The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs: My Movie Marathon Picks

MonsterVision was MY LIFE when I was a kid, and Joe Bob Briggs was a god. He introduced me to some of my favorite movies; I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to discover movies like Phantasm or Motel Hell without him. I could write pages and pages about how MonsterVision and Joe Bob affected me, but that’s a story for another time.

Getting to the point, tomorrow is a HUGE day. It’s Friday the 13th which, as you may know, is already a big deal for me. More importantly, it’s the return of Joe Bob Briggs after far too many years. And we get 24 hours of him. To say I’m excited would be a massive understatement.

 

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Spooky Empire 2011

Shudder has allowed 3 movie titles to be revealed and the rest are a secret. I decided to browse through Shudder’s catalog and take a guess as to what the other ten movies might be. I’m assuming a few things here:

The marathon will be ‘80s heavy (I think I read that somewhere)

There probably won’t be any subtitled movies

The majority of movies will lean more on the fun side, rather than super serious and dark (so maybe no Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer)

 

The movies we know are Tourist Trap, Basket Case, and Sleepaway Camp, and I am 100% on board with those choices. My guesses for the other ten movies are:

Re-Animator

The Evil Dead

Hellraiser

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Phantasm

Zombie

C.H.U.D.

The Stuff

House

The Howling

 

If I’m wrong. I’m wrong. It really doesn’t matter, as long as I get my Joe Bob.  I’m just hoping at least a few of these movies will be included. What are your guesses?

Friday the 13th: The Series – Ryan Dallion Concussion Count

I LOVE Friday the 13th. I love everything about it: the superstition, the movies, Adam and I even got married on one. But most

importantly, I love Friday the 13th: The Series. I didn’t get to see the show during its original run due to being a toddler, but I always looked forward to SciFi Channel marathons every holiday. Yes, F13 is a holiday.

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This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary. If you’ve never seen it (shame on you), it’s about cousins Micki and Ryan who inherit an antique store from their evil uncle Lewis who made a pact with the devil. All of the items sold from the store are cursed. Along with friend, Jack Marshak, a source of infinite occult knowledge, they are tasked with hunting down all the items to lock away safely in the basement vault.

The show was amazing. Delightfully cheesy but not over the top. Micki was a badass, Jack was loveable, and then there was Ryan. *SWOON*. I’m pretty sure it’s lost forever, but at one point there existed a polaroid photo of me being super weird and kissing the TV screen during an episode. You know, just regular 11-year-old girl stuff. John D. LeMay (Ryan) also stars in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday which may have been the first Jason movie I had seen, not counting the original F13. But that’s a post for another time.

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I only acquired the DVD box set of F13TS this year as a birthday present from my husband. (Thanks, Husband!) Not much changes between watching it at 12 and watching it at 32. I do notice some little things now that I didn’t back then: Louise Robey’s (Micki) peculiar accent/annunciation, some writing that doesn’t quite make sense, cursed items shown in the manifest not explored, some not-so-great effects. Most things remain just as I remembered, including my dislike for Johnny (Steve Monarque). Johnny took over for Ryan in the 3rd season when John LeMay left the show. Nothing against the actor, and it’s not just because I’m Team Ryan, Johnny was just a terrible character. Aside from “The Long Road Home”, I hardly watch anything from season 3.

While we’re on the F13TS subject, I’d like to mention the book “Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series” by Alyse Wax. If you’re a fan of the show I’d say it’s worth a read. It includes a lot of cast and crew interviews and behind-the-scenes photos. The book has a pretty hefty price tag, around $26, for a paperback book that contains a lot of filler. A good portion of the book is scene-by-scene recaps of each episode. If you enjoy the show enough to purchase the book, you probably don’t need that. After the recap are interviews and insights/personal anecdotes from the author. This sometimes feels a little off-balance. For example: three or four pages of episode recap followed by one paragraph of BTS info. It also could have done with another round or two of proofreading. There were some spelling errors, and some of the episode recap information was wrong. I’m certainly not a professional writer; I have no room to criticize anyone’s work. These are just my personal thoughts. If you’re like me and want to know all there is to know about the series, check it out.

Ok, back on topic. When watching the series, it becomes apparent that Ryan bleeds from the head pretty frequently. Even in the pilot episode, “The Inheritance”, Micki hits him over the head with a ceramic pot before we even see his face. He gets beat up so often that it makes me wonder if he shouldn’t have some sort of lasting brain damage.

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I thought it might be interesting to watch the series in its entirety and count all the blows to the head. I quickly realized this would be challenging. Do I count every time he gets knocked to the ground? He does spend a lot of time face down on the floor (Tales of the Undead, Pipe Dream, etc.). How about every time he gets punched? It happens a lot. What about every time he has a bloody head? Take for example “The Voodoo Mambo” where he gets attacked by a crow. There’s definitely a good bit of blood but no serious damage. I decided to stick strictly to instances of unconsciousness. Here is my final count:

It’s too hard to tell. My closest guess is 15 times. This is over the course of 53 episodes (2 seasons plus one episode in season 3). I’m including trauma to the head, electrocution, inhaling gas, anything that causes unconsciousness. There are some that are pretty straight forward, like “Root of All Evil” and “Vanity’s Mirror”, some that seem to be implied like “The Playhouse” or “Coven of Darkness”, and some where he actually gets knocked out twice in one episode, “And Now the News” and “Thirteen O’Clock”. There are a few where I really can’t tell. In “What a Mother Wouldn’t Do”, does he actually get knocked out in the water? In “Scarecrow”, one of my favorites, he gets thrown into a wall and collapses on the floor, out of frame. Cut to another shot, cut back to Ryan. He sits up, dazed, shakes his head and looks around. Was he out? I’ve twice been knocked out for a few moments and I’m pretty sure that’s what I looked like when I came to, so I’m counting it.

Add up the definite, the implied, and factor in the maybe, and 15 is the number I get. I honestly thought the count would be much higher when I started this task. It seemed to me like Ryan got his bell rung every other episode. Even still, he should probably see a doctor.

For reference:

Straightforward knock outs – Dr. Jack, Root of All Evil, Vanity’s Mirror, And Now the News, 13 O’Clock, Eye of Death, Better Off Dead, The Maestro, The Prophecies (part 1)

Electrocution – And Now the News

Inhaling smoke – Bottle of Dreams

Presumed – The Playhouse, Coven of Darkness

Maybe? – Scarecrow, What a Mother Wouldn’t Do

Let’s talk about clowns, people.

They’re the worst, aren’t they? Yes. They are. Now, I was planning on starting this whole thing off with some sort of introductory post about myself, but this seems more time sensitive given the season. Also, I hate trying to describe myself so…win-win.

I have coulrophobia. It sucks. And it makes life extremely challenging when you’re a horror junkie. I’ve always hated clowns but I wasn’t always scared of them, and I never had any sort of childhood trauma to induce it. At some point (maybe 6 or 8 years old?) my hatred developed into a fear. I don’t know how or why; I was just terrified to see or be near one.

I was probably in my mid-teens when I was able to begin desensitizing myself. Seeing a clown in person was a definite no-go, but I started to tolerate seeing them on TV, in illustrations, etc.  I watched Killer Klowns From Outer Space on TV (with all the lights on, in the living room, in the middle of the day, drenched in sweat, but still). It seemed to always get a little easier and then…… the incident.

I think I was about 19. I was driving with my boyfriend. Let’s call him Asshole. We were in my car when Asshole decided he wanted to stop to get some Italian ice on the way to wherever we were going. As I pulled into the parking lot I noticed it was rather busy and the local radio station van was there. They were having some sort of event. They had a clown.

Let me say at this point that Asshole was well aware of my issues. But remember I was starting to feel more confident, so I figured we’d just walk on by it.  I’d keep my head down and we’d be ok. That worked until we headed back to the car. Here’s where the trouble started. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that we had caught this clown’s attention. He started following us. My heart started racing and I walked faster. That’s when I heard him shout to Asshole, “Hey, can I talk to her?”. Knowing well and good that was the worst idea ever, Asshole says “Yeah, sure.” That’s when I started running. I got to my car, jumped in, and let out a sigh. That was close.

All of a sudden there’s a knock on my window. Instinctively I turn to look and I am face to face with a clown practically pressing his face against my window. I screamed. Asshole started laughing. The clown wouldn’t go away; he kept his face in my window, shouting at me. I couldn’t tell what he was saying because I was sobbing with my face in my hands, cringing and wincing every time he spoke, as if he was actually touching me. I’d cry harder, Asshole would laugh louder, the clown still wouldn’t leave. I was so panicked, at some point my brain chose flight over fight, and without even looking I threw my car in reverse and hammered the gas in a crowded parking lot. It took me hours to calm down. Years of work down the drain, my phobia was back in full force.

Fast forward about seven years later. I’m living in a new state and have a new, wonderful boyfriend, Adam. He knew about my clown issues even before we started dating. It was much easier navigating Halloween events, costume shops, horror conventions, etc. with him there to shield me from things I didn’t want to see. He didn’t get annoyed or frustrated with me when I again attempted to watch Killer Klowns and immediately burst into tears as soon as I saw one. He stayed by my side when I collapsed on the floor, crying and hyperventilating at a convention. He’s been so supportive and I really can’t say enough about him. Anyway, jump ahead another few years. Adam is now my husband and I decided to tackle this thing once again.

About two years ago I picked up a copy of Stephen King’s IT at a used book store on the way to the beach. I figured that was the best place to start. I had seen the miniseries, or at least part of it, as a child but I pretty much blocked it from my memory. I thought it might be easier to deal with in written form. I read a few chapters that day at the beach, but I didn’t pick it up again for another year. Then I found out IT was being made into a new movie. I had an internal panic attack realizing that, since most things I follow on social media are horror related, I will be forced to see many, many pictures of clowns. This is on top of last year’s clown panic that gave me more than a few nightmares. I decided it was now or never. I needed to read the book.

I liked it. The book shows IT as much more than just a clown, so it was definitely easier to handle. After reading it I knew the next step would be to watch the miniseries again. One night when I was feeling particularly brave (and maybe a little drunk), I suggest to Adam that we put it on.  I cried most of the way through it but I survived. Afterward, surprisingly, nothing really changed. No anxiety, no nightmares. And then it happened. The movie was released in theaters. All of my horror loving friends were raving about it. I knew it was inevitable; Adam asked when we were going. A little coaxing and a lot of whiskey later, we were sitting in the theater.

I had forced myself to watch all available trailers, so I had some idea of what to expect. I settled down in my seat and got comfortable. We had gotten there early and the theater wasn’t crowded, yet, with three seats available to my right, two girls had to sit right next to me. Who does that?? Adam graciously gave me his arm to squeeze, a bag of Reese’s Pieces, and a flask of whiskey. All were very much needed. There was a lot of arm squeezing, lots of tears and shaking, but I made it through. Not well, but I made it. For the next week or so, I was tense, constantly looking over my shoulder, running out of dark rooms after I switched off the light, having nightmares.

Now that some time has passed and most of the nightmares and paranoia have subsided, I think I’d like to see IT again. It’s taken thirty-two years but I’ve finally made it to this point. I guess the whole takeaway from this post is, if someone truly has a phobia, be respectful of it; don’t push them to “get over it” because it’s really fucking hard. It’s avoiding functions, having nightmares and panic attacks, and always being on alert and having your guard up. It sucks. And for fuck’s sake, if someone trusts you enough to discuss their phobia with you, don’t put them in situations with or send them pictures of their biggest fear because you think it’s funny. It’s not funny. You’re just a dick.