There are two themes that link tonight’s films, and both are messy. First of all, we’re all about the “body melt” genre with tonight’s two features. However, grocery store anarchy is another theme you’ll see in both movies as well!

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!

Also, can we say tweet of the night?

The Stuff (1985)

Opening Rant: Where did all the “Man-sized” Kleenex go?

The Stuff is a 1985 satirical science fiction horror film written, produced, and directed by Larry Cohen. Cohen’s name should be familiar if you’ve watched Q: the Winged Serpent, which was also in this season of The Last Drive-In. The story follows the discovery of a sweet, white substance that bubbles up from the ground and is later mass-marketed as an addictive and popular desert called “The Stuff.” A consortium of desert moguls who find themselves being pushed out by The Stuff hire a former F.B.I. agent and industrial spy by the name of David “Mo” Rutherford who discovers the danger and true nature of… The Stuff.

The film stars Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris and Paul Sorvino.

Review

Joe Bob is not the biggest fan of The Stuff only awarding it two and a half stars. On the other hand, Darcy is a huge fan and came out at the end of the episode dressed as a “Stuff” girl, so we have that to be thankful for. Yet, Joe Bob’s praise for the film was tepid at best. Mostly, he was confused by how many other people seem to love the film so much. To be fair though, he has a point. As great as Larry Cohen is, The Stuff is not his best work by a long shot. The story is filled with contrivances and as a whole the film is more of a collective of satirical sketches rather than a singular narrative

Yet, despite the issues with the movie, as always, Joe Bob Briggs delivers. In particular, as we’d learned a great deal about Larry Cohen during the airing on Q, Joe Bob spent time on Cohen’s TV writing career. However, the most interesting contributions provided by our host were outside of Larry Cohen in particular. For example, the discussing of the career of Garrett Morris, who plays “Chocolate Chip” Charlie in a great, hilarious performance. There was also a fond recollection of Robert Osborne at the Turner Studios. What was most important was Joe Bob’s introduction of the “body melt” genre of horror, which would be continued later with the second feature of the night.

Larry Cohen is a legend, of course, but we here at Haunted MTL can’t help but agree with Joe Bob in this case, awarding the film two stars. Though the very loose nature of the plot is a huge detriment to the film overall, what is in the movie can be very memorable. In particular, the goo effects are quite technically excellent for the time. What stands out most, however, is the sudden third act appearance of Paul Sorvino playing an Alex Jones-type militia leader. Paul Sorvino absolutely chews the scenery with aplomb that, frankly, overshadows the normally magnetic Michael Moriarty and the hilarious Garrett Morris.

Hey… where’s the cream filling?!

Best Line: “Everybody has to eat shaving cream once in a while.”

Street Trash (1987)

Opening Rant: The Joe Bob Wellness Regimen!

Based on a 10 minute short film, 1987’s Street Trash is a black body horror comedy and probably one of the grimiest movies ever made. The film was directed by J. Michael Muro, written by Roy Frumkes, and features a cast of near-literal unknowns. The film revolves around a community of New York homeless who live in a Greenpoint, Brooklyn junkyard, including a pair of brothers and a crazed Vietnam veteran who establishes a “kingdom” in the yard. Complications ensue, naturally, when an 60 year old box of “Tenafly Viper” liquor finds its way into the hands of the local vagrants and begins to melt them into brightly colored goo.

The film stars Mike Lackey, R. L. Ryan, and Vic Noto. But the real star of the show is a severed penis in the infamous “penis football” scene.

Review

There is a lot to say about Street Trash, but Joe Bob only gave the film two stars. That being said, there are two major takeaways about the behind-the-scenes talent of the film. First, the director of the film, J. Michael Muro is best known as one of the premiere Steadicam operators in the film industry. Indeed, one of the better host segments of the night features Joe Bob’s discussion of the Steadicam work in the film which in many ways was ahead of it’s time.

A second major area of interest was Roy Frumkes’ connection to an all-time horror legend. Frumkes formerly taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York, but is best known for Document of the Dead, a documentary feature that traces the filming of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. He is also the screenwriter of all four of The Substitute films. Lastly, there was the revelation that Bryan Singer was production assistant on the film.

Plus, we can’t forget the addition of Mangled-Dick Expert Felissa Rose on the other end of the red phone line. As always, her conversations with Joe Bob are a treat.

Street Trash is not a great movie. It has a lot of the same issues that The Stuff did and Haunted MTL can only award the film two and a half stars. The film plays more like a series of shock sketches and there are some very strange choices in the narrative, such as the ending involving the mafia guys. That being said, the movie is memorable as hell with some hilarious effects and what is likely the least flattering depiction of 1980s New York ever put to film. The scene with the severed penis alone needs to be experienced for the sheer insanity of it being committed to film. The amazing effects work, particularly the toilet scene and the exploding scene are also extremely iconic.

Not the oddest thing you’ll see in the movie.

Best Line: “Oh shit, he’s drippin’!”

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

  • 1 Clipboard Check
  • 2 Joe Bob Musical Interludes
  • 2 Michael Moriarty Movies this Season
  • 3 Smacks of the Drive-In Sign
  • 4 Credit-Sequence Wise Guys
  • 9 Twitter Bans for Darcy (twice in one night?!)
  • 128 “Fucks” in Street Trash (waiting for someone on Twitter to verify)
  • Dog Vomiting
  • Child Endangering
  • Head Splitting
  • Pope Joking
  • Real-life Stuff Eating
  • Goo Leaking
  • Toe Popping
  • Grocery Store Raging (in both movies)
  • Decorative Corpse Arrangement
  • #junkyaardvarking
  • Lady Chucking
  • Corpse Pissing
  • Vietnam Flashbacking
  • Horse, Elephant, Kangaroo, and Lion Joking
  • Street Punk Fu
  • Gloryhole Fu
  • Door Opening Fu
  • Ice Cream Truck 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.

I’ll take twenty cartons.
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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