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Welcome back to the Drive-In. This week Joe Bob joked about the lack of guests on the show and how this weekend’s feature would be received. Fans were fortunate to have an absolutely stacked back-to-back two weeks of fun guests, but there is something said to just having Joe Bob, Darcy, and the always vital Mangled Dick Expert Felissa Rose with us for the night. It’s another solid showing at The Last Drive-In this week.

This time we got two movies full of color, weirdness, and amazing music: Brain Damage (1988) and Deep Red (1975).

So, let’s dive in, shall we?

Brain Damage (1988)

Opening Rant: Joe Bob is not an Instagram fan.


So, Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage is a pretty special movie. The movie is at least partially connected to the first marathon’s Basket Case (1982) by a fun cameo, but it is little more than a silly cameo. One of Henenlotter’s other films, Frankenhooker (1990), would be a nice future film for The Last Drive-In. Brain Damage itself would go on to add two sequels in 1990 and 1991.

The main thing about Brain Damage is that it is unbelievably fun. It’s a strange film that deals with themes of addiction by creating a golden-voiced brain slug monster that serves as the drug epidemic metaphor. Shockingly, it works well because it believes in itself enough to be goofy and still commit to the strange morality of it all.

It’s not a scary film, however. Sure, it is gory and hilarious, but the presence of a talking drug slug, whose origins are explained in an absurdly long backstory-bomb, just presents no real frights beyond vague feelings of anxiety around drug addition. The movie is cheeseballs, basically, but that’s fine because it is so entertaining. I mean, the movie plays its goofy card pretty blatantly by bringing in an (uncredited) John Zacherle as Aylmer, the mind-bending brain parasite.

Joe Bob gave this film a full 4 stars and I am inclined to agree that it is a very quality movie. The Aylmer puppet is a huge jump above Belial from Basket Case, and even then, the puppet is just goofy enough to let you buy into the movie in a way that a CGI Aylmer never could. The insights into the production provided by our venerable host were as great as ever, of course. In particular, though, the fourth break chronicles the origins of the tune of Aylmer’s little musical number. It proved appropriately historical, insightful, and slightly out of place like a good Joe Bob deep-dive, given the feature was about a drug slug. Another interesting fact dropped by Briggs, however, was the revelation of a “shooting subway” in NYC for film-production.

Brain Damage continues Joe Bob’s 4-star spoils this season on The Last Drive-In and it is definitely one of those films where I’d agree with him on a higher score. The film is not perfect but the movie is just too ridiculous and fun. I plan on re-watching it a couple more times as soon as I can. It’s that good. Brain Damage is a 5 Cthulhu film.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Best Line: “Yeah, but when it comes to blood in my underwear, I want to know how it got there.” – Brian to Aylmer

The sound mixing here is on point, fitting, as it is all ear trauma.

Deep Red (1975)

Opening Rant: Joe Bob talks the Getty Fire in LA.

Dario Argento’s Deep Red (or Profundo rosso for you Giallo nerds) is one of those huge moments in Giallo film that has become legendary and is perhaps held up on a pedestal of sorts. When held at a distance like that, as some sort of art, it tends to have imperfections overlooked. So much has been written about Argento’s film. Even what constitutes the real film is up for debate and is storied. After all, there are so many different versions floating around out there and the film has been hacked up more than some Giallo women.

There is so much weight attached to Deep Red that it may come off as sacrilege among some of the horror community to label it as a fine movie. It is definitely up there in Argento’s creative works. The film is entertaining and stylish. But it’s also a significantly flawed piece. It’s very much style over substance. I liken it to an extended high-art music video, and given the origins of the band Goblin from this film, that seems fitting. Sequences are not so much organic expressions of the narrative but rather cool moments set to Italian prog-rock, albeit some amazing prog-rock. It’s got pointlessly strange setpieces inconsistent with the actual story being told.

This is very much a movie to have to play in the background of a party, or just maybe sitting back with something to drink with the volume way up for that amazing Goblin score. This is not a movie for a satisfying story. It’s just not good. It’s fine.


I am a Dario Argento fan, one of those Argentophiles that has written papers on some of his work. I totally understand how exhausting people like me can be. Joe Bob really sort of tore into Argento and his fans throughout the feature, which makes it puzzling that he awarded Deep Red a full 4 stars. This is where I feel I need to diverge from our Drive-In scholar. I don’t feel Deep Red is that great, nor do I feel Joe Bob Briggs’ assessment of it felt entirely truthful. Part of his assessment, at least to me, felt as though it was the equivalent of sugar-coating the bitter pill. Perhaps giving the movie the full Drive-In tally is symbolic, recognizing influence and legacy, but giving him some room to be honest about how up-their-own-asses some Argento fans can be regarding the movie.

The bits poking fun at the scholarship surrounding the movie throughout the feature were equally hilarious and pointed. As someone who has been up-his-own-ass about Argento’s work I felt a slight sting, of course; pointed glances from my girlfriend didn’t help. But I also really recognized the truth there. Just as there are Argento’s acolytes who write endlessly about Deep Red, I am one whose tastes align more toward Suspiria. I also recognize that I am a bit crazy about Suspiria, so the ego check provided by Briggs was welcome.

However, I firmly believe that diegetic sound has its merits in the discussion of film and no amount of teasing from the redneck vampire is going to change that.

Largely nonsensical and aesthetically stunning, Deep Red is a tough review, especially paired with a movie like Brain Damage that is itself largely nonsensical and aesthetically stunning. What separates the two is that one has an actual, thought out story between cool moments, and the other is just cool moments.

I can really only give Deep Red 3 and 1/2 Cthulhus out of 5.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Best Line: “Great! Really, that’s good. Very good. Maybe a bit too good… Too clean. Yes, too precise. Too… formal. It should be more trashy. See what I mean? Remember that this sort of jazz came out of the brothels.” – Marcus, the pretentious bitch-boy.

Thanks, I hate it.

HMTL Drive-In Totals

Shudder provides us with a handy recap of the totals for the two movies of the night.

But, what about our totals for the week?

  • 2 weeks of NYC subway scenes
  • 2 dirty bathrooms
  • 7 instances of brain listed in the drive-in totals
  • 7-million instances of “brain” being used in describing Brain Damage
  • 11 seconds (when the pre-show countdown ended and then relaunched at this point)
  • Surprise Eye
  • Surprise Robot Doll
  • Truck-Dragging Fu
  • Brat Smacking Fu
  • Drywall Scrapping Fu
  • Gratuitous Blue, Green, and Red
  • Gratuitous Goblin
  • Dick Mangling Expertise (thanks Felissa!)
  • History Lecturing
  • Ear Popping
  • Big Band Prostelyzing
  • Scholar Bashing
  • Cum Tripping
  • Door Bouncing
  • Butcher Joking
  • Polish Joking
  • Yuki Sighting
  • Darcy Jailing
  • Darcy Cosplay: Dungeon Girl
  • Silver Bolo Award: Dead Meat
Darcy has the weirdest boner.

Episode Score

Any Drive-In night is a good night, and this was very much a great, standard showing of the show. Perhaps relatively subdued in comparison to the first two nights with the amount of stuff that was going on, but those are exceptions and not the norm.

Tonight’s pairing was very interesting and I’d love to know more about why these movies were paired the way they were. It wasn’t as outlandish as last week’s double-feature, but there is something about seeing these two movies together that seems to be making a statement. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Hey, see you next week during the double-feature, yes? Be sure to follow us on Twitter. I take it over on Friday nights during The Last Drive-In showing.

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Movies n TV

You Reap What You Woe



Episode five of Tim Burton’s Wednesday was very busy. A lot is going on here, and most of it is quite fun. So let’s not waste any time getting into it.

First, we must discuss the fate of poor Eugene. If you’ll recall, the last episode ended with Wednesday finding him in the woods, covered in blood. 

Despite Principal Weem’s insistence that he’s resting up and healing, he’s actually in a coma in the local ICU. But maybe she has reason to gloss over that unfortunate fact. It’s parents’ weekend, after all. Probably not the best time to admit that a student was grievously injured. 

While there are certainly some Nevermore students who are happy to see their parents, none of our main characters are among them. We know that Wednesday isn’t thrilled to see her family, as she’s still resentful that they left her there. 

Family therapy scene from Wednesday

Still, she’s not exactly pleased when Gomez is arrested for the murder of a man named Garrett. This devastates the family and forces Morticia to reveal a secret she’s been keeping from Wednesday. 

Morticia also finally gets a chance to talk about Wednesday’s visions with her. She tells her that Goody Addams, who’s made psychic contact with Wednesday several times, is there to teach her about her visions. But Goody Addams is also super vengeful, and not to be trusted. I wonder why. 

While much of the episode is about freeing Gomez from jail, the subplots are no less interesting. 

Let’s start with Enid. As we know from the first episode, she has yet to grow into her full werewolf potential. If she can’t do this, she’ll be shunned by her kind and likely abandoned by her family pack. Her mother wants to help her, by sending her to a summer camp meant to help werewolves wolf out. Enid refers to these as conversion therapy camps. Which is clearly a problem. 

The story that shook me was Bianca. She’s outright afraid when her mother shows up. And the reason is soon made clear.

Her mother is part of a cult called the Morning Song. Bianca’s mother is married to the leader. She’s been using her siren song to trap people in the cult. But her powers are fading. She wants Bianca to come take her place. If she doesn’t, she’ll reveal a terrible secret of how Bianca got into Nevermore Academy in the first place. 


I honestly don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this episode. Except that wolf out is a ridiculous term and I cannot take anyone who uses it seriously at all. The characters were fun, the storyline was interesting, and it was satisfying to start getting answers. It helped that this episode included some real-world bad guys, like conversion therapy and cults. If every other episode of this season had been as good as this one, the show would be top marks from me all around. 

This episode was a dramatic example of exactly how parents can fail at their job of raising their kids. And, thankfully, how they can succeed. We see Enid’s mom refusing to let her grow at her own pace. We see Sheriff Galpin ignore a clear cry for help from his son Tyler. We see Bianca’s mother, involved in a cult, using her child for her siren powers. And of course, we don’t see Xavier’s parents at all.

Lucius Hoyos

But we also see Morticia being a good mom to a difficult kid who’s rebelling against her. We see Enid’s father supporting her, exactly as she is. We see Eugene’s moms by his side at the hospital. At the bedside of their son, they are still able to give comfort to Wednesday. That is some strength right there. 

Overall, this was a fun episode. We got some answers and were introduced to even more questions. I had fun watching it, and I’m looking forward to the next episode. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Solace, a Film Review

Solace (2015) is a mystery thriller directed by Afonso Poyart. This R-rated film stars Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Morgan and Abbie Cornish.



Solace (2015) is a mystery thriller directed by Afonso Poyart. This R-rated film includes Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish, and Colin Farrell. As of this review, it is currently available to Netflix and Hulu subscribers.

As a string of murders leave FBI agents Joe Merriwether (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Katherine Cowles (Abbie Cornish) perplexed, Joe turns to an old FBI contact and friend, Dr. John Clancy. Dr. Clancy possesses psychic abilities that make him an essential asset, but tragedies in his personal life leave him distant and broken. Fearing a person with similar gifts as himself, Dr. Clancy cannot help but lend his assistance.

Anthony Hopkins stares with a blue tent over his right eye. Colin Farrel behind him. The background is blue with several faces.
Solace Alternative Cover Art

What I Like

This cast is great, with notable legends living up to their reputation. While by no means career-highlighting performances, they work well together and provide a weight that pushes past lackluster character roles.

As the main character, Anthony Hopkins’s Dr. Clancy stands out above the rest. Given the most screen time and plot relevance, this opinion comes easily. His role has the most opportunity to make us care for his character.

Solace creates fun and engaging scenes that tie directly to the characters’ psychic abilities, adding tension in unique ways. While other movies with psychics utilize similar strategies to convey this power–the movie Next comes to mind–the scenes add variety to otherwise lackluster cinematography. This decision also adds a somewhat strategic nature to the psychic battles.


Originally intended to be a sequel to Seven, this idea, thankfully, does not follow through to the final product. The story behind that is the typical Hollywood shuffle and brand recognition. I can’t exactly figure out a place to put this interesting fact, but the choice remains a benefit to the film.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Slight spoilers ahead! Read this section with that in mind.

A closeted man contracts AIDS and infects his wife. As this goes into rather old homophobia and fears, I felt it needed mentioning. Considering the film’s release date, 2016 (US), the plot point feels uninspired.

Some gratuitous sex scenes tie into the above reveal. The dramatic reveal and voyeuristic nudity (of the wife) make for an odd viewing experience. When the reveal isn’t shocking, it doesn’t exactly add much weight to the elongated scenes.

Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrel separated by a knife.
Solace International Cover Art

What I Dislike

There are no tactful ways to go about the low effort of the film. It’s surreal to see the names attached, the concepts addressed, and how it all fumbles. I imagine this discrepancy has something to do with the original sequel idea, but that remains speculation. Ultimately, the film feels awkwardly low budget for the cast it possesses.

Adding to this weakness are the underdeveloped characters and rushed plotlines. The film feels unfocused in direction, revealing things as they become relevant with fluctuating degrees of foreshadowing. Some of these revelations work, with some speculation, but adding them all together makes Solace weaker as a film.

This film isn’t scary, despite the premise being extremely promising. The idea of a potentially psychic killer does evoke a lot of possibilities, added with the exceptional cast, and it seems destined for success. Yet, the horror is middling at best.


Solace wants to be more and achieves some success in certain areas, but its inability to build and support these ideas hinders the overall quality. Perhaps Solace desires to upstage the twists of the typical mystery thriller that makes the film grasp too many new and interesting ideas. Regardless of the reason, the film suffers, and the viewing experience becomes underwhelming.

Final Thoughts

For a thriller killer, Solace doesn’t hold much water to competition. While the cast performs their roles perfectly and works well with each other, the notable weaknesses in writing and lackluster visuals don’t do the acting justice. A surprisingly exciting cast becomes a disappointing letdown. 2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Woe What a Night



Episode four of Tim Burton’s Wednesday was one that plenty of people have been talking about. And now that I’ve seen it for myself, I can see why. It was memorable. Just not always in good ways.

We start the episode with Wednesday and Thing breaking into the morgue for clues. They discover that each of the monster’s victims has missing body parts. If you’ll recall, a homeless man was murdered at the end of the last episode.

While investigating, Wednesday finds Xavier’s secret art studio. He’s been drawing and painting the monster over and over. So, at least someone else has seen it. 

Of course, Xavier catches her skulking around his studio/abandoned building on school property. 


I honestly don’t understand why this school has so many buildings around campus accessible to students without teacher supervision. I wonder what the teen pregnancy rate is at this school.

Cornered, Wednesday invites him to the RaveN dance. This, of course, pisses off Tyler, who has a thing for her. An unrequited thing, might I add.

Not surprisingly, Wednesday doesn’t care about the dance. She cares more about getting information about the monster. She goes to Sheriff Galpin, who does seem to be an ally. At the very least, it seems like the two of them are the only ones taking the literal monster in the woods who is eating people seriously.

They agree to work together, to a point. She brings him concrete evidence of the monster, and he agrees to do a DNA test for her. 

Of course, we couldn’t just focus on that. There’s a dance to go to. 


If you haven’t seen a single episode yet of Wednesday, you at least know about this goofy dance the title character does in this episode. Everyone was doing it, from morning shows to teenagers on Tik Tok. And it’s fine. It reminds me of some dance scenes in Addams Family Values. It was awkward and a little funny. It wasn’t worth the hype, but it was charming.

Jenna Ortega in Wednesday.

Of course, while the kids are dancing, the town kids are planning to prank them. I mean, I guess this is a prank. They pump paint into the sprinkler system and set it off during the dance. Of course, everyone but Wednesday is wearing white. 

In the resulting chaos, Wednesday has a vision of Eugene, who went into the woods looking for the monster’s lair. This, of course, is exactly what she told him not to do. She runs out to find him but doesn’t beat the monster there. Strangely, she’s not the only one running around in the woods covered in blood. So is Ms. Thornhill.

Overall, this was a rather cliche and dull episode. But it wasn’t without its moments. One thing I appreciated was Bianca’s response to Xavier at the dance. Even though she was pretty desperate to go to the dance with him, she doesn’t allow herself to be disrespected. I appreciate that. She didn’t take her anger out on Wednesday, either, which was nice. It’s 2023. We don’t need girls being cruel to each other over boys.

I also like Wednesday going to Sheriff Galpin, and him believing her. We did not have to suffer through the cliche of a teen who doesn’t trust the adults around her. Neither did we see the pompous adult who doesn’t listen to the teens when they bring evidence to them. And this was so refreshing. I loved to see it. 

Now, let’s talk about what didn’t work here. Specifically, there were too many teenagers with moody, angry brooding moments. Everyone has a crush on everyone else, and nobody is handling it well. Shocker. 

Emma Myers in Wednesday

I am not entertained by teenage love triangles. Tyler likes Wednesday, who doesn’t care. Bianca likes Xavier who likes Wednesday, who still doesn’t care. It’s an irritating subplot and could have been replaced by any number of good stories. And yes, I understand that this is a kid’s show, intended for kids. Kids deserve smarter subplots. Kids are worthy of smarter subplots. If Disney can realize not every story needs a love component, everyone can.

All in all, this wasn’t a great episode. But it wasn’t terrible. There was way too much focus on dances and teenage relationships. But at least it moved the mystery forward. So there’s hope for the episodes to come.  3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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