The seventh episode of the third season of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs brings us the modern classic Train to Busan (2016) and the cult classic, Spookies (1986). It is another one of those bizarre pairings that we’re growing used to, though that is not a bad thing at all. It keeps the double features fresh, week to week. You never know what you are going to get on Shudder on Friday night.
Train to Busan (2016)
Opening: Indecisiveness with a menu.
There isn’t much I can add to the discourse surrounding Train to Busan. it is one of the greatest zombie films ever made, let alone within the last decade. It is a film that manages to be scary, packed with action, and carries a strong heartfelt message. It is a movie you could honestly argue to be a perfect example of the craft of filmmaking. If you haven’t seen the film then you absolutely should. Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie thriller stars Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, and Kim Su-an. The premise is deceptively simple: passengers aboard a train deal with a zombie outbreak as the train makes its way to safety. The simplicity of the plot makes it a perfect vehicle for tense performances, a series of claustrophobic set-pieces, and a delightfully satirical exploration of class difference. It is also, incredibly, incredibly sad. I cannot stress that enough.
I’ve written about class-conscious horror before, and Train to Busan is one of those movies that does a lot to establish a kind of canon for that sort of horror. The movie absolutely runs with the themes of wealth and status and how it renders people with too much of both as inhuman monsters – which is a fair assessment. It just happens to position that argument against frequently crushing tides of zombies. The zombies themselves are fantastic. Their contortionist movements are creepy and are contrasted by the almost fluid nature of zombie bodies in a horde. They become a gnashing, scratching wave that breaks and crashes against surfaces in satisfying ways. World War Z, a far worse film, had a similar scrambling zombie, but they do not really have the same effect like those on Train to Busan.
The film’s heart, however, is the rebuilding of the relationship between Gong Yoo’s Seo Seok-woo, a distant father, and his daughter Seo Su-an (Kim Su-an), one of the only acceptable child characters in horror films. However, their relationship is just one of several in the film which prove affecting. Tough guy Yoo Sang-hwa, played by the magnetic Ma Dong-Seok, has a touching plot with his pregnant wife with a sad, but ultimately beautiful ending. Even the film’s human villian, the greedy COO of a bus company, Yon-suk, gets a humanizing moment before his death – desperate to return to his mother. No character is wasted and no interaction feels possible to cut out of the film, every set of relationships, from the two eldery women to the rapidly diminishing baseball team, carry great emotional weight.
Joe Bob Briggs seemed particularly effusive with his praise of the film. His pronunciations of Korean names may be a bit rough, but his sentiment was clear. It seemed as though each break came with Joe Bob praising a preceding segment of the film, specifically some of the more technical set-pieces, such as the train depot or the fight through the train cars. He also shared some history regarding Yeon Sang-ho and his background in animation. Yeon Sang-ho’s background in animation certainly informed many of the scenes and as Joe Bob pointed out, seemed as though they could only have come from the mind of an animator. With any luck, Joe Bob mentioning adult animation is a sign that perhaps Seoul Station, the Busan prequel, might be shown one day. Hopefully the first in what might be many future horror-adjacent animated films.
Joe Bob Briggs handed out another four-star rating this week, but it feels entirely appropriate for Train to Busan. The movie is just that damn good. I may also be a bit biased because the film is in my top five zombie films ever made. For me, I would give Train to Busan five out of five Cthulhus. It is one of the best films ever shown on The Last Drive-In, and one which was long overdue to be shown. (5 / 5)
Best Line: “Dad, you only care about yourself. That’s why mommy left.” – Su-an laying the emotional smackdown on her dad
Opening: Alpacas and Llamas
Ooof – where to begin with Spookies? This independent horror film is, to put as fine a point on it as possible, a mess. The movie is incoherent, cheesy, and poorly acted. It is just barely on the verge of “so bad it’s good” territory as well. I missed the showing when it was airing on Friday, but when watching it on Sunday I started to drift off – that never happens to me when watching something on Shudder.
The movie, or perhaps, movies, given the troubled production, was directed by Brendan Faulkner and Thomas Doran, with later footage added by director Eugenie Joseph. The film was originally supposed to be a “dark house” style of a horror film, dubbed Twisted Souls, carved up and edited together with an entirely different concept, resulting in a movie where two plot lines run adjacent to one another and nothing makes sense. Thus, Spookies, named as such for who knows what reason. The film follows an inextricably mixed group of teens and adults exploring a mansion owned by a warlock who wants their lives to preserve his bride, as he has been doing for seventy years. The film stars Felix Ward, Maria Pechukas, Peter Dain, Nick Gionta, and Charlotte Alexandra.
Spookies is a cult film these days, and while I can understand how it can be, I can’t say I really enjoyed my time with it. The monster effects are pretty fun. Well, most of them. The Grim Reaper was comical, like a fancy costume from Spirit of Halloween. Also, the sheer variety of creatures, while kind of neat, ultimately feels unnecessary. Only a couple of them really have any presence and they are gone nearly as soon as they are introduced – and that is pretty specific to the 45 minutes from what was originally going to be Twisted Souls. The zombie horde at the end is fun, but again, smacks more of excess than anything else. The film also feels cheap, particularly the material that was added later, such as the basement set. Also strange was the fact that Felix Ward’s Kreon sounded like he was speaking into a cardboard tube throughout the runtime of the film. Just a confusing mess, honestly.
Also… why the fart noises?
I think Joe Bob said it best during the night when he said “Man alive, this thing is just a mess.” Joe Bob’s background on the film was welcome, of course. particularly the odd connection the movie has to John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers and first Chief Justice of the United States. Ultimately Spookies, shot in his historical home, helped preserve the historical site in a few ways. It’s just an odd little note, best explained by Joe Bob Briggs. Perhaps most amusing was the revelation that Spookies was the first and last acting job for a number of the crew – it is not hard to understand why. The best part of the second half of the night was the Spookies rap, put together by John Brennan and the folks at the Drive-In. it was a lot of fun and a nice follow-up to the Maniac Cop 2 discussion about rap songs for horror films.
Joe Bob Briggs gave Spookies two stars. Even he admits he was generous there. As for me, Spookies is less of a movie and instead more of something I would have on in the background at a Halloween party while some music was being played. Just some visual interest and not a whole lot else. I give Spookies two out of five Cthulhus. (2 / 5)
Best Line: “Boo, look at me, I’m Duke the horny ghost.” – Duke, being a horny ghost.
Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals
As always, thanks, Shudder, for those official totals.
As for our own totals?
- 3 Levels Deeper
- 15 careers starting and stopping with one movie
- 1000 Zombies
- Zombie Double Feature
- Class Warfare
- Farting Monsters
- Exploding Reaper
- Skull Splitting
- Yuki sighting
- Runaway Train (never going back)
- Fanfiction Fu
- American History Fu
- Gratuitous Monsters
- Gratuitous Llama and Alpaca discourse
- Gratuitous 90s Rap Sequence
- Darcy Cosplay: Isabelle, the bride from Spookies
- Silver Bolo Award: Ghastly Grinning
Another fun night at the drive-in. it would take more than Spookies to ruin the show for me, personally. So far this season seems to be bringing in movies that you would think would have been on the show earlier. It’s cool that we’ve not really dipped into the well of the obvious films you would expect on the show. While Spookies was a miss for me, the rap was great. Of course, I can’t praise Train to Busan highly enough either. Overall, I think it averages out to a strong episode. (4 / 5)
See y’all on Friday for another night of fun at the drive-in. I’ll return to live-tweeting the show as I missed this week. Thanks to Doctor Payne for taking over.
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Movies n TV
The Wolf of Snow Hollow, a Film Review
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a 2020 horror comedy directed by Jim Cummings, starring Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome and Robert Forster.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a 2020 horror comedy directed by Jim Cummings. The cast of this horror includes Jim Cummings, Riki Lindhome and Robert Forster. This R-rated film is currently available for DirecTV and Shudder subscribers.
Deputy John Marshall (Jim Cummings) faces a messy divorce, an ill father, a serial killer and crippling addiction. With Marshall’s life spiraling, he focuses on a mysterious killer plaguing the town. The brutality of the crime convinces locals that the murderer is a werewolf, a possibility Marshall cannot entertain. As John Marshall tries to keep order in the town, his conviction crumbles.
What I Like
The comedy reflects the spiraling chaos that runs through a control freak’s mind as they lose control. This comedy lands best as Marshal spirals further and further into disarray. Viewers should expect a dry wit layered with sarcasm. If this type of humor doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, The Wolf of Snow Hollow would be hard to recommend. Nearly every character plays their part to perfection, building off each other. Jim Cummings seems to have created a team to complement his project.
Another impressive comedic element comes from the film’s ability to jump between serious issues and comedy without the humor undercutting the weight of those essential moments. Though somewhat flawed, it remains consistently effective.
Despite the fact this is a horror comedy, the monster adds genuine horror to the film. Part of the mystery comes from that line between the possibility of a killer or a real-life werewolf, which I won’t spoil here.
The werewolf design, though traditional, is consistently believable. With one exception that felt purposeful in context, the creature works surprisingly well for a horror comedy.
Jim Cummings creates these rapid scenes that show time passing. As mentioned earlier, these scenes reflect Marshall’s mental state. It surprises me how clearly and haunting they convey information while noting elements of comedy. Again, not always perfect, but effective.
Trigger Warnings and Tired Tropes
John Marshall struggles with alcoholism, often falling victim to the disease. Despite the comedy label, this element remains mature and respective. Regardless, I understand this is a sensitive issue that worth noting.
The film can get gory and dark, but rarely more than a horror fan expects. However, one of the victims is a baby. Though no act appears on screen, viewers may require prior knowledge.
What I Dislike or Points to Consider
Don’t expect a detective tale or any focus on a mystery. If this movie is anything, it’s a character study of John Marshall. The killer isn’t a figure we uncover through available information. The Wolf of Snow Hollow focuses on the stress that unravels our characters as they investigate. The trailer was a bit misleading, creating a focus more centered on the mystery and comedy of the film.
Without going into too much detail, some of the deaths get overshadowed by those earlier-mentioned scene cuts. While I still stand by my praise of these scenes, some of these deaths needed more silence and longevity. Though I recognize this might ruin the comedy focus of the film, death should have weight in a story.
This film isn’t scary. While some moments might unnerve you, don’t expect to be haunted.
While not a traditional werewolf film, The Wolf of Snow Hollow remains a surprisingly effective horror comedy. If you like your humor dry and dark, this film might align with your taste. However, this barely makes the cut in the horror genre. Don’t expect to jump or scream. If this sounds like your taste, then give The Wolf of Snow Hollow a view.
(3.5 / 5)
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023
Shudder March 2023 Release Schedule
Mutant family, please gather ’round as February kicks rocks and we shove our way into March. With the new month comes the shifting from winter to spring as death beautifully resurrects back to life, drunken patrons swarm our local bars like rabid locusts for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and of course new exclusives and returning favorites on Shudder to satisfy the horror fiend in us all. To quote the prestigious Samuel L. Jackson, “hold onto your butts” and let’s dive right into Shudder’s March 2023 release schedule.
While it is true that the release schedule for the start of 2023 on Shudder has been minor and slightly mixed, with films such as the much talked about experimental low-budget indie ‘Skinamarink‘, the surprisingly entertaining horror comedy ‘Sorry About the Demon‘, and writer/director Neil Marshall’s return to the genre with ‘The Lair‘. We also graciously received the wildly fun ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine” special, with season 5 currently in production and premiering later this year; though it can’t come soon enough. As we like to do here at HauntedMTL, let’s kick off March with Shudder’s newest exclusives currently streaming now and in the coming weeks.
Spoonful of Sugar – Now Streaming
Starting off this list we begin with director Mercedes Bryce Morgan and writer Leah Saint Marie’s latest film ‘Spoonful of Sugar‘, now currently streaming.
Millicent (Morgan Saylor), a disturbed college student working on her thesis about children with severe allergies, is hired to babysit little Johnny (Danilo Crovetti), a sickly, mute child who suffers from every allergy under the sun. His mother Rebecca (Kate Foster) is an accomplished author currently focused on her newest book release, while his father Jacob (Myko Olivier) spends his days in the backyard working on frivolous carpentry projects. After experiencing a bizarre sexual awakening while using LSD as an alternative treatment for Johnny, she soon uncovers the family’s dark secrets as things begin to become unhinged.
Leave – Premiering Friday 3/17
After having been abandoned as an infant at a cemetery wrapped in a cloth with satanic symbols, Hunter White (Alicia von Rittberg) grows obsessed with figuring out who her biological parents are and why they seemingly abandoned her. However, as she gets closer to the answers she so desperately seeks, a malevolent spirit is warning her to leave.
‘Leave‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/17 and is directed by Alex Herron and written by Thomas Moldestad, starring Alicia von Rittberg, Herman Tømmeraas, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, and Stig R. Amda
The Unheard – Premiering Friday 03/31
‘The Unheard‘ follows the story of deaf 20-year-old Chloe Grayden (Lachlan Watson) after she undergoes an experimental treatment to restore her hearing. While recovering at her family’s beach home after the successful procedure, Chloe begins to fear she is not alone as she begins to experience auditory hallucinations related to the mysterious disappearance of her mother.
‘The Unheard’ is directed by Shudder alumni Jeffrey A. Brown (The Beach House) and written by brothers/screenwriting partners Shawn Rasmussen and Michael Rasmussen (Crawl), co-starring Michele Hicks and Nick Sandow. ‘The Unheard‘ premiers exclusively on Shudder Friday 03/31.
Returning Classic and Fan Favorites
Now that we’ve removed the veil for the new exclusive titles dropping this month, I think it’s time we reveal the returning classics jump starting our transition into spring for 2023. Allow me to highlight some of my favorite films returning to Shudder for March including ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ and ‘The Company of Wolves‘; grim re-telling’s of popular children’s fairy tales. We also cannot forget John Carpenter’s haunted coastal horror ‘The Fog‘; no, not the remake…thankfully.
Gretel and Hansel – Now Streaming
Directed by Osgood Perkins, ‘Gretel and Hansel’ is a terrifyingly dark and unique vision to one of history’s most famous childhood fairy tales. After being thrown out of their mother’s home, Gretel (Sophia Lillis) leads her younger brother, Hansel (Samuel Leakey), through the woods in search of food and work. The children soon discover a quaint cottage where a fragile old woman Holda (Alice Krige) offers fresh food and bed. The children accept all Holda has to offer, with little thought as to what may be asked of them in return.
Though it has been met with mixed reviews, ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ offers astounding performances by veteran actress Alice Krige as the films iconic Witch of the woods and Sophia Lillis as lead Gretel. Director Osgood Perkins does well to draw his viewer in with a beautifully haunting score and unnerving cinematography, making this one grim re-telling worth checking out at least once. ‘Gretel and Hansel‘ is available to stream now.
The Company of Wolves – Now Streaming
Continuing our list of returning classics, we have yet another bold re-telling of a beloved children’s fairy tale, 1984’s ‘The Company of Wolves‘. While the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood‘ has been retold through various forms of media, including numerous films, ‘The Company of Wolves‘ is a beloved horror interpretation with adult themes and memorable practical effects including one of the genres best werewolf transformations.
A wise grandmother (Angela Lansbury) tells her granddaughter Rosaleen (Sarah Patterson) a disturbing tale of innocent maidens falling in love with handsome strangers … and of their sudden mysterious disappearances when the moon is full and accompanied by the strange sound of a beast in the woods.
‘The Company of Wolves’ is co-written and directed by Neil Jordan and stars Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, Micha Bergese, and David Warner, streaming now.
John Carpenter’s The Fog – Streaming 03/31
Writer, director, musician, and horror master John Carpenter is a legend in the genre having provided countless classics such as ‘The Thing‘, a terrifyingly gruesome remake of ‘The Thing from Another World‘. Or his sci-fi action/horror ‘They Live’ where he deals with societal control through corporations and government. And of course, my personal favorite, the film that jumpstarted his career and created one of horror’s most iconic slashers…’Halloween‘.
1980’s ‘The Fog‘ is a terrifying shoreside tale of vengeful spirits haunting the fictional coastal town of Antonio Bay, OR. as they begin preparations to celebrate its centenary. Following exactly 100 years after a ship mysteriously sank in the town’s waters, a thick unearthly fog harboring the souls of those who perished rolls in and with them, the dark secrets of Antonio Bay’s past.
John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’ stars scream queen and recent Academy Award winner Jamie Lee Curtis, genre alums Adrienne Barbeau, Janet Leigh, Tom Atkins, Charles Cyphers, and Nancy Kyes, and was co-written by the late Debra Hill. ‘The Fog‘ will be available to stream on Shudder 03/31.
Full Shudder March 2023 Film Releases
For a full comprehensive list of all the titles being added to Shudder for the month of January, please refer to the graphic below. Please be on the lookout for our review of ‘The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine’ to drop later this week here on HauntedMTL and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more Shudder news and spooky reviews!
Gretel and Hansel
Spoonful of Sugar
The Company of Wolves
Jack be Nimble
The Blair Witch Project & Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
June 5, 2021 at 10:35 am
“Thus, Spookies, named as such for who knows what reason.”
“Also… why the fart noises?”
A word of advise in doing any comprehensive movie review:
RESEARCH IS YOUR FRIEND.
June 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Joe Bob explains these during the episode, of course. This is more of an existential “why?”
Just poking fun at the choices, honestly.