Edit: This article was written before The Last Drive In was renewed for a second season.
To say we are living in dark times is a bit of an understatement. The internet — principally social media — is a cesspool of trolls, divisiveness, and bot accounts. That being said, since March 29th, Twitter users have found some light in the darkness. Heralded by the return of Joe Bob Briggs and his series The Last Drive-In, countless Twitter users live stream the Shudder series as fans and students. They watch films and listen to Joe Bob Briggs elucidate on numerous topics, including but not limited to, historical context and stories from directors and actors.
During the Thanksgiving marathon, in an almost poetic manner, Joe Bob discussed the importance of the horror film being a communal experience. The great thing about bringing this show back in this age of social media is that a community is ready. Diana Prince, aka Darcy the Mail Girl, is a lively and charismatic addition to the show. She provides the bridge from the nostalgia we love to a more modern world. Darcy the Mail Girl goes out of her way to retweet Twitter users who are sharing the viewing experience. Often landing in Twitter jail for overtweeting, Darcy interacts with fans and helps fellow Drive-in Mutants (fans of the show) find each other.
And then there’s peace on earth. We don’t know about each other’s political affiliations or personal beliefs. We know we share a love of B movies, Joe Bob, understand the fun of watching blood and gore, and the escapism in shutting out the rest of the world for at least four hours each Friday night. No one talks down to anyone, no one worries about spoiling blockbuster films in the comments. The environment is welcoming. (#Shunting became a thing!)
Every Friday, Joe Bob’s assertion of the community experience is proven as fans tweet their greetings from different parts of the world while sharing special meals or cocktails tailored to the themes of the films. The Drive-In Mutants converse over the effects ( or lack thereof), acting styles, and dialogue. Thousands of strangers band together just to enjoy some very fun films like Deathgasm and Demon Wind, or more serious fare such as Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Whatever the film, the fan base watches and waits for the best parts of the double feature, and that is Joe Bob’s commentary. Joe Bob is always educational, always entertaining, and exposes so many people to films they have never seen before.
Many of us have grown up with Joe Bob, watching his shows Drive-In Theater or Monstervision. following his Drive -In totals, counting along to see if that was really 58 dead bodies or 16 breasts. His enthusiasm is infectious. If Joe Bob tells us he truly loves a film, the viewer can understand his appreciation. Joe Bob is also brutally honest, teaching us about the movies he doesn’t like, but also finding a way to make them enjoyable for his audience.
Tuning in to see Joe Bob’s lawn chair, Ernie in his tiny cowboy hat, and a trailer against a desert night sky background, has taken us back to a simpler time. The Last Drive-In has allowed us to once again, just enjoy things. Hopefully, we will see another season in the future. We are quickly approaching the last night of the season. We will toast our Lone Stars, tune in for the endless wealth of Joe Bob’s information and rants, Darcy’s cosplay, and count all the fu’s and head rolls. The season finale is nearly upon us, but let’s hope it’s not the final Last Drive-In. It’s saving humanity.