Welcome, Drive-In Mutants, to the first installment of our series “Notes from The Last Drive-In” where we cover each episode of Shudder‘s “The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs.” We’ve mentioned Joe Bob Briggs a couple of times here on Haunted MTL, naturally, and it makes sense to cover all the new episodes as they are released. We’ll talk about the films, provide our own reviews of each, and share some observations about the episode.

So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Joe Bob is back in town!

C.H.U.D. (1984)

Before the start of the episode, the Shudder crew managed to unearth footage of Joe Bob circa 1985 where he swears in the live-show crowd with the Drive-in Oath. It’s enough to make this mutant cry.

Joe Bob is not a fan of C.H.U.D., an oft-requested film among the Drive-In mutants. Joe Bob’s rating was a mere 2 stars and throughout the presentation he makes his disdain the focus as only he can. Among his issues with the film are the weak performances, with the single, scenery-chewing exception of Daniel Stern, and the distinct lack of C.H.U.D.s in the film. The C.H.U.D.s, of course being the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, though the acronym carries another meaning as well. You’ll just need to watch to find out what that is, though.

C.H.U.D. is a 1984 film about a group of people who become swept up in a conspiracy involving the sewers of New York and the vanishing homeless population. Naturally the homeless are transforming into cannibalistic killers and things escalate as you would expect. The film stars John Heard, Daniel Stern, and Christopher Curry, though the only one who really seems to not sleepwalk through the film is Stern. John Heard is a virtual non-presence.

As for the Haunted MTL rating, we give C.H.U.D. 1 star. It’s just not very good beyond the curiosity factor and recognition of some of the actors in the film, such as a brief appearances by John Goodman and Jay Thomas. That being said, the blood bukkake scene in the shower is particularly fun. Otherwise, really, C.H.U.D.‘s a dud.

C.H.U.D. happens

Castle Freak (1995)

The second part of the inaugural episode of the ongoing “The Last Drive-In” series is definitely a superior film of the pair. Joe Bob awarded Castle Freak 4 stars and his affection for the film can be felt throughout the episode. It also helped to have Barbara Crampton herself drop by the drive-in to spend some time with Joe Bob. There was a lot of fascinating insight into the experiences of the crew on the actual castle-set of the film, and, naturally, there was a great deal of insight from Joe Bob about Italian film as well. Naturally, Castle Freak was not the most successful of critically lauded of the Stuart Gordon H. P. Lovecraft adaptations, but it’s a solid third after Re-Animator and From Beyond. Of course, there is also an insightful discussion on Joe Bob’s end regarding the origins of the adaptation, pulled from the pages of Lovecraft’s “The Outsider.”

Castle Freak is a 1995 direct-to-video film loosely based on Lovecraft’s “The Outsider.” The film follows the traumatized Reilly family, still grappling with the blinding of their daughter, Rebecca, and death of their son JJ from a drunk driving accident caused by the father. The remaining three Reillys soon discover that they are the inheritors of a 12th century castle in Italy. Little does the family know, however, that the son of the duchess lurks within the castle and he has a violent streak. The film stars Jeffery Combs, Barbara Crampton, and Johnathan Fuller as the titular Castle Freak. As always, Combs and Crampton are fantastic together as they were in Re-Animator and From Beyond, but special recognition of Johnathan Fuller is totally necessary. The Freak is incredible.

We here at Haunted MTL love Castle Freak and Stuart Gordon’s work in general. Naturally, Castle Freak is a 4 star film, a true drive-in classic even though it was a direct to video movie. There is a scene involving handcuffs and the removal of a thumb that is particularly choice.

Something very, very bad is about to happen here…

Haunted MTL’s Drive-In Totals

Lastly, we’re wrapping up with some of our own Drive-In totals, in tribute to the legend himself.

  • 1 red shirt and bolo tie
  • 1 behatted lizard
  • 2 blonde jokes
  • 1 Darcy Cosplay (as Sylvana of Castle Freak)
  • 1 Barbara Crampton guest appearance
  • Shakespeare in the park mocking fu
  • New York theater vs Chicago theater fu
  • Mangled dick phonecall to Felissa Rose fu
  • Stumped Joe Bob Fu

The Drive-In will never die

Well, how was the first trip back to the drive-in for you? Let us know in the comments, and let us know what stuff you want us to focus on in future recaps. In the meantime, please read all of our other great content here at Haunted MTL.

About the Author

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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