Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Warlock (1991)

What would happen if a really religious Pilgrim guy from the 17th century fell in love, like, with this waitress in El Lay, what would that be like, huh?

"Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In" for 2/15/91
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

The other day I was reading my latest copy of "Vicious Hippies From Panda Hell"--they had everything you wanna know about hardcore punks in Portland, plus a great interview with The Mummies--but I gave up before I finished the whole issue because the day's mail came in with a copy of "Satan On a Stick," a new devil-worship magazine out of Maryland that has writers so stoned on drugs that none of the stories have endings. I set it down next to "The Mandocrucian's Digest," which, as far as I know, is the only publication devoted exclusively to mandolin players.
Next to my desk is a three-foot-high pile of newsletters with names like "Living Love" (the publishers are building a city in Colorado where the space aliens can land, and they're trying to preserve the buffaloes until the space aliens get here), "Roller Sports Report" (the Bible of roller derby), and "Stampede of Worms" (screaming poetry from Iowa City, Iowa, which, unfortunately, is too blurry to read).
What's happening to me?
I used to read the Grapevine Daily News. I used to look up information in the encyclopedia. Then, about a year ago, I started publishing my "We Are the Weird" newsletter weekly, and other publications started flooding in (apparently the weird seek out the weird), and I started writing about some of them in the newsletter, and now I'm a man with THOUSANDS of newsletters, fanzines, and more bad poetry magazines than any man could read in one lifetime. (How about "Casa de Caca," out of Baltimore? Or perhaps you'd prefer to read "Alabama Dogshoe Moustache," the Schenectady poetry review in which part of the poetic experience is trying to UNFOLD THE MAGAZINE!)
I have now discovered a great truth about America:
Any idiot can be a desktop publisher.
I LOVE this.
There haven't been this many wild and strange ravings out of the American press in 200 years. A lot of these publications are one-man operations, just like those of Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin were, but the difference between now and the "underground press" of the sixties is that it is SO CHEAP to publish a newsletter on a personal computer that you can actually get your ravings distributed and read without having an actual job. With this many people spreading this many dangerous, nutty, fringe ideas, there's hope for the First Amendment yet.

You can also tell which cities are healthy and which are dead by watching where the fanzines are coming from. For example, more weird newsletters per capita come from Toronto than anywhere else. My favorite is a sick journal of twisted humor and disgusting film reviews that used to be called "Killbaby." Suddenly, last month, the title was changed to "Tame." The editor was asked why. Reason: his wife had a baby!
As you can see, the fanzine press is also more HONEST than the mainstream press.
Seattle is a "zine town." So is Manchester, England, and Sydney, Australia. The zine scene, especially the part that deals with American movies and music, is truly international. I have subscribers in Thailand, Guyana and the Fiji Islands. And I'm besieged with letters from Austria and Scandinavia, where many drive-in movies are BANNED as too violent. (Communism lives.)
English is the accepted language of all international zines, which means the only country that's isolated is France. The French zine writers refuse to publish in any language except French. This is okay with us, though, because the French don't have anything to say that we particularly want to hear.
New York is a bad zine town. So is El Lay. Bucharest, on the other hand, is a GREAT town for science-fiction magazines. One drawback: If you write anything for them, they pay you in Romanian currency, which no international bank will accept. They KNOW that no international bank will accept it. That's WHY they pay you in Romanian money.
Iowa, Baltimore and Milwaukee are full of great fanzines. I have no idea why.
If you haven't experienced this world, you should subscribe to 40, 50 of them and start learning about "alternative mothering" from "The Compleat Mother" out of Minot, N.D. (check out that breast-feeding issue), or, if you're under 18 and you hate being told you can't drink or go to certain movies, then you definitely need "Die Fat Piggy Die!" out of Waynesville, Mo., and, of course, no household library is complete without "The Sporeprint," published by the fine people in Victoria, British Columbia, who believe that psychedelic mushrooms are religious sacraments.

Oh, I almost forgot: "The Weasel Help Monthly", published in North Carolina, is devoted to proving that ferrets are safe and friendly pets, and fighting against the bans on ferret sales that are sweeping this country of ours.
Kinda makes you feel proud, don't it?
(Since I know some of you do NOT believe these publications exist, send an SASE to P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221, and I'll send you the addresses.)

Speaking of dead rodents, "Warlock" is a great movie that came out a couple weeks ago and didn't get noticed worth diddly squat, but it's the first flick that asks the question "Could a 17th-century Pilgrim in a fur suit and an El Lay waitress in a mini-skirt establish a bi-coastal relationship?" And the answer is, "Yes, but only if united by the fear of a flying warlock with long blond hair who looks like a rock singer and is trying to destroy the universe."

In other words, we got some SERIOUS plot going on here, with the devil working overtime. First Satan saves Julian Sands' life by making a big thunderstorm in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1691, where Julian has just received his sentence: "You are to be hanged, then burned over a basket of living cats."
Garfield would love it.
But Satan zaps Julian through time and space, "Terminator"-style, and he lands in the living room of the apartment Lori Singer is renting from a gay guy. It's like Back To The Future if Michael J. Fox worshipped the devil.
When Lori goes to work the next morning, the gay guy tries to make Julian some breakfast, but Julian decides he'd rather have a fried TONGUE instead. So you can see, we've already got that east coast/west coast culture clash.

Then Julian decides to take a few meetings his very first day in town. He goes to a "channeller" to talk to the devil, and after he does, he rips the lady's eyeballs out as a souvenir. Next, he puts a hex on Lori Singer so that she ages 20 years a day. (It's hell on her hairdresser.) So things are not looking good for the Lakers season at all, until . . . Richard E. Grant, the warlock's archenemy from the 17th century shows up, feeling a little groggy from 300 years of time travel but ready to set up his demon-finding compass and do some witch-wasting.

Seventeen thousand special effects later--and I have to say, there were some effects I have NEVER seen before, and I've seen em all--we end up in the old consecrated Boston graveyard, hoping Richard can save the universe from the Michael J. Fox From Hell.
Excellent flick. Best so far in 1991.
No breasts.
Three dead bodies.
Finger hacking.
Tongue spitting.
Crystal spike through the eyeball.
Weather-vane back-stabbing.
Hands on fire.
First movie I've ever seen where when they talk about "putting the screws" to somebody, they really PUT THE SCREWS to somebody.
Divebombing warlock.
Flaming fingertips.
Eyeballs roll (twice).
Kung Fu.
Witch Fu.
Thumbscrew Fu.
Skeleton Fu.
Puritan Fu.
Diabetes Fu.
Toescrew Fu.
Toe Fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Richard E. Grant, as the Puritan Robocop, for talking like a Scottish guy and saying "Witches loathe salt" and
"Never can no witch set food on consecrated ground";
Julian Sands, for boiling the fat of an unbaptized male child so he could fly better, and for threatening to turn the unborn twins of a pastor's wife into "slugs of cold flesh"; and
Steve Miner, who produced and directed the original House, for doing it again.
Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.


Victory Over Communism! The Swap Shop Drive-In in Fort Lauderdale has become the largest drive-in in the world by combining a flea market with a 12-screen outdoor theater. Flea markets have been the enemies of drive-ins in many states, but this just shows you what can be done when greed is allowed to take over, like God intended. Frank Gronert of Boynton Beach, Fla., 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 "We Are the Weird" newsletter, write P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, TX 75221, or Fax him a message at 214-368-2310.

Hey J.B.,
How do you tell a rich hillbilly from a poor one?
The rich one has two cars up on blocks in the yard.
What does a hillbilly say to his buddy on amateur night at the topless bar?
"Damn! I didn't know your sister had such big Winnebagos!"
What's a hillbilly call his first date?
Why don't hillbillies shop at 7-11 anymore?
They refuse to carry the Sears lingerie catalog.
Why do hillbillies put their school diploma in the rear window of their cars?
So they can park in handicapped spaces!
Jamie Danter
Charlotte, N.C.

Dear Jamie:
Did you hear about the lesbian hillbilly?
She liked cows.
(You have to think about it.)

Dear Joe Bob,
I really enjoyed your article on Prozac. I work in a shrink's office and I have tried Prozac because of reported weight loss but found it did absolutely zilch for me. Also it has been reported to cause increased suicidal ideation among users. Welbutrin is a much kinder and gentler drug which also has the exciting side effect of increased libido along with weight loss.
Thanks for being and sharing with us.
Carol Collins
McRae, Ga.

Dear Carol:
Ever since I got your letter, I've been popping Welbutrin.
The good news is that I can now have sex 38 times a day.
The bad news is that I only weigh 38 pounds.
I think the good news outweighs the bad, don't you?

Dear Joe Bob,
I've noticed that you publish a large number of letters from El Paso, all of which seem to show evidence of deep thought and clarity of mind. Do you think there's something in our water that makes us intellectually superior to other people, such as Yankees?
Intelligently yours,
Al Costley
El Paso, Tex.

Dear Al:
Thank of what you're saying. There are people in El Paso who go ten years at a time without DRINKING water. I've never seen so much Mexican beer in my life.
It's the little limes they stick in your Tecate.

Hey, Joe Bob,
I recently caught your concert in Santa Rosa. My God you can talk, boy!
I noticed on the back of the ticket that you'd been "litho'd" in Canada. What is that? It sounds like some kind of Canook perversion involving mooses! Have you recovered? Are you healing? And does John Bradshaw know about this?
A caring fan,
Craig Curtiss
El Cerrito, Calif.

Dear Craig:
They only lithoed my legs. It's something I do whenever I cross the Sonoma County line.

Dear Joe Bob,
These here are pictures of me and my very best friend Tracy Chreene. We worship your wisdom in all matters foreign and domestic. And if that ain't true may a ferret be my husband someday.
Anyway, Joe Bob, it was a hot August night that we set our sights on staking you out and meeting you in person. We knew you'd have to pick up your mail sometime. Why not on this night? So we packed up all the necessarys of any successful stakeout (lawn chairs, Dallas Observers, a cooler of Lone Star Beer, the national beer of Texas, in a Budweiser cooler, dark glasses to hold that fierce downtown post office glare at bay, stupid hats, and the stubborness to stay there all night if we had to in order to meet our hero in person.) No, we weren't conspicuous or nothin. Even the bums in the downstairs shelter were pullin for us. (As a sidebar, Joe Bob, are you sure this is the appropriate place to be pickin up your correspondence? Why, someone of your stature should surely invest in a post office box in a better part of town--say, The Grove).

I tell you, Joe Bob, we closed the place down that night, but you were a no-show. After a short nap Trace began to sing old spirituals to me, and I regaled him with some of the finer tunes from the life and times of the man in black, Johnny Cash. By the time we were done singin we'd collected about a buck fifty in an old shoe that Joe the drifter passed around to all the unfortunate sorts that had at this time gravitated toward us to glean some evening entertainment. If any good at all comes from this it will be that through our quest you lightened up the lives of the Fromelli midgets. (Homeless going on three weeks, but doing so good they already had their own shoppin cart and about 25 aluminum cans.) You can take this warm toasty feelin of a second-rate do gooder to the grave, Joe Bob. Trace and I finally gave up that night. It became imperative to do so when the winos began eyein our cooler. But we have not given up. We both know in our hearts that one day we'll be sittin across from you at Geno's Southern Belles, swappin Harry Hines stories, then runnin on down to Keller's for a brewskie. Its sort of our dream, Joe Bob! Can you relate?
Your most devoted fans in the universe,
Colleen Coyne and Tracy Chreene

Dear Colleen and Tracy:
I'm truly touched by your all-night vigil at America's stinkiest post office.
Someday I hope to meet the Fromelli midgets personally and discuss 17th-century literature.
In the meantime, I'll see you at Geno's Topless. My table is next to Stage 2, away from the pool-table side. Next time you've got eight hours to kill, spend it there. You have much more interesting things flung on your shoes.

© 1991 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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