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The 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week: Horror Fans on Twitter

December 3, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
A Bloody Good Time The Last Drive-In Joe Bob Briggs

The 411mania Dumpster Fire of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to The 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.

This intro is sort of a follow up to last issue’s “What do you eat at Thanksgiving?” question, which I probably should have asked last week but just didn’t. What the heck do you watch at Thanksgiving?

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When it comes to television, most holidays tend to be marathon days, where channels show marathons of TV shows or movies or some such. Christmas has 24 Hours of A Christmas Story, News Year’s Eve/Mew Year’s Day will occasionally have a The Twilight Zone marathon, and the Harry Potter and Star Wars movies show up at various holidays as multiple day marathons. What the heck do people watch on Thanksgiving besides football, the Macy’s parade, and the national dog show?

The El Rey Network ran kung fu movies for like five days, which was awesome. The Hallmark channels and Lifetime has Christmas movies. But what the heck else was out there to watch like that? What other sort of television events were there? And why is it that Thanksgiving doesn’t seem to get the “TV event” treatment like other holidays?

Is it the whole “it’s all about food” thing? Is there an expectation that you will spend the entire day talking to family and friends instead of watching something on TV? Is it the shopping thing (“Why program something when people are just going to be surfing the internets for gift ideas or standing in line at Walmart?”)?

So, if you do watch TV on Thanksgiving, what do you watch? Do you watch the usual stuff (again, football, the parade, etc.) or do you watch something else? Do you do your own programming or do you search out something to watch?

Just in case you were wondering, I don’t really watch anything on TV on Thanksgiving. The TV is on, sure, but I don’t have anything set that I watch (there’s no Thanksgiving” tradition). I do think I may start watching Chopping Mall on Thanksgiving, in anticipation of the big hooha shopping day the next day. Shout! Factory streamed Chopping Mall for 24 hours on its Shout TV website. That seems like a cool thing to do.

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And now onto this week’s Dumpster Fire of the Week.

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This week, the 411 Dumpster Fire of the Week goes to horror Twitter, for losing its goddamn mind over something Joe Bob Briggs didn’t say. Briggs, drive-in movie critic and host of The Last Drive-In on the Shudder horror streaming service, was accused of saying that horror movie directors of the 1970’s and 1980’s didn’t engage in political commentary with their horror movies. He didn’t actually say that, but that fact didn’t stop horror Twitter from exploding with indignation for the horror host. Briggs didn’t know what he was talking about! Has Briggs ever watched a horror movie from the 1970’s or 1980’s? George A. Romero? John Carpenter? Tobe Hooper? Wes Craven? They didn’t inject political and social commentary into their movies? How could Joe Bob Briggs, alleged exploitation movie expert, be so dumb? Dawn of the Dead was just a movie with zombies in it? They Live wasn’t political in any way, shape, or form? The Texas Chain Saw Massacre wasn’t brimming with all sorts of social commentary? Last House on the Left wasn’t about the Vietnam War? How could Joe Bob not know those things? What a moron.

Those would all be wonderful and insightful questions and comments if Briggs had said what people claimed he said. Unfortunately, Briggs didn’t say any of those things. None of them.

It all started after Briggs commented, via Twitter, on an article promoting the new Black Christmas reboot/remake/whatever it is over at Bloody Disgusting. Briggs said, in response to the article, “What I love about directors from the 70s and 80s is that they had no political ax to grind, no message, no social justification for horror. It was just ‘get a load of this great story.’ I don’t wanna be told how to watch a movie.”

If you read the actual Bloody Disgusting article, which also links to an interview the Black Christmas remake director, Sophia Takal, did with Entertainment Weekly, it’s all about how Takal believes she made a “fiercely feminist” movie, which she’s very excited about and she hopes the movie going audience is excited about, too. Takal also apparently wanted to make a movie about “what does it feel like to be a woman in 2019” rather than “great plot points.” And it’s that line, I believe, Briggs was actually commenting on. How many directors from the 1970’s and 1980’s were about making political points before telling a great story? How many horror directors were all about politics first, story/plot second? Is it a good idea to tell the audience what they should feel about a movie before anyone gets a chance to see it? What if the movie somehow isn’t about anything the director claims it is?

No one, or, really, very few people on horror Twitter apparently thought about any of that. Horror Twitter just decided to have a meltdown.

In the midst of the total Twitter freak out, Briggs attempted to explain what he was actually talking about. When talking about the great horror directors, Briggs commented “I knew most of them, and if they had a political POV, it was subconsciously embedded- they were in story. Not one of them ever said “I’m making this movie to Bring New Perspectives. They never made extravagant claims for horror.” Briggs then explained further “Happy to see this PASSION over horror history. A) Of course horror films can be political- just pointing out my preference for keeping it as subtext. B) I believe everyone should make their movie—let every voice speak. Loudly.”

Seems pretty reasonable, right? None of it appears to be wrong, especially when it comes to the horror greats. Adrienne Bar beau and Debra Hill said that John Carpenter didn’t have any sort of agenda beyond wanting to make a great movie. Romero certainly talked about the politics of his zombie movies, how he thought the politics were right out front, in the audience’s face, but when actually making the movie he couldn’t let that stuff get in the way of actually making the movie (check out Document of the Dead for more on that). And I’m fairly certain that while there’s all sorts of subtext regarding the 1970’s gas crisis and generations colliding in Texas Chain Saw Massacre and that Last House on the Left was a response to the Vietnam war, Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven didn’t make those movies because they wanted to make political points. They just wanted to make movies. They were always going to express themselves, their viewpoint was always going to come through whatever they were doing, but those viewpoints weren’t all necessarily why they made the movies they made. The subtext didn’t get in the way of the story or the scares.

And how about that “everyone should make their movie” line. How much more inclusive can you get? If you’ve ever seen any of Briggs’s work, either as a writer or television performer, you would know that Briggs has always been about inclusion.

Horror Twitter didn’t give a shit. Briggs writes for right wing rag Taki Magazine! He’s always been a right wing troll! He’s an old white guy who doesn’t want women expressing themselves! He isn’t a satirist! He’s a misogynist! Joe Bob Briggs needs to go away!

Jesus Christ, people, calm the fuck down. Actually watch his show, the new one or clips from his old ones on TNT (Monstervision) or The Movie Channel (Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater). Find some of his old movie reviews or “Joe Bob’s America” columns, or go and check out his current column at Taki Magazine. If you do those things you will see that Briggs isn’t a right wing loon or a left wing loon or, really, any sort of loon. He doesn’t have a political agenda of any sort.

And please go and find the clips for his old “God Stuff” segment he did for The Daily Show, where he appeared under his real name John Bloom. Yeah, some right wing troll that guy is.

Jesus Christ. Think about shit before you lose your fucking mind, people. Please.

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And now for this week’s honorable mentions…

-Disgraced actor, writer, director, and stand-up comedian (and Dumpster Fire Hall of Famer) Louis C.K., for whining about how he’s apparently being treated in New York City. Random people are flipping him of in diners and on the street. C.K. thinks New York City has “become too P.C.” Sure, that’s it. Has nothing to do with you being an unconvicted sexual predator. Nothing at all. Please, C.K., just go the fuck away and stay the fuck away, unless you want to actually apologize for what you did. You don’t seem to want to do that, so, again, just go the fuck away.

-Actor and comedian Pete Davidson, for demanding that audiences sign non-disclosure agreements before seeing one of his shows. The NDAs require signees to not record or critique his act in any way, including online. If you sign the NDA and you are found to be in breach of the agreement Davidson will apparently sue you for $1 million. Ridiculous? Absolutely, but then Davidson, like far too many performers, apparently believes that he’s beyond criticism and that you should just accept whatever bullshit they decide to put out. This is why you should never support any performer that makes the audience sign anything before coming to see their performance.

-Actor, writer, director, comedy legend, Dumpster Fire Hall of Famer, and convicted rapist Bill Cosby, for his latest, absolutely ridiculous prison interview. Cosby still wants you to believe that he’s some sort of political prisoner and isn’t a rapist, when all of the evidence suggests otherwise. Cosby also said that he’ll never show remorse and fully expects to serve out his entire sentence. And I’m fine with that. Prison is where rapists belong.

-Pro wrestler Sandman, for his recent comments regarding women being in the main event. Apparently, Sandman isn’t a fan (and that’s putting it mildly). I wonder when we’ll find out the full extent of what he said. I’d like to know just how terrible it was. Why is it wrong for women to main event a wrestling show?

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