A Letter of Appreciation from @DrNerdenstein89
"WE are Drive-In Mutants, WE are not like OTHER PEOPLE…"
I've been a horror and monster fan since I was three years old, I'm from Arkansas, and I was raised by my grandparents, one of my first experiences with horror was watching MonsterVision on TNT, but before Joe Bob became the host. I ended up missing the original Joe Bob run on MonsterVision due to being unaware of MonsterVision returning in 1996.
Where I live, not having an average family structure automatically meant that something was wrong with you. People would always question why I didn't live with my parents, and from the get-go, it made me feel different. When I was 10, my grandmother suffered a major heart attack (she lived, but the thought of losing my mother figure really scared me) and the worst part? I had no one to talk to.
When I was 12, my mother decided to come back into my life and made the police force me from the home I lived at for 12 years (legally, my grandparents were guardians and my mom retained legal custody of me). I lived with her, my little brother, and my physically and mentally abusive stepfather until he took the beatings too far, and my mom decided to finally divorce him, prompting me to move back home with my grandparents.
Because of the depression, I gained a lot of weight and haven't been able to shake it since. Going into Junior High School was not the homecoming I was hoping for. I was relentlessly bullied for my weight, I was attacked and even sent to the hospital when a bully decided I needed to be taught a lesson for sticking up for myself. Horror was my escape into a world that felt like it understood what I was going through, and it was also a way for me to live out fantasies against my bullies since I was too spineless to defend myself.
As my grandparents got older, things changed. Every interest I had in film or music was hit with soul-killing criticism. I wasn't accepted at school, and I wasn't accepted at home. I left high school and spent the first half of my 20s jumping from band to band with a major drug and alcohol problem, I was a hopeless cause. Then I met the love of my life, and we had our first child. Our daughter woke me up and helped me get my High School diploma and my driver's license. After getting my diploma, I decided I wanted to go to college and study Mass Communications as well as film. My family absolutely went ballistic because of my choice to not just go to college to study what they believed to be a useless field, but for me going to college at all.
Though all of the obstacles, I made it to my final semester. I had my senior research project due at the end, which consisted of a 10,000-word essay and a 10-page PowerPoint presentation. For my minor, I shot a five-minute short film.
During the semester, it seemed like everything was thrown at me, including the kitchen sink. I was having a hard time deciding on the topic of my senior research project, constant crew and location problems with filming my short film, my youngest daughter having severe respiratory issues at barely 1-year-old, and finally, the death of my estranged dad. He never got to see his granddaughters. Somehow I made it through and earned my bachelor's degree, but the experience left me feeling physically and emotionally drained.
I felt hollow and uninspired like I was just flying on autopilot. Then I decided to subscribe to Shudder and saw The Last Drive-In marathons while browsing their selections, I remembered hearing about Joe Bob hosting a new show roughly a year prior. By this time, I knew of his involvement with MonsterVision and recognized him from an appearance on The Many Faces of Jason Voorhees documentary on the Jason X DVD. So I figured, what the hell? It had some movies I liked, and I'm always for a good horror marathon.
Once I made my dive into the Drive-In, I was hooked. I started slowly interacting on Twitter when I realized the show was in the midst of its first full season. I slowly started to feel inspired again and began writing to myself until I met Charlotte at HorrorBound.Net, who gave me my first complete platform to post my writing. My first article was a retrospective of what TNT's MonsterVision meant to me after it was published I shared it with Joe Bob. I never thought I would get a response, I figured he got hundreds of articles from writers, and I wasn't anyone special.
A few months go by, and I get a couple of notifications on Twitter, one saying Joe Bob shared my article and another was a DM from Joe Bob himself thanking me for sharing my writing with him, I was absolutely in shock. He actually read my article and took the time to share it, for the first time in a long time, I felt included. Then we come to Week 4 of season 2 of The Last Drive-In and the final movie of the night is One Cut of the Dead, the film was excellent, but it wasn't the movie that got me.
Joe Bob closed the evening with a call to battle for all independent filmmakers, "FUCK ASPIRING," Joe Bob said and continued to inspire each and every one of us filmmakers to make the movie that we are born to make. Joe Bob was talking directly to all of us.
I was in tears because my story is very similar to the reasons why the aspiring filmmaker guy doesn't make his movie. More importantly, Joe Bob gave me all of the inspiration and motivation I've ever needed to make my movie. More than what my family ever gave me or ever will give (except for my fiancé).
To say that Joe Bob is just another horror host grossly undermines how he treats everyone in the horror community and especially how he treats his fans. There are countless accounts from all over telling how Joe Bob reached out to people to talk about their issues, sharing articles from young writers, and supporting everyone, no matter their race, gender, sex, or religion. Joe Bob even takes his time to talk with everyone who wants to meet him at fan conventions or his live tours across the country. At a time when he's arguably never been more popular, Joe Bob will always have time for any person who reaches out. It truly is one large Mutant Family and everyone is welcome, let's gather around the trailer house and listen to Joe Bob talk about all of the different types of FU that will be in tonight's movie.
With all of my mutant love
Dr. Nerdenstien (@DrNerdenstein89)