Joe Bob Briggs

Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, TX

There are two kinds of laws--Mom Laws and Dad Laws.
Mom always wants to regulate, control and pass laws about every single second of human existence.

Mom Laws are rules like, "Never go out without a muffler, even if you're in a hurry." Or "Never make anybody feel bad, even if you don't like 'em." Or "Don't take the library book off the shelf unless you really wanna read it."

Dad, on the other hand, wants to control nothing.
Anything is legal to Dad, as long as it doesn't cause immediate death: "Got a new rifle, son? Well, just don't point it at anybody's brain."

And if you try to force Dad to pass a law about something, he'll do everything he can to avoid it:

"Dad, the kids are playing football in the street again. What should we do?"
"By golly, I did that when I was a kid."
In other words, Dad never sees the need for a law, and Mom always sees the need for a law.

So Mom and Dad do this tug-of-war that keeps us from having no laws (Dad's way), but also keeps us from having so many laws that we can't breathe (Mom's way).

In America today, Mom is winning.
I first noticed this in a subway train in New Jersey. It was a sign that said, "Smoking on this car is selfish and illegal."

Wouldn't the word "illegal" be enough? Why did they use the word "selfish"?
Because it's a Mom Word! It explains the reason for the law.
Not smoking on the train is not just the right thing to do. It's part of your education as a properly trained human being.

Then this city in Minnesota passed an anti-staring ordinance. If someone is walking down the street and you stare at 'em too long, you can be arrested.

This is definitely a Mom Law. It proceeds directly from the ancient Mom Dictum, "It's not polite to stare."

Take this law to Dad, and he would say: "Did you stare somebody down, son? By golly!"

And the last straw came about a month ago when President Clinton held a news conference to announce something that made all the network newscasts and the front page of The New York Times--namely, that he wanted to get rid of teen smoking.

Teen smoking? Did I hear this right? I mean, it's not like anybody has ever been in favor of teen smoking. I think the Moms of the world have been telling their teenagers not to smoke for about, oh, 100 years now.

What's really scary about this is that Clinton...is a Dad.
Doesn't he know that his job is to tell Chelsea, "Well, if you're gonna smoke, just don't smoke too much."

When did Mom take over everything? That's what I wanna know.
And speaking of people taking over, Robert Patrick has yet another B-movie psycho performance in Last Gasp, the story of a ruthless developer who kills a Toltec chieftain in Mexico and ends up as a heart-chomping vampire who likes to paint his face black and run nekkid through his Pennsylvania mansion, slicing the Achilles tendons of hapless small-town burghers so he can then finish them off with a wicked sacrificial knife.

Don't look now, but the low-budget people are back in Romania, churning these babies out with the finest Bucharest extras. And when you think about it, what better place to do vampires? Romania, for some reason, has become the Numero Uno low-budget film location in recent years, surpassing the former champion--the Philippines--by offering crews that will swear eternal loyalty for the bribe of a 75-cent candy bar.

Anyhow, this one was put together by director Scott McGinnis, who made his low-budget debut with the terrific erotic thriller Caroline at Midnight. And this time Scott has the slinky Joanna Pacula as the beauty-in-peril.

Joanna is a little miffed that her husband has been missing for four weeks, and everybody just assumes that he dumped her and hit the low road. She hires a private eye, who also vanishes, and now she finds out this creep wants to date her best friend, Mimi Craven, beautiful ex-wife of the legendary horror director Wes Craven.

The best thing about the flick is the actual Achilles-tendon slicing. I've seen a lot of bloody special effects in my day, but all I've got to say is...yowza!

Eighteen dead bodies. Six breasts. Primitive blood sacrifice. Virgin-slicing. Toltec safari. Flesh-chomping. Head-stabbing. Aardvarking. Fistfight. Power-drill-to-the-groin torture. Heart-gouging. Throat-ripping.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for...
*Joanna Pacula, as the confused bistro owner, for saying, "I don't know what your game is, but she's my best friend."

*Mimi Craven, as the bubble-headed realtor, for saying, "Why would he need to kill someone?"

And Robert Patrick, as the businessman by day, flesh-ripping Toltec chieftain by night, for saying, "Years ago I became that which I sought to destroy."

Three stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

JOE BOB'S FIND THAT FLICK:
This week's cortex-challenger comes from...Robin Perry of San Diego:
"I need help finding the name of a grade-Z movie I saw on late-night television many moons ago. It involved a mafioso who was somehow exposed to radiation, which made his face deformed. He basically walked around deformed, terrorizing a college campus. I believe he also lived at the bottom of a pond when not scaring coeds. It was a horrible (i.e., great) movie. Please help!"

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