At 1428 Elm, we were pretty lucky to get a hold of the very busy, Joe Bob Briggs! Join us as we kick back in our Lazy-Boy recliners to discuss The Last Drive-In, his thoughts on reboots and much more.
“It’s not a crime to get drunk.” – Joe Bob Briggs
The Tall Texan Rides Again
On July 13, Joe Bob Briggs will be hosting The Last Drive-In starting at 9 p.m. (ET) (6 p.m. PT) on Shudder. Sad to say, this is kind of like the iconic movie critic’s farewell tour. Part of my formative years in the 80’s was spent watching Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater.
Always colorful and entertaining, one of his signature bits on MonsterVision involved counting the number of dead bodies, breasts, lap dancing and other assorted categories in the films he happened to be reviewing. He even had a vomit meter!
The truth of the matter is that we will never see an original program like this ever again. So, a huge thank you to Shudder for sending him off in style.
At 1428 Elm, we were fortunate enough to sit down and talk with the cult favorite about his upcoming gig, his thoughts on the reboot trend as well as his opinion on who the leading stars are in the horror genre today. So, grab a tall one, sit back, relax in your recliner and enjoy this commercial free interview.
1428 Elm: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for us. We really appreciate it.
Joe Bob Briggs: Thanks for fitting me into your loaded-with-content site. I’m always a little intimidated by genre experts, because everyone thinks I’m the expert, but whenever I go to a fan convention, I always get stumped on the very first question! So, don’t embarrass me, okay?
Love It When a Plan Comes Together
1428 Elm: We’ll try not to! We are so glad that Shudder will be showing The Last Drive-In on July 13. Do you have any idea why there was a hold-up? It seems like it was taking forever to get confirmation.
JBB: Wow, you noticed there was a hold-up? Well, first there was a plan to make it part of HalloTween or whatever you call the exact midpoint between Halloweens—apparently that’s a thing now—and then there was a plan to do it in June, but somebody at Apple was doing maintenance somewhere overseas in June and the site would have been down in certain areas.
Then we had technological problems since it’s the longest show ever produced by Shudder and there was a question about how you stream 24 hours without breaks, then there was some other kind of conflict, then somebody said, “Hey, July 13th is a Friday the 13th, let’s do 13 movies that night,” and so it was decreed— “The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs” will air as a 24-hour dusk-to-dawn-to-dusk-to-almost-dawn-again marathon beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time/6 p.m. Pacific, on July 13.
It will actually run more like 26 to 27 hours because I tend to talk too much. And it will be pretty much a reboot of the old MonsterVision format, including interruptions for commercials on a network that has no commercials. So, it’s insane.
Getting to Know You
1428 Elm: What is your criteria for choosing horror films to showcase?
JBB: The producer and director wanted to replicate the shows I did on The Movie Channel and TNT and so we selected a mixed bag—some classics, some forgotten gems, some so-bad-they’re-goodies. My only criteria involves a) do I have something to say about this movie (almost always the case), and b) has it never been said before, and c) will it be entertaining. Sometimes I have personal stories because I was involved with the filmmaker or I know the people, so we tend to favor those.
Joe Bob Briggs – Courtesy of TNT
The good old days.
1428 Elm: What are some of your favorite films?
JBB: Every time I get asked to do a “Top Ten” list, I change it! But my basic list is not very surprising—the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hellraiser, Suspiria, Basket Case, if we’re talking about horror.
On my original show, “Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater,” we showcased all genres, including action, soft-core sex comedies, sci-fi, so some of my favorite films are stuff from the eighties that are actually dreadful movies but we had a lot of fun with them on the show.
Does anyone remember Wild in Ibiza, also called Wild and Beautiful in Ibiza, a dubbed West German sex comedy with not very much sex and even less comedy? I didn’t think so.
1428 Elm: Are you more of a jump-scare or slow-burn psychological horror person?
JBB: You have to have both! One is a camera technique and one is a story value, and great horror writers and directors use their complete tool kit.
The State of Horror
1428 Elm: How do you feel about the trend toward horror reboots like Grudge and now The Changeling?
JBB: Grudge—they’re dropping the “The”—is actually a remake of a remake, so that’s getting kind of ridiculous, plus aren’t there already 97 sequels? I would be afraid to redo The Changeling, because everyone will be saying, “Well, he’s no George C. Scott.”
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I’m not a big fan of remakes, sequels, “reimaginings,” because I think we should constantly be looking toward the next big scary thing in our culture, not looking backward to things that once scared us but probably don’t anymore. Horror is always rooted in the present—good horror, that is. There are exceptions.
Frankenstein can be reimagined for each new generation because it’s about the power of science to dehumanize us, and there are always new scientific threats to our way of life. But the best versions of Frankenstein don’t look at all like the classic version. You can remake the essential nature of something without copying the external details, but then that would be hard work, wouldn’t it?
1428 Elm: With the success of Get Out is there more respect toward the horror genre these days in Hollywood?
JBB: Hollywood executives have a lot more respect for horror this year than last but not because they were impressed by Get Out. They were impressed by the $327 million domestic and $373 million foreign box office for Stephen King’s It.
1428 Elm: Tell us who you think the leading stars in horror are today.
JBB: Guillermo del Toro at the fancy end, and Rob Zombie at the cult end. Horror is always about directors, not actors.
1428 Elm: Can you tease anything about your upcoming Shudder marathon?
JBB: We pretty much followed the old MonsterVision format—rants, drive-in totals, the trailer house, the Lazy Boy recliner, the interruptions to talk about aspects of the film, the Mail Girl, the occasional guest—everything is there!
1428 Elm: Tell us about Diana Prince who plays Darcy the Mail Girl.
JBB: She’s a Los Angeles horror blogger and influencer and low-budget movie producer who named herself after Wonder Woman’s alter ego and often appears at fan conventions in full cosplay splendor. We’re thinking about having her dress up as characters in each of the 13 movies, since she’s such a cosplay whiz. She’s also a horror expert—yet another person who can upstage me at any moment.
Mark this on your calendars. You won’t want to miss The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs July 13 (Friday the 13th) on Shudder at 9 p.m. ET or 6 p.m. PT. Be there or be square.
What movies do you hope to see at The Last Drive-In? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.