Shortly after the heyday of the horror host in the 1970s, there were only two iconic figures that rose from the ashes of the end of TV stations signing off after the late, late movie, and the televisions getting retrofitted with all those new, fancy faux wood grain cable boxes sitting on top of them. Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs carried the torch into the 1980s, and pioneered sprinkling some sharp commentary onto some really good bad films. Elvira dominated syndication and Joe Bob found his own niche on the burgeoning cable channel TMC with Drive In Theatre.
When that show ended in 1996, four months later, he would move on to maybe his most famous gig, MonsterVision on TNT until 2000. Both shows met their demise when the channels decided to revamp their formats. Joe Bob Briggs not only had a phenomenal run in what some would say is a tricky niche demographic, but he didn’t do it wearing a cape or fangs. If he wore black at all it was a black shirt with a cactus embroidered on it, perfectly accessorized with a tasteful bolo tie. Some dude looking and sounding like an extra from Urban Cowboy hosting a horror show shouldn’t work, but with him it was pure magic. He never really left our hearts and minds, but now he’s really back in his element.
This weekend on Friday the 13th, Shudder brings Joe Bob Briggs back with The Last Drive-In. It’s a glorious 24 hour marathon of 13 films that need no introduction or elaboration, but are definitely going to get one. Some of the selections include:
Tourist Trap (July 13) – One of the great “scary guy that loves mannequins” films with that staple of wholesome 1950’s TV westerns, Chuck Connors.
Basket Case (July 14) – Frank Henenlotter’s tale of how hard it is to be brothers when one is better looking than the other. All set against the exquisite backdrop of seedy 1980’s NYC.
Sleepaway Camp (July 13) – The slasher flick with the most infamous twist ending ever.
Joe Bob Briggs has also done some in-person screenings this week at the Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn, NY and at the Alamo Drafthouse in his native Dallas, TX. If you’ve been looking for a reason to subscribe to Shudder, this is it.
Follow along on Twitter @Shudder and stay tuned for some special guests along the way.