Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Howling 6

Have you noticed how, as time goes on, werewolves look more and more like Jim Morrison?
"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 9/13/91
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

How many times has this happened to you? You're on the freeway, heading home from work, when all of a sudden you slap your forehead and realize that you FORGOT to go by Spenser's Gifts before closing time and pick up all the stuff you'll need for the weekend.
I have to admit, it's happened to me.
One day I broke my nekkid-lady back-scratcher--it got these huge cracks across her upper thighs, like cellulite that registers on the Richter scale--and I didn't get to the mall to replace it for three days.
Or how about when one of your strobes goes out and you can't appreciate your black-light poster of Leonardo da Vinci standing on his head? This ALWAYS HAPPENS at NIGHT! You can't exactly solve this problem at Seven-Eleven, can you? So what do you do?
Do what I do. Always buy seven or eight extra strobe lights every time you buy a new poster. There's nothing worse than settling down to a round of drinks with friends, mixing up a Jack-Daniels-and-Diet-Dr.-Pepper in those cocktail glasses where the stripper drops her top when you drink, flipping on a couple of lava lamps--and then having your strobe go dark right where you would normally be able to see the glistening surf on Christie Brinkley's scuba suit, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
It took me years to appreciate Spenser's Gifts.
For a long time I was like most people. I would spend 10,000 hours a year in that store, but I would NEVER buy anything. In fact, I never saw anybody ELSE buy anything, even though I stood around the Interior Design department all day long waiting to find out who it is that buys those twisted Pepsi bottles and the posters of gay guys stuffing sausages down their pants.
But then one day I saw an item I couldn't resist:
a baseball cap with seagull doo-doo on the brim. I mean, it wasn't REAL seagull doo-doo. They haven't perfected the technology for that yet. It was this realistic artificial seagull doo-doo, and on the front of the hat it said "I Hate Seagulls." And I would have to say that that one hat has resulted in more conversations with strangers and lasting friendships than anything else in my life. There's something about a man with doo-doo on his head that people just can't resist. Or, as we used to say in West Texas, "The whole world loves a Doo-doo Brain."
How about those books that illustrate all the sexual positions in cartoon form? After studying all those books, I've had more than one woman say to me, "That's funny--I've never seen THAT before."
And where else can you go to get really DURABLE chattering teeth?
The kind that won't stop chattering after you wind em up twice. The kind that you can put on your boss's desk, and three days later you can go in there and he'll still be trying to catch the teeth and break em apart with a baseball bat.
In fact, I don't shop anywhere else anymore.
As I was saying to Wanda Bodine the other day, "It's the only store where you can buy a Nixon Mask EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT HALLOWEEN."
Wait till the Russian people find out about this.

Speaking of the greatest achievements of the seventies, "Howling VI" is out, just in time for you to realize that you haven't seen "Howling II, III, IV or V." You know, there are sequels and then there are sequels. Some people, like the creators of Friday the 13th, make the same movie over and over again. Others, like the Halloween people, have to keep inventing new relatives for Michael Meyers to come back and kill. But the two guys who own the rights to "The Howling" just MAKE UP A WHOLE NEW MOVIE EVERY TIME! EVEN IF THE LAST ONE WAS A COMPLETE TURKEY THAT BOMBED ON FOUR CONTINENTS!

These are obviously my kind of guys. I wonder if they sit in a room somewhere, going, "I have this great idea for a movie. A Southern plantation owner falls in love with one of his black slaves. What will we call it? Of course! Why not? 'The Howling VII' In fact, I think ALL movies should have the word 'Howling' somewhere in the title!"

But now here's the even MORE amazing news: "Howling VI" is the best one they've ever made!

You scoff. Maybe you saw the one they made in Australia, the one so boring people in the PHILIPPINES wouldn't watch it. Or how about the one with Sybil Danning, where the scariest scene came when she kissed Christopher Lee on the lips? Or the Agatha Christie-type "Howling" which gathered together the world's lamest actors in a Yugoslavian castle.

But this time they finally score. A freak show rolls into a little California town where the orchards are drying up and everything's falling apart, and about the same time Brendan Hughes straggles into town looking like a crackhead who's been trying to give himself a haircut.

Of course, we have a pretty good idea who the werewolves are in this picture: the guys with the British accents. While the freak show is setting up its tents, Brendan starts getting a little wolfy, but not before he's fallen in love with the preacher's daughter and befriended a deformed crater-face freak with a pet cat. The WAY he turns into a werewolf is a little different in every movie, and I didn't quite get it in this one, but evidently it has something to do with a full moon, a crystal, a family curse, and an ancient vampire's devil chant.

Anyhow, it's the old good werewolf/bad werewolf story, except in this case the evil freak show owner might be a vampire instead of a werewolf, I'm not completely sure . . . I really did watch this movie, I swear.

Seven dead bodies.
One dead cat.
No breasts.
Mutants-in-a-jar.
Pickled giraffe-necked lady.
Live chicken-neck chomping.
Pickled penguin girl.
Cat-throwing.
Three werewolf transformation scenes.
Mutilated livestock.
Steel-spike torture.
Pickled turtle boy.
Sheriff-eating.
Gratuitous gospel-music montage.
Gratuitous Carol Lynley (looking like she could scare a buzzard off a meat wagon).
Fang Fu.
Worm Fu.
Demon Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Bruce Martyn Payne, as Harker the freak show owner, for saying "You're the worst kind of freak, one who tries to control it"
and "Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to meet the devil!";
Sean Gregory Sullivan, as the Alligator Boy, for saying "But I don't wanna look like this!";
Deep Roy, as a three-armed midget;
Christopher Morley, as a split-down-the-middle hermaphrodite;
Antonio Fargas, as the geek;
Brendan Hughes, as the sensitive, misunderstood werewolf, for saying "You see, Sheriff, I'm the new entertainment";
Jered Barclay, as a dimwit preacher, for saying "Satan's work shall not go unpunished!";
Michele Matheson, as the local girl who learns to love a werewolf, for saying "But he'll KILL you!";
and Hope Perello, the director, for doing it the drive-in way.
Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.
JOE BOB'S ADVICE TO THE HOPELESS
Victory Over Communism! The giant projector from the Fox Drive-In in Charlotte, which closed after Hurricane Hugo wasted it, has been resurrected . . . in the back yard of Sonny Walker of Antioch, S.C. Sonny is such a drive-in fanatic that he put up a 10-by-21-foot screen, threw some lawn chairs out in the grass, and started charging a buck a person three nights a week. He calls it the Unusual Theater, and so far he's showed "Shogun Assassin," "Velvet Vampire," "Madman," "Grizzly"--but here's the beauty of the deal. If you come over and Sonny is not showing a picture you wanna see . . . he'll CHANGE the movie. Jamie Danter and Charles Baucom of Charlotte, Rose Zukiewicz of Huntersville, N.C., Tim Walker of Morganton, N.C., Candace Tippett of Granite Falls, N.C., and Dean Williams of Boone, N.C., remind us that, with guys like Sonny Walker, the drive-in will never die. To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, or to get free junk in the mail and Joe Bob's world-famous "We Are the Weird" newsletter, write Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221. Joe Bob's Fax line is 214-368-2310.

Dear Mr. David Kleinberg (Sunday Datebook Editor, San Francisco Chronicle):
I have just finished reading Joe Bob Briggs' diatribe against Brigitte Nielsen. I take enormous offense at this supposed reporter's comments about Italian people. Perhaps this unprofessional journalism would be printed in a third-rate small-town tabloid, but I fail to see its place in the only Sunday newspaper in a large city.
I don't understand how you could allow this ignorance to be printed. To refer to Italians as "Eyetalians" and to say "These are Eyetalians. They're Catholic. They can't help it." in any context whatever is to promote bigotry, small-mindedness and unprofessional journalistic standards to a great extent. This reporter comments on the talent of an actress in the most untalented way. The pot calls the kettle black.
I acknowledge the first amendment, I do not acknowledge the abuse of its rights to allow anyone to infringe upon, reduce to a stereotype or in any way belittle a people with ignorant slurs or by using ethnicity or religion in a derogatory manner to enhance a point, be it ridiculous or not.
I call upon your responsibility to this city to carefully read this man's column. Investigate his use of language, his grammar, methods of speech and overall ability to professionally place words onto paper. How easy it is to incite anger or strong feelings using attention-getting phrases, poor language and stereotyped prejudice. How much more skill it takes a good reporter to cause thought, use words carefully and make a point without offense by avoiding the pitfalls Briggs does not in his column. To find this trash in what purports to be THE newspaper of a major American city is frightening and at the very least underestimates the intelligence of your readership while loudly proclaiming the bigotry and ignorance of your journalists.
Sincerely,
Michael J. Lisi
San Francisco

Dear Mike:
You're right. The Italians are the one ethnic group in the world we should never poke fun at. What was I thinking of? I must have gotten you people confused with the Albanians.


CHAIN LETTER FOR WOMEN ONLY
This letter was started by a woman like yourself in the hopes of bringing relief to other tired and discontented women. Unlike most chain letters, this one does not cost any money. Just send a copy of this letter to five of your friends who are equally frustrated. Then, bundle up your husband or boyfriend, send him to the woman whose name appears at the top of this list and add your name to the bottom of the list. When your name comes to the top of the list you will receive 16,877 men . . . and one of them is bound to be a hell of a lot better than the one you already have. Do not break the chain. One woman broke the chain and got her own son-of-a-bitch back. At this writing, a friend of mine has already received 184 men. They buried her yesterday, but it took three undertakers 36 hours to get the smile off her face and two days to get her legs together so they could close the coffin. Hurry up and send this letter along so my name can move up fast!!!
[Submitted by:] Stephen London
Encino, Calif.

Dear Steve:
Don't yall have enough sitcoms out there to keep all these gals occupied?

Dear Mr. Joe Bob semi colon
I have a solution to your dilemma about proper punctuation period The way to solve these punctilious problems comma is simply to spell out the intended grammatical expression comma leaving no doubt in the reader apostrophe s mind about quotation mark Drive-In Academy Award Winners period close quotation marks semi-colon Do you understand what I mean question mark
Thank you comma
David M. Levin
San Antonio, Tex.

Dear David semi colon
Yes exclamation point I do exclamation point Of course comma you could comma in some instances comma use excessive punctuation marks in a single sentence comma thereby creating confusion in reader apostrophe s and typesetter apostrophe s minds comma if you know what I mean and I think you do period

Dear Mr. Briggs,
I got such a big kick out of your column entitled "Parents are made to be hated, then loved" (even though it's also a sad subject) I xeroxed copies to send to my six adult children, three living in state and three out. I thought it was hilarious and it really "hit home" because I divorced their father in January 1970 after 24 years of marriage and everyone's been suffering from parent and in-law overdose for the past 20 years. Some of the reasons you listed for sons and daughters "hating" their parents don't apply in our situation, but on the whole you "hit the nail on the head."
However, I started to have "second thoughts" as imagined their responses, such as "we don't hate you and Poppy," etc., etc., etc. When I asked one of my sons (the one most sensitive about parent/child relationships) he said, "That whole column was a joke! It was meant to be funny! I don't think you should send it to any of us kids!" That old guilt routine? I admitted I was enjoying it from the parent's aspect and the children might not "read" it that way.
Maybe it was all just "tongue-in-cheek" but I'd like you to tell me (if possible) if you weren't being at least a little serious in a humorous way. Is there any way you could write me or do another column if you receive a lot of "children" reactions from your readers, because I'm not convinced I shouldn't send it to them. I think it might do them some good, might help them with their "guilt complex." But if you say it was "all in fun," then what will I think?
I know one thing, when I was growing up in Massachusetts (I'm 68) I don't remember ever "hating" my mother and father. They were typical New England conservatives and "strict" in some way. Could it be there really is that much of a communication (and feelings) gap between generations? I hope not, because guilt can lead to a lot of grief, anxiety, loneliness, headaches, palpitations, separations, divorces . . .
P.S. If they "take it the wrong way," does that mean they have to work on their sense of humor?
Sincerely,
Elizabeth J. Lemmon
Columbus, O.

Dear Elizabeth:
I've been getting a lot of letters lately from people asking me "Were you just making a joke, or was that a SERIOUS point you're making?"
As though it has to be one or the other.
Let me put it this way:
Tragedy is always funny. Even children hating their parents is funny. It's funny because it's TRUE.

Dear Joe Bob
HELP! The only mail we get is Punky Brewster fan mail and Tampon ads. It is driving us to the brink of insanity with all of those pastel colors. We need to be delivered from this sort of madness. Send us stuff, any kind of stuff, just send stuff urgently! We don't even have any decent bathroom material to read. Now yo see how low we have sunk, so please send anything to us.
Curly Mac & Rude Boy Lee
Columbus, O.

Dear Curly and Rude:
Does this mean you want me to take you OFF the Tampon mailing list?

1991 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

The "Howling" movies are available on video and on DVD

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

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