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Two bloody thumbs up: Joe Bob Briggs will be back critiquing gory B-movies on Shudder.EXPAND
Two bloody thumbs up: Joe Bob Briggs will be back critiquing gory B-movies on Shudder.
Illustration by David Malan

Joe Bob Briggs Is Getting Another Bloody Season on Shudder

Drive-in movie critic and Grapevine's favorite son Joe Bob Briggs might want to think about changing the name of The Last Drive-In, his horror-movie showcase show on the streaming movie channel Shudder.

The network announced that Briggs' popular program will return for a second season on Shudder.

Shudder general manager Craig Engler wrote that the fans' response to Briggs' return persuaded them to approve a second season for Briggs' show.

"From our first marathon and subsequent specials in 2018, through this year's series, Shudder members have been loud and clear: We can never have too much Joe Bob," Engler wrote. "We have read every tweet, every email and every Facebook comment crying out for more. Message received. Joe Bob will be back."

Briggs, the nom de plum of writer and journalist John Bloom, who created his redneck writer persona at the Dallas Times Herald in 1982, has been alive and well since he left the airwaves following the cancellation of his TNT show MonsterVision in 2000. He made regular appearances at horror and fan conventions across the country, including the Texas Frightmare Weekend. He also hosted a series of live movie lectures on How Rednecks Saved Hollywood that featured his triumphant return to Dallas at the beginning of 2018 with a show at the Texas Theatre.

Supporters and crew members had then filmed the responses from attending fans at his show, who spoke about how they'd like to see Briggs back on their screens doing rundowns of the number of bare breasts, beasts and bloody moments in the movies. Then Shudder decided to give Briggs a shot with his first show in almost 20 years.

Briggs returned to his cushy, longhorn-sporting throne as the Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert of bloody B-movie fare in July 2018 for one more 24-hour marathon run with a best-of rundown of drive-in cinema. The Shudder series included such gems as the campy, kid-killing slasher Sleepaway Camp; director David Cronenberg's take on the zombie genre Rabid; H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator starring Jeffrey Combs as the cold and ambitious medical student Herbert West; and the aptly named Sorority Babes in the Slimeball-O-Rama. Trust us. You just have to watch.

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs carried the same style and spirit of Briggs' MonsterVision complete with his uncensored takes and behind-the-scenes stories on some of his favorite splatter films, a shapely mail lady reading letters from the viewers with sidekick Darcy the Mail Girl, aka Darcy Prince, and even his own theme song.

Briggs thought it would be his last hurrah for horror fans, but fate had one more shocker in store. The response to Briggs' show was so massive that Shudder's servers couldn't handle the influx of viewers stampeding to hear Briggs' take on some of their favorite fright flicks. Shudder gave him two more marathon runs the following Thanksgiving and Christmas, followed by a full season of weekly, mini-movie marathons to a massive audience of old and new fans. The specials and episodes were filmed in the Las Colinas studios with some of MonsterVision's original crew.

“During the original Monster shoot days, he just always shot in Dallas,” director Austin Jennings said in a Dallas Observer cover story in November 2018. “It was one of the ways he could shoot the show very economically. They would do a few weekends in a row, knock out a lot of that material, and then come back. All of those guys are still out there. We actually brought on one of the camera guys, a lighting designer (and) a technical director from the old show came on and helped us out with stuff.”

Briggs' publicist said he could not speak about the season renewal just yet, but he did offer a statement in Shudder's press release thanking all of his generations of old and new fans for keeping the drive-in spirit alive and proving once again that the drive-in will never die.

“It hasn’t even been a full year since the 24-hour Last Drive-In marathon, but since then I’ve made thousands of new friends and reconnected with thousands of old ones,” Briggs wrote. “The main reason I’m coming back to do another season is that this community of horror fans is greater than the sum of its parts, and it’s about something larger than horror. Don’t ask me what that thing is, but it’s a source of great joy to me.”

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