by Frank from the NY offices of MutantFam.com
The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs continues to steamroll through the Twitter Trending list each and every Friday night of its second season. Last night it easily topped the number 1 spot before midnight and brought Aylmer and Deep Red with it. Of course getting right to it, the two movies of the night were Brain Damage and the aforementioned Argento flick Deep Red. According to Briggs the first film of the night Brain Damage was made during the crack cocaine epidemic which might explain why it felt like an anti-drug PSA during the “just say no” days.
Joe Bob had teased the #MutantFam earlier in the week that this episode wouldn’t feature any superstar guests, but we were all excited to hear the one and only Felissa Rose appear by telephone to take up her role as Mangled Dick Expert in order to discuss Aylmer’s more … distasteful choices during the flick. It was good to hear her voice and she was chipper and comedic as always in discussing one of her favorite topics. For folks who might be new to The Last Drive-In, Brain Damage is a damn near perfect introduction. Any movie where a brain is sucked out by a mangled dick monster really nailed its place in Drive-In cinematic history.
Simple description of Brain Damage is it’s a movie about “an unwary teenager who falls into a deadly relationship with a centuries-old parasite that thrives on human brains”. The creature, Aylmer, was described by Joe Bob at one point as “a creature of endless histories, a living relic of civilizations long since forgotten”. That’s why it’s even more ridiculous and hilarious that this ageless creature still appreciates good dick jokes. Just shows that some humor crosses all boundaries and dick and fart jokes will land with pretty much any audience.
Another image from Brain Damage that will stick with me for a while is the plate of spaghetti and brain balls, which I jokingly shared with Mutant Cafe as a suggestion for his next recipe, here’s hoping he comes through! Briggs had some high praise for the movie claiming that the hotel scene between Brian and Aylmer was brilliant and that you wouldn’t find another sequence like it in a thousand movies. Then of course there was Aylmer’s song which was absolutely perfect and made Aylmer even more irresistible than he had already been.
Some of the more intellectual conversation around the flick concerned the fact that it was a combinations of a traditional Faustian Tale (which depicts someone who sells their soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge), with the classic A&E television docu-drama Intervention (which is a shit-show). As has already been mentioned the movie had a strong anti-drug message and portrayed a fairly common theme where an addict knows he is going to steal or get violent and tries to prevent it in any way possible.
Final words from me on the first film are in regard to the director Frank Henenlotter who described himself as “I think eccentrically, I am a strange little person”. Briggs mentioned that he frequented a place called The Fine Arts Theater in Hempstead NY where he saw movies like House of Cats and Prowl Girls. He also had what was described as a hippie sex pad on the lower east side. His other notable films were Basket Case and Frankenhookers and he is still working today with recent films such as Chasing Banksy.
The second film of the night was from the Italian horror sub genre of giallo which Briggs so accurately compared to film noir. Flicks where it’s not unusual for a typical plot to revolve around crime and a private eye that gets corrupted by cash and sex. One thing is for sure, however you discuss Deep Red and whatever you say about it, make sure not to call it “transgressive and diegetic” in front of Joe Bob Briggs because he made it real clear what that will get ya, a punch in the nose! A more down to earth way of saying the same thing though would be “Argento uses music and sound within the context of the movie itself that the characters can hear as opposed to a score solely for the audience”.
It was during the second half of the night that our headline making news occurred. I was personally extremely excited to see three different copies of The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine sitting on the table in front of the man himself as he laid out his commentary of Deep Red. I’ve known the publishers of the fanzine for a couple months now, Jen and her husband Jason have put together an awesome publication and Jason has contributed a couple of zine preview articles to MutantFam.com that can be seen here: mutantfam.com/fanzine
Along with the fanzine, artist Tom Denton had his art appear on the show for the second time as it is the cover of a couple of the fanzines. This is the type of community and fan interaction that I have never seen pulled off so effortlessly. It almost feels as if there are no boundaries between our living rooms and the set of The Last Drive-In. Between Diana “Darcy the Mail Girl” Princes online presence and Joe Bobs willingness to add little independent product placement like this on the show it truly feels like any one of us could be part of the story at any point in time.
It is a special feeling to be able to interact with the folks on the other side of a TV. For decades it was a one way device that broadcast information to us and we had no way of getting anything back to them in real time. With the advent of YouTube and Twitch it is super easy to chat with creators while they live stream content, but Joe Bob and Darcy have created something much more unique and special with the #MutantFam community than just a chatroom. They have made it fully interactive and immersive 365 days of the year even outside of when The Last Drive-In is on the air.
As for Deep Red, Briggs prepared us early when he said “Argento is always playing with your assumption of what you see” and then later again in the night he reminded us by using the term “Dario Argento’s Lying Camera” which makes it tough for the audience, as well as the characters, to know if they are seeing what they think they are seeing. Briggs also mentioned of Argento that he was quoted more than once as saying “he enjoys killing women [in the movie] more than killing men” which is certainly a strong statement to make.
Joe Bob went on to describe Argento’s directing style by saying that he doesn’t care about narrative but cares instead about creating fascinating images, which was on display fully last night. Another amazing quotable line Briggs through at us about Argento was that “They call him the Hitchcock of Italy but he is more of the Brian De Palma of Italy” which is a respectable comparison considering he made classics such as Carrie and Scarface and has been making films decade after decade without fail since the 60’s. One last great factoid about the Deep Red is that the band Goblin formed to make music for the movie… and Darcy has seen Goblin twice!
Well, thats it for this weeks recap #MutantFam. Even “without” a superstar guest the show still had plenty of awesome moments and extremely high community involvement. Sometimes the big news story with the superstar wrestler or special effects guru aren’t what get the foot soldiers pumped up. Sometimes it’s the small things, the thoughtful and considerate things like simply having a couple issues of The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine show up on set. These little thing are what creates the glue that keeps this community together. We love seeing Briggs talk with superstars, but we also love seeing him interact with us, the normal folks who think of him as a superstar!
See y’all next week for another episode of The Last Drive-In!