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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.

Train To Busan movie poster
One of the five greatest films on TLDI, but what are the other four?

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 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Best Line: “Dad, you only care about yourself. That’s why mommy left.” – Su-an laying the emotional smackdown on her dad

Train to Busan movie still depicting three men in a bathroom
I’m not saying someone should conceivably spin this moment off into a slash fic, but I am not saying that someone can’t.

Spookies (1986)

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?

Spookies movie poster by Richard Corben
The Richard Corben poster is the best part of the movie.

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 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Best Line: “Boo, look at me, I’m Duke the horny ghost.” – Duke, being a horny ghost.

A still from the movie spookies
How nice of these teens to take their pastor with them to the party.

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

Episode Score

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 out of 5 stars (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.

David Davis is a writer, cartoonist, and educator in Southern California with an M.A. in literature and writing studies.

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  1. Frank Farel

    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:


    • David Davis

      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.

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Movies n TV

My Best Friend’s Exorcism, a Film Review

My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) is a R-rated horror comedy directed by Damon Thomas, available on Amazon Prime.



My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2022) is a horror comedy directed by Damon Thomas. Based on Grady Hendrix’s novel of the same name, this R-rated film stars Elsie Fisher, Amiah Miller, Cathay Ang, and Rachel Ogechi Kanu. As of this review, the film is available to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Abby Rivers (Elsie Fisher) and Gretchen Lang (Amiah Miller) seek to escape the monotony of high school drama with their friends. However, in their efforts to have fun, Gretchen Lang encounters a troubling otherworldly demon bent on controlling her body. It’s up to Abby to help her overcome this demonic threat.

A VHS style cover with a girl with red eyes dominating the page. Two girls below here with pink balloons. A clocktower to the right and a field to the left
My Best Friend’s Exorcism Novel Cover

What I Like in My Best Friend’s Exorcism

The effects are surprisingly good. While not overwhelming, these effects never take me out of the film. Even the less realistic scenes fit the overall tone while looking better than expected or required. The 80’s aesthetic strengthens that believability.

Continuing that thought, My Best Friend’s Exorcism oozes the 80’s. Perhaps this comment should set an expectation for the viewer. I can’t exactly comment on the accuracy of the era, but it certainly fits the era of film. If 80’s films don’t interest you, consider looking somewhere else.

While I don’t meet the target audience, the jokes land and provide an enjoyable horror comedy feel. My Best Friend’s Exorcism focuses more on comedy than horror, but this remains a common trend in horror comedies.


The performances remain strong throughout, with leads Elsie Fisher and Amiah Miller pulling off that best-friend chemistry. The cast purposely captures that 80’s nostalgia. Added to the campy nature of the film, one might grow irritated with the acting choices. For me, it certainly fits with the tone and setting.

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

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Drug use might deserve a mention on this list. While I don’t find this egregious, I imagine this point, or some other technicality, earns the film its undeserved R-rating.

The possession lends itself as a rape allegory, with some characters even believing this to be the trauma Gretchen Lang suffers from. While this isn’t the case, the conversation remains for those who want to avoid such material.

Body horror describes a few scenes of the film, though sparingly. However, one scene convinces me to bring this up for those who get squeamish at the cracking of bones or slimies in the body.

A character is tricked into outing themselves and faces some homophobia because of it. This homophobia is rightfully taken as cruel, not condoned in the slightest, but it remains potentially triggering and deserves mention here.

Two girls sit on a bed, looking at each other. Flower wallpaper in the background.
Elsie Fisher as Abby Rivers (Left) and (Amiah Miller as Gretchen Lang (Right)

What I Dislike, or Food for Thought on My Best Friend’s Exorcism

This film seems to earn its R-rating off some technicality. It is neither raunchy nor gruesome for those expecting that from their R-rated horror films. For me, it’s more an issue of setting expectations. I expect my R-rated horrors to hit hard. My Best Friend’s Exorcism doesn’t.

It would be unfair to expect something like Jennifer’s Body, as this is a lighter and zanier film. There are elements of sisterhood and bodily autonomy that echo the cult classic, but My Best Friend’s Exorcism remains an entirely campier affair.


In terms of performances that lack the intended impact, three over-the-top anti-drug spokesmen outstay their welcome. It’s clearly a jab at D.A.R.E., which certainly works in increments, but then one character becomes an important part of the plot and still keeps his caricature.

Final Thoughts

My Best Friend’s Exorcism fits the taste of an 80’s horror comedy fan. Don’t expect to be frightened at any point, but the comedy lands well enough. The film knows its niche and hits most of its targets. It’s hard to say if the film will stand the test of time, but it certainly earns its runtime.
3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Rockabye



There’s a lot to unpack from this episode of American Horror Story Delicate, Killer Queens, so I don’t want to waste any time. I just want to take a moment and issue a trigger warning. This episode, and therefore this review, talks about several topics that might be upsetting. These include abuse, pregnancy trauma and miscarriage. It’s heavy. If you’re not up for that, here’s a link to my review of Tucker and Dale, which is considerably lighter and funnier.

The story

Our episode starts with Anna trying to get the police to take her seriously about the break-in. There’s just one problem. No one was seen coming in or out of the apartment except Dex. No one shows up on any of the security footage. The police are convinced it’s just Anna’s IFV medication making her see things.

But Anna doesn’t have time to think about the break-in. She’s just been nominated for a Gotham award, and she needs to get into full Awards Show mode. Siobhan gives her something she calls B12 and tells her that her life now revolves around awards prep.

But Anna’s whole life can’t revolve around that, because she’s pregnant now. Even though she seems to be losing time. Like, weeks at a time without even realizing it.


Things just get stranger when she’s at the Gotham Awards and accosted by an overzealous fan in the bathroom. After the woman puts her hands on Anna’s stomach, she knocks her over and the woman hits her head on the sink.

Rather than aiding the woman, Anna goes out to accept her award.

Or does she? After throwing up blood on stage, she finds herself back in the bathroom, being helped up by paramedics.

Everyone agrees that Anna needs some rest and space to heal. So she and Dex go to Talia’s house in the country. There, of course, everything gets much worse. Anna starts to bleed after a yoga session and is taken to the hospital. There, she gets an ultrasound by Nurse Ivy. A nurse that no one else knows at the hospital.

Cara Delevingne in American Horror Story Delicate.

Sadly, the bleeding doesn’t stop. And as we end the episode, it appears that Anna has lost her baby.

What worked

Emma Roberts is doing a fantastic job playing Anna. Proving as always that American Horror Story actors are nothing if not flexible. I find myself wanting to compare Anna to Madison Montgomery from AHS Coven. They’re both actresses who experience abuse from men that one might, sadly, expect for women in their station and age range. Madison is gang-abused by frat boys, and Anna has her autonomy taken away from her as soon as a baby is in question.


That’s where the similarities stop. Can you ever imagine Madison saying, “You’re right, I’m sorry,” to literally anyone? She’d have snapped a man’s neck first. Anna’s body language, voice modulation, and the overall way she carries herself in the world is so different.

This is also part of what makes her relatable. I imagine many of the female-presenting people reading this can remember a time when we’ve said, you’re right, I’m sorry when they were wrong and we weren’t sorry at all.

Maaz Ali in American Horror Story Delicate.

I also really loved the amount of blood in this episode. There is so much blood involved in being a cisgender woman. It’s something we take for granted, but shy away from when in polite company. There was no shying away here. We’re made to see all of it. I don’t think the amount of blood in the miscarriage scene was overkill at all. If anything, it wasn’t enough.

Finally, it’s a small point but one that I appreciated. I bet you already know the one I’m talking about. When Anna is overjoyed to get to wear the same dress once worn by Madonna, Siobhan reminds her in a stern voice not to rip it.

If you didn’t get the joke, look up Kim K and an incident with the iconic Marilyn Monroe dress. I do appreciate anyone who can poke fun at themselves.

The reference to ‘don’t rip it’ with the dress was fun. I hate Kim K and her whole family, but that was funny.


What didn’t work

I’m honestly struggling to find anything in this episode that didn’t work. If I had to pick out something I didn’t like, it was probably that we got the barest cameo from Zachary Quinto. I really hope we get to see more of him as the season progresses.

Another thing I don’t like overall is the character Siobhan. I mentioned this last week, and I’ll try not to mention it again because I don’t see it changing. But the character in the show is a bare reflection of the one in the book.

Siobhan in the book was a loving, selfless friend. Which made the ending, well, let’s say impactful to avoid spoilers for both AHS and Delicate Condition. This version, if she continues as she is, is not going to have the same effect.

I’m also quite done hearing the internet swoon over what a great job Kim K is doing. She’s been acting her entire life, I’d be surprised if she wasn’t good at it. And she’s doing no better or worse than many other guest stars have done in the past seasons of American Horror Story. She’s not bad. But she wouldn’t be getting the credit she is if she wasn’t who she is.

Overall, this was a great episode. It was equal parts funny, gory and infuriating. At this point, my only real complaint is that there are only three episodes left until a season break. But now that the writing strike is over, hopefully the break won’t be too long.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Cadaver (2020), a Film Review

Cadaver (2020) is a Norwegian post-apocalyptic thriller directed by Jarand Herdal and currently available on Netflix.



Cadaver (2020) is a Norwegian post-apocalyptic thriller directed by Jarand Herdal. This unrated film stars Thorbjørn Harr, Gitte Witt, and Thomas Gullestad. As of this review, the film is available on Netflix.

After an apocalyptic event, the survivors endure in a hopeless world. Among these survivors are Leonora (Gitte Witt), Jacob (Thomas Gullestad), and Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman), a family fighting the hopelessness of a lost world. Leonora desires to keep her daughter (Alice) hopeful, and when a theater opens in their decrepit city, she thinks she has found the solution to their despair. However, they will all soon learn how desperate people have become.

Golden masks hanging on meat hooks over a dark background. Below reads: "Netflix: Cadaver."
Cadaver Netflix Promotional Art

What I Like from Cadaver

Cadaver takes on a unique focus for a post-apocalyptic movie. While most in the genre tackle the question of where you find hope, the theatrical lens is not one I’ve seen before. It blends these two unique environments together for a pleasant concoction. As a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, I must admit I find my niche in the everyday lives of someone in such a world.

Leonora’s (usually called Leo in the film) dreamer nature in this horrendously hopeless environment creates a sympathetic contrast. This dreamer nature doesn’t excuse some of her choices, but she evokes sympathy. While most post-apocalyptic entries provide this balance of hope and survival, Leo’s creativity and passion for the arts give her hope and a more focused ideal.

The relationship between Leo and her husband also creates a nice contrast, as Jacob plays the rationalist and survivor. In this decision, both characters provide that post-apocalyptic dynamic of survival and hope. These interactions allow both actors opportunities to create friction as they pull the plot from their differing perspectives.


I had the chance to listen to the dubbed version, which sounds good. I’m not much for dubs, especially on Netflix, but they did Cadaver with respect and a focus on quality. At the very least, it’s competent and doesn’t distract from the viewing experience.

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

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

As hinted at earlier, there are some dumb decisions in the plot. While many fall within character traits, the actions don’t escape criticism. This flaw becomes incredibly repetitive when characters make the same mistake.

Implied suicide occurs throughout the film with one shown incident, but there are circumstances that change the context slightly. A world this bleak invites this depressive and dangerous state as a normality. However, one should prepare if this is a trigger.

A girl to the left most side holding her mother's hand. Their father walking on the right most side. All wear golden masks as they walk a hallway.
Cadaver Family

What I Dislike or Considerations for Cadaver

Again, some decisions had me roll my eyes and endure the plot. This reaction isn’t exactly the experience I seek out in my horror. It’s more haunting to make sensible, or even intelligent, decisions and still endure unavoidable or unforeseen consequences.

It’s likely that nothing in Cadaver surprises you, which underutilizes the interesting premise. There are unique elements, certainly, but never a twist I didn’t see coming. It’s in that execution that Cadaver falls flat and fails to engage a viewer.

The film doesn’t exactly haunt the viewer, but the bleak world effectively depicts the hopelessness of a post-apocalypse. Don’t expect much genuine horror, but you can expect an appropriately uncomfortable and unnerving experience. In short, viewers of Cadaver likely want a unique twist in their post-apocalypse, not a traumatic horror.

Final Thoughts

Cadaver remains a unique viewing experience by adding a slight twist to its post-apocalyptic story. While not a haunting masterpiece, this bleak film will have you feeling the characters’ struggle. While lacking sensible decision-making skills, they are certainly sympathetic survivors struggling in a hopeless world. If this is your niche, it’s certainly worth a view.
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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