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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.

https://twitter.com/hpkomic/status/1119436362078277633

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, VHSCollector.com

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.

Glorious.

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.

Breaking News

The Last Drive-In Valentine’s Day Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In Valentine’s Day Special, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, we here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo. As is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the live broadcasting of The Last Drive-In Valentine’s Day Special. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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Movies n TV

Horror Noire, a Film Review

Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”

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Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.

As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.

The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.

Woman and man wearing a vote for candidate shirt, scared of something off screne
Image from “Sundown” Directed by Kimani Ray Smith

What I Like

Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.

My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.

However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.

Woman listening to a preacher amidst a crowd
Image from “Fugue State” directed by Rob Greenlea

What I Dislike

As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.

Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Dahmer, Silenced

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Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.

Rodney Burford in Dahmer

And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.

Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.

Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship. 

Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.

Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar. 

At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.

Then, of course, things go bad. 

One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.

If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.

This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today. 

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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