An Evening with Joe Bob Briggs

April 30th 2022 - Monroe, NC

JBB Featured Contributor

The Last Drive-In | Heartbreak Trailer Park

As always, T.J. Denton (@TDenton_1138 on Twitter) is responsible for the art!

At the Heartbreak Trailer Park, you get it all … and you don’t even have to spend any of the estimated $13.29 billion that folks dump into the economy for Valentine’s Day. Well, that is, UNLESS your Shudder subscription ended up needing to be renewed in the run-up before Joe Bob the Last Drive-In crew unleashed their annual ode to romance.

Want to understand how the holiday mutated into a stuffed-teddy-bear guilt trip when the truest original meaning has to do with horny Roman maniacs getting flogged with goat thongs and blind-dating urns during the Festival of Lupercalia and then about the decapitation of Catholic wedding ministers?

Welp, Joe Bob’s got you covered.

Want to learn how to cosplay like the Boulet Brothers, who left New York after it was getting all cleaned up to disembark to the Left Coast to become premier party planners who definitely have a certain spooky effect on people?

The Last Drive-In’s got you covered.

Want some history on Parental Advisory: It’s All Explicitly Tipper Gore’s Fault? (Incidentally, although John Denver got the shoutout from Joe Bob, the true hero of those hearings was Dee Snider — he of Twisted Sister and the guy who did Strangeland DEMOLISHED the professional D.C. panties-in-a-bunch political spouses.) 

Joe Bob’s got all the facts we’ve all come to love and even Darcy can’t deny that some of them are even  mostly true.

But even in the trailer park, no matter how many Lone Stars are in the swinger cooler, it’s near impossible to sustain Valentine’s Day on just the facts alone, so Yuki busted out the V-Day decor and the best dang cursed karaoke machine straight from the most haunted curio shop in Yokohama.

To note, the following songs were part of the karaoke interludes while our first feature, that tale of Satanic rock, Black Roses, was playing:

“Nothing Compares 2 U” (Sinead O’Connor via Prince)

“Wrecking Ball” (Miley Cyrus)

“I Miss You” (Blink-182)

“Rose’s Turn” (Bette Midler)

“Music of the Night” (Andrew Lloyd Webber)

“Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Barbra Streisand)

“If I Loved You” (Rodgers & Hammerstein) 

“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” (Al Green)

And Black Roses was surprising in its quality. I haven’t seen nearly as many drive-in flicks as Joe Bob has, but I haven’t ever seen a mustachioed high school English teacher take it upon himself to gird his loins and protect his small community and his students alike from the power of Satan’s four-night glam rock concert series.

Damien and Co. were responsible for a whole mess of English class disruptions, dads getting shot, heart-attack incitement, vehicular manslaughter, assaults, riots, school counselors getting chucked out of their offices and double parking there in Mill Basin.

Here were the totals:

The most puzzling thing about Black Roses wasn’t the mayor’s 30-something daughter (played by Big Lou Ferrigno’s wife) living with her dad or how Damien (played by the New York Mets regular national anthem singer) revealed that IT WAS A WIG ALL ALONG before morphing into a repto-demonoid denizen of evil that got barbecued by some gas a a road flare. (Can we all agree that John Martin missed his Kurt Russell moment of glory by not dropping a verse of Thoreau or Emerson before throwing the flare?) As a comic book follower, what was going on with the kid in the Incredible Hulk shirt having second-rate Spider-Man villain Mysterio kick the crud out of Superman, Batman and (non-Jason Momoa) Aquaman?

Of course, Joe Bob himself was puzzled to no end about his ex-squeeze Wanda Bodine’s smell store and the whole hypocrisy about how incense and soap and candles and potpourri are acceptable smells, but once you get into the whole cigar thing, it goes all to heck. Can’t really say it’s in the eye of the beholder since we’re talking about noses and olfactory rather than optics, but as Toucan Sam said, “Follow your nose — it always knows.”

Can’t say enough good things about Frankenhooker. The legendary Frank Henenlotter showed up along with the star James Lorinz. (Frank and Joe Bob go way, way back about, oh 40 years or so when JBB championed Frank’s first flick Basket Case, thus birthing a high-quality and regrettably not nearly as prolific as we would like to have seen directing career for the 42nd Street legend. Check out the book “Incredibly Strange Films” if you want to read a great interview with Henenlotter from the early days.)

The only director with three four-star flicks shown on The Last Drive-In and lead actor Lorinz spilled the beans to Joe Bob about the making of the flick, from how founding editor Bob Martin of Fangoria fame got involved in scripting the flick as a riff on The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, how the legendary host John Zacherle popped in for a cameo and, oh yeah, the method challenge of being a soliloquizing amateur surgeon/power company worker while drilling holes in your cerebellum with a 3/8-inch Black & Decker bit (non-carbide tip).

But the biggest compliment? I was so INTO the flick with its supercrack that made hookers splode and the crotch electrocutions that happened once Patty Mullen got stitched back together to do her Carl the Groundskeeper face, and the interviews about the talking VHS boxes that I only took like a page and a half of notes. 

With these totals, can you really argue with that decision?

We’d be remiss in not mentioning Darcy’s excellent homage to Elizabeth both in the last segment and in “Sweet Love Professor,” John Brennan’s shredding on the “Stick Shift Drive-In Love,” and oh, yeah, the trailer now has a Frankenhooker garbonza as part of the decor.

Two great flicks and lots of drive-in love made the wheels of the trailer turn …  and no goat thongs were harmed in the making of this special (at least on camera that we know of).

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