Connect with us



Haha, what the Hell, folks. What just happened? Please let us know you’re okay and not turning into sentient industrial junkyard.

Oh, and welcome to Notes from The Last Drive-In.

Mayhem (2017)

Opening Rant: Evading taxes with creative accounting.

Tonight was not my first experience with Joe Lynch’s Mayhem. One of my first reviews on the site way back last year was for the Shudder exclusive, a review, coincidentally, written on my birthday. I was particularly effusive with my praise of the film, and I had maybe seen it one other time since. Does it still hold up?


Hell yes it does.

Mayhem is a very fun, energetic film with a simple plot but is still incredibly satisfying. The pairing of Steven Yeun and Samara Weaving is one I am eager to see again and it’d be great if they were reunited with Joe Lynch, who has a fun little cameo as an IT guy. It’s not a deep film, and it is not my favorite “tower” film out there, but it is one that I can probably watch at least a couple of times a month. It just clicks. It has a great score, it has some fun fights, just enough gore, and just about every character delivers something cool, shocking, or repulsively capitalistic.

Joe Bob’s assessment was fair. He gave the film three stars and his criticisms, the legitimate ones at least, make sense. As bold and assertive as the film is at times, it also feels equally reticent to really dig into violence. Sure, there is on-camera sex (apparently the Serbian extras just went for it, hard) and plenty of blood, but the lack of kill shots for major characters feels lacking. It is sometimes said that the mind makes horrors greater than any filmed moment, but that doesn’t really seem to be the case here. Significant deaths seem to happen off-screen and any violence displayed stops just short of the actual moment of death.

It’s a strange thing to talk about, particularly given what is going on in the world (talk about a timely movie for this season, too). A film like Mayhem is in many ways a form of catharsis. It is violent, stylish, and scratches an itch for a desire to just wreck stuff, but the reluctance to go further feels like a misstep.

Most of the criticism lobbed at the film was tongue-in-cheek. Joe Lynch is a big fan of The Last Drive-In and often live-tweets his reaction to the episodes. The back and forth between the screen and twitter accounts was truly hilarious and the show could benefit from having him on as a guest in the future.


As for my own assessment, I still very much enjoy Mayhem and it’s worth many, many re-watches. Sure, I wish it were a little bloodthirstier, but I cannot fault the film too greatly for it. After all, though it was filmed in Serbia we certainly don’t need another Serbian Film. Mayhem is a four and a half Cthulhu film. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Best Line: “No, Derek. This – this – this meditation & this incense, it’s all bullshit. You think I like the taste of kale? Come on! I’m fucking dead inside.” – Ewan

Rough day at the office?

Testuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Opening Rant: Cyberpunk and whatever the hell Tetsuo is.

What the actual Hell? If The Last Drive-In wanted to open Pride month with a weird, oddball film, well, they absolutely nailed it. And then shoved those nails deep into the thighs of viewers all over the internet.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man might be the cultiest of the cult films that has ever aired on the show. Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s film, at least the aired cut, is just over an hour in length but may still be a bit much for the average viewer. The best way to describe the film is that it is like cyberpunk exploration of sexuality, technology, and the guilt/pain of coming out, particularly when the coming out is motivated by trauma. I think I have a handle on the film, but I can’t really be sure. I don’t know if I can be sure of anything anymore.


I hesitate to call it a “film” in the sense that we are used to as viewers of The Last Drive-In. That is not an indictment of the quality, Testuo is well shot, edited, and is absolutely striking, but more an observation that the material skews a bit too arthouse in my opinion. It’s like an extended art project. Yes, a narrative is there, a character grows, and you get some sense of closure, but so much of what surrounds that seems to be experiments in visual and audio to the detriment of compelling storytelling.

I am glad to have finally really watched Tetsuo beyond clips at goth clubs but I don’t know if I really feel it is something I feel compelled to explore further unless I am perhaps under some form of chemical stimulation.

Joe Bob’s assessment of the film is particularly hilarious. You can tell he admires the artistry that had gone into it, and his own knowledge of the punk scene of the 1980s endears him to me even further. But perhaps the oddity of Testuo is best summarized at the moment where Joe Bob Briggs waffles between one star and four stars several times, essentially hedging his bets and telling his audience that even he knows that this is a weird one.

It was a weird, hilarious watch with the MutantFam and even resulted in a guest appearance from mangled-dick expert Felissa Rose. The Last Drive-In has had a few oddball films during its run. It just seems very striking they all seem to come from Japan.

While I can’t say that I am in love with Tetsuo: The Iron Man, I can say I am glad I experienced it. I may even experience it again sometime, but I’ll probably be on something when I do. Given that, I don’t think I can go higher than two Cthulhus for the film, a cyberpunk-pillar that it may be.

2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Best Line: “Together, we can turn this fucking world to rust!” – Metal Fetishist

I don’t know, either.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As per usual, the Drive-In totals for a Japanese film are suitably bonkers. But extra credit to Mayhem for “Dead Body Pissing.”

What about our totals? A little lacking this week, admittedly. I was too taken in by the madness that was Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

  • 1 Darcy Jailing
  • 2 Level Cards
  • 2 Very Enthused Extras
  • Elevator Antics
  • Basement Bash
  • 2×4 Fu
  • Yuki Fu
  • Tunnel Running Fu
  • Black and White Fu
  • Director Cameo Fu
  • Drilldo Fu
  • Exploding Acne
  • Office Aardvarking
  • Mouth Macing
  • Cocaine-Fueled Club Swinging
  • Joe Bob Stumping
  • Director Insulting
  • Divorced Barbie Joking
  • Alaskan Whorehouse Joking
  • Gratuitous Ernie Parody
  • Gratuitous Flashback
  • Darcy Cosplay: Melanie
  • Silver Bolo Winner: Witch Finger Podcast
Armed and ready.

Episode Score

A general crowd favorite film paired with such an oddball Japanese choice is probably going to be a bit divisive overall. It also was the shortest episode of The Last Drive-In yet, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Testuo was rough. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Please join us next time when we live-tweet The Last Drive-In. It’s always a blast and we’ve had more of our writers pop in with each episode so you don’t have to put up with me alone.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movies n TV

Shutter Island (2010): Review



Leonardo Dicaprio’s films rarely disappoint. It was interesting to see him flex different acting muscles in this psychological thriller Shutter Island alongside Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams. When I say that I was not expecting such a turn in the story, I mean that my jaw was pretty much on the floor the entire time. Without any further ado, let’s dive into its mastery, shall we? 

A cliché setup done right 

We have been here before a million times. A character stumbles into a scene to solve a mystery. Everyone is acting just the right amount of suspicion to make you wonder. Dicaprio’s Edward ‘Teddy’ travels to an extremely remote island where a woman goes missing from a psychiatric institution. He’s experiencing migraines and flashbacks to his murdered wife while receiving little to no help from the hospital staff. 

Teddy soon suspects that the hospital is experimenting on patients which fuels his theories on what happened to the missing woman. Things take even more of a turn when his partner also disappears. Unsurprisingly, everyone insists Teddy came to the island alone. Feeling like he’s losing his mind, our protagonist finds out that this is exactly the case. He is a patient in the hospital and the entire investigation is an attempt to get him to understand the truth. 

Leonardo di Caprio stands in front of the camera looking down, concerned with Mark Ruffalo looking baffled in the background

While the whole ‘it was all in your head’ trope has a bad rep for the fans of any genre, this film uses it masterfully. Watching it for the first time not knowing what to expect is obviously a shock and then watching it again, looking at all the clues that were the which you missed – that’s a treat on its own. After all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using cliches if they are done the right way. 

Things that go bump in our minds

A huge part of this movie’s storyline is Andrew’s inability to process the truth. The roots for it stretch far beyond the plot twist. Andrew is unable to acknowledge that his wife is mentally ill and believes that moving them to the countryside will fix everything. After she murders their children, he is further pushed into the world of delusion, convincing himself to be a hero because he couldn’t save his own family. 

It’s interesting to note that in his delusion, Andrew is the one who set fire to their house. Is this a little sliver of his mind whispering the truth to him? Is it his subconscious villainizing himself out of contempt, searching for answers that are never going to come? Andrew’s psychiatrist pointed out that his moment of clarity has happened before, only to be undone quite quickly. Perhaps it was easier for Andrew to shut it off rather than live with the knowledge that he could’ve done something to prevent a terrible tragedy. 


Overall thoughts

Shutter Island is a movie that provides both the entertainment value you would expect from a suspense thriller and a deeper layer of thought. Coated with a perfect atmosphere and amazing acting, it’s a piece that will definitely hold the test of time.  4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Wheel of Time, Daughter of The Night



We’ve reached episode four of Wheel of Time, which means we’re halfway through the season. While it doesn’t seem like much has happened so far, this is the episode where things start heating up.

The Story

We begin this episode with a flashback. Ishamael is raising something dark and twisted. As we watch, it takes the shape of a woman.

More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, Nynaeve is healing from her time in the arches. She is quiet and withdrawn. She’s also awkward and uncomfortable around Egwene now that she’s initiated and Egwene is not. Her new friendship with Elayne isn’t helping.


But the three girls come together when Liandrin tells Nynaeve that Perrin has been captured by the Seanchan.

Zoë Robins, Madeleine Madden and Ceara Coveney in Wheel of Time.

However, Perrin is no longer in the clutches of the Seanchan. He was rescued by Elyas and a pack of beautiful wolves. Beautiful and deadly AF by the way. If you have any fear of dogs, this episode might not help that.

Elyas explains to Perrin that he is a Wolf Brother. This means that he can communicate with the wolves, and eventually will gain some of their abilities. While Perrin and Elyas don’t exactly get off on the right foot, he does find a fast friendship with one specific wolf. After a time, he introduces himself by showing Perrin an image of himself jumping up and down. From this, Perrin assumes his name is Hopper.

Finally, we return to Rand. He and Selene have been off in the mountains. They haven’t done much more than each other so far.

And that’s exactly what it appears they’re about to do when Moiraine bursts into the cottage and cuts Selene’s throat.

Rand is surprised and furious until Moiraine explains that the woman he knows as Selene is the Dark Friend Lanfear. With this shocking revelation, the two run off into the night.


What worked

It should be a surprise to no one that I loved the wolves in this episode. Hopper himself was worth an extra Cthulhu. But this is not just because dogs are cute. It’s also because the dog playing Hopper just does a great job.

On a more serious note, I loved how Nynaeve responded upon coming back to the real world. She isn’t okay.

Zoë Robins in Wheel of Time.

And it’s a good thing that she isn’t. Too often in fiction we don’t see the fallout of emotional damage. Hell, we don’t usually see realistic fallout from physical damage.

But she is hurt by what she experienced. And you can tell. That’s realistic character building, and we don’t see that enough.

I also really appreciate the special effects in this episode. The first time we see Lanfear, she’s eerie. She’s frightening. Part of this is thanks to Natasha O’Keeffe, who does a great job. But the effects are what really sells this.

What didn’t work

If Wheel of Time has any fault, it’s that there is far too much sitting about and talking about things. In this case, there’s a lot of standing about and talking about things. Some of this was necessary, and some of it could have been done better. Honestly, there just has to be a better way to convey that characters are struggling.


This was most apparent with Rand and Selene/Lanfear. Honestly, anytime the two of them were on screen it was a great time for me to catch up on Instagram.

This might come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t read the books, but Rand is supposed to be the main character. And here we are, four episodes into an eight-episode season, and so far all he’s done is mess about with his emo girlfriend!

That being said, the story is starting to pick up. With four episodes left, I can’t wait to see how far we go.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

Elevator Game, a Film Review

Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks.



Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks. It adapts the supernatural myth and creepypasta of the same name while providing an original plot. This unrated Shudder exclusive stars Gino Anania, Samantha Halas, and Verity Marks. In full disclosure, I had the opportunity to interview Gino Anania and Stefan Brunner about the film.

Ryan seeks to find answers to his sister’s mysterious disappearance. To do this, he infiltrates a myth-busting web series that seems to have some ties to her final confirmed moments. Desperate to force a confrontation, he encourages them to play the elevator game. Unfortunately, there seems to be more truth to the myth than expected.

A woman bends backward to look over at someone. The street she's on is red and ominous.
ELEVATOR GAME’s Samantha Halas as the 5th Floor Woman

What I Like about Elevator Game & as an Adaptation

I am lucky to have additional insight into the development hell this movie overcame due to COVID. It’s commendable that the film manages to make it of that, even if it requires a lengthy delay of the film.

Usually, I provide a separate section for adaptation quality. However, the source material remains the ritual, which Elevator Game performs accurately. While the myth inspires many creepypastas, Elevator Game doesn’t directly take or adapt any of these works from what I’ve seen. Instead, it makes its own film based on the legend.

As the Fifth Floor Woman, Samantha Halas creates an eerie and disturbing character. While I won’t go so far as to say terrifying, she certainly makes an impression. The revelation that the stunts and performance are all her, as an actual contortionist, I give her more credit.


Gino Anania, given a more complex role than most of his cast members, really does bring a strong performance that creates either friction or synergy with his cast members. I suppose I wanted more of these interactions as some cut sooner than appreciated.

Another amusing element is that the entire motivation for the plot to follow is a forced advertisement from an investor. Something about the chaos being a product of appeasing some investors feels uncomfortably real.

The alternate reality remains surprisingly effective. To be clear, it’s not impressively realistic but stylistic. It genuinely seems like an alternate world with a skewered impression.

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

Tired Tropes or Trigger Warning

I feel weird mentioning this, but endangering a sister’s life to push the brother’s story forward seems a common trend beyond one form of media.

No discredit to the actors, but the romance feels rushed and unnecessary. Without going into too much detail, to avoid spoilers, there is synergy between the actors but little chemistry in the plot.

A woman holds a man's arm as an elevator door closes.
ELEVATOR GAME – Verity Marks as Chloe Young and Gino Anania as Ryan Keaton

What I Dislike or Considerations

Elevator Game remains set in providing a B-movie experience. Its tight budget leaves little room to surprise the viewer visually. While I am surprised at what it accomplishes, it’s far from overwhelming. This film also remains the first production of Fearworks, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’m interested in the future, but Elevator Game leaves much to grow from.

Rebekah McKendry may have a directorial style that influences dialogue, but the line delivery evokes an overexpression that’s common in Lovecraftian films. I say this not as a direct negative, but it remains a required taste best known before viewing. As this isn’t Lovecraftian, I fear it removes some of the reality and tension of those haunting elements.


Many of the characters feel underdeveloped, making me wonder if cutting these roles might lead to more invested characters. While the performances hit their marks, a tighter cast might give each role more to work toward. As this is a tight cast already, it seems an odd issue to rectify.

Final Thoughts

Elevator Game provides an interesting B-movie experience for those who know the legend. For those expecting something different, this film may not work for you. This film overcame a lot to exist but doesn’t break the mold. While I am excited to see Fearworks pursue further ventures toward its ambitious mission statement, I find Elevator Game falling short of its goal.
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Continue Reading