Connect with us

Published

on

Haunted MTL’s Notes from the Last Drive-In continues this week with S4E5, featuring Slaughterhouse (1987) and Tenebrae (1982). Does the show maintain the moment from last week’s brilliant Nosferatu double feature, a series highlight, or do we see another crack in the foundations this season?

How well does Shudder‘s premiere movie hosting program do this week, and does the “junk food” night theme work, or is the loose stitching of films that best not be paired? Let’s find out together, shall we?

Slaughterhouse (1987)

Rich Roessler’s 1987 film Slaughterhouse is considered a slasher comedy. The movie follows an old man named Lester Bacon (Don Barrett) and his son Buddy Bacon (Joe B. Barton), who go on a killing spree when their dilapidated hog farm is being foreclosed upon in the interest of a more modern facility. Soon, community members, such as a group of local teens like Liz Borden (Sherry Leigh), meet gruesome fates as the local sheriff Fred Borden (Willliam Houke) investigates the deaths.

The Last Drive-In S4E5 Slaughterhouse Poster
The poster is pretty dope.

Rick Roessler wrote and produced the film with cinematography by Richard Benda and edited by Sergio Uribe, made for a budget of $110,000. The film has achieved a puzzling cult following, mainly on the back of actor Joe B. Barton, who proved to be the most exciting thing associated with the film.

This is a rough one. We’ve not been to such terrible movie depths since back during the infamous double feature of Sledgehammer and Things. Slaughterhouse, in many ways, can be seen as the poster child of the downfall of slashers, coming well after the genre had more or less declined in 1984.

Advertisement

The film is nonsensical; most of the kills are one-note, and the only character who amounts to much grunts like a pig for the movie’s duration. The film offers no shock, no sense of dread, and every beat is predictable. This is honestly one of the most paint-by-numbers slasher films I’ve seen. It doesn’t even have a solid musical identity, nor any real impressive shots. Even the kills feel lacking to a great degree.

There are a few gems in the pile of pig droppings, though. A loony sequence of the snorting killer joy-riding in the police cruiser is pretty fun, and a couple of the kills are worth adding to a reel, involving a grinder and another with a powerful blow to the abdomen. Beyond that, though, there isn’t much to love about it. Most of the charisma comes from actor Joe B. Barton as Buddy, and all he does is wield an improbably-large looking cleaver, grunt like a pig, and kill a few folks.

The film doesn’t even use the slaughterhouse setting and humans as meat substitutes to its advantage. So much of the movie creates motivation for the killers tied to the slaughterhouse industry, and it doesn’t add much to the proceedings. I think a more insane director with supreme bad taste could have done a hell of a lot more with this one. There is a decent slasher buried deep in this one, but the director must trim the fat.

Joe-Bobservations on Slaughterhouse

The highlight of the evening was a toss-up between Joe Bob’s torturing of resident vegan Darcy the Mail Girl with meat factoids or Joe Bob’s tepid praise over the film. There was a lot of hot dog history with some digressions into the nature of the hog slaughter process, which worked to give Joe Bob and Darcy some fun little argumentative bits. Darcy does have a point that the filming of the slaughter of the pigs (even if people ate them) seemed unnecessary. After all, critics could say the same thing about Cannibal Holocaust.

More subtle were some of the dunks Joe Bob had over the quality of the film. The film wasn’t great, and it was apparent to our host, but he delivered the relevant factoids we Mutants crave. The stories surrounding actor Joe B. Barton doing press tours as Buddy Bacon were hilarious, including an apparent meeting with President Ronald Reagan. How the hell?

Advertisement

The first half of the night closed out with Darcy in protest, dressed as a pig and singing the praises of the animals, as they are pretty adorable. She also presented Joe Bob with a package from Buddy himself with props from the movie, which was pretty sweet.

Final Thoughts on Slaughterhouse

I could not get into this one. It wasn’t a film that was so unpleasant that it put me off, but instead, I felt little to engage with during the run time. Virtually no characters worth caring about with some predictable kills and overly set-up plot result in perhaps one of the worst films shown in The Last Drive-In. Occasionally we need these movies, though, and there is some stuff worth celebrating within it, but as a whole, this probably would have made for a film better paired with something like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. It would have helped the movie go down better, especially given the evening’s follow-up, Tenebrae.

Joe Bob Briggs gave the film 2 1/2 out of 4 stars. I feel like he was maybe overly generous here. I would give Slaughterhouse 1 1/2 out of 5 Cthulhus. It could have been meatier. 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5)

Best Line: “Buddy’s a good boy, but he has what you might call basic hygiene problems.” – Lester Bacon

The Last Drive-In S4E5 Slaughterhouse Screenshot
Officer Friendly.

Tenebrae (1982)

How do you follow up on one of the most generic slasher films ever made? With one of the most Giallo and the Gialli in Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (1982). The film, written and directed by Dario Argento, features editor Franco Fraticelli and cinematographer Lucian Tovoli, frequent collaborators with Dario Argento. The film also features a soundtrack with three of the members of Goblin, Claudio Simonetti, Fabio Pignatelli, and Massimo Morante.

Advertisement
The Last Drive-In S4E5 Tenebrae Poster
Great poster, by the way.

The film follows an author, Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), who goes to Rome to promote his latest novel with his literary agent Bullmer (John Saxon), and assistant Anne (Daria Ncolodi). He is also followed by an ex-lover, Jane (Veronica Lario). Upon his arrival, a woman is murdered, and soon bodies pile up, all seemingly reflecting the author’s work. Who is the killer, and what is their connection to Neal?

While not the best of Argento’s output, it’s a quality film. It returns to a more classical form of the Giallo for Argento after the supernatural diversions of Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980). The film is also quite bitter in many ways, seemingly reacting to Argento’s feelings about critics toward his work and comments about women’s treatment in his movies. Of course, he would be cagey regarding these ideas in typical Argento fashion over the years. As with most of his work, the film operates heavily on dream logic and strange thematic elements that at times seem purposeful and at other times thrown in.

The story itself is fine, though the revelation and fake out feel arbitrary because the film needed some extra twist with the reasoning being fast and loose to wring out a little more mystery. The core idea of an author trying to figure out murders based on his writing is novel enough, at least for the time, but has been done more compellingly elsewhere.

The characters are primarily broad caricatures with strange Argento flourishes except for one or two. Anthony Franciosa is fantastic and makes the film work as well as it does, lending this Italian feature a little credibility. John Saxon is John Saxon, which is entirely appropriate. Saxon plays one or two types of characters – smarmy jerk and stern father – but plays them very well. He fills the smarmy jerk role here, but his presence is always welcome. Giuliano Gemma as Detective Giermani is good, but he’s a distant third in presence behind Franciosa and Saxon.

However, the women do not get as much to sink their teeth into here. Daria Nicolodi is a fine actress but primarily relegated to the role of assistant and hysterical screamer with little agency. Then again, Dario Argento’s treatment of Nicolodi is not surprising. Veronica Lario looks pretty and dies well. Eva Robin’s (her chosen name), the transgender actress who plays the girl on the beach in an erotically charged scene, is a refreshingly modern casting choice, looking just suitable for the role of the sexual beach siren who humiliates an essential character in their youth.

The aesthetics of the film are notable. Where Argento’s films may falter in writing, plot, and characterization as a whole (there are exceptions), his depiction of mood, his inventive framing, and his close relationship with the best Italian prog-rockers of the 1970s, Goblin, means you’re going to have a good time no matter how indecipherable his movies can get. The film has some beautiful shots and staging. One scene depicting an amputation splatters a stark white environment with arcs and slashes of bright red blood, an early kinetic and gorgeous moment. One scene in public space among the fascistic brutalist architecture of Mussolini’s Rome evokes Alfred Hitchcock with tight alternating edits and dramatic angles, bringing tension to crowded daylight.

Advertisement

Of course, the theme tune is among the best of the Argento and Goblin collaborations.

While the film falls apart structurally and logically, it is never dull and presents genuine moments of shock and surprise. It hits all the crucial hallmarks of Giallo and can be wildly inventive, sometimes to its detriment. A two-and-a-half-minute tracking shot up, over, and down the side of a house to the film’s theme song is one of the more puzzling examples of excess.

Joe-Bobservations on Tenebrae

Dario Argento is always a bit of a weird one when it comes to The Last Drive-In. The director is undoubtedly one of the most influential directors of horror in Italy and the genre worldwide, but his works tend to be hit or miss for our host. There was some of that ambivalence on display during the episode as, again, we are presented with stunning moments, but the film itself was rather loosely strung together.

However, what is always refreshing is when the ball is in Darcy’s court, and her knowledge of Italian horror is always welcome, especially when Joe Bob appears bewildered by it all.

As for insights into the film, I feel my favorites were the background of Anthony Franciosa, the lead, who was compelling and problematic. I also appreciate the reveal that John Saxon has no memory of making this film. Of course, the revelation of transgender actress Eva Robin’s and the nature of the sexy beach scene was also quite fun.

Advertisement

Perhaps the best moments of the show are when Joe Bob’s frustrations come to the surface and, as a result of this, his sheer annoyance with the tracking shot was quite hilarious.

Final Thoughts on Tenebrae

While Tenebrae is undoubtedly not the highlight of Dario Argento’s career, the film is one of the purest expressions of his aesthetics and logic. The structure may be a bit flimsy, but my god, does it look good. Tenebrae is an impressive house of cards, supported by a base of three or four strong performers, great music, cinematography, and some Italian Giallo weirdness.

Joe Bob gave the film 4 out of 4 stars. I think that is to be expected; as much as he grouses about some of Dario Argento’s impulses, Joe Bob has a level of respect for the guy, and the films are generally quite excellent. While Tenebrae is quite remarkable, I also do not feel it is worth a perfect score on my scale. I have some issues with it, but I’ll still watch the hell out of it. I’d give Tenebrae 4 out of 5 Cthulhus. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Best Line: “I’ve been charged, I’ve tried building a plot the same way you have. I’ve tried to figure it out; but, I just have this hunch that something is missing, a tiny piece of the jigsaw. Somebody who should be dead is alive, or somebody who should be alive is already dead.” – Peter Neal

The Last Drive-In S4E5 Tenebrae Screenshot
That is not how you use a straight razor.

Haunted MTL Drive-In Totals

As always, we have the official drive-in totals from the groovy ghoulies over at Shudder.

And we have our totals for the evening.

Advertisement
  • 62 vertical miles of elevated horror
  • 76 hot dogs
  • 5 German Hot Dog Fathers
  • 350 Pounds
  • 6 Dumb Teens
  • Hot Dog Map Fu
  • Celebrity Chef Name Drop Fu
  • Pig Boy Joy Ride Fu
  • Pork Pun Fu
  • Letter Opening Fu
  • Pig Disco Dancing
  • Tiajuana Sluicing
  • Thigh Stabbing
  • Tower Tumbling
  • Dissociating
  • Gratuitous Airport
  • Gratuitous Dancing
  • Gratuitous Latin
  • Beach Gangbang
  • Surprise Lumberto Bava
  • Street Trash Defense Force
  • Darcy Cosplay (Pig and Jane)
The Last Drive-In S4E5 Screenshot
Just another night at The Last Drive-In.

Episode Score for the Last Drive-In: S4E5 – Slaughterhouse and Tenebrae

I was pleased with how well last week went regarding the night’s theme. It certainly helped that both films were excellent, but the night felt far more cohesive overall than this season. The pairing made a lot more sense, and the movies worked together for something more significant. It was Nosferatu (1922) and the 1979 remake, but it worked.

Unfortunately, we are taking a step back this week. The stated theme was a junk food night, but unlike a hot dog, the connective tissue was absent between the films. I suppose the idea is that Giallo might be like the 1970s and 1980s junk food of Italian cinema, but it felt like a stretch, especially given how good Tenebrae is compared to Slaughterhouse.

I have been dinging the show pretty hard this season for what I feel is a mismatch in the juxtaposition of the films. That hasn’t been an issue before because it was expected, and the show hadn’t quite stated so explicitly what they were going for in episodes during previous seasons. It was more fun to interpret. Now that the show says, “this is [insert night here],” the pairing seems looser and less exciting.

Hell, The Cannibal Man (1972), one of the films shown in the mid-evening trailers, would have been a better pairing with Slaughterhouse. What’s going on?

Slaughterhouse was mainly terrible but could have been salvaged had it not been paired with a film that completely obliterated its quality. The evening’s theme completely fell flat as well. I feel like I can only give this episode of The Last Drive-In 3 1/2 out of 5 Cthulhus. 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

With that, we are done until next time. Please join us again next week for another review and recap. What did you think, though? Why not share your thoughts in the comments about the show and the two films shown. Did you have a favorite?

Advertisement

Please join us on Twitter next Friday as we live-tweet with the rest of the Mutant Fam during The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs

Want more meaty fun? (Sponsored link)

Instead of watching Slaughterhouse paired with Tenebrae, consider pairing it with The Cannibal Man. Our sponsored link to Amazon can help you snag a blu-ray copy, and you’ll be helping out the site.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movies n TV

Fallout, The End

Published

on

Launching with worldwide excitement, Fallout is based on the extremely popular game series of the same name. Fans of the series have waited with anticipation and trepidation to see if the Prime series would live up to the game.

Having now watched the first episode I can say that, so far, it’s successful.

The story

Our story begins with a children’s birthday party. A performer is there with his daughter, giving horse rides and taking pictures with the kids.

Advertisement

As much as the adults try to focus on the party and the kids, it’s impossible to ignore the looming threat of war that’s on everyone’s mind.

Of course, it’s during this party that war comes, and the bombs drop.

We then cut to after the war and into one of the vaults established to protect humankind and the American Way. For future reference, this is Vault 33. We meet Lucy, our first main character, who’s petitioning to be married to a man from Vault 32 to ensure DNA diversity.

On the wedding night, though, Lucy and the rest of Vault 33 are met with a horrible surprise. The group they let in is not in fact from Vault 32, but is instead a team of raiders from the surface. The raiders kill a lot of the vault dwellers and kidnap Lucy’s father.

We are then introduced to our second main character, Maximus. He is in training to become a Knight in the Brotherhood of Steel. And, well, he’s not doing great.

Advertisement

Things get worse when his best friend Dane becomes a squire before him. But when Dane is hurt, Maximus gets their spot.

Aaron Moten in Fallout.

We then go back to Lucy, who has decided to leave the vault and find her dad. Of course, the council of her vault doesn’t want her to go. So she is aided by her brother Norm and cousin Chet in a wild escape.

What worked

The first thing that deserves attention is the exceptional character work. Our three main characters are fleshed out and relatable right away. We feel sympathetic for The Ghoul before he’s even introduced as such. We love Lucy’s nativity and selflessness. And we love Maximus for his honesty and passion for his cause.

While these characters are their own people, they also exhibit the three responses we might expect to see in a post-apocalyptic world. We have the hopeful optimist who doesn’t understand how bad things are. We have the aspiring hero who wants to make the world better by force. And we have the self-serving individual who’s given up on the rest of humanity and is only focused on surviving.

Another thing I enjoyed about this episode was the balance of humor and gore. Because there was certainly enough blood and guts for even the most hardcore horror lover. We had a violent sabotage, a brawl with raiders, and even several nuclear bombs.

But there were a lot of funny moments as well. Usually from Lucy. Her overall goodwill and fearless gumption are absolutely hilarious, especially given the horrors she’s facing. It never ceases to amuse me.

Advertisement
Ella Purnell in Fallout

Both of these aspects are done perfectly. The jokes land and the bloody scenes pull no punches. It was delightful.

All in all, this was an exciting start to a much-anticipated series. Here’s hoping they’re able to stick the landing.

For more tv shows based on video games, check out my review of Witcher. 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Continue Reading

Movies n TV

American Horror Story Delicate, Ave Hestia

Published

on

Episode seven of American Horror Story Delicate was a classic AHS flashback episode. If you were excited to see what Preecher had to say to Anna at the end of the last episode, I’m sorry to say that you will not get that satisfaction. However, we did learn all sorts of other fascinating things about the strange coven hunting Anna. And, we learned all sorts of things we didn’t know about Dex’s first wife, Adeline.

The story

We begin our story with a woman giving birth alone in a barn. When it becomes clear that she’s not going to be able to deliver vaginally, she pulls out a knife and cuts her stomach open to pull out her children.

For whatever reason, this is when the coven of witches decides to make themselves known.

Advertisement
Ashlie Atkinson in American Horror Story.

We then cut to 2013, when Dex was still married to Adeline. In true Dex fashion, he’s surprised her with a puppy.

While that sounds great in theory, dogs are something a couple should talk about, not gift each other with as a surprise. An adult would know that. A trust fund boy like Dex does not.

Adeline owns a vegan restaurant called Ave Hestia. Love that name. She seems to be living a great life. She has a career she’s passionate about, friends who love her, and a husband she seems kind of fond of.

Maybe that’s why she didn’t want a puppy. She already had one.

Of course, things aren’t as good as they appear. We soon find out that Adeline was one of those babies we saw at the start of the episode. The other baby was Sonia, the painter.

Annabelle Dexter-Jones in American Horror Story.

And yes, both of these characters are played by Annabelle Dexter-Jones.

Adeline has stepped away from their family, and whatever dark things they do. But the family isn’t happy with her decision. And if she isn’t going to come back willingly, they’re going to make her.

Advertisement

What worked

To start with, I loved the character, Adeline. She is fierce, she is fearless, and relentless. I feel like this would have been a far different story if Adeline had been our main character. It was astounding to see her interact with the same people Anna has, and get a completely different response. It’s clear now, how much everyone around Anna resents her for simply not being Adeline.

I also appreciated that there was just a shocking amount of blood in this episode. From the start when Adeline and Sonia are born, to the climactic end of Adeline, this episode is just drenched in blood.

Finally, I’m fascinated by the changes in this season from the book it’s based on. Because absolutely none of this was in the book. Compared to this, the book is heartwarming.

The book is kind of heartwarming even without the comparison.

Advertisement

But I love the fact that, even with just two episodes left in the season, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I do not know what Anna is carrying. I do not know if she’s going to survive this. I do not know what these people want with her.

But I can’t wait to find out.

What didn’t work

All that being said, it is a bit frustrating to have no forward momentum in this episode. This was all backstory, and it felt like there wasn’t enough backstory to fill a full forty minutes. Because of that, it dragged. There were a lot of scenes that just didn’t need to be as long as they were. It felt like they could have cut that down considerably, and had some time to check in with our main characters at either the start or the end of the episode.

There are only two episodes left in the season, and I can honestly say I have no idea what’s going to happen. But so far the story has been dark, bloody, and provocative. So I hope they can manage to end it on a high note.

Advertisement

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

If you’re a fan of my work, please check out my latest story, Nova, on Paper Beats World. New chapters launch every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies n TV

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: An Eggs-celent Time

Published

on

By

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs returned March 29th for the first ever Easter-themed episode. Debuting the new series format, hosts Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl presented only one film. The Drive-In can be watched on AMC+ and Shudder every other Friday during the season.

This week on The Last Drive-In, Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl hopped onto our screens to include us in their Easter party. Festivities include decorating eggs, blowing noisemakers, cuddling mutilated stuffies, and of course, swigging down Lone Star beer. You’re invited to consume whatever substances you like best to enhance the viewing experience of this week’s film, Brian Skiba’s Rottentail (2019).  

Season 6 poster for The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs.

As Joe Bob opens the episode, there is hope he will remain focused and on topic. He begins with innocent rabbit behavior patterns before taking a turn into the best methods of hunting them. Darcy grows increasingly uncomfortable as he delights in giving pointers to would-be hunters. She incredulously asks, “Are you talking about killing rabbits right now?” 

Believing the audience is on her side, she throws up a Twitter poll. It was a close split, but 50.2% of viewers who responded do agree with her. See? Every vote does count. (Seriously, make sure you are registered to vote in this year’s elections.) 

Ch-Ch-Changes

Calling out the elephant in the room, Joe Bob reminds viewers about the new one-movie format of the series. Instead of two movies every Friday, this season has been stretched out with one movie showing every other week until Labor Day. 

Advertisement

If you want someone to blame, Joe Bob says you can point at us tired folks on the east coast struggling to stay awake past midnight. However, between the new format and specials, we have been assured there are actually more movies this season. 

Thankfully for the audience, Rottentail is packed with action and hits multiple genres to the point that it feels like at least a movie and a half. 

A poster for Rottentail (2019) featuring the mutated Peter Cotten and the tagline "Hippity Hoppity Homicide."
A poster for Rottentail (2019).

Rottentail tells the story of unassuming scientist Peter Cotten (Corin Nemec) being transformed into a rabbit-human hybrid after receiving a bite from a genetically-engineered rabbit. He embarks on a journey of revenge against those who wronged him in his childhood such as Pastor Jake Mulligan (William McNamara). He even finds time to rekindle a past romance with Anna Banana (Dominique Swain).

The Drive-In Totals include but are not limited to: 4 dead bunnies, 1 mad army general, mutated bunny rampage, lettuce nibbling, heart tossing, 1 mutant bunny baby, and erection fu. “Four stars. Joe Bob says, ‘Check it out.’

No Animals Were Harmed

It goes without saying that there are a few depictions of animal cruelty within this film. Darcy feels it is prudent to warn the audience. Whenever an animal dies on screen, Twitter is flooded with upset viewers expressing their distaste. Dragging the warning out of Joe Bob, she reminds him of the gentle nature of the #MutantFam. We’ll watch humans be slaughtered all day, but don’t you dare hurt that animal.  

Joe Bob seems to not understand the need for the warning as, “this whole movie is about taking revenge on people who harm animals!” He insists no animals are actually harmed and implies that being bothered is indicative of good effects. To demonstrate, at one point he “snaps” Darcy’s neck with the assistance of a sound effect.

Advertisement
Joe Bob demonstrates the use of sound effects as he fake kills Darcy.
No mail girls were harmed in the filming of this episode.

Pages to Print

The film is based off of the graphic novel Rottentail by David C. Hayes and Kevin Moyers. Initially self-published, Source Point Press picked up the novel and are responsible for its translation onto screen. The film is very stylized and Joe Bob says it gives Re-Animator (1985) vibes. 

Nemec is a big fan of graphic novels, and had read the story prior to the film’s production. He ended up becoming a co-producer of the film. Joe Bob believes Nemec should get more praise for his role as Peter/Rottentail, and the hosts bemoan his lack of availability to come on the episode.

Furthering my belief that Joe Bob is secretly a huge fan of Lifetime Christmas movies, he highlights that director Skiba is perhaps best known for his work on the network. I am continually baffled at how many of these Christmas movies he can name and refuse to believe he doesn’t actually cozy up to watch them.

Tis The Season?

Speaking of Christmas, this week’s mail call features a letter originally sent back in December. Joe Bob immediately senses what is going on and chides Darcy, “I do not want letters that make everyone cry.” Brad from Loretto, Kentucky writes in to share his Halloween memories with his daughter. Unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 20 before Brad had a chance to share The Last Drive-In with her.  It’s a sobering reminder that we truly do not know how much time we have left to spend with someone.  

No, Wait, Come Back!

It is understandable why some folks were upset with the new format change of the series. However, the episode is still full of The Last Drive-In spirit. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it feels as if there was more time & space for host segments. At points, Joe Bob and Darcy were breaking in almost every 15 minutes. It’s very much still the same show we love, just now featuring more anticipation.  

My rating for Rottentail: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Advertisement

My rating for the episode: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Continue Reading

Trending