Yes. That’s the answer to the question you were wondering. Yes. There are werewolves. Yes, they ride motorcycles.
And with that out of the way, we can talk about the enormity of this movie and the hundreds of things it also adds besides werewolves riding motorcycles. Because, beyond the obvious, there is so much more to this movie. There’s cultists, gang dynamics, tarot readings, beards (so many, many beards), Satan, existentialism, and frolicking bikers before the darkened days of “no homo”.
People, this is WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS…
A biker gang be biker-ganging. They are a group of friends who love their hogs and live to ride them. They also love to drink beer and hug each other. They’re just living life, man, and those be damned to try to stop them.
They have cool biker names like…”Scarf” and “Movie”. I’m sure it was much more menacing in the 70’s. However, our leader is the stern but patient, Adam (Stephen Oliver in a beard just as luscious as James Brolin in The Amityville Horror). His main “old lady” is Helen (D.J. Anderson), who is basically the biker mom of the group. And then there’s the mysterious (sometimes sexist and bitchy) Tarot…who plays tarot cards. Again, I’m sure that their names were much more menacing back then.
During their biker adventures (mostly just drinking and free love), they happen across a land owned by Satanist cultists…which they decide is the best place to get drunk and have an orgy.
But, alas, it is not.
Soon, a strange trace overcomes Helen and she starts trace-fire-dancing with a large nope-rope, and begins to change into a Satanic werewolf. Soon, bikers are killed off one-by-one in wonderfully 70’s-style slow-mo deaths.
Tarot, ever the psychic, knows that something is wrong and tries to save Adam and the group before it’s too late. But can this wet-blanket go toe-to-toe with Satan himself, or is this band of beer-chugging brothers doomed to eternal damnation?
I will be honest, I saw the cover and immediately thought, “Oh, this is going to be on Manos: The Hands of Fate levels of crap…terrific!”
However, within the first shots, I was pleasantly surprised. The camera-work is actually very well done. The music (albeit being for a biker-exploitation film in the 70’s) was actually good and engaging. The costumes were terrific and while the acting was camp-good, there were a few scenes that felt actually genuine.
I’m going to detail it out in my brain roll segment, but the chemistry between Adam and Tarot mixed well together. Their scenes were the most enjoyable because they came off as the most genuine and expressive. D.J. Anderson did a great job with a lot of trope-y schlock coming her way. She was beautiful and fit into the role perfectly.
There were quite a few shots that were artistically done and diverted from other horror of the time and what was to come. The editing was well-done and kept the pace (with the exception of the “filling up our hogs at the gas station” scene).
So, all in all, this movie both exceeded and also met my expectations (which honestly were a bit low).
Brain Roll Juice:
So much. So, so much to say.
Okay I don’t know if you know this, but sometimes I have a special radar for certain things, especially in cinema (hint: it’s queer-related). Now granted the Hays code in Hollywood was ceremonially axed in 1968, it left a LOT of ripples in its wake, some continuing to this day.
We’ve all heard the shaking of heads and the utterance of “go woke, go broke” whenever a high-budget movie tries to step out of the trope-like binds and doesn’t financially succeed.
Hell, even my good pal, Jim Phoenix brought this up in our review of The Shed. Gay anything in a movie is a risk. Honest LGBTQ+ representation that actually looks queerness in the face and examines it is seen as a high-risk, low-reward venture for studios. Movies that are schlock and exploitation are more acceptable, but it’s still…not exactly welcomed.
So, what’s my pay-off to this massive lead-up? Hear me out.
There’s a lot of chemistry between Adam and Tarot. And while Tarot is kind of a bitchy dude, he’s a likeable character (at least I like him). In fact, if made today, he’d probably be portrayed by a female. He is supportive and even virginal, a Cassandra-type figure trying to save his…very good friend.
And I’m not saying that their relationship is that of a sexual one. The vibes I got from Tarot are even that of an ace, or an aromantic ace. He’s fiercely loyal and emotionally attached to Adam, which seems to be partially if not wholly reciprocated.
Hear me out…Hollywood, sell me the rights to this film for a Del Taco meal, and I’ll re-write and direct. Same characters, but there’s a romantic triangle between Adam, Helen, and Tarot.
Helen senses something’s off, but not exactly what, meanwhile Tarot and Adam get closer, but Helen gets angry because Adam denies (or doesn’t recognize it yet). Helen, wanting to keep Adam close to her, willingly goes to the cult and asks for the power “to destroy anyone who gets in her way”. Of course Satan is a dick and makes her a werewolf.
Now Tarot can sense something (he’s still a psychic like in the original movie) is not quite right and tries to warn Adam about it. Adam thinks he’s just being a dick to Helen and gets defensive, thinking Tarot is trying to push their ambiguous relationship into something he’s not ready for.
Helen begins to kill the others because of stupid shit they say or do, and starts to lose more and more control over her werewolf-ness. It’s scaring her, but she can’t come clean because then Adam might leave her.
It all culminates into a final scene when Adam must choose who to believe – his lying but devastated lover, or Tarot and their confusing feelings. Both take courage to confront, and honesty is the only way he can save them. Will love win or will he doom them all?
I have a few ideas for the ending, but I ain’t gonna spoil it for y’all.
Anyway, Hollywood people, hit me up on Twitter (@brannykj). I got the goods.
Super fun. Super retro. Super beards and biker lingo. A gem of exploitation nostalgia. If that’s your mama jama, then you’ll be all over this flick.(4 / 5)
The Last Drive-In: Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine Special Live Watch Party February 10th!
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.
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.
Horror Noire, a Film Review
Horror Noire is a horror collection that includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.”
Horror Noire is a horror collection brought by the combined efforts of AMC+ and Shudder. The collection includes “Daddy,” “The Lake,” “Brand of Evil,” “Bride Before You,” “Fugue State,” and “Sundown.” Horror Noire boasts Black directors and screenwriters, providing six unique stories.
As this collection explores six stories, I will skip the usual synopsis to assess the genres and ideas explored, albeit limited as needed. Expect to find supernatural horror, creature features, and psychological thrillers. Many short films deal with these genres while exploring Black issues, but this isn’t universal for the collection.
The directors and writers include Zandashé Brown, Robin Givens, Rob Greenlea, Kimani Ray Smith, Steven Barnes, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Tananarive Due, Shernold Edwards, Victor LaValle, and Al Letson.
What I Like
Each story remains unique, holding different strengths and weaknesses that highlight drastically different perspectives. Collections like VHS hold a similar premise to create their collection, but Horror Noire gives more creative freedom to its talent to be independent.
My personal favorite short film is Zandashé Brown’s “Bride Before You.” This period piece unravels a fable set in the Reconstruction Era. The entry feels Fabulistic in approach, which happens to be my preferred niche.
However, the best example of horror goes to Robin Givens’ “Daddy,” providing an existential horror tied directly to the characters involved.
What I Dislike
As mentioned, all have a particular style and idea. The downside of this approach always remains to keep the viewer interested long enough to find their favorite. If you find several underwhelming choices, this becomes a chore. But I imagine that is rare as the variety makes the options refreshing.
Personally, “Brand of Evil” had an interesting premise, but the execution fell short. On paper, it might have sounded like my favorite, which makes the lackluster execution a bigger letdown.
Horror Noire gives power and control to Black creators, providing a formula for a unique collection against others in the space. While the various subjects and approaches mean you aren’t likely to love them all, there should be a short film for everyone.
(3.5 / 5)
Episode six of Netflix’s Dahmer was not, honestly about our title character. Instead, it was about one of his victims, a man named Tony. We’ve actually seen Tony a few times during this series. We just didn’t know it was him.
And, well, he wasn’t exactly alive the first time we saw him.
Tony was born into a supportive, loving family. This is good because soon after he was born a viral infection took his hearing. He is black, deaf, and gay in the early 90’s.
Tony has a dream of becoming a model. And he certainly has the looks for it. He is beautiful, body and soul. He has lots of opportunities for romance, but it’s not what he’s looking for. He wants a real relationship.
Eventually Tony moves to Madison, trying to pursue his dream. He gets a job and starts getting modeling work.
Then, he meets Jeff Dahmer at a bar.
At first, we can almost believe that it’s going to be alright. Jeff seems happy. He’s taking care of himself. He’s not drinking as much. He even has his dad and stepmom over for dinner. It seems like his life is getting on track. Even better, he’s treating Tony right.
Then, of course, things go bad.
One thing that has always bothered me as a true crime fan is that we know so much about the killers, but not as much about the victims. Not so much if we don’t know who the killer is, of course. But the names that are part of our pop culture are those of the killers. Dahmer, Manson, Jones, Bundy, Holms. The names we don’t know are Roberta Parks, Beth LaBiancas, Leno LaBiancas, and Tony Hughes. And clearly, we should know them.
If Tony Hughes was half the shining, positive person that the show Dahmer made him out to be, I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore. We need so many more people like him. And many of Dahmer’s victims were likely just like him. After all, he was attracted to them for a reason.
This was a significant episode, and I understand why it’s the highest-rated episode of the series. I finished it with a heavy heart, saddened by the loss of a man who should still be with us today.(5 / 5)