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We’re back with Joe Bob again this week at The Last Drive-In, exclusively on Shudder. Have you been watching them live? If not, you should really consider doing so and hopping on Twitter to join in the hashtag conversation at #TheLastDriveIn. It’s an incredible communal experience, and if I can take a moment to toot my own horn, it’s great to get retweets and the like from Joe Bob, Darcy, and the crew at Shudder.

Madman (1982)

Opening Rant: Staten Island (it’s like New York’s New Jersey!)

Madman is a 1982 slasher film set at a camp on Staten Island. The campers and counselors alike are menaced by “Madman” Marz, a former resident of the area who murdered his wife and child and was set to hang until he escaped into the woods. After a campfire tale he is unwittingly summoned by one of the campers. The film is loosely based on the Cropsey legend of Staten Island. Madman was also in production alongside The Burning (1981) and necessitated rewrites so the two films would not be so similar.

Madman stars Galen Ross (of Dawn of the Dead fame, under the name Alexis Dubin), Tony Fish, Harriet Bass, and Paul Ehlers as “Madman” Marz and directed by Joe Giannone. The film is probably most known for the iconic VHS cover.

Thank you,

Joe Bob Briggs was fairly generous with Madman, awarding it 3 stars. The film is particularly notable for Galen Ross’s desire to not be linked to it and the fact that few of the cast and crew went on to do much else. That is, of course, contrasted by Paul Ehlers, “Madman” Marz himself, who was a huge horror fan and was bothered that Madman was never really featured in Fangoria. That being said, it certainly probably doesn’t help that we later see Joe Bob holding up a recent Fangoria cover featuring himself. Kind of rubbing it in there, Joe Bob. What comes across most in Joe Bob’s asides, though, is his love for the folks of Staten Island and his knowledge of the lives of #mozzarellahairgel folks. For example, Joe Bob’s insights into Richmond College, where a large group of the cast and crew came from, were also quite hilarious; statistically speaking, 98% of us reading now are likely to be accepted there.

That being said, Joe Bob also suggests that Madman is a great example of the Three Aristotelian Unities. I’m not going to dive too far into it here, but the key here is that Madman is a tight little film, unified in action (a massacre), location (a camp), and time (one night). For fun, read that link and see how the French debated endlessly about the specifics of these unities.

Madman does have a couple of memorable things going for it. The Moog synth score is pretty fun, and the theme is incredibly catchy. Sadly, most of the enjoyment of the movie comes from some of the more earnest attempts at something much better that fail. To invoke TVTropes we’ll just go with “narm.” Overall the film is only a 2 star affair. Most of the enjoyment of the film (especially if you are not already one of the huge fans of it) comes from watching with Joe Bob. This film is worth the price of admission alone for the wonderful Joe Bob sing-a-long to wrap up the half of the double-feature.


Best Line: “Google that fucker.” (Joe Bob’s motto, not part of the movie. There are no really good lines in the movie, to be honest.)

The most horrifying moment in Madman

Wolf Guy (1975)

Opening Rant: Japanese monster films (Joe Bob talks about the lack of monsters in Japan).

The second film of the night was the 1975 supernatural cop and Yakuza film, Wolf Guy. Though to be more accurate, the full title is Wolf Guy: Enranged Lycanthrope. The film was loosely based on the Wolf Guy manga written by Kazumasa Hirai and illustrated by Hisashi Sakaguchi. The film stars Sonny Chiba (!!!) as Akira Inugami, a supernaturally powered cop who uses his abilities as the last survivor of the Wolf Clan to solve underworld crimes. The movie directed (and largely forgotten) by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi also stars Rikiya Yasuoka, Saburo Date, Koji Fujiyama, Tooru Hanada, Ryuji Hayami, Jiro Ibuki.


Of the two films of the week, Wolf Guy towers over Madman. Wolf Guy is a perfect film for The Last Drive-In with some amazingly totals, much like the Thanksgiving marathon’s Dead or Alive. I mean, 78 dead bodies, 26 breasts, and 27 gallons of blood definitely puts most films on The Last Drive-In to shame in sheer excess. Naturally, Joe Bob gave Wolf Guy the 4 star treatment.

Some of the great moments of the night included The Last Drive-In‘s art director Yuki (the Tokyo Cowboy) popping in to talk Japanese film with Joe Bob, including his experience working with Sonny Chiba. We were also treated to a special The Last Drive-In title-card featuring the show’s resident lizard, Ernie.

The Drive-In’s resident kaiju

Naturally, what was most fascinating were the insights that were made into the production of such a fast and loose adaptation of a manga with a b-movie budget, including director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s apparent philosophy of “just keeping it moving” by throwing in fight scenes.

When it gets down to the Haunted MTL review, this film is loosely horror adjacent. There are no transformations into lupine form and the film is more of a Yakuza and martial arts story that was in the standard for Toei Studios. It is a notable and unique interpretation of the werewolf, however. Overall, the film is absolutely bonkers in the best way imaginable and is well worth watching. The score, for example, is particularly good, featuring some great 1970s sleazy sounds. Haunted MTL has to give Wolf Guy 3 and 1/2 stars, merely because the film was not quite enough of a horror film.

But damn, what an experience.

Best Line: “Right now I am a woman who wants an animal.”

The bullets just made him angry.

Drive-In Totals

  • 2 Black shirts with blue floral trim and an orange/slider bolo ties (Joe Bob wore the same getup on the Fangoria cover he displayed)
  • 1 Darcy Cosplay (Synthetic Wolf Guy!)
  • 1 Kaiju Rampage (Ernie messed up his little trailer and smashed the TV!)
  • 1 Awkward Spinning in Hot Tub Sex(?) Sequence
  • 1 Satisfying Neck Snap Foley Hit
  • 1 Reading Rainbow connection (and won’t you be surprised!)
  • 1 Wolf Mother-Wife
  • 1 Hair Trigger Final Girl Shotgun Blast to a Counselor Corpse
  • 2 Potential Future Films (The Burning and Willard)
  • 3 Aristotelian Unities
  • 4 Twitter Bans for Darcy (get your shit together, Jack)
  • 9 Sonny Chiba Films in 1975 Alone
  • 1060 dollars for Michael Barryman’s favorite wolf sanctuary raised by the signed figure auction from the Thanksgiving marathon
  • Attempting to Dislodge an Ax but Making It Look Like Vigorous Tandem Genital Rubbing Fu
  • Folk Song Fu
  • Suckle Fu
  • Synth Stings
  • Sonny Chiba Stares
  • Dive Bar Jokes
  • Catholic/Jewish Jokes
  • Sex Scene Face Maulings

As always, please share your thoughts with us about The Last Drive-In. Also, please check out our other great content here at Haunted MTL.

And, as always, beware the “Madman” Marz…

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

Movies n TV

If You Don’t Woe Me by Now



This is the second to last episode of Tim Burton’s Wednesday. And it’s kind of exactly what I expected it to be. But is that a bad thing? Let’s find out.

(Missed my last review? Click here to read it now.)

We begin at the funeral of the unfortunate Mayor Noble. While Wednesday seems to have been an invited guest, someone else in attendance isn’t. 

Uncle Fester, played by Fred Armisen. 

Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester in Wednesday.

His visit couldn’t have come at a better time for Wednesday, as almost all of her friends aren’t talking to her. When Thing is brutally attacked, it’s even better luck that Uncle Fester is around. 

This attack on Thing spurs Wednesday to speed up her search. With her uncle’s help, she breaks into the Nightshade library and finds that the monster attacking people is called a Hyde. A creature that can only be called upon by someone else. 

This means that instead of one killer, we are looking for two. And Wednesday is pretty sure she knows who the killers are. 

But of course, she’s still an idiot teenager, so she goes right ahead and confronts one of them, Dr. Kinbott, by herself. This has results that surprise no one. 

After this, Wednesday learns her lesson and gets Sheriff Galpin involved to catch her suspected monster. Their relationship seems to be getting better after he caught her and Tyler in the Crackstone tomb watching Legally Blond and didn’t rebuke them. Maybe he’s softened on the idea of Wednesday dating his son. 

Or maybe he wanted to use her to get around needing a search warrant for Xander’s art studio. Because why follow the law when you can risk the life of a teenager by sending her in to start grabbing up evidence in a flagrant disregard for the safety and rights of two kids? 


Because that’s exactly what happened. Honestly, poor Xavier has gone through so much trying to be friends with Wednesday. 

When you’re a fan of a certain genre, you’ll find yourself recognizing the beats of a story before they even happen. For instance, a murder mystery will often have a moment, right near the climax of the story, where it seems like the case is solved. 

Gwendoline Christie and Jenna Ortega in Wednesday

This was that episode. It appears like the case is solved, but it’s all a little too easy. And too early in the episode. Now, I don’t consider this a bad thing. It’s an expectation of the genre. Especially because this is a show for a young audience who might never have seen this before. And in this case, just because I saw it coming didn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying. 

This one was satisfying because of the implications. The real monster is revealed now. And if you’ve figured out who it is, you understand how difficult a job Wednesday is going to have to prove it. 

One thing I like about Wednesday is that there is no dishonesty in this child. If she thinks something, it comes right out. So of course she had no problem confronting her therapist as soon as she started putting the pieces together. Of course, the flip side of that coin is that she expects other people to behave like her. To be honest, at least some of the time. To attack from behind, and attack people other than herself to get her point across. Because, sadly, good people tend to judge others in the ways they would behave. 

I loved the addition of Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester. And I wasn’t expecting him to do a good job, honestly. I’m quite used to Christopher Lloyd as Fester, so this was kind of shocking. But as always, he was great. He brought a sense of levity and joyous foolishness that this character should always have.


All in all, this was a great episode. My biggest criticism is that the twist ending isn’t as unpredictable as one might like. When you’ve been a selfish prick to everyone around you, and all of your friends are done with your shit, but one person is still fine with it, that person might just have some ulterior motives. 

There’s just one episode left, and I’m excited to see how the story wraps up. I have high hopes for it. And I’m just thankful that the season has exceeded the rather dismal expectations I had for it at the beginning. 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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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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