Whoo, boy did Joe Bob, Darcy, and the entire team from The Last Drive-In take us on a wild ride this week. Unlike last week’s episode, which spoke to me and was consistent between the first and second films, this week we had the masterclass of horror Train to Busan followed by Spookies, not as much nor a classic. Does that mean this week’s episode was less than the prior week? I don’t think so—in fact: this week may have been more memorable due to the wildly different swings in quality.
The unknown factor that Joe Bob brings to The Last Drive-In week in and week out is one of my favorite aspects of the show. Before each week’s show, there are hints sent out on social media regarding the titles—some easier than others. Last week, for example, it was a known secret that Maniac Cop and its superior sequel were on the menu. This week, the guesses were all over the board, and it wasn’t a given on what Joe Bob had planned for this week. It is this unknown and the wide net that The Last Drive-In crew casts that make every Friday night the best night of the week.
Though Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater was before my time, MonsterVision on TNT is where Joe Bob entered my life. Every Friday then Saturday night, I would make sure to have my TV set on TNT and was prepared to be up all night. As a teenager, I had a grasp on film, horror in particular, but not on the fountain of knowledge that Joe Bob was and still is. Even if I knew both movies front to back, I could always count on Joe Bob to dispense whatever he had rattling around in his brain to enlighten me with factoids that would serve no purpose other than to entertain. Entertainment was always a guarantee with Joe Bob and is one of the main reasons I continue to support him and all he does.
Along with this knowledge, Joe Bob digs deep into the horror catalog on occasion to present movies that otherwise would have remained shunned from existence. From small films that never got a wide release like Time Runner to forgotten gems like Tourist Trap and cult classics like Parents, Joe Bob has always been willing to give films a second chance.
I can hear you asking now, “Hey, Rob! You said one of—is there another one?” Absolutely, and I am glad you asked!
There is a constant with Joe Bob in that he loves everything involving the horror genre. No one else spends decades of their lives filling their noodle up with useless film facts, praising what The Deuce stood for, and starring in Hogzilla (Hogzilla! Hogzilla!). Even though he loves and appreciates what the genre has done and is doing, that doesn’t mean he likes every film that he has shown. Everything from Howling VII and 2020 Texas Gladiators on MonsterVision to C.H.U.D. and Tetsuo: The Iron Man on The Last Drive-In, Joe Bob has been willing to put himself at great personal risk to entertain the Mutant Fam. He doesn’t filter out the undesirables and showcases them alongside four-star classics week after week.
And speaking of undesirables, I already gave away what this week’s films were with Train to Busan and Spookies. As Joe Bob once said, “Where else can you find a double feature like that?”
If you’re reading this article, then I would assume you have a fair amount of knowledge about the horror community. For those uninitiated with this week’s film getting top billing, Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie horror film. Mostly confined to the aforementioned train, we follow a group of people as they fight to survive an onslaught of the living dead as the train makes its way through South Korea.
I’ll be honest: there isn’t much to say about Train to Busan that hasn’t been said before and better. It’s one of the best horror films released in the last decade and one of the finest zombie movies of all time. If you have yet to see the film, make sure to check it out on Shudder!
Then there’s Spookies…
Now, before I get into the second half of the show, I need to be upfront and say I was a Spookies virgin until Friday night. Over the years, I had heard of the film but didn’t give it a second thought and had no desire to seek it out. Going back to what I was talking about earlier, Joe Bob gives films a second chance, but there are times where you ask if the movie warrants it? Spookies is the type of film that makes you ask questions like that.
I’m not going to sit here and bash Spookies, even if it deserves a riffing. Instead, I would like to document my first foray with this cult classic.
Going into the film blind, I was taken aback within the first five minutes as the “plot” jumped between different set pieces without rhyme or reason. Granted, Joe Bob made sure to warn viewers with his Drive-In Totals and lowly two-star rating, but it’s something else experiencing it for yourself. As the film progressed and the two different filmed plots struggled to converge, I sat back and couldn’t believe a movie like this could occur. Weaving a non-sensical narrative with an abundance of monsters and creatures for no reason, Spookies is the kind of film where words do not do the film justice.
What I came away with after watching Spookies is that there isn’t a film quite like it. Filled with sub-par acting and behind-the-scenes turmoil that assisted in creating the mess that it is, I have to admit that I was never bored by the movie. The worst thing a horror movie can do is be boring, and Spookies is the antithesis of that. Never pausing to take a break and shoving a new monster on-screen every five minutes, the mashup that is Spookies hurls everything at the wall, hopeful that something, anything, will stick.
And a night like this week shows Joe Bob catering to all horror fans out there. Joe Bob and we fans love to celebrate classics like Train to Busan, but it’s the weird and obscure that touches our hearts more. It’s smaller films that need the die-hard fans out there, screaming from the rafters not to forget the unusual 85 minutes that are Spookies. And even with the two-star rating that Joe Bob bequeathed Spookies, he understands there’s a rabid fanbase for a film of this nature. Even if it’s not his cup of tea, Joe Bob will grit his teeth and ride it out because he appreciates horror: warts and all.