We are blessed on the spookiest of months with a new Joe Bob Briggs special! How fortunate we are for this Fall bounty. Welcome to The Last Drive-In‘s “Halloween Hideaway,” filmed on location in a very familiar location in New Jersey.
The trailer park crew at Shudder brings us two movies for the night, Haunt, and Hack-O-Lantern. So, how did it go? Let’s find out.
Opening Rant: In between the night’s skit regarding employee dissatisfaction, Joe Bob talks about fresh fruit and vegetables and agricultural exports.
Haunt was a new experience for me but surprisingly worth it. This 2019 slasher, directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, stars Katie Stevens, Will Brittain, and Lauryn McClain. The film was produced by Eli Roth and very much fits under his horror umbrella: The movie follows a group of young folks who, after a Halloween party, find an isolated haunted house attraction. They give up their cell phones, sign liability waivers, and quickly get separated inside the maze. It turns out the house is a trap and the mysterious group running it has homicidal intentions.
The movie is very sleek, very modern, and very good overall. It has some surprisingly fun kills, and in a refreshing change from current horror standards, the filmmakers choose not to cut away from them. Many modern horror films do quick cuts before points of impact for various purposes, most often to ensure a larger audience, but Haunt does not shy away from showing this kills with very good special effects work. The number of skull penetrations is impressive.
The movie also handles the issue of cell-phones in a horror movie in a very clever way, even subverting the idea that a cell-phone can essentially save the day. The film even has a very cool version of “the final girl” in Katie Steven’s Harper who, despite one glaring lack of logic that may be hard to attribute to fear alone (seriously… dump the damn bucket), ends up ending the film in a rousing fashion.
The film isn’t perfect though, but few films are: the influences in the script may be glaringly obvious at times, to the point of distraction. The film also does have its coincidences that ultimately work, but the hands of the writers laying out the pieces still feel too contrived. Performances are suitable with only a couple of standouts, such as Katie Stevens and Damien Maffei as the Devil-masked killer. Overall though, these aren’t enough to tank what is an otherwise solid slasher.
Joe Bob’s praise of the film was pretty strong, but he had his issues with the movie. He also addressed horror-bloggers (such as myself) by calling out complaints about the contrivances of the film. Among some of the reveals in his segments, between the increasing ire of the crew, he talked about the unrevealed backstory development of the antagonists. Producer Eli Roth pushed for directors Beck and Woods have a background in mind of the villains, but they had no obligation to share it.
The other fun segment revealed the directors were also the writers of the mega-horror-hit A Quiet Place. With that and Haunt among their credits, which are rapidly growing, Joe Bob suggests we’re likely to see more of them in the future. Joe Bob is right. These are two people worth keeping in mind, especially as horror fans.
Haunt is a largely smart and satisfying slasher that may wear its influences a little too obviously. (4 / 5)
Best Line: “It’s a bit of a work in progress, but I think you’ll like it.” – Ghost (about his face)
Opening Rant: Joe Bob talks Ouija boards in a skit that sets up an increasingly dark night for the venerable host.
Haha, oh boy. So, Hack-O-Lantern is not a good movie. We’ll just establish that first. This 1988 satanic slasher is a mess of half-baked ideas, pointless nudity, and incredibly inconsistent logic. So yeah, not a good movie, but still very much fun. Hack-O-Lantern, directed by Jag Mundhra, stars Hy Pyke, Gregory Scott Cummins, and Katina Garner. I use the term “stars” very loosely, here. Not a non-laughable performance in the bunch.
The movie is about a rural community that is the home of a satanic cult that causes all sorts of murderous trouble on Halloween night. Tommy, the lead character, becomes a thrall for his grandfather, the man who runs the satanic cult that seems to meet in a barn and brand bare asses. There’s not much going on in this movie. There’s more backstory than an actual story, as it just ends up being a costumed slasher movie with some very PG-13 Satanic worship and rituals. None of the deaths are particularly memorable, either.
The film’s largest problem is one of identity: the film was apparently intended to evoke the John Carpenter classic, Halloween, but director Jag Mundhra ended up creating something that borrows less from American sensibilities about Halloween and instead grafts on some of Mundhra’s Indian background, such as an extended musical number with a dancer referencing the deity Kali for… reasons. The movie is very thin in the story and stuffed to the gills with such odd padding, including a multi-minute standup routine in the middle of a night full of massacres.
The whole film just feels amateur. Everything from the lack of research in the “Satanic” hand gesture (it’s literally the ASL sign for “I Love You”), to the hilariously inept and non-threatening cult scenes, to the non-sensical ending. Nothing about the film makes sense. But that’s actually okay. The movie can be hilarious and it’s very much like a precursor to The Room. A film that was intended to be something far different from what it became. While there is fun to be had, it is kind of hollow.
Joe Bob has his usually assemblage of factoids about the production of the film. As always, these were entertaining breaks where we learned interesting things, for example, the producer pushed for full frontal nudity, and it seems the movie was happy to deliver on that front, casting adult actress Jeanna Fine as the platinum blond cult girl. There was also much fun to be had in discussing the inexplicable top-billing and scene-chewing of Hy Pyke.
The storyline that ran through the host segments was fun but also felt a bit off. The segments were shot on location at the Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco grounds in Hardwick, NJ, and led to a great little homage to Friday the 13th. But it was a lot of effort for what felt like a progressively lonelier and lonelier night on set. It’s a clever way of keeping socially distant, yes, and it’s obvious the crew was still around, yet it still felt oddly isolated for little gain. For a show that has grown a dedicated community, there was something that rubbed me the wrong way about the choices made for the host segments, especially for a Halloween special, something that brings the horrorfam together between seasons.
This Halloween film is mid-season material that worked its way into the special.(2 / 5)
Best Line: “But mom, I like the taste of blood. Grandpa said it’s good for me.” – Tommy to his mother
Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals
We start, of course, with the official Drive-In Totals, provided, as always, by the Shudder Twitter account.
Here is our traditional Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals, enjoy!
- One Darcy Jail Trip
- Two Skull Penetrations
- Two new Musical Numbers
- Body Branding
- Nail in the Foot
- Odd Number Breast Count Red Flag
- Awkward Stand-Up Bit at a Halloween Party
- Gratuitous Adult Actress Full Frontal
- Unfortunate Incest
- Terrifying Music Producer
- Hy Pyke Dialogue Croaking
- Throwback Joe Bob Costume Fun
- Tactical Joe Bob Briggs F-Bomb
- Hindu Joking
- Leprechaun Joking
- Hillbilly Incest Horror
- Graveyard Aardvarking
- Diminishing Film Crew
- Yuki Sighting: In a tree blind!
- Silver Bolo Award: StabbyTime TV
- Darcy Cosplay: Devil Cultist Darcy
While a fun night overall, the cabin in the woods theme felt a bit hollow, ultimately stripping out some of the communal fun we’re used to on the show. The addition of the wildcard selection of Hack-O-Lantern, as well, kind of created a mid-season episode vibe rather than a special Halloween event. Had this pairing been episode 4 or 5 of the next season I probably wouldn’t be as critical, but for an event as big as a Halloween special, I expected something a little more celebratory.
Where’s the love, man? 🤟 (3.5 / 5)
Well, that wraps up the “Halloween Hideaway.” What did you think of the pairing of Haunt and Hack-O-Lantern? Do you think I am a bit too critical of this special? Was the increasing feeling of isolation worth it for the cute Friday the 13th homage? How terrifying is John Brennan when he stomps across the front of the cabin?
Let us know in the comments. See you in season three!
Movies n TV
The Wolf of Snow Hollow, a Film Review
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a 2020 horror comedy directed by Jim Cummings, starring Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome and Robert Forster.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a 2020 horror comedy directed by Jim Cummings. The cast of this horror includes Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome and Robert Forster. This R-rated film is currently available for DirecTV and Shudder subscribers.
Deputy John Marshall (Jim Cummings) faces a messy divorce, an ill father, a serial killer and crippling addiction. With Marshall’s life spiraling, he focuses on a mysterious killer plaguing the town. The brutality of the crime convinces locals that the murderer is a werewolf, a possibility Marshall cannot entertain. As John Marshall tries to keep order in the town, his conviction crumbles.
What I Like
The comedy reflects the spiraling chaos that runs through a control freak’s mind as they lose control. This comedy lands best as Marshal spirals further and further into disarray. Viewers should expect a dry wit layered with sarcasm. If this type of humor doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, The Wolf of Snow Hollow would be hard to recommend. Nearly every character plays their part to perfection, building off each other. Jim Cummings seems to have created a team to complement his project.
Another impressive comedic element comes from the film’s ability to jump between serious issues and comedy without the humor undercutting the weight of those essential moments. Though somewhat flawed, it remains consistently effective.
Despite the fact this is a horror comedy, the monster adds genuine horror to the film. Part of the mystery comes from that line between the possibility of a killer or a real-life werewolf, which I won’t spoil here.
The werewolf design, though traditional, is consistently believable. With one exception that felt purposeful in context, the creature works surprisingly well for a horror comedy.
Jim Cummings creates these rapid scenes that show time passing. As mentioned earlier, these scenes reflect Marshall’s mental state. It surprises me how clearly and haunting they convey information while noting elements of comedy. Again, not always perfect, but effective.
Trigger Warnings and Tired Tropes
John Marshall struggles with alcoholism, often falling victim to the disease. Despite the comedy label, this element remains mature and respective. Regardless, I understand this is a sensitive issue that worth noting.
The film can get gory and dark, but rarely more than a horror fan expects. However, one of the victims is a baby. Though no act appears on screen, viewers may require prior knowledge.
What I Dislike or Points to Consider
Don’t expect a detective tale or any focus on a mystery. If this movie is anything, it’s a character study of John Marshall. The killer isn’t a figure we uncover through available information. The Wolf of Snow Hollow focuses on the stress that unravels our characters as they investigate. The trailer was a bit misleading, creating a focus more centered on the mystery and comedy of the film.
Without going into too much detail, some of the deaths get overshadowed by those earlier-mentioned scene cuts. While I still stand by my praise of these scenes, some of these deaths needed more silence and longevity. Though I recognize this might ruin the comedy focus of the film, death should have weight in a story.
This film isn’t scary. While some moments might unnerve you, don’t expect to be haunted.
While not a traditional werewolf film, The Wolf of Snow Hollow remains a surprisingly effective horror comedy. If you like your humor dry and dark, this film might align with your taste. However, this barely makes the cut in the horror genre. Don’t expect to jump or scream. If this sounds like your taste, then give The Wolf of Snow Hollow a view.
(3.5 / 5)
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023
Shudder March 2023 Release Schedule
Mutant family, please gather ’round as February kicks rocks and we shove our way into March. With the new month comes the shifting from winter to spring as death beautifully resurrects back to life, drunken patrons swarm our local bars like rabid locusts for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and of course new exclusives and returning favorites on Shudder to satisfy the horror fiend in us all. To quote the prestigious Samuel L. Jackson, “hold onto your butts” and let’s dive right into Shudder’s March 2023 release schedule.
While it is true that the release schedule for the start of 2023 on Shudder has been minor and slightly mixed, with films such as the much talked about experimental low-budget indie ‘Skinamarink‘, the surprisingly entertaining horror comedy ‘Sorry About the Demon‘, and writer/director Neil Marshall’s return to the genre with ‘The Lair‘. We also graciously received the wildly fun ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine” special, with season 5 currently in production and premiering later this year; though it can’t come soon enough. As we like to do here at HauntedMTL, let’s kick off March with Shudder’s newest exclusives currently streaming now and in the coming weeks.
Spoonful of Sugar – Now Streaming
Starting off this list we begin with director Mercedes Bryce Morgan and writer Leah Saint Marie’s latest film ‘Spoonful of Sugar‘, now currently streaming.
Millicent (Morgan Saylor), a disturbed college student working on her thesis about children with severe allergies, is hired to babysit little Johnny (Danilo Crovetti), a sickly, mute child who suffers from every allergy under the sun. His mother Rebecca (Kate Foster) is an accomplished author currently focused on her newest book release, while his father Jacob (Myko Olivier) spends his days in the backyard working on frivolous carpentry projects. After experiencing a bizarre sexual awakening while using LSD as an alternative treatment for Johnny, she soon uncovers the family’s dark secrets as things begin to become unhinged.
Leave – Premiering Friday 3/17
After having been abandoned as an infant at a cemetery wrapped in a cloth with satanic symbols, Hunter White (Alicia von Rittberg) grows obsessed with figuring out who her biological parents are and why they seemingly abandoned her. However, as she gets closer to the answers she so desperately seeks, a malevolent spirit is warning her to leave.
‘Leave‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/17 and is directed by Alex Herron and written by Thomas Moldestad, starring Alicia von Rittberg, Herman Tømmeraas, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, and Stig R. Amda
The Unheard – Premiering Friday 03/31
‘The Unheard‘ follows the story of deaf 20-year-old Chloe Grayden (Lachlan Watson) after she undergoes an experimental treatment to restore her hearing. While recovering at her family’s beach home after the successful procedure, Chloe begins to fear she is not alone as she begins to experience auditory hallucinations related to the mysterious disappearance of her mother.
‘The Unheard’ is directed by Shudder alumni Jeffrey A. Brown (The Beach House) and written by brothers/screenwriting partners Shawn Rasmussen and Michael Rasmussen (Crawl), co-starring Michele Hicks and Nick Sandow. ‘The Unheard‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/31.
Returning Classic and Fan Favorites
Now that we’ve removed the veil for the new exclusive titles dropping this month, I think it’s time we reveal the returning classics jump starting our transition into spring for 2023. Allow me to highlight some of my favorite films returning to Shudder for March including ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ and ‘The Company of Wolves‘; grim re-telling’s of popular children’s fairy tales. We also cannot forget John Carpenter’s haunted coastal horror ‘The Fog‘; no, not the remake…thankfully.
Gretel and Hansel – Now Streaming
Directed by Osgood Perkins, ‘Gretel and Hansel’ is a terrifyingly dark and unique vision to one of history’s most famous childhood fairy tales. After being thrown out of their mother’s home, Gretel (Sophia Lillis) leads her younger brother, Hansel (Samuel Leakey), through the woods in search of food and work. The children soon discover a quaint cottage where a fragile old woman Holda (Alice Krige) offers fresh food and bed. The children accept all Holda has to offer, with little thought as to what may be asked of them in return.
Though it has been met with mixed reviews, ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ offers astounding performances by veteran actress Alice Krige as the films iconic Witch of the woods and Sophia Lillis as lead Gretel. Director Osgood Perkins does well to draw his viewer in with a beautifully haunting score and unnerving cinematography, making this one grim re-telling worth checking out at least once. ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ is available to stream now.
The Company of Wolves – Now Streaming
Continuing our list of returning classics, we have yet another bold re-telling of a beloved children’s fairy tale, 1984’s ‘The Company of Wolves‘. While the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood‘ has been retold through various forms of media, including numerous films, ‘The Company of Wolves‘ is a beloved horror interpretation with adult themes and memorable practical effects including one of the genres best werewolf transformations.
A wise grandmother (Angela Lansbury) tells her granddaughter Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) a disturbing tale of innocent maidens falling in love with handsome strangers … and of their sudden mysterious disappearances when the moon is full and accompanied by the strange sound of a beast in the woods.
‘The Company of Wolves’ is co-written and directed by Neil Jordan and stars Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Micha Bergese, and David Warner, streaming now.
John Carpenter’s The Fog – Streaming 03/31
Writer, director, musician, and horror master John Carpenter is a legend in the genre having provided countless classics such as ‘The Thing‘, a terrifyingly gruesome remake of ‘The Thing from Another World‘. Or his sci-fi action/horror ‘They Live’ where he deals with societal control through corporations and government. And of course, my personal favorite, the film that jumpstarted his career and created one of horror’s most iconic slashers…’Halloween‘.
1980’s ‘The Fog‘ is a terrifying shoreside tale of vengeful spirits haunting the fictional coastal town of Antonio Bay, OR. as they begin preparations to celebrate its centenary. Following exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in the town’s waters, a thick unearthly fog harboring the souls of those who perished rolls in and with them, the dark secrets of Antonio Bay’s past.
John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’ stars scream queen and recent Academy Award winner Jamie Lee Curtis, genre alums Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Kyes, and was co-written by the late Debra Hill. ‘The Fog‘ will be available to stream on Shudder 03/31.
Full Shudder March 2023 Film Releases
For a full comprehensive list of all the titles being added to Shudder for the month of January, please refer to the graphic below. Please be on the lookout for our review of ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine’ to drop later this week here on HauntedMTL and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more Shudder news and spooky reviews!
Gretel and Hansel
Spoonful of Sugar
The Company of Wolves
Jack be Nimble
The Blair Witch Project & Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2