murder and the film’s final act echoes the horror classic Frankenstein in several surprising ways. The film is a bit slow, however, and lacks a certain visual punch, but that’s no dealbreaker.


The film is ultimately a sad story about a broken man who truly needs help and doesn’t get it. It’s actually fairly fitting for a movie set in a season of high suicides and melancholy. This is also the more interesting when paired with a trans allegory, as Joe Bob reveals was theorized by John Waters. Given the time the film was made, the theory slides into place; it would be hard to do a trans movie, but burying the message in a movie about a man who thinks he is Santa Claus is a bit easier to swallow. General audiences didn’t really respond to the film though, so much of this discourse feels newer and in a way a little more timely. It all clicks, however, and whether or not it was intended, is worth discussing further given today’s trans community discourse.

As for the rest of the festivities throughout the night, however, one of the great treats of the host segments was the video Christmas cards featuring Drive-In favorite guests and Silver Bolo winners. Whereas the recent Halloween special felt more isolated, there was a certain level of togetherness presented in this special’s festivities, and those video Christmas cards went a long way towards that. The more live nature of the bidding on the auction also helped out quite a bit, really letting viewers feel like they were a part of something in the now.

While it was a great night for holiday horror, the standout of the films is most certainly Christmas Evil, both as a sort of holiday horror classic, but also on a more intellectual level. Sometimes the Last Drive-In pokes fun at the more scholarly side of the film world in the pursuit of blood, breasts, and beasts, but sometimes Santa Joe Bob gives unto us good little children a little something to chew on for a while, even awarding it that coveted four stars; Christmas Evil gives me just the sort of film I want to gnaw on for a bit. Happy holidays indeed! Definitely the full five Cthulhu sort of film I adore. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Best Line: “But now I want you to remember to stay good boys & girls. Respect your mothers & fathers and do what they tell you. Obey your teachers and learn a whooooole lot! Now if you do this, I’ll make sure you get good presents from me eeeevery year. Ha ha ha… but if you’re bad boys & girls, your name goes in the ‘Bad Boys & Girls’ book, and I’ll bring you something… horrible.” – “Santa” Harry

Santa’s a blade-man, man. Santa’s gonna cut ya.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As always, we begin with the official Drive-In totals, courtesy of the Shudder twitter account:

As for my own totals? Here is what I have:

  • 1 Yuki sighting
  • 1 Dead dog
  • 2 Bad Santas
  • 3 holiday themes
  • 3 alternate titles
  • 3 instances of holiday aardvarking
  • 18 auction items
  • 25k eBay monthly earning limit
  • 23 minutes of exposition
  • 36.15
  • Globe Crushing
  • Overly French holiday traditions
  • Child endangerment
  • Open-eyed beard flocking
  • Christmas terrorism
  • Terror train
  • Suspiciously rich family
  • Mansplaining QVC
  • Child slapping
  • Child spooking
  • Eye gouging
  • Santa transitioning
  • Catholic Joking
  • Gratuitously elaborate handshaking
  • Gratuitous Frankensteinesque torch pursuit
  • Gratuitous “Hogzilla” chanting
  • Gratuitous Bonnie Tyler sad Christmas sequence
  • Minitel Fu
  • Video Christmas Card Fu
  • Silver Bolo Award: Geeks Who Eat
Bonus Yuki Action Shot!

Episode Score

In a world beset by a plague, nothing can be business as usual, and the Last Drive-In is no exception. The show continues to be fun, but after the relative disappointment I felt from the Halloween special, I was concerned that coronavirus was going to take yet another toll on a show I love. I am pleased that is not the case with Joe Bob Saves Christmas. The show found a great gimmick this time around that worked in the necessary COVID 19 restrictions while also delivering on a sense of community that is more vital than ever.

It’s good to be a mutant. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Well, that’s it for The Last Drive-In until the start of the new season, or another special. What comes first? It doesn’t really matter… we’ll still be covering it and doing our live-tweet sessions here at Haunted MTL.

… the drive-in will never die.

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Movies n TV

Scary Fairy Godmother YouTube Channel



Youtube is a great place for those of us who like a spooky story. There we can find a mixture of true tales and cutting-edge fiction. These range everywhere from amateur footage to professionally crafted videos. 

Today, we’re talking about a hidden YouTube gem, Scary Fairy Godmother

The channel launched in December 2014. Since its birth, there has been just one topic of discussion. The fey is not to be trusted, and in fact, is something to be feared.

A still from the Scary Fairy Godmother channel.

Some of the stories on this channel are fiction. But some are claimed as first-hand accounts of dangerous interactions with fairies. 

Now, whether or not we believe in fairies isn’t the point of this review. I am only here to talk about the level of entertainment to be found on this YouTube channel. 


A recent video titled Melsh Dick (don’t laugh) was a common fairy tale. A girl is lured away from her friends by a boy who claims to be her cousin. He doesn’t give her a name, they never do. Fortunately, the girl escapes. Others haven’t been so lucky. 

A favorite video of mine, being a city dweller, was Urban Fairies. This video consisted of eight encounters with fairies in an urban setting. Many of these encounters are nice. There’s a beautiful swirl of lights seen out of an apartment window. A person is lured into a city park by a lovely young woman who might or might not have been human. And another person receives some personal and sage advice from what looks to be a homeless man while she’s out walking her dog. All of these stories were delightful, reminding us that magic can be found in any setting.

For creepier encounters, we turn to the video House Fairy Horrors. Warning, you might not be as thrilled about the Elf on a Shelf after this one. 

In this video we hear the tale of a goblin that took over one room of a person’s house, chasing out anyone who tried to go in. A young child sings to scare sprites out of their home, only to have them hold a grudge and return years later. There’s even a shadow man who seems to encourage a vegan lifestyle. 

Some of the videos have themes, like frost fairies or encounters with fairy royalty. Some are eerie tales plucked from Reddit, real life or imagined.


Of course, the creepiest tales are those where people are lured into the forest by the fey. You’ll find several of these stories on Scary Fairy Godmother. It always seems to be in good fun, until one finds themselves lost. 

Cover from Scary Fairy Godmother YouTube channel.

These stories might not seem very scary to us. The tellers of these tales come away without a scratch after all. But consider this. The only time we’d hear about a fairy abduction is if it fails. We do not know what happens to the others, only that they’re not around to tell us.

How many people went missing in your town last year? 

From what we can gather from these videos, we are never safe from the fey. They can reside in our homes, our cities, and our parks. They can even reach us in our dreams. What they want with us may vary. Perhaps it’s just to give us a scare. Maybe they enjoy playing tricks on us. Or maybe they’re vengeful, angry at the disrespect mankind has shown to the environment, and eager to punish us for our abuses. Whatever the reasons, it’s probably best if we steer clear.

The Scary Fairy Godmother YouTube channel is one with staying power. The fan base is small, but it’s growing. It’s a great one to throw on while your hands are busy, or if you just want a soothing voice to tell you a scary story. So if you’re a fan of the creepier side of life, do yourself a favor and check it out. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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The Last of Us: Episodes 8 and 9: The End



Sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you watched the episodes the nights they came out, but then you got your stomach tattooed so you didn’t have the energy to type on your computer, and then you had to work nonstop for six days straight and housesit 20 miles out of town, and then you got into a hit-and-run car accident with your boyfriend (luckily you’re both okay but really very angry at the asshole that just drove away), etc. etc.. March has been a lot, but I finally rolled up my sleeves, made time for my computer and stopped procrastinating the job of writing my final review on HBO’s The Last of Us.

Here we will cover the final events of Joel and Ellie’s saga. Both episodes were directed by Ali Abassi and written by Craig Mazin and, in episode 9, Neil Druckmann. The adaptation continued to cover the story elements of the game, leaving out and/or changing most of the fighting and action scenes. This change is especially noticeable in episode 9, “Look for the Light,” but we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s first do a recap of episode 8, “When We Are in Need.”

“When We Are in Need”

Ellie is on the hunt for food and comes across a deer, which she shoots down almost effortlessly. It is in this moment that she meets a preacher named David (Scott Shepherd) and his partner, James (Troy Baker, (Joel’s voice actor in the video games)). After a moment of hostility towards the stranger, Ellie agrees to give the deer to David in exchange for penicillin. Shortly after giving Joel the medication, Ellie has to leave again to deter David’s religious crew from hunting her and Joel. It turns out Joel killed a few of David’s men, and the preacher is out for revenge.

The religious group captures Ellie and puts her in a cell, where she discovers David has been feed them human remains. Meanwhile, Joel finally awakes and is stable enough to escape the house and search for Ellie. He tortures two men into disclosing her location, but he is almost too late. David places Ellie on a butcher block and is just about to chop her up when she narrowly escapes. The two fight until she finally has the advantage and takes him down, bludgeoning him to death with an insurmountable fury of vengeance.

“Look for the Light”

Episode 9 begins with a flashback of Ellie’s pregnant mother, Anna (Ashley Johnson, (Ellie’s voice actor in the video games). An infected bit Anna just moments before she gave birth to Ellie. Moments pass, and Marlene finds the two in a pool of blood. She is forced to take the baby and kill her friend. Fast forward 14 years, and Joel and Ellie are almost done with their journey. They finally made it to Utah. Ellie, still processing everything that happened with David, is sad and somber. Joel tries his best to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work.


Suddenly, the youth sees something and runs off to get a better look. Joel chases her until he stops and stares in awe. The camera pans from him to Ellie inches away from a giraffe. She is her old self again, cracking jokes and asking a myriad of questions. Later on, when Joel reveals that he tried to kill himself after Sarah’s death, Ellie provides him as much comfort as she can. But the fact that Joel can trust her enough to reveal such a secret means is a comfort on its own. He asks Ellie to read some puns to lighten the mood, but his moment is interrupted when a group of Fireflies knock them out.

Joel wakes up in a hospital to see Marleen, who informs him that the doctors are preparing Ellie for surgery to remove the part of her brain that makes her immune. This procedure, however, will result in Ellie’s death. No matter how hard Joel fights, Marlene won’t budge. She instead has two Firefly soldiers escort Joel out of the hospital, but he kills them and everyone else until he finds the surgery room, where he murders the doctor in cold blood. He escapes with an unconscious Ellie and makes it as far as the parking garage until Marlene stops them. The camera cuts to Joel driving a car with Ellie in the backseat.

The End

Ellie wakes up and asks Joel what happens. While he lies to her that there is no cure, the camera flickers back to the parking garage scene with Marlene. He shoots her once. After listening to her begs and pleas, he kills her with a final shot.

The duo have to walk the last few miles to Tommy’s town. At the top of a waterfall, they get a spectacular view of their new home, their new futures. Before making the final trek, Ellie tells Joel about her past and how she saw her best friend die. This lead to watching Tess, Sam and Henry die because of the disease. The fact that they all had to go through such gruesome deaths, only for there not to be a cure, is too much for Ellie to handle. She makes Joel swear that he is telling the truth, and in a beat, he does.

Series Verdict

HBO’s The Last of Us is a remarkable video game adaptation that deserves all the high praise it has received the past few months. From the set design and effects to the filming, screenwriting and acting, the show is a peak example of how to do an adaptation well. It is heart-throbbing and terrifying.

A few issues with HBO’s adaptation is how much they excluded the game play scenes. Despite the world being filled with infected, they were rarely on screen. This is disappointing, especially because it increases the stakes and so much of Joel and Ellie’s relationship builds in these fight scenes. The biggest disappointment was in episode 9, in which the show completely cut out the game’s highway scene. Furthermore, there are numerous creative weapons the show could have included to illustrate Joel and Ellie’s means of survival, from molotov cocktails and nail bombs to the beloved shotgun and its shorty companion.

Despite these small quibbles, the show is arguably one of the best American video game adaptations out there. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were the perfect casting choices for Joel and Ellie, as was the casting for all the other characters.


It will be exciting to see where Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin take The Last of Us 2. I hope they will include more gameplay (aka a little more violence), more screen time for infected, and some creative liberties with the original story while also sticking to the heart of it. We will just have to wait and see what they come up with. Until we meet again, don’t forgot to read about the other shows and games we’re loving here at HauntedMTL.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Let the Wrong One In, a Film Review

Let the Wrong One In is a horror comedy directed and written by Conor McMahon, starring Karl Rice, Eoin Duffy, and Anthony Head.



Let the Wrong One In is a 2021 horror comedy directed and written by Conor McMahon, starring Karl Rice, Eoin Duffy, and Anthony Head. This film is currently available per subscription to Amazon Prime (through Shudder) or Shudder directly.

Matt (Karl Rice) and Deco (Eoin Duffy) are estranged brothers, but when Deco finds himself strangely ill, he seeks his brother out. Through obvious signs and tropable behaviors, the brothers realize Deco is a vampire. What follows spirals into a plot of brotherly guilt, passive aggression, and bloody retribution.

Vampire hunter tied up and looking annoyed
Anthony Header as Henry

What I Like

With the titular reference to Let the Right One In, the idea interested me. After the trailer, I realized this film doesn’t relate to or parody the novel or film aside from being about vampires. As a fan of the franchise, it would have been interesting to find a subversion. However, the film can charm a viewer at certain points, receiving a few laughs from me.

Either Let the Wrong One In is a micro budget film or imitates such films. The special effects ensure you know this as intended, if perhaps out of necessity. If you can accept these points, the film might be an entertaining viewing experience.

The chemistry between the two leads is where the film shines. Both Karl Rice and Eoin Duffy feel like bickering brothers. With Deco’s performance as an addict, the film even ties into elements that family members of addicts know all too well.


Anthony Head (of Buffy fame) also plays his campy and ridiculous vampire hunter role to perfection, even seeming competent in the profession despite the character being more of a joke. Anthony Head can chew a scene, becoming an easy highlight of the film.

I like how vampires are named vampires without the cliche attempt to figure out what they are. It seems to be a rare thing to see on film. When this standard of logic does appear, it helps me believe the characters a little more. Though Let the Wrong One In doesn’t care if you believe in its characters.

Deco looking hungry with fresh blood on his face
Eoin Duffy as Deco

Potential Trigger Warnings or Tired Tropes

The film is a collection of tropes wrapped around a campy and zany direction. I wouldn’t particularly say they are tired or are different enough to have a pass, but one goes into a film like this with these expectations. Don’t expect unique and refreshing subversions.

Addiction plays a role in the film, including the emotional manipulation addicts deploy to control others. The film doesn’t depict these elements effectively or abhorrently, existing as a plot point first and foremost. If this plotline upsets you, perhaps give this film a skip.

There is a point where implied violence occurs on an animal, but it certainly doesn’t take this idea too seriously. In fact, the creature gets a few shining moments. Still, I understand some get squirmy at this.

Brothers in a bunk bed, one laying on the top bung, the other sitting on the bottom.
Karl Rice as Matt and Eoin Duffy as Deco

What I Dislike

Let the Wrong One In falls under the “so bad it’s good” category, though purposely done to be so. It’s a campy and dumb movie for those interested in passing the time. There is nothing wrong with satisfying this niche, but it’s not an enjoyable time for all.

The brotherly relationship should be the center of the film, which might have focused the film more. However, the film has a big bad that feels somewhat out of place and unnecessary. It also adds to the runtime, which isn’t long at 1 hour and 40 minutes. But it feels too long for this plot.


Again, I wonder why Let the Right One In exists as the film’s namesake as it has no notable connection to the franchise, even in parody.

While I must admit that more jokes landed with me than I expected, most of the zany humor falls flops. This film seems to be a Shaun of the Dead clone but falls far from the other’s success, lacking the focus of its predecessor.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, if you want a horror comedy to turn your brain off to, Let the Wrong One In can certainly be that film. However, there are better examples to pull from. The lack of direction and comparisons to greater options makes this fall even further on the recommendation list. One additional point in the film’s favor is that you will likely know if the film is for you within the first few minutes of viewing.
1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

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