Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats (1995)

Adrienne Barbeau, the Rat Queen, summons a bikini-clad dominatrix to execute the famed rat-dangling ceremony

"Joe Bob's Drive-In" for 6/12/95
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas
The federal government put together this panel of experts to figure out why Americans sit on their butts all day long. All these doctors decided that the reason we drop dead so quick is that "millions of U.S. adults remain essentially sedentary."
And so what? We've heard this before, right?
But if you read this goldurn article, they don't mean that people don't get enough exercise. They mean that there's millions of people who get ZERO exercise. They don't even WALK TO THE CORNER. In fact, the doctors BEG EM in this article to WALK TO THE CORNER. They decided the old rules don't apply. They used to say people should exercise at least 20 minutes, three times a week.
Now they say, "Forget that." Just do SOMETHIN.
What they found out is that there are people who think 20 minutes, three times a week, is IMPOSSIBLE.
They don't have time for it.
So the new report says, "Just rake the goldurn leaves. Clean out the attic. Mow the backyard."
Or, as my Mama used to say, "Get up off your BUTT."
What I wanna know is, How do they do it? I think I could plan it out all day long, and I'd still be occasionally FORCED to get up off my butt. I mean, I'd forget to buy cigars, so I'd have to run down to the Pakistani grocery store. Or I'd run out of clothes, because they were piled up nine feet high and I hadn't washed any of em, so I'd be forced to dig down in there and find the ones that were the LEAST DIRTY. Or I'd just wanna, like, HAVE SEX. Just doing THAT would burn off a few of those big-butt calories, don't ya think?
Where do these people live? That's what I wanna know. And who waits on em hand and foot all day long? It must be those guys who get the mail-order wives from the Philippines who agree to serve your every earthly desire as long as you buy em a new dinette set and send a couple hunnerd home to their sick mother. You sit in the Lazy-Boy, and she brings you stuff.
But I didn't realize how great deal it was. Evidently, some of these gals strap saddles on their backs and CARRY these guys all over creation.
Modern civilization is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

Speaking of simpler times, Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats is this week's drive-in selection, and it's based on the true story of the time Bram Stoker was riding in a carriage through the woods of France with his daddy, and their driver was attacked by flesh-eating rats and Bram was carried off by hooded Amazons who like to wear G-strings and halter tops 24 hours a day as they worship Adrienne Barbeau, the queen of the Rat Women, who can play a flute and force rats to eat people when she's not leading her all-woman army on raids to kill sleazy men wherever they find em.

Of course, we've seen the familiar story before, but HAVE WE SEEN IT WITH AN ALL-RUSSIAN SUPPORTING CAST? I think not.

There goes Roger Corman again, monkeying around in Moscow. Roger is the producer who made a deal with Mosfilm, the great Soviet film studio that went into the toilet when Communism died. And basically Roger said, "Send me pictures of whatever sets you've got, and I'll write a script to fit." And the first one he made was Haunted Symphony, last year's winner of several Drive-In Academy Awards.

This one is no "Haunted Symphony," but it's got a lot more topless slave girls dancing around for no reason. And it's got Maria Ford, as the sensitive young girl who ran away when the soldiers attacked her house and killed her mother and sister, and so she decided to become a Rat Woman for the rest of her life, but now she's having doubts about her career choice, and so she slips into Bram Stoker's cell and makes the sign of the triple-jointed mud weasel on the stone floor.
Fortunately for her, Bram is the first male allowed to live among the Amazons, because Adrienne Barbeau feels like she needs more publicity. Unfortunately for her, Olga Kabo is a lesbo who would rather have Maria for herself.
Most terrifying of all, the Amazons carry these flesh-eating rats around in a wicker basket, and at any given moment, they can TIP THE BASKET OVER!
Shudder shudder.

Fifty-six dead bodies.
Forty-eight breasts.
Dancing rats.
Guillotined rat.
Pendulum rat-pit torture.
Cross through the heart.
Hand rolls.
Flaming Russian character actor.
Gratuitous lame poetry reading.
Multiple swordplay.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for purple-haired Adrienne Barbeau, as "The Queen of Vermin, the Pied Piper's Twisted Sister," for saying
"Let us affirm this truth--we are all vermin in the ratholes of the universe";
Kevin Alber, as Bram Stoker, the sappy kid who thinks Maria Ford should read more Byron, for saying "When I write, the cell disappears" and
"You are the most beautiful sight I have ever seen";
Olga Kabo, as the nasty catfighting brunette who says "We can't trust him! He's a man!";
Maria Ford, as the reluctant Amazon who's tortured by French perverts and spends the whole movie in 19th century peasant lingerie;
and Dan Golden, the director, for bringing true drive-in values to Russia.
Three stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Victory Over Yuppies! The Valley 6 Drive-In, on Auburn Avenue North at 49th Street in Auburn, Wash., continues to thrive right there in the heart of the cappuccino-drinking Pacific Northwest, with its icy winters, defying all predictions. Sam Graham of Des Moines, Ia., reminds us that, with eternal vigilance, the drive-in will never die. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and his world-famous newsletter, "The Joe Bob Report," write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221, or Fax him at 214-985-7448, or e-mail him at

Dear Joe Bob Briggs:
You're right--anybody ought to be allowed to say anything--period. No exceptions. That is why I am allowed to "boo" something I don't like as many times as I please.
The Consititution (Bill of Rights) guarantees freedom of speech with no GOVERNMENT censorship. But INDIVIDUALS have the same right to condemn that speech with which they disagree. That is the beauty of this system of government. Why is it that people like you seem to believe in freedom of speech only for those who are saying something controversial?
In this country, I can say to you "I think you are an arrogant, ill-informed a------" and you have every right to say to me "Madam, I think you are a bitch!"
Gina Brekhus
Novato, Calif.

Dear Gina:
The people who scream so loudly that no one else can be heard aren't SAYING ANYTHING. In fact, if you think that's free speech, then we could save time by just giving everybody access to the microphone plug. As soon as you heard something you didn't like, you could pull it. Eventually, there would be silence everywhere, and people like you could celebrate the triumph of freedom.

Dear Joe Bob,
I am compelled to write you once again after reading your article on Sumeria (?) and beer-drinking.
My friend just finished a class in hypnosis and she needed to write some case studies of clients whom she had hypnotised. I am interested in all manners of unusual sensory perceptions, or willingly agreed to go under his suggestions. I went to Sumeria as a keeper of the Air Temple. I described in detail its function and I was fuzzy on my job as no one seemed to be hanging around the temple to give me any clues. I did seem to be quite fashionably attired compared to the market-goers whom I can't see from a distance. I found this information intriguing as I didn't remember anything from world civilizations in high school other than the name which fit somewhere between Babylon and Mesopotamia. I went to the encyclopedia and discovered that Air was one of their principle deities. Lord Air and his consort the Lady of the Night. I just love to get goose-pimples.

My friend Barbara again took me under hypnosis, and this time with the intention of going back to Sumeria. This time I was at a grain mill, and the dust made me cough violently (for real). The grain was large and fatty and was principally used in making bread. There is no equivalent to that grain now. I was there to collect the "oats" for the sacred cow who was my charge and was rather like an obstinate puppy. I had to bother it and feed it and on some festive occasions paint its snout, ears, spine and tail green. The bull didn't particularly enjoy this either. What I am most delighted to hear is that there were libations of the most generous sort for my trouble. I guess I didn't get to that part in the trance.
I can truly say I've loved beer a long time, lager in particular. I've switched from Harp to Steinlager currently. Have you tried Red Tale Ale from Sonomas? Tasty and recommended, and this is coming from a priest.
Your columns are provoking. Cheers,
P.S. Of course, I'm from Santa Cruz (by way of Virginia).
Carol Brendsch
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Dear Carol:
Lemme get this straight. First you went to Sumeria as the caretaker of a sacred temple of air. You liked it so much you went back to feed oats to sacred cow. And now you're having a beer.
I've gotta meet you, hon.

Dear Joe Bob,
I am writing in answer, belated answer, to a question you posed in your brilliant "Lesbos of the World, Unite!" article. You questioned the validity of the term "homophobe." I think the term refers to people who are afraid they might be sort of gayish themselves. Maybe it's not so much fear that they are really gay as fear that people might think they are gay. Young males in particular are deathly afraid that someone might think they are gay. That's the main reason they are so loud about it.
I personally think that anybody who sees another person's lifestyle as a threat to their own cannot possibly have a whole lot of faith in their lifestyle. In fact, the reason most kinds of bigots give for why they are the way they are is FEAR for the continued existence of their lifestyle, culture, language, religion or whatever. Another point for the term homophobe. Fear is at the root of most kinds of really malevolent bigotry. One more thing I like about the term homophobe is that it expresses total contempt for the kind of person the speaker is referring to. It doesn't give them any dignity. The word "bigot" is good. "Racist" implies that it's a school of philosophy or a political party or something else sort of legitimate. "Sexist" is the same sort of thing.
What other reason is there, besides fear, for wanting to run certain kinds of people out of your town, or pass laws against their practices, or lump or lynch them?
On another subject, you are the first journalist I have ever written to. My time is not worth that much ($6 an hour is what I make as a temporary), but it represents a level of admiration I rarely experience outside of my fantasy and sci-fi novels. You represent what I love about our native country, which I've always had a love/hate relationship with. Keep up the good work. You are the closest thing to a religious leader that there will ever be in my life.
Your tribute to Bill Gaines was also greatly appreciated. I read his biography in the Fifth Grade. He is one of the few heroes I have that live in the same world that I do.
I'll shut up now and mail this thing.
Cedar Bristol
Duvall, Wash.

Dear Cedar:
Well, if "homophobe" means "secret fear that I'm gay," then what does "homophile" mean? A secret HOPE that I'm gay?

Dear Joe Bob,
Well, as promised I told you I would keep you up as to some of the stuff that goes on here in Folsom prison.
After passing around the latest issue, the fellas and I are wondering if your video quickie, "Evil Spirits," is about this lady awaiting trial in Sacramento named Dorthea Puenta. Seems she is on trial for being an ex-boarding house lady who took in old men, stole their Social Security checks, murdered them with various stuff and buried them in the backyard.
Now we don't know if her dead husband kept telling her to do what she was supposed to have done. But it must be "evil spirits."
Eight dead bodies. Dorthea has two breasts. No stars.
Stu Brocksen
Folsom State Prison
Represa, Calif.

Dear Stu:
As far as I know there's no connection, but then again, if I was gonna cast somebody to play Dorthea Puenta, it WOULD be
Karen Black, so I don't know.

Joe Bob,
Thanks for your expose of those self-loathing weasels in the FCC. Just one quibble: The United States is a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Failure of the citizenry to understand this point is resulting in a general eroding of the Bill of Rights.
Gary Brizzolara
San Lorenzo, Calif.

Dear Gary:
You're absolutely right, but I don't think we have to worry about people choosing democracy over a republic in a time when nobody wants the majority to infringe on ANYTHING. We've got political parties dedicated to the idea that NEKKIDNESS should be protected from the tyranny of the majority.

Dear Joe Bob--
What's in a name? If you want my vote, "We Are the Weird" plays much stronger than "The Joe Bob Report." Nobody who doesn't immediately understand the phrase "W.A.T.W." has any business reading your newsletter. What's her name? And why are you taking orders (or is it suggestions) from her? Or maybe I should be saying congratulations if you've just gotten engaged or married or something like that.
Marc Bristol

Dear Marc:
It's not a woman. I just got tired of answering the goldang question.
So shoot me.

© 1995 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

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