Interview: Joe Bob Briggs talks social isolation and the return of the drive-in

The Last Drive-In. Image Courtesy Shudder
The Last Drive-In. Image Courtesy Shudder /
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Joe Bob Briggs
Photo: Darcy the Mail Girl in The Last Drive-In.. Image Courtesy Shudder /

We chatted with Joe Bob Briggs recently about that reindeer antler impalement, researching the films he shows and the resurgence of the drive-in.

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs returned to Shudder recently for its second season, and the first two episodes surprised and delighted fans. Episode one included Chopping Mall and Bloodsucking Freaks and episode two featured Maniac and Heathers.

Joe Bob also brought us some special guests, including wrestler Chris Jericho, drive-in movie queen Kelli Maroney and make up effects legend Tom Savini. With the rest of the season to go, let’s hear what Joe Bob had to say about The Last Drive-In and social isolation.

1428 Elm: I think everyone believed the first marathon was going to be your swan song, but it was so popular that it famously “broke the internet.” The marathon led to mini-holiday marathons, then The Last Drive-In, and now you are starting up your second season. Why do you think you resonate so much with viewers?

Joe Bob Briggs: Nobody wants to watch a movie alone, and the whole cultural zeitgeist is moving toward each piece of “content” being viewed by a single person, at a single time and place, watching on his “device”—in other words, pretty much the opposite of what made the film industry great. Films are designed for group viewing. I’m the person watching the movie with you. Hopefully I have something to say about the movie, the world, and us—you and I, the viewers—that makes the experience better. But the short answer to your question is that it’s a revolt against social isolation.

1428 Elm: If licensing agreements were not an issue, what movies would you love to show on The Last Drive-In?

Joe Bob Briggs: Halloween 3, because Darcy won’t leave me alone until we show it. The Howling 7, because it’s the worst movie ever made. I’m not real picky about what we show, though, I can appreciate all the various subgenres of horror.

1428 Elm: We know that you love classic horror films of all kinds, but what are some of your favorite newer horror movies, and why?

Joe Bob Briggs: The Invisible Man, because of the brilliant way it creates the fear of being stalked, terrorized and not believed—an example of a movie that’s better than its source material. VFW—geezers versus drug dealers—who wouldn’t love that?