In these trying times we need a guiding light. The people need a leader to look to whose voice carries wisdom and who can help us get through to the other side, and naturally the best person for that job is none other than Joe Bob Briggs. The world's foremost drive-in movie critic returns this week to the Shudder streaming network with a new season of his horror double feature series, The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs. This time Joe Bob and Darcy the Mailgirl will return for ten weeks and twenty movies, the longest stretch of films for the pair since their 2018 24-hour marathon.
ComicBook.com caught up with Joe Bob to talk about the new season of the series, which Briggs tells us will lean a little more heavily on movies from the 1970s after the first season heavily focused on the 1980s; ten of the eighteen films screened last year hailed from the '80s, towering over the next most well-represented decade (the 2010s) which had three. In addition to more movies from the 1970s, Joe Bob told us that the new season will include TWO world premieres for feature films, which is about as exciting a prospect as we all could ask for in these times of no new movies in theaters.
We also spoke to Joe Bob about his plans for producing movies (hint: it looked very likely before the coronavirus), and how they conceive of the pairings for the weekly double features. You can read our full interview below and look for the new episode of The Last Drive-In season 2 to premiere this Friday only on Shudder.
The Drive-In will never die
ComicBook.com: You've always said that the drive-in will never die. And it turns out you were right because they're the only movie theaters that are open right now.
Joe Bob Briggs: Yeah. People are always amazed at how many drive-in theaters still exist, because the propaganda for the last 70 years has been that the drive-in is dying. Anybody who has a drive-in story or a drive-in article always sends it to me. So I have articles starting in the 1950s that say the drive-in is dead. In the 1960s, the drive-in is dead. The 1970s, the drive-in is dead. Every decade, and yet they've never gone away. They're not this vanished Americana, they're still there. People still go. It's just there are pockets of the country where the land is cheap enough for a drive-in to exist. Obviously, in the big cities you can't use that much land for a drive-in.prevnext
Given the current circumstances and where we are in the midst of a pandemic, and you said yesterday you guys want to avoid that and be escapism with The Last Drive-In. But are there any particular pandemic movies that come to mind that people could watch and go, "Well, it could be that bad."
Well, every zombie movie is a pandemic movie. The Stand is a pandemic movie. It's a plague. Any movie with a plague, whether it's a runaway mutant DNA, genetic mutations movie or a movie like The Stand. The most serious movie ever made was Steven Soderbergh's Contagion. People started watching it when the coronavirus thing happened, and then they realized it's not any better of a movie today than it was in 2012, or whenever it came out. I don't think there's been a big re-evaluation of the quality of Contagion.prevnext
Pairing the double features
Now obviously one of the things that goes into how you guys select the movies that will be on the show is what you can get the rights to and what Shudder has. But what I'm curious about is once you've selected the 18 or 20 movies that are going to be part of the season, how do you then break them into the pairs? What's the thought process and conversations like there?
Well, the short answer is if it's a serious one or a difficult one, we put it with a goofy one. But we have had weeks where there's two goofy ones and we have had weeks where there's two really hardcore classic ones. When I say hardcore, I mean a movie like The Changeliing for example, that's a more serious high toned horror, so we would pair that with something like, I don't remember what we did pair it with. We would pair that with something like Demon Wind. Some completely ridiculous cult movie from the 80s.
(Author's note: They paired it with the 2015 New Zealand horror-comedy Deathgasm.)prevnext
Non-Horror movies on The Last Drive-In
Have there been conversations with Shudder about putting movies in the show or hosting a night, or even I guess maybe doing its own marathon of things that aren't actually horror movies?
Well, yeah. They have to be related to horror somehow. A lot of action films have horror elements. A lot of films in general these days have horror elements because so many of our great filmmakers are horror fans. We live in a world where The Shape of Water won the Academy Award. That's a monster movie. So a lot of what we would call mainstream movies have horror elements. When you go back into the 80s, there's not much differentiation between sci-fi and horror. Every low budget sci-fi film was basically a horror film. A lot of the action films had horror elements, as well. Yeah, we would show related genres. Sure.
I know also in the past you have said that, and perhaps I'm misremembering, but that you and Shudder were talking about things that weren't specifically The Last Drive-In. Are there any updates on that?
Yeah, we've talked about it in a vague way. We don't have anything lined up, but we talked about possibly doing some documentary type programming on the history of horror.prevnext
You've built relationships with a lot of the filmmakers whose work that you host and talk about, and a lot of them end up on the show. Unfortunately since the last batch, Stuart Gordon has passed away. I'm curious if you from interacting with Stuart at some point?
I never met Stuart Gordon. I'm a big admirer of Stuart Gordon, and I knew about his work with the Organic Theater in Chicago. And his work with David Mamet, and of course all of the movies that he did with Brian Yuzna. But I never met the man myself, so I don't always meet the filmmakers that I champion.
(Author's Note: Joe Bob confirmed to us that a tribute to Stuart was likely during the new season as the filmmakers work has been prominently featured in the past before he's unexpected death earlier this year.)prevnext
Joe Bob Briggs Presents..
Previously you said that you want to produce the movies.
Yeah. I would like to be a producer. I have a couple of partners who are helping me raise money and we hope to be able to create some low budget genre films in the near future. I don't know how much we've been disrupted by coronavirus, but probably not too much because entertainment thrives in times like this. I think as soon as people can gather together on a set, which they can't right now. But as soon as the restrictions are lifted to where you can actually have film production, I think we'll be in business.
Would that be like a Joe Bob presents kind of thing, or do you want people to not know you made it?
It would be more like, I would produce the films. I don't want to write them, I don't want to direct them, and I don't want to act in them. I just want to produce them. I'll put together the extremely talented, underpaid people that will make them.prevnext
How Rednecks Saved Hollywood tour
Now this one's for me. When you're eventually able to bring your show out again, when are you going to bring How Rednecks Saved Hollywood to Atlanta? Because I really want to watch it.
It's a crime that I haven't done the show in Atlanta. I talk a lot about Georgia in the show and it just seems like a natural. And for some reason I just can't get a venue to be interested enough to do it in Atlanta. I was thinking I might start looking at Athens or Savannah, or some other place in Georgia.
There's an indie theater here called The Plaza that might work.
Everyone says the Plaza and I think we've emailed The Plaza three times and said, "Hey, would you be interested in doing this?" And I don't think they've ever bitten. We do the booking ourselves. Usually the fans will write in and say, "Here's the theater to go to." Like in Chicago it's the Music Box, and in LA it's the Egyptian. Every city has a theater that everyone knows, this is where the Joe Bob show should be. It's just natural. Usually we just write to that place and they say, "Yeah. What are your terms?" And our terms are really easy, and we set a date and we do it. For some reason I just can't get any interest in Atlanta. Years ago, I did a big show at the, this is back I think when I was still at MonsterVision, at the High Museum in Atlanta. I did an evening of films there, but I've never played The Plaza. I got to play The Plaza.
Yeah, we'll have to do something about that at some point.prevnext
A Drive-In request
Before I let you go, I have a Last Drive-In request if you will hear it? The 2001 cult horror movie Session 9.0comments
I'll see if we have any ghost of a chance of getting it. Usually, what happens is we get excited about having a certain title and then there's no way in hell we can license it.
Tune in to the season premiere of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs on Friday, April 24th at 9 p.m. ET!prev