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Welcome back to another season of our favorite show on Shudder with our review column ‘Notes from the Last Drive-In’ – this week is tackling season 4, episode 1, featuring the long-overdue Night of the Living Dead (1968) and the weirdly Italian companion piece Antropophagus (1980). When we last left off, we were at the Heartbreak Trailer Park. Now we’re back to business as usual with season four.

It was an exciting premiere featuring the 100th movie shown on The Last Drive-In with two exceptional guests across both features tonight. We get a horror host crossover in the first half of the night with the legendary Svengoolie. Then, in the back half, we get reunited with Honey, one of the beloved mail girls of the Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater era.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead is a simple plot. Barbra and Johnny visit a Pennsylvania graveyard to pay respects to a relative, unaware that the world is falling apart around them. Soon, the pair are separated in tragic circumstances, and Barbra finds herself isolated in a house with other survivors as the living dead lay siege to the house. Soon enough, tensions flare between two survivors, Ben and Harry, which threatens the safety of all.

Poster for George A. Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)
Movie art for the film ‘Night Of The Living Dead,’ 1968. (Photo by Continental Distributing/Getty Images)

The film, directed by George A. Romero and written by the team of Romero and John A. Russo, which additions by various actors and producers, is a classic of independent cinema and horror. The film’s big three performances are the iconic Duane Jones as Ben, Judith O’Dea and Barbra, and Karl Hardman as Harry Cooper. Produced independently by a ragtag group of Pennsylvanians, the movie has become a focal point for discussions in the public domain for the unique circumstances which led to the film’s open distribution by anyone with the means; this would ultimately be the reason for the film’s overall success.

There isn’t much to say about Night of the Living Dead that has not been noted in the 54 years since the film’s original release. The film is a masterpiece in several ways and still carries incredible power today. It is as timely parable now as it was in 1968 and continues to shock and surprise modern audiences. In my day job as a teacher, I’ve assigned this film, and inevitably the feedback is excellent. Despite some minor quibbles here and there, the movie works. You could do no better for a 100th movie on Joe Bob’s show than this one.


It would be unfair to boil down a review of such an iconic film in a couple of paragraphs in this column, so I won’t. Instead of any potential 100th film run, perhaps the only other choice would have been The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This movie is essential to horror and film as a whole.

Joe Bob-servations on Night of the Living Dead

Joe Bob brings up the point early on in the night that so much has been written about the film, and there have been so many interpretations that it is hard to bring anything new in about it. You could find any rhetorical angle for analysis and likely find plenty of scholarship to support it. My reading, pulled from other authors, is about property and capitalism, but it is certainly not the only game in town.

So, Joe Bob doesn’t spend as much time delving into the film behind the background. He’s less about interpretation here than context, which is perfectly fine. There is a lot of fun information about the circumstances behind the film, the cast, crew, and reaction. The potential downside lies in that much of this information for the film buffs who know and love the movie, especially horror nerds who watch Joe Bob Briggs, already know much of this. He also hammers home the collaborative nature of the film as Romero and Russo tend to get the lion’s share of the credit, which is fair, but that sometimes results in the other contributions being overlooked.

Still from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs featuring Darcy as Svengoolie
Darcy stole our hearts and rubber chickens, apparently.

But that’s not what is most important here; this is a celebration, and that tone is palpable throughout the evening, celebrating a horror classic and the art of horror hosting. This is best exemplified by the gleeful fun of the legendary Svengoolie (Richard Koze( popping out of a cake and Joe Bob being pelted by rubber chickens. This, for many of the weird kids who grew up watching gimmicky hosts talking about B and C movies on late-night television, was an emotional moment.

Koze was, of course, a perfect guest. Able to keep Joe Bob on his toes with knowledge of film and compatible work history, the segments were less and interviews and more of just two work buddies shooting the shit most warmly and invitingly possible. Except one playing a cowboy and the other slathered in greasepaint – that was the funny little abstraction.

Final Thoughts on Night of the Living Dead

Look, we know the film is good. Maybe even close to perfect in a few ways. There is no way that Night of the Living Dead, a personally important film to me, is getting anything less than five-Cthulhus. Of course, the film also received the inevitable four-star treatment from Joe Bob.


We knew going in the first movie was universally praised. It’s not just film – it’s culture. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Best Line: “Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, but I’m boss up here!” – Ben, in one of the underrated lines that open a whole can of worms regarding readings of the film.

Still from 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)
“Let us innnnn!”

Antropophagus (1980)

Antropophagus (also known as Antropophagus: The Beast and The Grim Reaper) is an Italian cannibal film that already lets you know what you are in for. Italian films have become the butt of a number of jokes on the show, and this because, generally, there is certain chaos attached to them. This chaos is found throughout the feature of the back-half of the evening. This 1980 film was directed by Joe D’Amato (an alias of Aristide Massaccesi, one alias of about a dozen) and co-written by D’Amato and George Eastman (Luigi Montefiori). The presence of multi-aliased stewards already gives us insight into the film. The international cast of Tisa Farrow, Zora Kerova, Saverio Vallone, Serene Granid, and Margaret Mazzantini also clues the film’s quality.

Poster for Joe D'Amato's "Antropophagus" (1980)
Antropophagus Poster

Okay, time to disappoint the Antropophagus-fans: It is not a good movie regarding production quality, storytelling, structure, or even logic. It is fun as hell, though. The film is a chaotic assembly of interchangeable characters and Italian location in lieu of an actually coherent story. In truth, the film is pretty hard to follow because the characters are so visually similar and the reason for moving from location to location is so abrupt and non-sensical. The plot involves a group of tourists exploring a nearly abandoned town, finding themselves in a series of escapes that eventually leads them to the home of a man driven mad in grief to consume human flesh.

What the film lacks in story and performances, it makes up for in effects and aesthetics. The film is notorious for being a strong contender as an escalation of the gore film and was so infamous it was considered one of the UK’s “video nasties.” The film also has a wonderfully strange score with dashes of Europop and heavily synthesized compositions by Marcel Giombini. However, that score was not heard in the film’s American release, instead replaced by the score of Kingdom of the Spiders (1977).

The film’s look is pretty muddy, and the cinematography by Enrico Biribicchi is at best functional, barring a few moments of visual fun. Ironically, this cinematography is strongest during the moments of extreme gore toward the film’s end. The emphasis on the body is a carryover from his work on Italian pronographic films.


The film’s direction is likely the largest contributor to the middling quality of the film; as we learn during Joe Bob’s host segments, Joe D’Amato’s workmanlike attitude meant he was generally a fast director and may have been less of an artist and more an assembler. His most significant contribution to Italian cinema would be his porn films, of which he is credits with about 120.

Joe Bob-servations on Antropophagus

Imagine the audacity of going from one of the greatest films ever made to… Antropophagus as a double feature with Night of the Living Dead. One of the most extraordinary things about The Last Drive-In has always been the usage of juxtaposition to pair what may seem unrelated films to create a larger whole for the episode. A great example of this was the pairing of The Changeling with Deathgasm.

With Antropophagus, the theme is established beyond cannibalization; the night’s theme appears to be one of “origins.” Just as the drive-in film culture owes a lot to the work of Romero and Image Ten, our foremost drive-in scholar Joe Bob Briggs owes a lot of his career to what is a mid-level Italian cannibal movie. The pairing works here… the milestone of Night helped formalize a whole culture that one John Bloom, under the guise of Joe Bob Briggs, would find a way to make his mark as a writer. Nobody was reviewing movies like Antropophagus, and that is where Bloom found his hook.

A lot of the back half of the night was the real celebration of Briggs. The first half would be considered a dive into the drive-in culture, but the second half was all Joe Bob. Antropophagus was the subject of his first published drive-in movie review and the origin point of what we enjoy today on Shudder on Friday nights. Not bad for a pretty meh cannibal film.

Of course, the Joe Bob content was fantastic, starting with his immediate cause for tracking down the film’s mysterious, workman-like director. This is one of the significant bits of the episode and is pretty much the main appeal of Briggs’ show – the whole “why-the-fuck-does-he-know-this”-aspect.


However, the real highlight for the back half of the night was the meeting of one of the original mail girls, Honey Gregory, and Diana Prince, the modern mail girl Darcy. The whole thing came off as lovely and affectionate as it dived into the old dynamic of Joe Bob being put in his place by two beautiful women. There was even a sweet little musical number woven in.

Final Thoughts on Antropophagus

So while Antropophagus is not the worst film featured on The Last Drive-In, it is certainly not among the best. All films shown are worthy of inclusion, and this one perhaps doubly so due to how much we know as The Last Drive-In owes its existence to it. Antropophagus is one of those films that audiences would have likely forgotten if some weirdo cowboy hadn’t realized that “hey, this should be talked about” and started a little newspaper column about Antropophagus and other movies like it.

The movie itself? It’s fun. Is it muddled, confusing, and ultimately more a loose assembly of time-filling moments to get to the money shots? Most definitely. But that’s also fine for us because we’re Drive-In Mutants. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Best Line: “There’s evil on this island. An evil that won’t let us get away. An evil that sends out an inhuman, diabolic power. I sense its vibrations now. The vibrations are an intense horror. It will destroy us! The very same way it did all the others!” – Carol, really making it about here right now, you know?

Still from 'Antropophagus' (1980)
That is why you wear a hat in overcast weather.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As always, we have the official totals courtesy of Shudder.

As for our list, we have…

  • 2 horror hosting legends
  • 2 mail girls
  • 2 darcy cosplay
  • 10 producers pooling money for NotLD
  • 40 years of Joe Bob Briggs
  • 101 drive-in movies on Shudder
  • 250 aliases for Joe D’Amato
  • Gratutous usage of “thee-ate-er”
  • Gratuitous musical interlude
  • Gratuitous drive-in history
  • Rubber chickens roll
  • Eyes roll
  • Cake popping
  • Synthesizer Fu
  • Tomb Desecration Fu
Still from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs featuring mail girls Honey and Darcy
Mail Girls Unite!

The Last Drive-In: S4E1 – Night of the Living Dead and Antropophagus Episode Score

The night was a huge success, not only examining the art and history of horror hosting but taking the time to acknowledge Joe Bob Briggs and his contribution to both rightly. It also helps that the movies themselves were genuinely fun as well. As far as season premieres go for the show, it may be hard to top the sheer, unadulterated joy of the original revival marathon, but damn if this one isn’t close.

Here is to 100 more movies if you feel like it, Joe Bob. I give the season four premiere 5 Cthulhus. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Please let us know what you think of the review and recap. We would love to read your comments about the films as well. Please let us know what you think.

Until next time, Mutants.

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Movies n TV

Shutter Island (2010): Review



Leonardo Dicaprio’s films rarely disappoint. It was interesting to see him flex different acting muscles in this psychological thriller Shutter Island alongside Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams. When I say that I was not expecting such a turn in the story, I mean that my jaw was pretty much on the floor the entire time. Without any further ado, let’s dive into its mastery, shall we? 

A cliché setup done right 

We have been here before a million times. A character stumbles into a scene to solve a mystery. Everyone is acting just the right amount of suspicion to make you wonder. Dicaprio’s Edward ‘Teddy’ travels to an extremely remote island where a woman goes missing from a psychiatric institution. He’s experiencing migraines and flashbacks to his murdered wife while receiving little to no help from the hospital staff. 

Teddy soon suspects that the hospital is experimenting on patients which fuels his theories on what happened to the missing woman. Things take even more of a turn when his partner also disappears. Unsurprisingly, everyone insists Teddy came to the island alone. Feeling like he’s losing his mind, our protagonist finds out that this is exactly the case. He is a patient in the hospital and the entire investigation is an attempt to get him to understand the truth. 

Leonardo di Caprio stands in front of the camera looking down, concerned with Mark Ruffalo looking baffled in the background

While the whole ‘it was all in your head’ trope has a bad rep for the fans of any genre, this film uses it masterfully. Watching it for the first time not knowing what to expect is obviously a shock and then watching it again, looking at all the clues that were the which you missed – that’s a treat on its own. After all, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using cliches if they are done the right way. 

Things that go bump in our minds

A huge part of this movie’s storyline is Andrew’s inability to process the truth. The roots for it stretch far beyond the plot twist. Andrew is unable to acknowledge that his wife is mentally ill and believes that moving them to the countryside will fix everything. After she murders their children, he is further pushed into the world of delusion, convincing himself to be a hero because he couldn’t save his own family. 

It’s interesting to note that in his delusion, Andrew is the one who set fire to their house. Is this a little sliver of his mind whispering the truth to him? Is it his subconscious villainizing himself out of contempt, searching for answers that are never going to come? Andrew’s psychiatrist pointed out that his moment of clarity has happened before, only to be undone quite quickly. Perhaps it was easier for Andrew to shut it off rather than live with the knowledge that he could’ve done something to prevent a terrible tragedy. 


Overall thoughts

Shutter Island is a movie that provides both the entertainment value you would expect from a suspense thriller and a deeper layer of thought. Coated with a perfect atmosphere and amazing acting, it’s a piece that will definitely hold the test of time.  4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Wheel of Time, Daughter of The Night



We’ve reached episode four of Wheel of Time, which means we’re halfway through the season. While it doesn’t seem like much has happened so far, this is the episode where things start heating up.

The Story

We begin this episode with a flashback. Ishamael is raising something dark and twisted. As we watch, it takes the shape of a woman.

More on that in a bit.

Meanwhile, Nynaeve is healing from her time in the arches. She is quiet and withdrawn. She’s also awkward and uncomfortable around Egwene now that she’s initiated and Egwene is not. Her new friendship with Elayne isn’t helping.


But the three girls come together when Liandrin tells Nynaeve that Perrin has been captured by the Seanchan.

Zoë Robins, Madeleine Madden and Ceara Coveney in Wheel of Time.

However, Perrin is no longer in the clutches of the Seanchan. He was rescued by Elyas and a pack of beautiful wolves. Beautiful and deadly AF by the way. If you have any fear of dogs, this episode might not help that.

Elyas explains to Perrin that he is a Wolf Brother. This means that he can communicate with the wolves, and eventually will gain some of their abilities. While Perrin and Elyas don’t exactly get off on the right foot, he does find a fast friendship with one specific wolf. After a time, he introduces himself by showing Perrin an image of himself jumping up and down. From this, Perrin assumes his name is Hopper.

Finally, we return to Rand. He and Selene have been off in the mountains. They haven’t done much more than each other so far.

And that’s exactly what it appears they’re about to do when Moiraine bursts into the cottage and cuts Selene’s throat.

Rand is surprised and furious until Moiraine explains that the woman he knows as Selene is the Dark Friend Lanfear. With this shocking revelation, the two run off into the night.


What worked

It should be a surprise to no one that I loved the wolves in this episode. Hopper himself was worth an extra Cthulhu. But this is not just because dogs are cute. It’s also because the dog playing Hopper just does a great job.

On a more serious note, I loved how Nynaeve responded upon coming back to the real world. She isn’t okay.

Zoë Robins in Wheel of Time.

And it’s a good thing that she isn’t. Too often in fiction we don’t see the fallout of emotional damage. Hell, we don’t usually see realistic fallout from physical damage.

But she is hurt by what she experienced. And you can tell. That’s realistic character building, and we don’t see that enough.

I also really appreciate the special effects in this episode. The first time we see Lanfear, she’s eerie. She’s frightening. Part of this is thanks to Natasha O’Keeffe, who does a great job. But the effects are what really sells this.

What didn’t work

If Wheel of Time has any fault, it’s that there is far too much sitting about and talking about things. In this case, there’s a lot of standing about and talking about things. Some of this was necessary, and some of it could have been done better. Honestly, there just has to be a better way to convey that characters are struggling.


This was most apparent with Rand and Selene/Lanfear. Honestly, anytime the two of them were on screen it was a great time for me to catch up on Instagram.

This might come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t read the books, but Rand is supposed to be the main character. And here we are, four episodes into an eight-episode season, and so far all he’s done is mess about with his emo girlfriend!

That being said, the story is starting to pick up. With four episodes left, I can’t wait to see how far we go.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Elevator Game, a Film Review

Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks.



Elevator Game (2023) is directed by Rebekah McKendry and is the first feature-length production of Fearworks. It adapts the supernatural myth and creepypasta of the same name while providing an original plot. This unrated Shudder exclusive stars Gino Anania, Samantha Halas, and Verity Marks. In full disclosure, I had the opportunity to interview Gino Anania and Stefan Brunner about the film.

Ryan seeks to find answers to his sister’s mysterious disappearance. To do this, he infiltrates a myth-busting web series that seems to have some ties to her final confirmed moments. Desperate to force a confrontation, he encourages them to play the elevator game. Unfortunately, there seems to be more truth to the myth than expected.

A woman bends backward to look over at someone. The street she's on is red and ominous.
ELEVATOR GAME’s Samantha Halas as the 5th Floor Woman

What I Like about Elevator Game & as an Adaptation

I am lucky to have additional insight into the development hell this movie overcame due to COVID. It’s commendable that the film manages to make it of that, even if it requires a lengthy delay of the film.

Usually, I provide a separate section for adaptation quality. However, the source material remains the ritual, which Elevator Game performs accurately. While the myth inspires many creepypastas, Elevator Game doesn’t directly take or adapt any of these works from what I’ve seen. Instead, it makes its own film based on the legend.

As the Fifth Floor Woman, Samantha Halas creates an eerie and disturbing character. While I won’t go so far as to say terrifying, she certainly makes an impression. The revelation that the stunts and performance are all her, as an actual contortionist, I give her more credit.


Gino Anania, given a more complex role than most of his cast members, really does bring a strong performance that creates either friction or synergy with his cast members. I suppose I wanted more of these interactions as some cut sooner than appreciated.

Another amusing element is that the entire motivation for the plot to follow is a forced advertisement from an investor. Something about the chaos being a product of appeasing some investors feels uncomfortably real.

The alternate reality remains surprisingly effective. To be clear, it’s not impressively realistic but stylistic. It genuinely seems like an alternate world with a skewered impression.

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

Tired Tropes or Trigger Warning

I feel weird mentioning this, but endangering a sister’s life to push the brother’s story forward seems a common trend beyond one form of media.

No discredit to the actors, but the romance feels rushed and unnecessary. Without going into too much detail, to avoid spoilers, there is synergy between the actors but little chemistry in the plot.

A woman holds a man's arm as an elevator door closes.
ELEVATOR GAME – Verity Marks as Chloe Young and Gino Anania as Ryan Keaton

What I Dislike or Considerations

Elevator Game remains set in providing a B-movie experience. Its tight budget leaves little room to surprise the viewer visually. While I am surprised at what it accomplishes, it’s far from overwhelming. This film also remains the first production of Fearworks, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’m interested in the future, but Elevator Game leaves much to grow from.

Rebekah McKendry may have a directorial style that influences dialogue, but the line delivery evokes an overexpression that’s common in Lovecraftian films. I say this not as a direct negative, but it remains a required taste best known before viewing. As this isn’t Lovecraftian, I fear it removes some of the reality and tension of those haunting elements.


Many of the characters feel underdeveloped, making me wonder if cutting these roles might lead to more invested characters. While the performances hit their marks, a tighter cast might give each role more to work toward. As this is a tight cast already, it seems an odd issue to rectify.

Final Thoughts

Elevator Game provides an interesting B-movie experience for those who know the legend. For those expecting something different, this film may not work for you. This film overcame a lot to exist but doesn’t break the mold. While I am excited to see Fearworks pursue further ventures toward its ambitious mission statement, I find Elevator Game falling short of its goal.
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

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