Art by T.J. Denton (@TDenton_1138) on Twitter.
A lesser show would have gone with the expected.
We’re talking the low-hanging fruit that a bullfrog with one leg in a cast could still jump up and get — it’s Friday the 13th, so let’s play a couple flicks that happen in Crystal Lake, N.Y., where some campers and a guy in a hockey mask (or a burlap bag, depending on which one you’re watching) get together, a bunch of teen meat gets shishkebabbed and then we call it a day (or night).
If the Last Drive-In crew really wanted to lean into the cliche, JBB and crew would have gone to Shudder and asked them to shell out the licensing fees to use the classic “Superstitious” performed by Stevie Wonder (or a reasonable facsimile) as opening music before getting into things.
But that’s what makes The Last Drive-In special. Forget the low-hanging stuff. We’re getting John Brennan to shred about phobias, and Joe Bob and Darcy will break mirrors, peel out in a Camaro and bust up some superstitious taboos in a music video while they’re at it. This was Superstition Shattering Night.
And I’d never heard of the 13 Club and its superstition-fighting mission at all, and my spelling bee days are over, so I’m not going to dwell too long on the overly long and challenging-to-pronouce paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Joe Bob strives to be educational and entertaining, it’s one of those reasons why he and the Last Drive-In crew got back-to-back Fangoria Chainsaw awards to celebrate.
But here’s a question — why are people superstitious about dumping table salt in the house when we dump a bunch of road salt on pavement every winter to melt snow? Maybe it’s because the road salt has the underlying purpose to prevent killer snowmen from attacking folks with their protruding carrots … not sure.
And speaking of creepy figures roaming around in the winter with things protruding, how creepy was Martin Sheen in the first feature, the young Jodie Foster vehicle The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane?
I still voted for his portrayal as Stillson in The Dead Zone as creepier in an online poll that somebody threw up there on social media during the episode, but Frank Hallet sure was a Grade A, throw his butt up on a website and call “To Catch a Predator” sort of guy. He had to be to get us to be sympathetic at the film’s conclusion since, you know, Rynn wasn’t exactly keeping the Sixth Commandment by giving her mom the special tea additive that her dad may or may not have suggested she use to flavor her brew if you know what we mean and we think you do.
But how about all the lunacy that started just because the landlady wanted some flipping jelly jars for her crabapple canning efforts? First: crabapples. Second: go to the dang general store like any sensible New Englander would. Surprised that the trap door did any damage to Mrs. Hallet in because her head is, to borrow a vintage JBB term, a complete box of rocks.
Here are the totals for those keeping track …
A satisfying and controversial flick that gave us a glimpse of the great actor Jodie Foster was going to become — well worth its three and a half stars.
The second feature, the Kiwi import Housebound, got two and a half stars, and was so convoluted toward the end there that it almost made when Joe Bob started talking about transformed witches’ rabbit’s feet seem straightforward. But, despite all those twists and turns, we were treated to the introduction of the Dangling Lefty Method to end unwanted conversations, the second tossing of a furry object into a fireplace and an albino Bob Ross impersonator living in the walls, so there was that. And these:
And yes, there was some Friday the 13th content as the hockey-mask-providing Larry Zerner, aka king prankster Shelly, a victim in Part 3 and now a lawyer, wrote in and told us why the film series has been in limbo since 2009. There is life after being macheted across the throat by Jason.)
So everybody got a little bit of what they wanted and there’s more to come!
Check you next week!