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It was an evening of chills, spills, and colonial ills for the sixth episode of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs. What a night. We had two divisive features: Dead Heat and Cannibal Holocaust. I think we can all agree that maybe there was a little too much Piscopo. That and filmed animal deaths are pretty terrible.

So, lets dive in, shall we?

Dead Heat (1988)

Opening Rant: Can one loiter in a Starbucks?

We all know how this goes, two cops are investigating a conspiracy, one cop dies in the line for fire, and then is revived as a zombie to continue his work with his smart-aleck partner. Welcome to Dead Heat: It’s like Lethal Weapon meets My Boyfriend’s Back. The first movie tonight was kind of a light, airy aperitif to Cannibal Holocaust‘s main course. Dead Heat was goofy, overproduced, but still pretty fun.


The movie is an interesting product of late 1980s Hollywood trying to ape the spirit of the kind of trash coming from low-budget indie projects. The elements are all there but not handled appropriately. The film feels like a Troma release with too much money and lazy execution. There is stuff in this movie to love, though, and even a more scaled-down one or two films buried in this overly-plotted mess of the movie.

It’s strange that what should be a momentous occasion, the presence of Darren McGavin and Vincent Price in the same movie, does not really wow as it should. That’s kind of the movie as a whole: it should be way better than it is. Less time spent on Joe Piscopo one-liners and an amusing but ultimately pointless reanimated Chinese butcher shop inventory and Dead Heat could have been really good.

That being said, Treat Williams hurling himself off a motorcycle through a glass door, guns-blazing was certainly worth the watch. The film is fun, but that is about it.

Joe Bob’s assessment of Dead Heat is pretty middle of the road for a film on The Last Drive-In, coming in at two and a half stars. Of course, our host had a lot to say about the film and a lot of it was interesting, but it also felt like Joe Bob just wasn’t feeling it. This might be the most ambivalent he has ever been on a movie since his debut on Shudder. Perhaps it is a recognition of squandered potential in concept and execution?

Then again, Dead Heat was definitely not the draw for the evening. Cannibal Holocaust stole the show even before the episode aired.


Dead Heat could have been a better movie. I can only give it two and a half Cthulhus out of five. If the film hadn’t been as crazy as it ended up by the end I would have rated it lower. 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Best Line: “God wants us to live forever. And even if he doesn’t, you could always buy him off.” – Loudermilk

Guess who the zombie is… you may be surprised!

Cannibal Holocaust

Opening Rant: Vegan Meat

The buzz around this week was already huge in the MutantFam as this was the rare time that Joe Bob revealed a movie early on. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is a lightning rod of controversy and emotions in the horror community. I won’t say it is a “love it or hate it” film as my own feelings are fairly ambivalent, but it is most assuredly polarizing.

So, the thing about Cannibal Holocaust is, in my estimation, that any weight we attach to the film in the form of messages is in spite of director Ruggero Deodato’s efforts. The film is an exploitation piece, through and through, and it’s pretty good at that. It is a cannibal mondo and delivers some pretty gruesome stuff. Yet, the anti-colonial reading of the film is definitely more attributable to critics and viewers. Deodato has said a lot about the film since and has said the “right” things about intent, but the production of the film feels otherwise. I won’t relay the long, convoluted history of Cannibal Holocaust, but others have.


The film is largely ham-handed in messaging. Violence is swift, exploitative, and animal cruelty is a real issue. Joe Bob did verify that the animals slaughtered on camera were used to feed local indigenous actors, which doesn’t quite make it acceptable by any means but eases the sting of it a bit. Yet there are moments of brilliance.

The score is one of the haunting and iconic audio accompaniments to grotesque violence and exploitation shown on the screen. The score is downright beautiful and the juxtaposition of a romantic melody set against the slaughter of human beings works incredibly well in promoting unease in the whole on-screen enterprise.

This paragraph will have spoilers, so please skip it if you intend to watch the movie. I do not want to ruin two particular scenes. With that out of the way, it feels strange to say, but the best moment of the film could go to two scenes: In the first, the manipulative filmmakers burn down a hut full of trapped indigenous people and in the aftermath, the lead producer and his co-producer have sex near the smoking ruins in a scene of excess cruelty. So much interpretive work can be done based around this scene. It’s masterfully executed in establishing the Green Inferno-crew as the” real cannibals,” a sentiment delivered at the end of the film. The second scene is equally cruel: the three men of the camera crew rape and indigenous woman and the sole woman member of the crew protests, not about the rape, but the waste of film; after all, they can’t show this to the public.

These scenes of cruelty are intended as set up for why the events of the film play out, but they come off as so much more because of the cultural cachet of the film. Cannibal Holocaust is just one of those movies that carries a certain weight. Few people would straight up say itis their all-time favorite among certain company, though it certainly is an all-time favorite for some.

The problem is that, ultimately, Cannibal Holocaust just isn’t that good as a movie. It’s not exactly “fun,” though fun is not necessarily the be-all measure of quality. It’s not exactly deep, either, as it is a blunt metaphor that was sharpened by viewers after the fact. Most of the horror of the film stems from animal slaughter and barring a couple of moments, most of the gore is passable at best. The film’s most iconic shock is often displayed right on the cover of the DVD or on the theatrical poster. The film offers little besides novelty and is an interesting footnote in the debate of films and obscenity.


Yet, I firmly believe that any serious advocate for film should see this film. It is a strange contrast I must deal with; it’s not good, but it is also something to be seen.

Joe Bob’s assessment of the film, to me, seemed a bit mixed. There was a fair and justified amount of criticism regarding elements of the film, but what was interesting was the way he had handled the aspect of animal cruelty. Yes, animals were harmed in the making of the film and committed to celluloid, but those animals were also used as food. It’s an ugly bit of filmmaking but it is also something that has been overblown, to a degree.

The majority of the criticism revolved around the direction, and I definitely found myself in agreement in that regard. In my own estimation, Ruggero Deodato is an inconsistent center to such a touchstone in the horror community, and his on-set choices and antics are equally as problematic as the animal abuse. I cracked this joke during the live-tweet, but I think it summed up my feelings pretty succinctly.

Joe Bob has talked at length about the (hard “I”) Italian film industry of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It was nuts. Imagine how crazy a person is to be considered too crazy for the Italian film industry.

The real highlight of the evening, however, was the sense of care for viewers that the crew of The Last Drive-In places into their show. The disclaimers were frequent, one at the end of the break between films, Shudder’s own disclaimer, the film’s disclaimer, the social media disclaimers in the lead up to the film, and Darcy’s own trigger-warning tweets as the film aired. It reflects well on Joe Bob Briggs and those with whom he has surrounded himself in this stage of his career.


Given the film, it is ironic that I can use the word heartwarming to describe the night as beyond the many warnings meant to protect those who may be unable to handle the content of the film there was something new. Something fans have wanted for a while: Host segments with timestamps, detached from the film. More are on the way for previous movies that have long slipped the grasp of Shudder, but rolling them out starting with Cannibal Holocaust is incredibly fitting. The ongoing BBQ gag throughout the host segments in the latter half of the night was incredibly cute as well.

Ultimately, Joe Bob’s score for Cannibal Holocaust is a reflection of polarization. It’s either four stars or one star. It just depends on how you approach it. As for me, the film scores three Cthulhus. It’s important but it’s not necessarily good. 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Best Line: “Ah, yes, that’s typical Western thought. Civilized, isn’t it? That’s what Alan thought and that’s why he’s dead. The Yacumo Indian is a primitive, and he has to be respected as such. You know, did you ever think of the Yacumo point of view, that we might be the ones who are savages?” – Monroe

A man who has seen some serious shit.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As always, Shudder shares those wonderful recaps. Cannibal Holocaust‘s are, as expected, pretty wild.

As for the Haunted MTL tally?

  • 2 Bolos
  • 2 Ineffectual Zombie Gimp Robbers
  • 2 Dead Monkeys
  • 3 Tribes
  • 3 BBQ Styles
  • 6 Yuki Sightings
  • 700 Cop Cliches
  • Trailer Opening
  • Twin Peaks Connecting
  • Darcy Jailing
  • BBQing
  • Lincoln/Kennedy Joking
  • Nun Joking
  • Woman Melting
  • Tactical Vincent Price
  • Mangled Dick Expert Felissa Rose
  • Course-Correcting Gunfights
  • Gratuitous One-Liners from Joe Piscopo
  • Gratuitous Character Actors
  • Disclaimer Fu
  • Lipstick Fu
  • Deli Fu
  • Launching Off Motorcycle Fu
  • Silver Bolo Award Winner: The Homicidal Homemaker
  • Darcy Cosplay: The Turtle’s Revenge
Darcy is the Turtle’s revenge…

Episode Score

While the energy felt a little lacking surrounding Dead Heat, the crew more than made up for it with the shenanigans surrounding the airing of Cannibal Holocaust. Had the discussion and host segments not delivered I very likely could have dipped below a four here. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

As always, join us for live-tweets for the remainder of the season.


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Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Ave Hestia



Episode seven of American Horror Story Delicate was a classic AHS flashback episode. If you were excited to see what Preecher had to say to Anna at the end of the last episode, I’m sorry to say that you will not get that satisfaction. However, we did learn all sorts of other fascinating things about the strange coven hunting Anna. And, we learned all sorts of things we didn’t know about Dex’s first wife, Adeline.

The story

We begin our story with a woman giving birth alone in a barn. When it becomes clear that she’s not going to be able to deliver vaginally, she pulls out a knife and cuts her stomach open to pull out her children.

For whatever reason, this is when the coven of witches decides to make themselves known.

Ashlie Atkinson in American Horror Story.

We then cut to 2013, when Dex was still married to Adeline. In true Dex fashion, he’s surprised her with a puppy.

While that sounds great in theory, dogs are something a couple should talk about, not gift each other with as a surprise. An adult would know that. A trust fund boy like Dex does not.

Adeline owns a vegan restaurant called Ave Hestia. Love that name. She seems to be living a great life. She has a career she’s passionate about, friends who love her, and a husband she seems kind of fond of.

Maybe that’s why she didn’t want a puppy. She already had one.

Of course, things aren’t as good as they appear. We soon find out that Adeline was one of those babies we saw at the start of the episode. The other baby was Sonia, the painter.

Annabelle Dexter-Jones in American Horror Story.

And yes, both of these characters are played by Annabelle Dexter-Jones.

Adeline has stepped away from their family, and whatever dark things they do. But the family isn’t happy with her decision. And if she isn’t going to come back willingly, they’re going to make her.


What worked

To start with, I loved the character, Adeline. She is fierce, she is fearless, and relentless. I feel like this would have been a far different story if Adeline had been our main character. It was astounding to see her interact with the same people Anna has, and get a completely different response. It’s clear now, how much everyone around Anna resents her for simply not being Adeline.

I also appreciated that there was just a shocking amount of blood in this episode. From the start when Adeline and Sonia are born, to the climactic end of Adeline, this episode is just drenched in blood.

Finally, I’m fascinated by the changes in this season from the book it’s based on. Because absolutely none of this was in the book. Compared to this, the book is heartwarming.

The book is kind of heartwarming even without the comparison.


But I love the fact that, even with just two episodes left in the season, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I do not know what Anna is carrying. I do not know if she’s going to survive this. I do not know what these people want with her.

But I can’t wait to find out.

What didn’t work

All that being said, it is a bit frustrating to have no forward momentum in this episode. This was all backstory, and it felt like there wasn’t enough backstory to fill a full forty minutes. Because of that, it dragged. There were a lot of scenes that just didn’t need to be as long as they were. It felt like they could have cut that down considerably, and had some time to check in with our main characters at either the start or the end of the episode.

There are only two episodes left in the season, and I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going to happen. But so far the story has been dark, bloody, and provocative. So I hope they can manage to end it on a high note.


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: An Eggs-celent Time




The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs returned March 29th for the first ever Easter-themed episode. Debuting the new series format, hosts Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl presented only one film. The Drive-In can be watched on AMC+ and Shudder every other Friday during the season.

This week on The Last Drive-In, Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl hopped onto our screens to include us in their Easter party. Festivities include decorating eggs, blowing noisemakers, cuddling mutilated stuffies, and of course, swigging down Lone Star beer. You’re invited to consume whatever substances you like best to enhance the viewing experience of this week’s film, Brian Skiba’s Rottentail (2019).  

Season 6 poster for The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs.

As Joe Bob opens the episode, there is hope he will remain focused and on topic. He begins with innocent rabbit behavior patterns before taking a turn into the best methods of hunting them. Darcy grows increasingly uncomfortable as he delights in giving pointers to would-be hunters. She incredulously asks, “Are you talking about killing rabbits right now?” 

Believing the audience is on her side, she throws up a Twitter poll. It was a close split, but 50.2% of viewers who responded do agree with her. See? Every vote does count. (Seriously, make sure you are registered to vote in this year’s elections.) 


Calling out the elephant in the room, Joe Bob reminds viewers about the new one-movie format of the series. Instead of two movies every Friday, this season has been stretched out with one movie showing every other week until Labor Day. 


If you want someone to blame, Joe Bob says you can point at us tired folks on the east coast struggling to stay awake past midnight. However, between the new format and specials, we have been assured there are actually more movies this season. 

Thankfully for the audience, Rottentail is packed with action and hits multiple genres to the point that it feels like at least a movie and a half. 

A poster for Rottentail (2019) featuring the mutated Peter Cotten and the tagline "Hippity Hoppity Homicide."
A poster for Rottentail (2019).

Rottentail tells the story of unassuming scientist Peter Cotten (Corin Nemec) being transformed into a rabbit-human hybrid after receiving a bite from a genetically-engineered rabbit. He embarks on a journey of revenge against those who wronged him in his childhood such as Pastor Jake Mulligan (William McNamara). He even finds time to rekindle a past romance with Anna Banana (Dominique Swain).

The Drive-In Totals include but are not limited to: 4 dead bunnies, 1 mad army general, mutated bunny rampage, lettuce nibbling, heart tossing, 1 mutant bunny baby, and erection fu. “Four stars. Joe Bob says, ‘Check it out.’

No Animals Were Harmed

It goes without saying that there are a few depictions of animal cruelty within this film. Darcy feels it is prudent to warn the audience. Whenever an animal dies on screen, Twitter is flooded with upset viewers expressing their distaste. Dragging the warning out of Joe Bob, she reminds him of the gentle nature of the #MutantFam. We’ll watch humans be slaughtered all day, but don’t you dare hurt that animal.  

Joe Bob seems to not understand the need for the warning as, “this whole movie is about taking revenge on people who harm animals!” He insists no animals are actually harmed and implies that being bothered is indicative of good effects. To demonstrate, at one point he “snaps” Darcy’s neck with the assistance of a sound effect.

Joe Bob demonstrates the use of sound effects as he fake kills Darcy.
No mail girls were harmed in the filming of this episode.

Pages to Print

The film is based off of the graphic novel Rottentail by David C. Hayes and Kevin Moyers. Initially self-published, Source Point Press picked up the novel and are responsible for its translation onto screen. The film is very stylized and Joe Bob says it gives Re-Animator (1985) vibes. 

Nemec is a big fan of graphic novels, and had read the story prior to the film’s production. He ended up becoming a co-producer of the film. Joe Bob believes Nemec should get more praise for his role as Peter/Rottentail, and the hosts bemoan his lack of availability to come on the episode.

Furthering my belief that Joe Bob is secretly a huge fan of Lifetime Christmas movies, he highlights that director Skiba is perhaps best known for his work on the network. I am continually baffled at how many of these Christmas movies he can name and refuse to believe he doesn’t actually cozy up to watch them.

Tis The Season?

Speaking of Christmas, this week’s mail call features a letter originally sent back in December. Joe Bob immediately senses what is going on and chides Darcy, “I do not want letters that make everyone cry.” Brad from Loretto, Kentucky writes in to share his Halloween memories with his daughter. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 20 before Brad had a chance to share The Last Drive-In with her.  It’s a sobering reminder that we truly do not know how much time we have left to spend with someone.  

No, Wait, Come Back!

It is understandable why some folks were upset with the new format change of the series. However, the episode is still full of The Last Drive-In spirit. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it feels as if there was more time & space for host segments. At points, Joe Bob and Darcy were breaking in almost every 15 minutes. It’s very much still the same show we love, just now featuring more anticipation.  

My rating for Rottentail: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)


My rating for the episode: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

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Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Opening Night



American Horror Story Delicate returned last night with the episode titled Opening Night. After a wait of six months due to the SAG strike, we finally get to see how this story ends.

Eventually, of course. This was just episode six.

The story

This episode begins in 1988, with Anna’s parents. Her mother, after complaining of pain in her thigh, dies of a heart attack. Alone in the hospital with a crying child, her father is overcome. When a nurse comes out of nowhere to help soothe baby Anna. A nurse that looks exactly like Nicolette.


From there, we pick up our story right where we left off in October. Anna has just found out that Babbett, her biggest competition for the Oscar, died in a car crash. Siobhan insists she has to come to the funeral, and even give a speech. Anna refuses at first but eventually goes along with it.

Kim Kardashian, Billie Lourd and Leslie Grossman in American Horror Story.

Back home, she continues to find dolls of herself all over. Even Nicolette finds one and brings it to her as though she’ll get a laugh out of it. It should surprise no one that she does not.

Anna’s stress comes to a head when at an art show for Dexter’s client Sonia. With everyone else being unkind and demanding of her, Sonia at first seems like a port in the storm. Until that is, she is part of a strange circle of women.

Sonia, Ivy, Tabitha, and Nicolette surround Anna, taking turns to touch her, kiss her, caress her. And in the end, we’re left wondering if it ever really happened.

We’re left wondering what, if anything, is happening.

What worked


I appreciated the character work in this episode. For example, we finally met Dexter’s father. And it took one sentence to realize that he is an absolute monster. The rest of the conversation just reinforces this.

This works on a couple of different levels. First, it makes us question every single thing Dexter’s mom said about this guy in the first part of the season. Then, it makes Dexter’s interactions with Anna so far make a lot more sense.

It also allows Dexter to grow. In being reminded what a garbage person his dad is, he realizes he doesn’t want to treat Anna like this. And, while it might be too little too late, he treats her with more compassion and kindness in this episode than he has this season so far.

I was also really impressed with the scene at the art gallery. When Anna was suddenly surrounded by the women, I honestly wasn’t sure if it was happening or not. The whole thing felt surreal, both affectionate and primally threatening at the same time.

This just added to the feeling of paranoia that’s been strong throughout this whole season. We just do not know what is real and what isn’t. And we are not supposed to.


Finally, I want to draw attention to a detail that I’m sure you’ve noticed. Everyone, every single character, cannot keep their hands off Anna. Everyone is always touching her face, her hair, the small of her back. Strangely, almost no one touches her stomach. But everyone is always reaching for her. It’s to the point where I’m wincing anytime someone does it.

Juliana Canfield in American Horror Story.

What didn’t work

Here’s one thing I don’t love about this season. It doesn’t feel like American Horror Story. Some of the hallmarks of the series are there. The settings are gorgeous. The gore doesn’t hold back. And yes, a few of our favorite AHS actors are involved.

This season does seem to be setting itself apart on purpose. But in doing this, it does feel like they’re losing one of the strongest hooks in AHS lore.

All of the previous seasons are in the same universe. This was made most clear in Apocalypse but does come up at other times. This season feels entirely removed from the rest of the series. And this is disappointing. I went into this expecting a season of American Horror Story, not a mini-series based on a book that has little to do with the AHS franchise.


Setting this disappointment aside, this was a good episode. I am completely unsure of what’s going on, in a good way. And I am interested to see what’s coming next.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

If you’re a fan of my work, please check out my latest story, Nova, on Paper Beats World. New chapters launch every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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