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
The Last Drive-In. Image Courtesy Shudder /

The Return of the Drive-In

1428 Elm: You have had many great guests on your series, most recently makeup effects master Tom Savini, have any of your prior guests made you feel star-struck? Who are your wish list guests?

Joe Bob Briggs: Roger Corman is the only guy I’m a little in awe of. Everyone else just seems part of the family.

1428 Elm: You are a fount of knowledge when it comes to the movies you screen on the series. How much research do you do on a film before you show it, and how do you go about your research?

Joe Bob Briggs: Well, I usually re-watch the movie, often more than once if there’s something I don’t understand. I read the biographies of the actors, director, writer, even if I’ve featured them before. Sometimes I read the novel the movie is based on.

Sometimes I read academic studies of the director. I make sure I’m aware of any interviews the creators have given. HOWEVER, I don’t subscribe to the theory that what the director or writer says about the movie is actually what the movie is about. That’s what is called the “intentional fallacy.”

The final version of a movie is a combination of many inputs, some of them unconscious, some of them accidental, and it never has an exact correspondence to what the director thinks it is. I also read some of the “user reviews” on IMDB, not so much for critical insight as to see what the general public thinks about the film.

The hardest movies to research are the most famous ones—because there’s not that much that hasn’t already been said about them. The fun ones are movies that were “lost” and so everything you find out has to be reported from scratch.

1428 Elm: Given the current situation with COVID-19, do you think it’s possible that the lowly drive-in could make a comeback, and how do you see that happening?

Joe Bob Briggs: The drive-in was already making a comeback and then several states shut ‘em down as “non-essential businesses.” Leave it to government entities to ALWAYS regard the arts as “non-essential.” The drive-ins will definitely thrive this year, but the big theater chains are already figuring out ways to social-distance indoors as well. By the time the new Wonder Woman movie premieres in August, you’ll have people separated by two or three seats watching on 14 screens in the same multiplex.

1428 Elm: Thank you so much for your time, we look forward to seeing the surprises you have in store for your second season on Shudder!

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