I recently had the opportunity to talk with legendary drive in horror critic Joe Bob Briggs thanks to Cinepocalypse film Festival happening in Chicago if you’re near that area please visit the festival June 13th-20th. Joe Bob Briggs will be doing his fast and furious 2 hour rundown of How Rednecks Saved Hollywood on June 18th!! So without further ado here is infamous horrors interview with Joe Bob Briggs.
1-What was the first experience you had with horror?
JBB: Probably would have been as a kid I saw “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?” The Betty Davis movie you know… Big budget horror(laughs) but um I wasn’t really. Didn’t watch that much as a kid I watched stuff like The Three Stooges so it was only when I was older as a teenager I got into horror
2- What made you fall in love with the genre?
JBB: um I think it was um a couple of things I fell in love with all exploitation films not just horror because they were outlaw films they were things your mother didn’t want you to watch you know? They were in the sleazy black and white ads in the back of the paper and seek it out in the grindhouse and the drive in.
3- What was the best drive in theater experience you had?
JBB: WOW probably cannot talk about those(laughs)… I had found memories of my parents taking me to drive in’s in Littlerock Arkansas. Me and my sisters would be in the back seat. Since then I’ve been to thousands of drive ins across the country. I can say there were two experiences at the Gemini drive in at Dallas and um one was where we honored Stephen King and the other time was when we had Roger Corman administer the Drive-In oath.
4- How did the idea of How Redneck saved Hollywood come together?
JBB: Well ten years ago I was speaking at Milsaps College In Jacksonville Mississippi. It was a private school and they wanted me to talk about southern film, you know like films from the south so I did and I realized I talked about the wrong things I talked about the Betty Davis films and the Gone With The Wind type films and everything. I said this would have been more interesting if I talked about the mountain people and the swamp people. And the rednecks and I started looking into a genre called redneck film. So the next time I did at the Chattanooga film festival it was called the history of redneck film. Then I revised it to How Rednecks Saved Hollywood because that was the whole theme. I had to take some things because people don’t remember it. I used to have a section on the ballad of Billy Jean and people didn’t remember the song(laughs) there’s a whole lot of aspects to it.
5- Speaking of Rednecks in horror what do you think of Rob Zombies House of a 1000 corpses and The Devils Rejects?
JBB: Well I like those okay their very derivative and I don’t like homages and looking forward and about our present fear of things and Rob is a little bit too nostalgic about the past so it’s not really my cup of tea and I do like the effects he’s a good filmmaker great with actors.
6- Is there any modern horror film that absolutely terrifies you?
JBB: Not much nowadays really scares me because a lot of new horror has a lot of comedy mixed in those young directors love mixing horror with comedy and those don’t get to me as much unless it’s done really well like Basket Case. House of the Devil was very scary too me Ti West would tell you it’s a homage to the 80s I find it to be a movie set in the 80s it was very well done the way he did it. I would that’s a movie that genuinely scared me.
7- Is there a top ten list of under the radar horror films you would recommend to a bigger audience?
JBB: Well I’m surprised what’s under the radar We’ll show films that we think are well known and turns out not many people know about like for instance we showed this film called Demon Wind that had kinda been buried for years it’s not the best story but it’s a train wreck of a film and is just fascinating. A lot of people discovered it after we put it on. Also Blood Harvest Tiny Tim’s only movie.
8- Which horror films would you consider infamous and controversial?
JBB: Well all great horror films would be controversial starting with Frankenstein in 1932. Night of the living Dead 1967 Silent Night Deadly Night. The most controversial would be Texas Chainsaw Massacre it was banned from Television for 30 years it was banned entirely in England for 20 years it really hurt the careers of everyone involved same can be said about I spit on your grave he thought he was making a feminist movie and it was portrayed by the media the complete opposite and people thought it glorified rape and Roger Ebert claimed he heard people in the theater cheered the rape if they did it was immature boys trying to get attention.
9- If you ever had the chance to direct a feature film project what would be about?
JBB: Well I don’t think anyone would ever hire me to be a filmmaker because I’m not that detailed but if I did it would be action so something like Jim Van Bebber(Deadbeat by Dawn)something really hardcore.
10- If you can give us any clues what movies may we see on The Last Drive In Season 2
JBB: No I can’t because we’re still arguing about it but it will be the usual mix of classics cult some bad their good films some recent horror some foreign horror we try to cover everything on the show.
11- Since I have you I wanted to ask you your opinion on one of my favorite all time horror films that got me to fall in love with the genre what do you think of Magic starring Anthony Hopkins and Ann Margret.
JBB: I don’t remember that having a huge impact on me I saw it years and years ago one of the biggest disadvantages of working at this industry for forty years there are some films you watch and kinda go into oblivion and you don’t remember that well so I would have to watch it again before I say anything about it. One of the fun things of the show is rewatching movies and falling in love with them again. Like we showed Pieces in 2019 and we also showed CHUD in 2019 and those were two movies I didn’t think anyone would like to watch again in 2019.
Article written by Aaron Friar