I am appalled, fellow Homo sapiens, that this movie is not cherished more. Appalled and aghast! Boo, humanity, for not cherishing the disco fae magic of David Copperfield; the whitest knight, Conductor Ben Johnson (may he bless us); the beauty and talent of Vanity (R.I.P.); the utmost last-girl perfection of Jamie Lee Curtis; and of course, the main star: the nauseating confusion of one’s budding sexuality.
Jokes aside, I am honestly surprised that this hasn’t discovered more traction in recent years, with the likes of fellow films such as Nightmare on Elmstreet 2 and Sleepaway Camp. This movie really has something for everyone to be entertained with – the hipster to ironically enjoy the awkward magic of David Copperfield; the feminist to enjoy the hard-as-tacks (but still vulnerable) Jamie Lee Curtis; the Boomer to enjoy the godly pristineness of the gentlemanly conductor; the horny teen to enjoy some nudity and making out; and the LBGTQ in the mix to enjoy the subtle and not-so-subtle nods to sexuality and identity. This is a full-package movie that deserves to be back on people’s radars.
On New Years Eve, first-year pre-med fraternity students are celebrating with the tradition of “losing their beanie hat” by having sex with one of their sorority sisters. Kenny, a shy student, is tricked by the others into thinking he’ll be losing his virginity, when in fact, it’s pieces of corpses reassembled into a full body. Once he realizes this, Kenny panics and loses his mind.
Three years later, just before the New Year again, the same sorority and fraternity students decide to celebrate by booking a party train for the night. Unfortunately, it’s the perfect place for them to be picked off one-by-one by a masked serial killer.
Everything. Disco. Jamie Lee Curtis. Magic. David Copperfield with a knife. Vanity. A live band falling down in a train-car. 70’s Costume Party. Everyone sleeping with each other. Ben Johnson bringing to life one of the most sincere and sweet “authority figure” protagonists I’ve seen in a movie. The claustrophobia of the train’s space. Jamie Lee’s last girl really having a battle of wits, scrap and compassion for her survival that was refreshing to watch. An interesting killer with motives and backstory, but not everything spelled out or force-fed to the audience.
Kenny’s tornado-twist freak out was….an odd choice.
Brain Roll Juice:
This should be on more movie lists, especially LGBTQ. There’s a lot it says about sexuality, identity, and social norms. Some of those are explored slyly and some not-so-much, depending on your experiences.
I also want to put this into context: this was the early 80’s when the film was released and the AIDs pandemic was just beginning to grow. To be honest, the director (Roger Spottiswoode) took a lot of risks with this very high-budgeted film to explore these themes of sexuality.
I find it interesting that Roger Ebert at the time of its release gave it only one star and, in his review, cited that the movie was just a series of sensations and didn’t care to tell a story, especially in comparison to the horror films of the 1930’s. However, Terror Train did something that most movies of the 30’s could not do, which was explore different types of sexuality, especially when there was a huge stigma against it. The move was, in fact, telling a story and did care, but I don’t think that Mr. Ebert could hear what it was trying to tell.
If you like this movie and are interested, I’d recommend reading some interviews with actor Derek McKinnon about this film. They provide more insight into the film and his character.
A surprise 4 out of 5. Campy enough for a movie night. Thoughtful enough if you care to listen. And again, disco magic with young David Copperfield.(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)
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