Well, it’s that time again, isn’t it? The days get shorter. The weather gets cooler. Large amounts of candy find themselves condensed to “bite-size.” They get packaged with other sugary treats that no one wants, resulting in a ten-dollar bag of goodies you purchase at Wal-Mart that you hand off to unsuspecting youngsters—only after taking out the good sweets for yourself. Yes, it’s Halloween season, and you know what that means? Yes, it’s another Joe Bob special on Shudder! This year, Joe Bob and Darcy got together with Jason Blum and David Gordon Green for a six-hour entertainment special entitled Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown.
Before we get into that, I’d like to just back onto this candy issue that we get every Halloween. Who doesn’t love a good Snickers bar or Twix, or whatever satisfies your sweet tooth? All other times during the year, adults and kids pilfer grocery and convenience stores, searching for that perfect, full-size candy bar to shovel into their gullet in the hopes of pleasuring their tastebuds with the calming taste that is processed sugary goodness.
So, why are adults and children satisfied with getting less for more during the Halloween season? Some may say you aren’t getting less during this time of year as the large, mixed bags of delicious treats cost less than a typical candy bar. I know that a standard-size candy bar is no match for a forty-ounce bag of assorted Halloween treats.
What I’m talking about is what you need at a certain point in life. Is there ever a time when forty ounces of chocolate goodness are satisfying in one sitting? If so, please see a doctor. Instead, if nature calls, you might find that one and a half ounces of pure Hershey’s are what the doctor ordered. When you have too much in front of you, that satisfaction level can drop, and the overabundance of sweet treats can turn into a miserable time.
And speaking of sweet treats, October 8th marked the return of Joe Bob Briggs for his annual Shudder special, Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown. Similar to the last year’s Hideaway, Joe Bob hosted a deliciously devilish double-feature with a twist. What’s the twist? Guests Jason Blum and David Gordon Green chose the films that made up the show.
Taking a slightly different path than Halloween specials of the past, the first film on the docket was the revenge thriller Angel. Not a film that would be the first that comes to mind for Joe Bob to host, David Gordon Green sat down to recall a story about the film impacting him as a child. When watching a film like Angel, a movie like this doesn’t seem to fit The Last Drive-In mold. As Joe Bob and David Gordon Green discussed over the film’s runtime, Angel plays like another drive-in classic I Spit On Your Grave. Maybe Angel isn’t as extreme or exploitative as I Spit On Your Grave, with the latter leaning into rape/revenge; it fell into the wheelhouse and explained its inclusion on Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown.
It had been many years since I last saw Angel, and re-examining it for Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown was the perfect time to revisit it. Films like Angel are fun to rewatch wherein it showcases a time and place that no longer exist. In the case of this film, we return to the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles on Hollywood Boulevard in the early 1980s. Granted, anyone who has been to Los Angeles knows that Hollywood Boulevard is not glitz and glamor. No matter the time of day or year you visit, the area is known for hustlers, shady goings-on, and an overall look of grime. While visiting may not be ideal, if you’re looking to make a grindhouse film, you can’t find a better spot. So even if Angel is almost 40 years old, it holds up well as a specific type of film and a time capsule for a period in time.
I can hear people saying, “This is Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown! When are we getting to some classic horror?” Fear not, Mutant Fam, rounding out this special double-feature is the classic slasher, Terror Train. Now, it may be because Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown was a grand ol’ time, but I don’t recall Jason Blum stating that Terror Train was his choice. Whether or not he did, Terror Train was an appropriate way to close out the show.
Joining Joe Bob, producer Jason Blum sat and chatted all things film. Though joined later by David Gordon Green, the first half was all about Joe Bob and Jason Blum—and for me, it was my favorite part of the night. I have mentioned in the past that I am a sucker for behind-the-scenes anecdotes on film, and Jason Blum is a hands-on producer who knows a lot about the industry.
While there was some talk about the history of Terror Train, a bulk of the conversation had Blum dispensing how he got into the business, how he’s created the powerhouse that is Blumhouse Entertainment and the inner workings of producing films that he classifies as “micro-budget.” Joe Bob had plenty of questions to fire Blum’s way, and he answered them all without hesitation. Listening to Jason Blum talk gave an open window for those not yet in the filmmaking business insight into what it takes to make it in Hollywood. If filmmaking is your passion, the conversation between Joe Bob and Jason Blum is a must.
Of course, with Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown premiering slightly before the release of Green’s Halloween Kills, there was a steady stream of dialogue dedicated to discussing the upcoming film and the 2018 Halloween sequel. One moment that stood out to me was the conversation Jason Blum recounted about meeting John Carpenter when the wheels began to turn regarding the production of another entry into the Halloween franchise. Never having met John Carpenter, the way Blum described the conversation and Carpenter’s reaction to another stab at Halloween was priceless.
When Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown came to a close, it was at the end of a highly entertaining six hours. One could argue that spending a quarter of the day watching a Joe Bob special on Shudder is excessive; I feel that it is the opposite. Like a perfectly-sized candy bar, Joe Bob knows how much to give his fans to satisfy us all. Whether he’s dissecting the nuances of a cheap, forgotten B-movie or talking with one of the hottest producers in Hollywood, Joe Bob knows his audience and what satisfies them. Every minute of Joe Bob’s Halloween Hoedown is a perfectly-sized Halloween treat.