This week at The Last Drive-In we see how music can elevate crappy films beyond being forgotten and turn already good movies into great ones. Our films this week could not be more different in tone, style, and quality, but they both have very, very strong musical choices. One film goes the route of a cult, horror-adjacent prog-rock band, while the other does Farsi dance and punk tunes.
We’re back with Joe Bob again this week at The Last Drive-In, exclusively on Shudder. It’s important to note, Mutants, that as of this moment Shudder has not committed to renewing The Last Drive-In for another round, so what I ask is that you take a moment to tweet @shudder with your desire for more episodes. Don’t forget the hashtag #TheLastDriveIn either!
Opening Rant: Gentrification (Riverplace Courtyard on the Square Plaza)
Contamination, sometimes also known as Alien Contamination, is a 1980 Italian cash-in on the popularity of Ridley Scott’s Alien. The film follows a smart aleck cop, a frigid Pentagon Colonel, and a traumatized astronaut who investigate a link between a coffee company and mysterious green eggs. These eggs explode, causing those who come into contact with them to explode as well. This was marketed in Italy as a sequel to Alien.
Though the movie is not a great movie, it does have a fantastic score by “The Goblin,” which Joe Bob points out is comprised of the remaining members of “Goblin” after some internal drama. The film was directed by Luigi Cozzi, best known for Starcrash. It stars Ian McCulloch, Louise Marleau, Marino Masé and Siegfried Rauch. The film was also notorious as a video nasty.
Joe Bob awarded Contamination two and a half stars. In particular, the film has an amazing collection of Drive-In Totals that at one point leaves our loquacious host breathless. Part of the appeal, judging by some of Joe Bob’s breaks revolve around the sheet audacity of Luigi Cozzi, and to a greater extent Italian cinema of the 1970s and 1980s. Though, the film did receive a score deduction due to a poorly conceived, neck-up shower scene. The highlights of Joe Bob’s commentary, however, comes from his rather hilarious stories anecdotes of Luigi Cozzi who seemed like a real “character,” to put it lightly.
Haunted MTL can only really afford a star and a half for Contamination. The movie is a mishmash of stolen bits from other movies that are not even stitched together in a way that makes them work. The film has heavy, heavy doses of exposition, and the horror is lacking, to say the least. In fact, the movie during it’s final third becomes a second-rate James Bond film. Not even the presence of a cycloptic, evil alien master pulling the strings can save this mess.
But wow, that soundtrack is a good one.
Best Line: “Sewers are just as warm, damp, and comfortable as an incubator.”
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Opening Rant: What even counts as a lethal weapon? It is about 3 rants deep, here, but the main takeaway is that Nunchucks are legal in the State of Arizona! Happy ‘chucking, folks.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, the 2014 Iranian-vampire-western fever dream, may seem like a strange fit for The Last Drive-In. However, given the unique pairings this season has brought so far the film serves as a much needed, artsy pallet-cleanser to Contamination.
The film follows two lonely people. Hard-working Arash arrives to care for his heroin-addicted father and soon he finds himself falling in love with an unnamed Girl who just so happens to be a vampire. The film is very unusual in that it is in Farsi, filmed in California, and feels like a stitched together series of vignettes. Of note, the soundtrack adds a great deal to the film, and as Joe Bob discussed during one of his breaks, many scenes are driven by the music.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night was directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, who makes a cameo in the film dressed as a Skeleton at a rave. The films stars Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi (in his only real film role), Mozhan Marnò, and Marshall Manesh. Also, special credit must be paid to the incredibly photogenic cat, played by Masuka.
Joe Bob seems particularly enamored with the movie, though admittedly confused about the interpretation of it. He awarded A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night three stars. In particular, he was complimentary about the visual aesthetics of the movie during his introduction. His insights into the movie were particularly appreciated because it is such a strange film in origin and interpretation. Throughout the episode Joe Bob cites complimentary similarities of Ana Lily Amirpour to directors like Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. That being said, Joe Bob can’t help bu razzing the director for her very colorful interviews. In one particular segment he simply reads quotes from interviews with her to hilarious effect.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a wonderful and artsy vampire film filled with striking imagery and enough ambiguity to chew on for a week after. As Joe Bob stated at one point, a hundred people can watch the movie and come away with a hundred different interpretations. The film is loaded with dream-logic scenes, has a fantastic score, and carries some stellar performances. The film does try to get away with a more optimistic ending, however, which proves problematic given the explosive narrative potential in the final act. Overall, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a great vampire film and is a three and a half star treat.
Best Line: “Mr. Cat! Mr. Cat! He’s really fun. He’s really fun.” Spoken like a true drug-dealing pimp with “Pussy Stretcher” tattooed on their face in Persian.
Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals
- 1 open-air corpse pit
- 2 yellow paramilitary bread delivery vans
- 3 “eggs” on the TV (just Avocados)
- 3 levels deep digression in a rant
- 5 bedsheet hazmat suits
- 5 production companies for one movie
- 7 Twitter bans for Darcy (can we make it to 10 out of 10?)
- Torso Exploding
- Muffled Talking
- Atrocious Dubbing
- Homeless Joking
- Chinese/German Fusion Restaurant Joking
- Northern/Southern Zoo Joking
- Vampiric Bullying and Skateboard Thieving
- Awkward Post-Cocaine Snorting Vampire Seducing
- Gratuitous Place-Setting Helicopter Shots
- Gratuitous Glow-in-the-Dark Avocados with Slime
- Gratuitous Colombian Folk Celebration
- Gratuitous Cat Sitting
- Darcy Cosplaying (as “The Girl”)
- Flamethrower Egg Frying Fu
- Spoiler Fu (Thanks Joe Bob!)
- Overly Long Bathroom Entrapment Fu
- Burning Cyclops Fu
- Pretentious Interview Fu
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.