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Tonight’s mix at The Last Drive-In is high octane mayhem mixed with slow, coastal zombie shenanigans with Mandy (2018) and Dead and Buried (1981). We’ve been lucky with the pairings week after week, but can Joe Bob and Darcy keep up the streak, or was tonight’s pairing just to weird to work? Let’s dive in as we cover Shudder’s The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs.

Mandy (2018)

Opening: Stress relief without guns? Really?

Mandy, directed by Panos Cosmatos and written by Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn is a rock-fueled gore trip filled with 1980s prog-rock imagery and a particularly wicked-looking ax. The film stars Nicholas Cage as Red, who lives in the woods with his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) who are the targets of violence and mayhem at the behest of cult leader Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). The death of Mandy sends Red on a revenge mission with mysterious drugs, demon bikers, and perhaps the world’s longest chainsaw. It’s one hell of a ride and one of the best exclusives on Shudder. it is also quite a great fit for The Last Drive-In.

The movie doesn’t really offer much in the way of plot, but plot is overrated, especially when it comes to movies featured by Joe Bob Briggs. The narrative offers little in surprise outside of brutal, inventive set pieces. The film is slow to start and a bit mumbly, but the sense of security is necessary to establish the contrast of the remainder of the film. it is telling that we don’t get the “title card” until just before the revenge mission occurs: the past is prologue here, the core of the film is blood, guts, and vengeance.

mandy poster
This movie is a trip. Like, a biker meth trip.

The film does have a surprising heart, however, as Cage is particularly great in tapping into a tweak on the Cage-rage formula. When Red is at his absolute bottom of despair, you really feel it. Andrea Riseborough is wonderful as Mandy, possessing a somewhat otherworldly quality that is magnetic in an almost primal way – like some forest spirit. Riseborough’s time as Mandy is unsurprisingly short, as it is a vengeance film but Cosmatos finds clever ways to have Mandy haunt every moment of the film. It is all unreliable narrator in action, of course; how much of what we see is real and how much is the drug and rage-fueled grief of Red’s mind? Linus Roache is also utterly fantastic as Jeremiah Sand, a wellspring of butthurt masculinity and a rejected artist who has managed to cobble together his strange cult.

The movie is visually stunning, taking mundane settings such as a gravel pit and the woods and layering them with a druggy sheen that turns virtually every frame into a potential metal album cover. Benjamin Loeb’s cinematography is strong, especially when playing with faces. Hubert Pouille’s production design also stuns, creating one of the grimiest dens of sleaze you can imagine for a group of demonic bikers. But the real work in the movie is done with color and filters, creating a visually dense collage of mood, light, and image in each frame.

Joe Bob’s segments during the run time were the sort of things we love and respect. Informative and sometimes surprising. For example, Panos Cosmatos isn’t exactly a well-known figure with a relatively slim filmography of Mandy and Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010). But his parents made their own impact in film and art, and Cosmatos benefited greatly from that – his father being director George P. Cosmatos (Rambo: First Blood Part II and Tombstone). It was some interesting biography delivered by Briggs and perhaps the highlight of the first half of the evening when it came to cast and crew factoids.

But the night belonged to the Chili Bandit.

Joe Bob Briggs gave Mandy the four-star treatment, and that’s absolutely fair. Mandy is the sort of movie that hits the marks of blood, breasts, and beasts that makes a great drive-in feature. I think pretty highly of the movie myself, and despite some slight concerns, most of the cult is undercooked, and the bikers made for a fun distraction but could have been more involved. Despite this, Mandy is a movie I can watch over and over again. I give Mandy four and a half Cthulhus.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Best Line: “I’ll blow you, man! I’ll suck your fucking dick! Is that what you want? Please! Please! Please talk to me.” – Jeremiah Sand, begging for his life.

Mandy still
Our 2020 inner thoughts.

Dead and Buried (1981)

Opening: Lying is getting easier.

Gary Sherman’s Dead and Buried (sometimes Dead & Buried) is a 1981 film that plays more like a Twilight Zone or Outer Limits story padded to movie-length. The movie infamously has Dan O’Bannon attached to the writing credits, but thanks to Joe Bob Briggs we know that he wrote some notes which were ignored by writers Jeff Millar, Alex Stern, and Ronald Shusett. So yeah, don’t expect anything as tight as Alien. The movie follows a small-town sheriff of Potter’s Bluff, Dan Gillis (James Farentino), who finds the town inundated with a series of grisly murders and hints at a supernatural conspiracy right under his nose. What secret might he learn about his wife, Janet (Melody Anderson), and the local mortician William G. Dobbs (Jack Albertson in his final role)?

The film is tolerable. In truth, I had seen it before, but I ended up forgetting all about it and was shocked to realize that this had been the case. It is rare for a movie to leave little impact on me. The performances are acceptable, the story predictable, and the cinematography is fairly bland. James Farentino doesn’t inspire much interest as the lead and Jack Albertson, dying of cancer during the filming, is barely there as the secretive Dobbs. The highlights of the cast are largely small: Lisa Blount as “Lisa,” one of the townies (she’s very attractive, that’s about it) and a young Robert Englund.

dead and buried poster
There is no giant head in the movie, sorry.

The story is ultimately predictable, down to the double-twist of the final act. It’s not a bad story but it is not a story that needs to be as long as it is. Part of the predictable nature of it comes from the padding that gives the audience more time to think and consider the story and how it will play out. Scenes can sometimes give away more than intended, by nature of setting up more of the story. Now, if the film was a brisk 40 minutes, perhaps as an anthology segment, it would be more impactful. As it stands, the current cut of Dead and Buried feels like it deserved another edit – something tighter.

The film is also visually bland. The town seems quaint enough, but not exactly creepy. The instance of fog on the scene, meant to convey mystery and danger, just reminded me of a better movie, The Fog. The film works best in two inventive kills about midway through the film, involving a needle and eyeball, and another featuring the injection of acid. it’s fine special effects work by Stan Winston, but it takes forever to get to them, and nothing in the film quite lives up to those moments for the remaining run time. Cinematographer Steven Poster would go onto a career featuring highlights such as Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” Donnie Darko, and Big Top Peewee. Director Gary Sheran would do Poltergeist III (yikes) but bring us The First 48: Missing Persons, a great true crime show.

Joe Bob’s bits for the second half of the night failed to live up to the sheer power of the Chili Bandit ad, but there was some great information to be had. The sad, final days of Jack Albertson (Grandpa Joe in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) were a bit of a shock, particularly the note about him attending the film premiere with an oxygen mask. It wasn’t all sadness, though. Joe Bob geeked out about true crime a bit which is always fun to see. Despite this, you get the feeling, that the odds were always stacked against the film, especially given that it was sold three times before it was released. Somewhere, out there, is a cut of the film that wasn’t tinkered with beyond the original test screening. I’d love to see that one.

Dead and Buried isn’t my favorite film shown on The Last Drive-In, but that is okay. I ultimately found myself coasting off the high of Mandy and it is not like Dead and Buried is a bad movie. it’s just inoffensive – how it ever found itself as a video nasty is a mystery. Joe Bob gave it three stars, and while I feel it is generous, I am not too far off myself, giving it three Cthulhus.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Best Line: “You can try to kill me, Dan. But you can’t. You can only make me dead.” – A gloating Dobbs

dead and buried still
Man, it is when the bandages are on that you really start itching.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As always, we share those Drive-In Totals straight from Shudder.

Our Totals can be found below.

  • One Yuki Sighting
  • One Chili Bandit
  • Three unfortunate sales before the film release
  • Slippery Slope Ranting
  • Maximum 80s
  • Woods Wandering
  • Liberal usage of the word “phantasmagoric”
  • Surprise Belgium
  • Entirely appropriate usage of Cheddar Goblin
  • Bathroom Bender
  • Shirt Quipping
  • Piano Slamming
  • Detachable Digits
  • Twilight Zone Ending
  • Two Darcy Cosplays: Nicholas Cage and Lisa Blount’s nurse outfit
  • Silver Bolo Award: Knight Light (a podcast)
the last drive-in still
I’d have gone with Jeremiah’s Spock robe, but I am not the mail girl.

Episode Score

It was another fun night at the drive-in. I do feel like Dead and Buried was buoyed by following Mandy. The highlight of the night absolutely came from the first half of the show. That Chili Bandit, man.

Man.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

See you next week, folks. We continue to live-tweet the fun at the Haunted MTL Twitter account, so why not give us a follow there?

Movies n TV

Dahmer, Cassandra

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Episode seven of Netflix’s Dahmer brings the spotlight, finally, to the hero of our story. Glenda Cleveland. 

Glenda was Jeff’s neighbor. And honestly, I can’t think of a worse neighbor. A horrific stench is always coming from his apartment. He has people over, and they make a lot of noise. 

While they’re dying. 

Niecy Nash in Dahmer

If you’ll recall episode one of Dahmer ended with all of his neighbors, including Glenda, being forced to leave their homes. The whole building was declared a crime scene. They’re not given any place to go, of course. 

Everyone’s got a few thousand dollars socked away for an unexpected motel stay, right? 

Fortunately, Glenda was able to get a motel room. And that’s where she is when Reverend Jesse Jackson finds her. 

Glenda pours out her story to Reverend Jackson. The rest of the episode consists of her dark and troubling encounters with Dahmer. 

The most compelling scene, I think, is when Dahmer brings Glenda a sandwich. He’s being evicted, and he knows it’s because she’s been complaining about the smells coming out of his apartment. 

He tries to pour on his little boy charm. He tells her that he got his apartment cleaned, just for her. He brings her a pulled meat sandwich as a present. 

Notice I don’t say pulled pork, because I’m fairly sure it was human meat. Or, it was just drugged.

Or both. 

This episode just hummed with tension and rage. I was so happy to see Reverend Jackson tear into the police in the most polite way possible. I hated seeing what Glenda went through. And even though I know she lives through this horrific encounter, I held my breath the entire time she was alone with Jeff. 

Dahmer is certainly not afraid to jump back and forth between the past and present. But they are careful to never do it in such a way that I felt lost. And I honestly think this was the best way to do it. 

The reason for this is that it adds a level of suspense that Dahmer might have lacked without it. Suspense is something that true crime stories can lack. Especially well-known ones. We have heard this story before. We know how it ends. But in presenting the tale this way, first from one point of view and then another, it reveals sides of it that we may not have seen before. 

Glenda Cleveland, from the trial of Jeff Dahmer.

I loved seeing the story from Glenda’s point of view. She was brave, determined, and selfless. She had every right to be furious at the way the police dismissed her concerns for years. And yet she continued to handle everything professionally. She never stopped trying to help people, even when no one else seemed to care. And for that, she is a true hero. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

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The second half of the 1990s was a comeback of the slasher sub-genre, thanks to Wes Craven’s Scream. It was precisely because of its success that Kevin Williamson was able to pitch the script for I Know What You Did Last Summer. An extremely loose adaption of the book of the same title, it follows a group of teenagers who drunkenly commit a hit-and-run. They decide to – what a surprise – get rid of the body to get away with it. Let’s have a look at why this film is a cult classic of its kind, shall we? 

Top not atmosphere makes a big difference

I must’ve said this in one of my previous reviews but to me at least, the setting in a movie can make or break the viewing experience. In I Know What You Did Last Summer, I always found it a paradox and also highly effective that the action occurs in a fishing town with tons of open land and the sea. However, the characters feel trapped to the point of suffocating by the choices they made because, despite all the roads leading out, they always end up back there. 

Four people stand around in a circle, mid argument. Left to right - Ray, Julie, Helen and Barry.
Dude, you promised to take acting classes! (source http://imdb.com)

Their small town is living in its own little utopia with beauty pageants, firework displays, and unsurprisingly, not a single person the group can turn to for help. I thought it was really well done and it doesn’t hurt cinematography in general is beautiful. 

Would the suggestions of the fans make sense?

Something that the fans of the movie have long debated is that they needed to swap the final girls of the movie, killing off Julie and making Helen the survivor. A lot of factors contribute to this. Sarah Michelle Gellar is phenomenal in her role and with all respect to Jennifer Love Hewitt, her portrayal pales a bit in comparison. Helen’s chase scene is one of the best if not the best in horror with how hard she fought for survival and how close she was to safety. On the contrary, Julie’s chip on the shoulder got on a lot of people’s nerves, mine included sometimes. 

One has to think of the narrative purpose of the two characters. Julie serves as the outright goody two shoes, the one who actively fights Barry to go to the police, and the one who shows the most obvious remorse for what they’ve done. Helen is meant to be the ditsy blonde, however, throughout the movie, she’s shown to have more going on and that the incident affected her just as much even if it wasn’t so transparent. 

Helen is at the forefront, looking ahead, scared. Behind her there are mannequins covered in plastic.
Not the kind of afterparty I imagined (source: https://bloody-disgusting.com)

Her endurance throughout the chase is a nice juxtaposition to the role she is meant to play, and to Julie’s scene later on (again, with all due respect, she does nothing apart from scream and run a bit) and the fact that she still dies after it gives a good gut punch that actually makes you care about these people despite their more than questionable decisions. 

When it comes to the guys, I don’t actually have much to say. Barry is a classic jerk stereotype and Ray is a glaring red herring throughout the movie (I would also say Freddy Prince Jr was the weakest actor out of the four but again, I am no acting coach, just my opinion). 

Final impressions

To sum up my thoughts on I Know What You Did Last Summer – it definitely has its flaws and asks the audience to suspend their disbelief (even for slasher standards). Regardless, it’s a staple entry of the genre and the 90s due to its atmosphere, tension-building, and for the most part decent acting. A must-have in your collection for horror buffs. No wonder it inspired a loosely based TV adaptation (its success is debatable but the thought still counts, right?)

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The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!

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The sweet putrid stench of love lingers through the air which can only mean one thing…Valentine’s Day and its annoying little winged cherub mascot, Cupid, is fast approaching. Soon, partners will be spoiling one another with extravagant bouquets of roses, heartfelt Hallmark cards, obnoxiously large teddy bears, glistening diamond jewelry, and heart-shaped candies or boxes filled with assorted mediocre chocolates. You know? Normal things couples do. I tend to prefer my chocolate boxes filled with bleeding hearts, à la ‘My Bloody Valentine’ but, beggars can’t be choosers, right? All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is special for many couples, however, there are also many others who find themselves celebrating this day without a significant other. Luckily, Shudder, along with drive-in king Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) will graciously be keeping us lonely mutants’, and yes, all you horror fanatic couples’ company on Friday, February 10th as they return with The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine, premiering live at 9pm EST.

Love Spells Abound…

Back in 2021, Joe Bob and Darcy invited us to a gruesomely passionate night of spell-binding love witches and animatronic dinosaurs infused with teenage human brains during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You. Many, including myself, were introduced to the tantalizing 70’s inspired retro throwback ‘The Love Witch’ and the graphically goofy cult classic ‘Tammy and the T-Rex’, providing the perfect viewing pleasure to mend any broken heart. While the two films for this year’s morbid love-induced special have yet to be announced, as a special treat, Briggs has announced for the first time on The Last Drive-In, he will be marrying one lucky couple during the live showing. We here at HauntedMTL are eagerly awaiting the return of the ghoulish duo so, as is tradition, we will be proudly hosting a watch party on Twitter during the broadcasting of The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and tag us  @hauntedMTL as well as @shudder@therealjoebob, and @kinky_horror to partake in this night of unholy love.

Drawn image of Joe Bob Briggs pouring  a drop of pink liquid into a clear glass potion bottled filled with a glowing red substance. To his left lies a book a magic spells with a golden pentagram necklace resting on top. Also on the books rests a human skull with heart shaped pupils for eyes hiding behind a pair of clear glasses. In bold white letters a text reads "Join us on February 10th as we live tweet The Last Drive-In Valentine's Day Special".
Follow @hauntedMTL for live tweets and replies!

What started off as a one-time special premiering on Shudder July 13, 2018, ‘The Last Drive- In’ was originally meant to be Brigg’s swan song; one last special before hanging up the bolo tie in retirement. However, due to so many mutants, excuse me…viewers tuning in and breaking the Shudder servers, it was only natural to announce an official full season of ‘The Last Drive-In‘, which would make its explosive debut March 19, 2019. Since then, Darcy and Briggs have spawned many exclusive holiday specials, have graciously donated to many charities within the community, and have accumulated 4 seasons of ‘The Last Drive-In’, with a fifth currently in production premiering on Shudder’s 2023 schedule sometime this year, let’s hope sooner rather than later.

Picture of Joe Bob Briggs, Darcy the Mail Girl, John Patrick Brennan and Yuki Nakamura standing together dressed in medieval costumes. A cardboard cutout of Tom Atkins stands between Darcy and Yuki. Darcy is seen drapped in a beautfiul elegant princess dress, satin white with gold trim. Yuki is seen holding a small wreath of purple, white, and yellow flowers that match his loud medieval king costume. Resting atop both their heads are golden crowns. Joe Bob Briggs is seen standing to the left of Darcy, as he smiles whilst wearing a half-put together jester costumer. Lastly, we see Brennan with two wooden recorders in his hand as he mimics playing them both dress clad in a bright yellow dress.
An unexpected ceremony during The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob Put a Spell on You (2021) special.

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