Welcome back to the Drive-In, everyone. We’re officially back to weekly double features after a pair of marathons for Halloween and a very Red Christmas. For those two marathons, we covered the movies in individual recaps and reviews. However, with the weekly double feature, we’ll be covering two movies at a time as we did in the first season. We’re also changing up the format just slightly as well.

Anyway, as always, allow me to toot my own horn. Remember that I’ll be taking over the HauntedMTL Twitter feed on Fridays to live-tweet the fun, so please join us!

Chopping Mall (1986)

Opening Rant: Sex robots and incels.

Chopping Mall was definitely the most coherent of the two films of the night. Joe Bob basically presented one for the normies and one for the freaks. The fact that we can call a movie where people of indeterminate age get murdered in a mall by security robots one for the normies belies how safe the first film of the night was in comparison to the film that closed the night.

That’s not to say Chopping Mall isn’t fun though. Any film with Kelli Maroney and Barbara Crampton is going to be worth a watch. Though really, it is kind of hard to classify Chopping Mall as a straight-up horror film. It’s thrilling for sure and has some great slasher hallmarks, but it’s a lot like the original Westworld. It a techno-parable and satire but you’re not entirely terrified of what is going on. This is especially true of Chopping Mall given all the winks, nods, and lampshade-hanging to film within. Plenty of clever Roger Corman references to be had as well. It is a film that doesn’t take itself seriously and that’s just fine. As Joe Bob put it, it’s a 2 1/12 stars film.

It was a bountiful premiere as Joe Bob was able to get Kelli Maroney on, thanks to Darcy’s tireless efforts, to discuss egregious camel toe. It was just that sort of episode. Between some of Kelli’s own stories about making the movie and her career (particularly starting off as jail bate type characters) and Joe Bob pointing out a hell of a lot of appearances from horror staples, Joe Bob still somehow found time to talk about the legendary Dick Miller. The biggest surprise for me, personally, is a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance by the Tall Man himself, Angus Scrimm.

Look, Chopping Mall is a solid time on the couch given the pandemic we are dealing with. It features a lot of hot idiots in a mall being slaughtered by robots for not practicing social distancing. It also has a ton of goofy jokes and references and even has Beef from The Phantom of the Paradise in a small role.

Plus, the amount of wasted toilet paper alone in the ending is enough to send a shudder down anyone’s spine.

I give Chopping Mall 3 and 1/2 Cthulhus.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Best Line: “Oh! Fuck the fuchsia it’s Friday!” – Greg

Gather around the Barbara Cramp-fire.

Blood Sucking Freaks (1976)

Opening Rant: Proper in-flight literature for a flight to Australia.

Blood Sucking Freaks is not so much a movie as it is an experience. It is firmly in the Sleazy Seventies territory and you are either going to love it or hate it. There is no middle ground here.

I loved it.

It’s not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. There is no real story, scenes meander comically long, and it’s mostly gore and sex for the sake of gore and sex. Yet it all works so delightfully as an oddity with a lot of things you’ve probably never seen before. Plus, there are just so many great little moments that you’re amazed have been recorded and distributed and that you are streaming in your living room.

Things like a dwarf giving himself oral sex with a severed head, or a cage full of crazed and feral nude women eating a cop who looks like David Berkowitz. Also, there is a scene where two men play darts on the nude, painted backside of a woman. “White slavery” is used several times in the script with little to no sense of irony. At 3 1/2 stars, you gotta wonder what was possibly keeping it from Joe Bob giving it the full 4 stars.

The film stars relative unknowns; professional theater folk and sex-workers alike, and it’s all thanks to the magic of Joel Reed. Plus, it is one of the first Troma films to pop up on the show. This is probably the absolute craziest The Last Drive-In can go and still continue on Shudder. It makes Street Trash look tame; y’know, the movie with dick football.

Blood Sucking Freaks is a wild way to open the season, especially as a followup to Chopping Mall, which is conventionally safe. I applaud Shudder for making the strange, strange pairing. Probably the strangest since the pairing of DEATHGASM and The Changeling in season one. It does a lot to turn the show into a conversation piece. The host segments also took the time to discuss Joel Reed and how batshit legendary he was. The episode was recorded just prior to Joel Reed’s passing.

Speaking of conversations though, the experience was made so much better with Chris Jericho serving as the official co-host of the episode. Jericho is probably the most popular wrestler in the world right now and he’s got some all-around horror-cred. His appearance was welcomed and I daresay he’d make a great guest in the future. All credit to Kelli Maroney, of course, for her stop by the trailer in the first half of the night, but Chris Jericho added certain energy that complemented the style of Joe Bob Briggs quite well. Plus there was an absolutely fantastic musical interlude.

Who says that Blood Sucking Freaks didn’t have a cultural impact?

So, Blood Sucking Freaks is an absolute shitshow, albeit an entertaining one. It’s not a good movie and to award it anything more than the barest minimum of a point on my scale would immediately devalue any other score I assign. But goddamn is it an entertaining experience. I can see why Lloyd Kaufman wouldn’t release it today… but I am grateful that he did. It is possible to love something so much that is so clearly awful? I think so.

I give Blood Sucking Freaks a score of 1 out of 5.

1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

Best Line: “This isn’t S&M, this is Art!” – Natasha

Fresh from the tap, much like how Canadians drink the syrup right out of the maple tree.

HMTL Drive-In Totals

Loads of totals this first week. Let’s check ’em out. First, we’ll start off with the official Drive-In totals during the two films, then our own.

  • Gratuitousness Beefing
  • Girl Copying
  • Gratuitous Corman Referencing
  • Propane Fu
  • Crampton Lighting
  • 6 Molotov Cocktails
  • 3 Yuki Appearances
  • Blonde Joking
  • Darcy Jailing
  • Eight books for a flight to Australia
  • Cosplaying
  • Musical Number Fu
  • 6 more Joel Reed movies I need to watch
  • Old Joking
  • Dwarf Fu
Gratuitous Yuki

Episode Score

We average the individual ratings of the two episodes with a bit of what we call the “Joe Bob Bump” to rate the double feature for the night. Basically, if we had fun during the episode that bumps up the average, even if the movies are terrible.

I mean, we’re here to watch bad movies, right?

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I hope you enjoyed this trip to the drive-in. Please be sure to join us next week during the stream and join us in the festivities on Twitter. If you haven’t experienced The Last Drive-In before (then why are you reading this review?) you can get familiar with it by using the code “SHUTIN” to get 30 free days of Shudder.

Well, folks, that’s all. Remember…

The Drive-In will never die…

David Davis

Drive-In Fan

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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