So, in the span of four hours, I watched Maniac and Heathers and I absolutely loved it. This week’s films come from that Last Drive-In impulse of pairing tonally different movies together. This is similar to the premiere and I hope it is a sign to come for the rest of the season: The Last Drive-In is at its best when it is offbeat.
As I did last week, I encourage you to follow the Haunted MTL Twitter feed and join in on the fun during the live stream. We’d love to have you.
Opening Rant: Joe Bob talked a lot about similarities between Maniac and Joker, but transition more toward the panic around the clown.
We get more sleazy seventies this week with Maniac. Yes, the movie came out in 1980, but the work of making it and the whole aesthetic is pure 1970s. The movie is incredibly fun and grimy and has an absolutely legendary performance from Actor’s Actor Joe Spinell. Spinell is absolutely magnetic as Frank Zito, one of the great slasher characters who is also incredibly charming. The fact this absolute, well, maniac, is at all sympathetic is an incredible feat, especially given some of those really creepy elements of the character. You’ll see.
William Lustig’s direction is strong and the film and the film absolutely soars during the sequence where Frank is stalking a woman in the subway. This scene is where the movie absolutely clicks and the paranoia and anxiety of this chase is fantastic. The scene is only second to a great photography scene where viewers have the pleasure of watching Spinell morph from charming-Frank to monster-Frank. It’s masterful. Too bad the ending (not the art-house death-scene, but rather the final shot) kind of cheapens the overall quality of the movie.
Joe Bob has a lot of praise for the film, but I am less enamored of it. Joe Bob awarded the film the full 4-star treatment. The film is good, do not get me wrong. It can be creepy, the effects are fun, and the killer is fascinating. Hell, the movie has the big daddy of gore effects, Tom Savini. Speaking of whom, having Savini on The Last Drive-In is an all-time-great get for the show. Savini was affable, charming, and had many great stories. He was like the world’s coolest uncle and it was fun to hear he and Joe Bob swap insider knowledge of film. The conversation surrounding Maniac’s infamous “exploding head” is definitely going to be posted on YouTube in the coming week.
Ultimately, though, I found Maniac kind of tame. Yet, something about the film just doesn’t work for me. For as much as Maniac gets for being controversial, I don’t find it all that intense. It’s fine. The film works, very well even, yet it’s something that I feel I could just pop on for fun than anything that would necessarily creep me out. It just does not have the same effect on me as it does others, but that’s okay. It’d be a while since I saw it, but compared to Blood Sucking Freaks it was just kind of… cozy. And even then, Blood Sucking Freaks didn’t really cross any lines for me, either.
Basically, what I am trying to say is… don’t hang out with me.
I thought about it a lot, but when it comes down to it I could only give Maniac 3 and 1/2 Cthulhus. It’s a fun movie, but the eye-rolling ending just burns away so much goodwill I have for it. Had the ending not made me roll my eyes I’d have given it an extra half Cthulhu.(3.5 / 5)
Best Line: “I know, but to me things change. People die. But in a picture or painting, they’re yours forever.” – Frank Zito
Opening Rant: Joe Bob takes on San Francisco.
We get to the best movie of the night after a brief break. Heathers is a pitch-black high school comedy, with the ultimate irony being that it’s not really the kind of Drive-In movie that one expects from a Joe Bob Briggs selection. But that’s okay. One of my favorite moments of season one was the artsy The Changeling, and it’s nice to have something a little outside the norm of the show. A couple of these films a season are welcomed.
As for Heathers, its not really a horror film, though it makes several horrific statements about teenagers, society, and high school. The situations presented are awful and there is no way in hell to make Heathers today given America’s continuous trauma of mass-gun violence in schools. Yet, as screwed up a world as Heathers presents, we have to laugh because it also feels just so true to life.
Heathers made Winona Ryder a star, despite claims to the contrary by Beetlejuice fans. Sure, perhaps Beetlejuice was a mainstream hit, but Heathers was a bold choice of role that put her on the radar of darker film fans. Of course, this is all opinion, but it’s hard not to see how iconic Winona Ryder comes across in the film in so many scenes. She obviously was not alone, however, and her work was balanced by the absolutely manic energy of Christian Slater who seems to be channeling the spirit of Jack Nicholson. Slater’s JD might be one of the best Holden Caufieldesque shitheads committed to film and to watch the “bad boy” facade wash away into the pathetic, ineffectual dweeb he ends up at the end of the film is so, so satisfying. It’s explosive, even.
Really, though, Heathers is one of those writerly movies. It’s oft-quoted, it’s marveled at for its structure, and it is a tight movie. Its incredible work by a first-time screenwriter in Daniel Waters. He absolutely nails the teenage voice that would continue to thrive in future teen films. A lot is said about John Hughes having influenced film regarding teenage characters. Waters is right up there with him, full stop. If the film has a weak spot, it might be Michael Lehman’s direction; it’s not bad, but barring a couple of scenes it doesn’t really stand out either. Lehman would go on to direct a lot of television.
Joe Bob’s assessment of the film comes off as perhaps the biggest surprise of the night. Of course, it’s not odd that Joe Bob would like Heathers. It’s a good movie. But the fact Joe Bob gave Heathers the full 4-star treatment is very interesting, especially given his usual half-star deduction for a lack of breast. The overall exuberance of the film carried throughout the host segments, however, and his insights into the cast were particularly welcome. This was especially interesting when he was discussing Shannen Doherty and her experience on the set, but his bit on the insanity that was Christian Slater was also quite fun.
I really don’t throw the word “perfect” out there a whole lot, and usually, when I do it is usually irony. I can safely say that, without irony, Heathers is a perfect teen-centric movie. It’s not at all flawless and in today’s climate elements of it are fairly antiquated. But none of that matters because it is darkly funny, well-plotted, and probably is one of the better representations of high school out there. With that said, it only makes sense that I’d give Heathers the Five Cthulhus treatment. (5 / 5)
Best Line: “My son’s a homosexual, and I love him. I love my dead gay son.” – Kurt’s Father, at the Funeral.
HMTL Drive-In Totals
As usual, we start with the official Drive-In Totals in handy tweet form!
Here are our totals for this week!
- $30,000 porn dollars
- 6 Scathing Review Excerpts
- 7 Beer Cans
- 2 Darcy Cosplays (Frank Zito and
- 1 Darcy Imprisonment
- 1 Yuki Sighting
- 250 Page First Draft
- Stalking Fu
- Dwarf Porn Discussion Fu
- Vomit Fu
- Croquet Fu
- Gratuitous Flopsweat
- Gratuitous Cliffsnotes
- Gratuitous Disco
- Joe Bob Cosplaying
- Texas Joking
- Chinese Joking
- “That Guy Award” for Glenn Shadix
- “Silver Bolo Award” for Cousin Barnabas of the Collinsport Historical Society
The best Drive-In pairings tend to be the most bonkers. Nobody in a sound state of mind would pair Maniac and Heathers, but here we are, and we’re all the better for it. Again, another solid episode, but that’s pretty much the standard. The minute the show has a bad episode then we’re all in trouble. That begs the question though, what would a bad episode be? (4.5 / 5)
One a final note, we’re trying to get Joe Bob and Darcy verified on Twitter. Join us, won’t you?
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023
Shudder March 2023 Release Schedule
Mutant family, please gather ’round as February kicks rocks and we shove our way into March. With the new month comes the shifting from winter to spring as death beautifully resurrects back to life, drunken patrons swarm our local bars like rabid locusts for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and of course new exclusives and returning favorites on Shudder to satisfy the horror fiend in us all. To quote the prestigious Samuel L. Jackson, “hold onto your butts” and let’s dive right into Shudder’s March 2023 release schedule.
While it is true that the release schedule for the start of 2023 on Shudder has been minor and slightly mixed, with films such as the much talked about experimental low-budget indie ‘Skinamarink‘, the surprisingly entertaining horror comedy ‘Sorry About the Demon‘, and writer/director Neil Marshall’s return to the genre with ‘The Lair‘. We also graciously received the wildly fun ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine” special, with season 5 currently in production and premiering later this year; though it can’t come soon enough. As we like to do here at HauntedMTL, let’s kick off March with Shudder’s newest exclusives currently streaming now and in the coming weeks.
Spoonful of Sugar – Now Streaming
Starting off this list we begin with director Mercedes Bryce Morgan and writer Leah Saint Marie’s latest film ‘Spoonful of Sugar‘, now currently streaming.
Millicent (Morgan Saylor), a disturbed college student working on her thesis about children with severe allergies, is hired to babysit little Johnny (Danilo Crovetti), a sickly, mute child who suffers from every allergy under the sun. His mother Rebecca (Kate Foster) is an accomplished author currently focused on her newest book release, while his father Jacob (Myko Olivier) spends his days in the backyard working on frivolous carpentry projects. After experiencing a bizarre sexual awakening while using LSD as an alternative treatment for Johnny, she soon uncovers the family’s dark secrets as things begin to become unhinged.
Leave – Premiering Friday 3/17
After having been abandoned as an infant at a cemetery wrapped in a cloth with satanic symbols, Hunter White (Alicia von Rittberg) grows obsessed with figuring out who her biological parents are and why they seemingly abandoned her. However, as she gets closer to the answers she so desperately seeks, a malevolent spirit is warning her to leave.
‘Leave‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/17 and is directed by Alex Herron and written by Thomas Moldestad, starring Alicia von Rittberg, Herman Tømmeraas, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, and Stig R. Amda
The Unheard – Premiering Friday 03/31
‘The Unheard‘ follows the story of deaf 20-year-old Chloe Grayden (Lachlan Watson) after she undergoes an experimental treatment to restore her hearing. While recovering at her family’s beach home after the successful procedure, Chloe begins to fear she is not alone as she begins to experience auditory hallucinations related to the mysterious disappearance of her mother.
‘The Unheard’ is directed by Shudder alumni Jeffrey A. Brown (The Beach House) and written by brothers/screenwriting partners Shawn Rasmussen and Michael Rasmussen (Crawl), co-starring Michele Hicks and Nick Sandow. ‘The Unheard‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/31.
Returning Classic and Fan Favorites
Now that we’ve removed the veil for the new exclusive titles dropping this month, I think it’s time we reveal the returning classics jump starting our transition into spring for 2023. Allow me to highlight some of my favorite films returning to Shudder for March including ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ and ‘The Company of Wolves‘; grim re-telling’s of popular children’s fairy tales. We also cannot forget John Carpenter’s haunted coastal horror ‘The Fog‘; no, not the remake…thankfully.
Gretel and Hansel – Now Streaming
Directed by Osgood Perkins, ‘Gretel and Hansel’ is a terrifyingly dark and unique vision to one of history’s most famous childhood fairy tales. After being thrown out of their mother’s home, Gretel (Sophia Lillis) leads her younger brother, Hansel (Samuel Leakey), through the woods in search of food and work. The children soon discover a quaint cottage where a fragile old woman Holda (Alice Krige) offers fresh food and bed. The children accept all Holda has to offer, with little thought as to what may be asked of them in return.
Though it has been met with mixed reviews, ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ offers astounding performances by veteran actress Alice Krige as the films iconic Witch of the woods and Sophia Lillis as lead Gretel. Director Osgood Perkins does well to draw his viewer in with a beautifully haunting score and unnerving cinematography, making this one grim re-telling worth checking out at least once. ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ is available to stream now.
The Company of Wolves – Now Streaming
Continuing our list of returning classics, we have yet another bold re-telling of a beloved children’s fairy tale, 1984’s ‘The Company of Wolves‘. While the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood‘ has been retold through various forms of media, including numerous films, ‘The Company of Wolves‘ is a beloved horror interpretation with adult themes and memorable practical effects including one of the genres best werewolf transformations.
A wise grandmother (Angela Lansbury) tells her granddaughter Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) a disturbing tale of innocent maidens falling in love with handsome strangers … and of their sudden mysterious disappearances when the moon is full and accompanied by the strange sound of a beast in the woods.
‘The Company of Wolves’ is co-written and directed by Neil Jordan and stars Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Micha Bergese, and David Warner, streaming now.
John Carpenter’s The Fog – Streaming 03/31
Writer, director, musician, and horror master John Carpenter is a legend in the genre having provided countless classics such as ‘The Thing‘, a terrifyingly gruesome remake of ‘The Thing from Another World‘. Or his sci-fi action/horror ‘They Live’ where he deals with societal control through corporations and government. And of course, my personal favorite, the film that jumpstarted his career and created one of horror’s most iconic slashers…’Halloween‘.
1980’s ‘The Fog‘ is a terrifying shoreside tale of vengeful spirits haunting the fictional coastal town of Antonio Bay, OR. as they begin preparations to celebrate its centenary. Following exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in the town’s waters, a thick unearthly fog harboring the souls of those who perished rolls in and with them, the dark secrets of Antonio Bay’s past.
John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’ stars scream queen and recent Academy Award winner Jamie Lee Curtis, genre alums Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Kyes, and was co-written by the late Debra Hill. ‘The Fog‘ will be available to stream on Shudder 03/31.
Full Shudder March 2023 Film Releases
For a full comprehensive list of all the titles being added to Shudder for the month of January, please refer to the graphic below. Please be on the lookout for our review of ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine’ to drop later this week here on HauntedMTL and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more Shudder news and spooky reviews!
Gretel and Hansel
Spoonful of Sugar
The Company of Wolves
Jack be Nimble
The Blair Witch Project & Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Movies n TV
She Wolf, Art by Jennifer Weigel
So this isn’t a review but more just some thoughts…
I have to admit that I actually like the She Wolf music video by Shakira.
Maybe partly because my Zumba group back in the day used to dance to it with all of us cautioned to not to look up the music video for fear it would be too risque or something… (The Zumba dance to this was one of my favorites, and I loved our group of mostly 60+ year old retirees for all that some of them did act surprised at these things, whether or not they actually were.) Or maybe partly because it reminds me of Madonna’s Express Yourself, or by extension the famous dance scene in Metropolis directed by Fritz Lang.
It’s a guilty pleasure.
The ways these things evolve and stay the same over time fascinates me, especially how the messaging and movement change, and yet stay the same.
Anyway, I created this artwork based upon the She Wolf video and song, incorporating a Hazelle puppet head atop a modern Barbie doll body. I don’t recall what happened to Barbie’s actual head though I’m pretty sure I needed it for another project. (Technically I needed the body for another project too, and this was just a stopover.) Years ago this piece found itself part of the Women’s Caucus for Art website as one of the chosen artworks for the year. I was going to try to write something to go with it for Haunted MTL but instead I thought I’d share it as a lead up to my revisitation of my werewolf story from St. Patrick’s Day last year.
Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.
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