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The Last Drive-In: Season 5, Week 4: The Babadook and The Muthers

The Last Drive-In: Season 5, Week 4: The Babadook and The Muthers 1
(Art by T.J. Denton @TDenton_1138 on Twitter, shop on Etsy)

We celebrated all the Mutant moms out there with a maternally themed double-feature this past week on The Last Drive-In.

And while the first flick on the bill was devoted to trying to figure out if there really was a Babadook (Joe Bob thinks it was all in Mom’s mind), it was followed up by the somewhat-less-cerebral yet most easily accessible blaxploitation, women-in-prison, shot-in-the-Philippines flick featuring pirate women with grand garbonzas who were crammed into sweaty booty shorts Shudder could find. (It was Joe Bob’s personal request because as he readily admits, some days you’re just in that mood).

En route through the evening, we also learned from Joe Bob about the super secret link that daytime talk shows such as Dr. Phil and, if you’re more old school, Phil Donahue had with the ancient Aztecs.

And no, it wasn’t that they each advocated for human sacrifice on an episode — that would have been more the purview of Morton Downey Jr. or Jerry Springer, especially if it was getting close to syndicated sweeps week.

Rather, it’s the Aztec tradition of professional mourners that the daytime shows carry on — since soap operas are way too expensive, the hours that used to be dedicated for entertaining stay-at-home moms (back in the 1960s and 70s, there was even a VAMPIRE soap opera called Dark Shadows) have become the more accessible form of “therapy” there is, JBB says.

And speaking of needing therapy, judging by some of the reactions there were floating around the Internet, the kid in The Babadook supplanted Bob in The House by the Cemetery in some folks’ minds as Least Likable Kid.  I’ve seen worse — there’s a kid in a flick I reviewed called Absurd who ranks up there, definitely above the Babadook boy.

Had the poor mom in the Babadook sought some help sooner instead of repressing her grief and loss, maybe things wouldn’t have been so harrowing for em. But, writer/director Jennifer Kent sure didn’t mind putting the windowed mother and her son through the ringer, and what resulted was a four-star Australian flick that had:

The Last Drive-In: Season 5, Week 4: The Babadook and The Muthers 2

The Muthers featured a Bond girl, three Playboy centerfolds and an amazing prologue plot summary performance where Joe Bob showed exquisite regulation of his diaphragm reminiscent of the great operatic talents of our time.

In the interim periods between women-in-prison tropes and a bunch of stumbling around in the jungle, as well as over-reactive Filipino stunt players who’ll flip at the drop of a hat and at the detonation of a charge (just not always in sync), we were treated with a brief synopsis of why hundreds of flicks were shot in the Philippines (those Marcos folks loved flicks and it was super cheap). We also got to hear about how JBB’s career on the Porterfield Realty Little League team was akin to stunt work out there and how all varieties of kung fu eventually landed on the Philippines.

As Joe Bob says, there’s nothing like Playboy Playmates running through the jungle, kung-fuing goons to make the day better. It’s the Eighth or Ninth Law of the Drive-In. Here are the totals:

The Last Drive-In: Season 5, Week 4: The Babadook and The Muthers 3

And let’s give Darcy the Mail Girl some credit for properly cosplaying both of the flicks, showing up first as Pride Babadook (time will tell if she wears that getup in a San Francisco parade as requested) and then as a low-cut top-wearing, machine-gun toting pirate mama straight out of a Cirio H. Santiago flick. Also, she dropped some knowledge of her own on us, cause I never knew there was an Elvira comic, let alone that Joe Bob hisownself was parodied in it.

Well, we’re going to hit halftime and a brief Friday-night hiatus after this week’s double feature for the ages. Your last-minute blog-exclusive clues are that it includes an oft-requested flick from the 1980s and then a classic that you’ll never forget cause, like what happens to the main characters in it, it’ll split your brain in two just like the Berlin Wall bisected Germany’s capital during the Cold War.


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