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We’re past the halfway point for season two of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs and I am already feeling sad. Let’s not dwell on what is coming to an end, however. We already have confirmation of a summer special, after all. For now, let’s dive into two movies that cannot be more different.

Tonight’s double feature consisted of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist III (1990) and Jim Van Bebber’s Deadbeat at Dawn (1988). I was back to live-tweeting the double-feature for the night, so apologies now for any awful puns and jokes you see embedded into this review and recap.

The Exorcist III (1990)

Opening Rant: Toxic masculinity and a poorly thought out razor ad.

The sequel to the sequel to one of the most culturally important horror films of all time had a lot that could have gone wrong. What is amazing is that The Exorcist III is actually damn good despite the awful The Exorcist II: The Heretic. A lot of that is the result of the tenacity of the strange and passionate William Peter Blatty, author of the original Exorcist novel. That’s not to say that The Exorcist III is without flaws, however. The film has a number of issues, but ultimately these problems are not enough to derail what turns out to be a strange follow-up to the alarming possession of Regan MacNeil.


The film is, foremost, a masterclass of acting. The acting here is so good that it sets George C. Scott opposite Brad Dourif and Scott is the one who comes off as subdued compared to Dourif. It is a very “talky” sort of film which seems unusual for a Drive-In feature, but it works. Most of the deaths occur off-screen, but it works. Like last season’s The Changeling, also featuring George C. Scott, The Last Drive-In makes room for something a little more measured and, I dare say, classier in its approach to horror. It is the film’s restraint in the visual excess of horror that allows what it does engage in to mostly succeed. Namely an amazing transition from Jason Miller to Brad Dourif via an editing trick and perhaps one of the finest jumpscares ever committed to film.

Yet, the film also has substantial problems. The murdering off of one key character sacrifices a fascinating homosocial relationship for cheap motivation. A strange dream sequence comes off as a budget Twin Peaks scene and is goofier than insightful. Lastly, a hasty attempt to include an exorcism into a story that didn’t need it ruins the ending to what was an overall creepily effective film.

So while The Exorcist III mostly does what is necessary of a good sequel, specifically for The Exorcist, too many issues mar it. As brilliant as some of Blatty’s choices were as the mind behind the film it is necessary to have a seasoned veteran to bounce off of when it comes to film.

Joe Bob’s assessment of the film is perfectly fine. Three stars is a fair score for the movie. He ultimately had a lot to say about it. There is a trend where the more mixed he is on a film the more in-depth Joe Bob’s analysis and discussion of the film usually come off. It makes sense because things we love sometimes are harder to discuss than things we can be critical of. The Exorcist III is just one of those films where it was a perfect storm of issues narratively and behind the camera while also navigating the legacy of the original film.

While the second feature of the night is definitely more fun and a better Drive-In movie overall, The Exorcist III provides viewers with the sort of material that drives them to watch the redneck horror host in the first place; an honest assessment of the film, both good and bad, with observations about the craft of film itself. It sounds dismissive to just say it is “typical Joe Bob,” but that is a good thing. This is a perfect example of the appeal of The Last Drive-In.


I like The Exorcist III. I think people who claim to like it more than the original are probably being contrarians. It’s not a bad movie and it is probably the best sort of sequel to The Exorcist that a fan can ask for, but the fact remains that it is a deeply flawed film. Ultimately, I couldn’t rate it higher than three and a half Cthulhus. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Best Line: “This I believe in… I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity, torture and anger and hate… I believe in murder. I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and infidelity. I believe in slime and stink and every crawling, putrid thing… every possible ugliness and corruption, you son of a bitch. I believe… in you.” – Kinderman to what is clearly Pazuzu.

Pictures taken seconds before disaster.

Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)

Opening Rant: Poop coffee.

I think I first saw Deadbeat at Dawn at the end of my junior-high years. I recall it was a shitty VHS bootleg and it came from a kid named Eli who was super into Insane Clown Posse and bootlegged VHS copies of the hentai Dragon Pink and Golden Boy for all of the weird kids at my junior-high which turned out to be a lot of us.

I mention this because this sounds sketchy and grimy and is sort of the perfect way to experience the sketchy and grimy film that is Deadbeat at Dawn. The film is juvenile and punk in a fundamental way of just not giving a shit and indulging in such bizarre anarchistic impulses on and off camera that it becomes this sort of outsider art. I say this with love: Deadbeat at Dawn is an absolutely insane 81 minutes that probably should never have been released.


Deadbeat at Dawn is independent film-making at its most impulsive and punk. Cobbled together over four years by a director (Jim Van Bebber) who also plays the lead, the film was often shot without permits and resulted in a series of Jackass-style moments witnessed by unsuspecting people in the local community. It’s all dumb film students recording dumb, dangerous stuff and eventually managing to pull a movie out of it. Basically what every aspiring film-school student secretly desires to do.

It’s not a good movie but it is also a good movie. Deadbeat at Dawn is not well-written, the performances are amateur, and the story is just kind of non-existent. It features a sequence of the director/lead practicing his nunchucks and screaming in a Dayton, Ohio graveyard dealing with feelings about his budget-Satanist girlfriend. It’s an example of one of those films that know not to take itself too seriously and have fun with itself.

Yet, the film also is a gritty Kung Fu vengeance film, punctuated with moments of true despair with a simultaneously repulsive and sympathetic protagonist with one of the most insane last 20 minutes put to film. So much of this movie shouldn’t work but does. The film is just so grimy and textured. In another universe this would have been paired with Street Trash.

Joe Bob’s assessment of Deadbeat at Dawn is a full four stars punctuated by him saying “I loved it.” The film is pretty much perfect Drive-In fare and an example of something so beloved the conversation around it, while always insightful on the show, is also kind of dialed back. Perhaps this is in awe of the audacity of what Jim Van Bebber achieved. Regardless, several Sam Raimi references, including his own thoughts on the “punk action film” pop up in addition to referencing Joseph Campbell.

Perhaps the best part of all of this, however, is how Joe Bob Briggs highlights Van Bebber’s own philosophy: “Pain is temporary. Film is forever.” Our horror host points out just how crazy and punishing the assembly of this feature was. I know Joe Bob Briggs has written a lot of books, but I don’t know if he’s written one about Deadbeat at Dawn. If not, he should.


What impressed me most about Deadbeat at Dawn is how well it holds up. I’ve seen it maybe twice since junior-high, but goddamn does it still hold up. As a punk music fan, I think one of my livetweet riffs summarize my feelings on this film pretty well.

Deadbeat at Dawn is totally worth four and a half Cthulhus. It’s too audacious not to be. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Best Line: “I hate people, man. I don’t care. I don’t give a shit. I don’t give a shit about nothin’. Man, all my life people have fucked with me. Don’t you fuck with me, man. I just fuckin’ hate people. I hate people and I don’t care. I just don’t fuckin’ care. I don’t care. I’m the baddest motherfucker you ever saw, man.” – Bone Crusher

Never let anyone tell you that your way of processing your feelings is invalid.

HMTL Drive-In Totals

So, here are the official totals, courtesy of Shudder. It was a good night.

As for our totals?

  • 4 Helicopters
  • $9-million in Reshoots
  • 20 Dense Minutes
  • 57 Weeks on the NYT’s Best Seller List
  • $10,000 Scholarship
  • Carp Monologing
  • Inexplicable Fabio
  • Spontaneous Dourif
  • Down n’ Dirty Catholicism
  • Awkward Crash Zoom
  • Joe Bob Confusing
  • Bible Versing
  • Actor Slapping
  • Hillbilly Joking
  • Graveyard Fighting
  • Graveyard Nunchucking
  • Raimi Referencing
  • Campbell Referencing
  • Snake Slapping
  • Dual Jocking
  • But Punching
  • South Carolina Joking
  • Ouija Fu
  • Creepy Confession Fu
  • New York The-ate-er Fu
  • Biblical Research Fu
  • Powerwalk Fu
  • Map Fu
  • Burp Fu
  • Sloppy Bar Pass Fu
  • Sommelier Fu
  • Car Fu
  • Poorly Dubbed Cat Fu
  • Darcy Cosplay: The Angel of Death
  • Silver Bolo Award: The Horror Movie Podcast
Pew pew.

Episode Score

Man, what a good night. These films could not be more different than one another. One is more literary and the other is more punk. It’s a strange combination that results in yet another great episode of The Last Drive-In. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

And remember, folks…


The Drive-In will never die.

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Movies n TV

Consecration, a Film Review

Consecration is a 2023 horror mystery movie directed by Christopher Smith, who also co-wrote the script with Laurie Cook.



Consecration is a 2023 horror mystery movie directed by Christopher Smith, who also co-wrote the script with Laurie Cook. This R-Rated film includes Jena Malone, Danny Huston, and Janet Suzman as its starring cast. The film is currently available on AMC+ and Shudder.

After her brother dies, Grace (Jena Malone) goes to Scotland to investigate the circumstances. At every step of the way, Mount Saviour Convent seems to interfere with her investigation. Father Romero (Danny Huston) seems eager to help her, even if Mother Superior (Janet Suzman) resists her, but a strange fear seems to direct their actions. Worse yet, Grace endures visions of the past, present, and future.

A woman stares outside perspective, next to a brick building on a road.
Jena Malone as Grace

What I Liked

A surprise performance steals the movie for me, that being Eilidh Fisher’s Meg. This nun-in-training remains consistently inconsistent, forever making me unsure of what to expect. With uncertainty and mystery at the heart of the film, Meg expresses that instability by keeping Grace and the viewer on edge.

Mother Superior and Father Romero have perfect friction with each other. Both manage the supernatural situation in their own way, acting as enemies and supporters toward Grace as needed. This friction also adds to the uncertainty that surrounds Grace’s investigation.

The mystery itself surprises me, though there is barely enough to add the context one needs for this mystery. However, it still earns credit for creativity and deception. Most twists and reveals become apparent and often underwhelm me, but Consecration deserves credit for catching me off guard.


Consecration showcases some alluring visuals, CGI not included. The setting and designs really add to the movies. At times, these visuals purposely contrast their environment as the narrative requires. Usually, it complements the central vision. The film gives off a pleasant aesthetic throughout its runtime–barring the CGI.

As a horror, Consecration has haunting moments. The mystery remains the central selling point. However, it leaves the viewer in constant uncertainty that helps the horror thrive.

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

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Self-harm and suicide reoccur throughout the film, across several scenes and characters. Aside from ensuring the audience remains uncertain of events, there are no larger discussions or much focus on the issue.

Child abuse defines the backstory of certain characters. Unlike the point mentioned above, this earns more of a narrative focus. However, it’s still not exactly the point of the mystery. Don’t expect the film to explore this with sensitivity or depth. If these seem like dealbreakers, Consecration might be a skip.

A priest standing in front of a stone structure. In the middle of the structure is an opening revealing a clear sky.
Danny Huston as Father Romero

What I Dislike

I briefly touched on a CGI problem, which hinders the otherwise interesting and alluring practical visuals. There are no ways to understate how distractingly bad one scene’s CGI is and how it upsets that quality. This scene, no spoilers, happens to be the most open use of CGI. There are other CGI moments, but none distract or hinder like that first scene.

The monster reveal underwhelms in a specific way. The twist perfectly aligns and sets up the foundation for this reveal to make the monster work. However, several reshoots add context to prior scenes to show this “demon” in action, and it somewhat upsets the effectiveness of those scenes.

Thoren Ferguson’s DCI Harris shows up sporadically throughout the film. He acts as the force of law, often hostile but completely underutilized. I suspect DCI Harris had a larger role, but somehow this plot was reduced. I assume this because he plays an important scene at the end that doesn’t seem earned. This isn’t to undermine Ferguson’s performance, as he does everything he can with what he’s given.


Final Thoughts

Consecration hooked me in and kept me engaged throughout its runtime. While the horror is middling, it has merit. The mystery remains the strength of the film, though it’s somewhat underdeveloped. If your mystery films tend to keep you in suspense through shifty characters and secret religious orders are your thing, Consecration might evoke your interest.
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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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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