Iconic Host Joe Bob Briggs Details the Importance of Communal Horror Movie Viewings

MonsterVision host Joe Bob Briggs returned to our homes earlier this year with The Last Drive-In, [...]

MonsterVision host Joe Bob Briggs returned to our homes earlier this year with The Last Drive-In, an all-day horror marathon featuring the host's signature witticisms and insights into the genre, which completely overwhelmed streaming service Shudder's servers, preventing most fans from watching live. Briggs detailed that the reasons for the immense response stemmed from the desire to distract ourselves from real-world horrors as well as engaging in communal viewings in ways which services like Netflix or Hulu can't match.

"Well, I think it's two things. And one of them is negative, and one of them is positive," Briggs recalled to ComicBook.com about the response to the marathon from fans. "The negative thing is that in the political environment of today, people are just checking out of politics, they're just saying, 'I don't do politics. I don't wanna hear about it, I don't wanna watch the news. I'm gonna do other things.' And that might be macramé, and it might be surfing, and it might be something else. But one of the things they do is, 'I'm gonna watch every horror film every made, and I'm gonna get into horror.'"

He added, "And so my thing is film. I don't do politics, I don't wanna hear about Trump, I don't want any pop-ups on my screen, I'm gonna do this. And so we live in a time, we live in a little bit of an escapist world right now, because people are so disgusted by other things happening in the country, and they don't want a headache. They've had enough headaches, and they want to do something fun. So that's the negative thing that causes something like this to be really popular."

The rise of social media has allowed audiences from around the world enjoy a movie or TV show with others in real time, which was another unique factor that made The Last Drive-In such a popular event in the horror community.

"People don't want to watch movies alone. Despite what Netflix says. You know, Netflix thinks the future is one person at a time, one device at a time, streaming one piece of content that you watch at that particular time, and saw on your own schedule, and that's it," Briggs shared of the positive reason the special was a hit. "And people are discovering that that's kind of an empty experience, and so I go and do presentations of movies all the time, at Alamo Drafthouse, or some other theater that's like that. I do these presentations of movies, where almost 100% of the audience has already seen the movie. So why are they there? They're there because they want to have the emotional experience of seeing the movie together, and then having the opportunity to discuss the movie."

Briggs continued, "When we did the marathon, we wanted to make it an appointment event, where you have to show up, and we would gather together via social media. That was the idea, to make it a communal experience. And it was a communal experience, even if you couldn't watch it. People continued to stay on the social media, even if they lost contact with the show. So that part of it was great."

Luckily, there are more opportunities to watch horror films with Joe Bob, starting with The Dinners of Death special on Thanksgiving.

"We're gonna do the same thing on Thanksgiving, for The Dinners of Death marathon," Briggs noted. "Starts at 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. PT, and you gotta show up. You gotta show up to watch it in real time, and we'll be available. There's many, many kinds of ways to interact with the show on social media, and, once again, it's gonna be a communal thing."

After The Dinners of Death on November 22nd, fans can also check out A Very Joe Bob Christmas on December 21st, both on Shudder.

Do you agree with Briggs' comments about communal horror viewings? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!