When I was a kid, a guy name Joe Bob Briggs (real name John Bloom) had a show on TMC called Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater where he would screen B-movies and talk about them, either alone or with a few guests in the studio joining him. I was obsessed with it. Other than my local video store, it was the only access I had to weird, offbeat cinema and Joe Bob knew every detail about every film that played. When I was in high school, the show moved to TNT and became Monstervision, a program I introduced to many of my roommates throughout college as well. As a 17 year old, I would stay up late in the dorm, drinking my smuggled contraband, smoking cigarettes, and watching horror classics that no one my age seemed to have heard of but me. Joe Bob would tell stories about the actors, make a few backhanded comments about the quality, and breakdown the statistics of each flick into categories like: number of kills, how many gallons of blood were spilt, etc. He was a film critic who talked about the movies I liked, in a manner that was relatable to my interests. It was perfect, until the show was canceled in 2000 and I never saw Joe Bob again.
A few months ago, however, a friend of mine (also a cult movie fan) suggested I sign up for Shudder, an inexpensive streaming service that specializes in horror films and television. Think of it as a gore-filled Netflix. With all sorts of original programming, plus access to cult classics like Basket Case and Black Christmas, I’ve been overwhelmed with all the media available, and absolutely thrilled with the serials like Channel Zero. For a horror film buff, it’s the best five bucks a month I’ve ever spent. However, what I had somehow missed was the fact that Shudder had signed up Joe Bob Briggs to do a new show under the title The Last Drive-In, reintroducing me to an old friend I had been sorely missing and sending my nostalgia meter into the stratosphere—uncut and ad-free! With classic titles like Sleepaway Camp, Blood Feast, Hellraiser, and Re-Animator, all now available to stream on demand with commentary and narration from Joe Bob himself, I’ve been like a kid in a candy store ever since. Last night, the show took me into sentimental overdrive with an almost nine hour marathon of the Phantasm series, including advice on alcoholic beverages, which strains of weed to smoke, when to indulge in them, and why! I about lost it.
As some of you might remember, I used to write a recurring column on the K&L blog called Drink & Watch that was inspired by Joe Bob, but incorporated alcohol into the enjoyment of classic B-movie appreciation. Now I’ve got Joe Bob himself doing it for me, so it’s absolutely incredible. About a half hour into the first Phantasm, Joe Bob suggested smoking a strain of marijuana called Green Crack, then taking a shot of Cabeza Tequila and few pulls of Wild Turkey Rare Breed. “That’ll getcha where you need to be,” he added. I didn’t have either brand on hand, but I did my best adaptation. A couple of hits off the THC vape and a few fingers of Maker’s Mark later, I was in seventh heaven. The Tall Man on my screen, a silver ball goring its way through a man’s head, blood spewing everywhere, and me reliving old times as if they were yesterday.
Thank you so very much, Shudder. I needed this.