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Hey everybody, have you heard the news? Joe Bob is back in town!

The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs has returned for its sixth season on Shudder. While the show’s format has been slightly revised adopting a new biweekly schedule with one film instead of a double feature the beloved horror host’s approach is much the same.

“It didn’t really change anything,” Briggs tells Bloody Disgusting. “We were crowding all of our movies into 10 weeks once a year and then having specials, and we found that people would rather have more weeks. It’s actually more movies than we had before.

“And some of the people on the East coast fall asleep in the second movie,” he laughs. “It’s about a five-hour show when it’s a double feature because we talk so much. Also, it’s hard to get thematic double features every single time. So our specials are still double features, but our regular episodes are single features.”

The season kicked off last week with The Last Drive-In Live: A Tribute to Roger Corman, celebrating the legendary filmmaker’s first 70 years in Hollywood with a double feature of 1959’s A Bucket of Blood and 1983’s Deathstalker. The special was filmed live in front of a fervent audience of Briggs’ fan base lovingly dubbed the Mutant Family at Joe Bob’s Drive-In Jamboree in Las Vegas last October.

In addition to his usual hosting duties, Briggs conducted a career-spanning interview with Corman and his wife, fellow producer Julie Corman. They were also joined by one of Corman’s oldest friends and collaborators, Bruce Dern. In a heartfelt moment of mutual admiration, Briggs and Corman exchanged lifetime achievement awards on hubcaps.

“I’ve known Roger for about 35 years, so I’ve only known him for half of his career,” Briggs chuckles. In his long history of reviewing, interviewing, and talking about Corman and his legendary work, one emblematic encounter sticks out to Briggs.

“I remember the very first time I went to the Corman studio, which was a lumber yard on Venice Boulevard. He had a standing set for a spaceship control room, a standing set for a strip club, and I think he had one other one, and then he had all of his editing facilities there, but it was still a lumber yard. They had not really changed any of the buildings or anything.

“He’s showing me around the studio, and we were walking past a pile of debris, and I said, ‘Roger, is that the mutant from Forbidden World?’ It had just been thrown over in a corner. And he just said, ‘Yes, Joe Bob, I believe that is. He was apparently no longer needed.’ I said, ‘Roger, you gotta get with it! That stuff is worth money.’ But he was like, ‘When the movie’s over, the movie’s over.’ That was Roget to a T.”

At least part of Corman’s longevity can be attributed to his shrewd business practices and pragmatic approach to the industry, which has included working in every conceivable genre of cinema. “I couldn’t think of a single genre he has not made,” Briggs says.

“When we did this interview at the Jamboree, I said, ‘I’m gonna name the genre, and you tell me what you love about that genre,’ and every comment that he made involved money and box office performance,” he snickers. “None of it was involved with love of cinema, although I did get him to say that his favorite genre is a genre that he didn’t dabble in much other than his first movie [1954’s Highway Dragnet], and that was film noir.”

While the fourth annual Drive-In Jamboree is still in the planning stage, Briggs is delighted by the event’s continued success. “The Jamboree is something that we literally just threw together. We’ve had three of them now. It’s something where we just show up and try to come up with programming for each day.

But I really think the Jamboree is more about the mutant family meeting the mutant family. It’s more about people who know each other online gathering and partying with each other in person. It’s not so much about what movies we have. I mean, we always have an anniversary movie, and we always have some special guests and everything, but it’s more about the gathering of the mutants. It’s fun from that point of view. They’re exhausting, I can tell you that.”

The zeal among Briggs’ audience has only grown over the years, from hosting Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater on The Movie Channel from 1986 to 1996, to MonsterVision on TNT from 1996 to 2000, and The Last-Drive-In on Shudder since 2018. “I’m amazed, having been in the business for this many years, that I still have a show at this time, because they say you can’t repeat TV,” Briggs notes.

“Nobody wants to see old TV, and yet I’ve done the same show three times on three different networks, and every time I try to change it everyone says, ‘No, no, don’t change it! That’s the part we love.’ I always want to do something new, and I’m always told, ‘No, you’re the CEO of Coca Cola who went to New Coke.’ You can’t do that. People will revolt. So we’re still doing it.

“It’s one of the few shows that I know of that’s just sort of grown organically over, gosh, almost 40 years. We’ve just added elements to the show. We try things. If something doesn’t work, we throw it away. If something works, we do it forever!”

The mutant family will be happy to know that Briggs plans to continue hosting and writing about movies for as long as he’s able to. “I don’t see retiring from this or retiring from writing. I’m primarily a writer, and the good thing about writing is long after they don’t wanna see you on TV anymore you can still write.

“The difference today, though, is I was pretty much the only guy doing genre films when I started. Now, there are academics that do it. There are entire books written about Dario Argento and Tobe Hooper and even lesser names than those, and there are, of course, a massive number of websites, including your own, so that when something comes out today, there’s immediately a hundred reviews of it; whereas in 1982, I was sort of the only guy, because the movies were considered disposable trash. So I have been surpassed in my deep knowledge, because who can keep up with all that? It’s impossible!”

Diana Prince, who serves as Briggs’ co-host Darcy the Mail Girl and was instrumental in getting him back in the hosting chair, has been promoted to an associate producer this season. “She was sort of always the associate producer, but I guess they finally gave her the title,” Briggs explains.

“Diana Prince is in on all the decisions about programming. I always listen to Austin Jennings, the director, and Diana Prince, the mail girl, because they come from opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what kind of movies they wanna watch, and we try to strike a balance between. You know, she’s not gonna vote for Possession, and he’s not gonna vote for Mountaintop Motel Massacre,” he chortles.

“They’re probably the principal advisors, as far as what we show. Of course, [Diana] has a lot of social media clout, and she’s extremely knowledgeable about pop culture. Wow! She has seen everything. She’s seen more than I’ve seen!”

While surprises are part of the fun of The Last Drive-In, Briggs previews some of what’s in store this season. “The place we normally live is the neglected ’80 slasher, and we still live there,” he assures. “But we’re gonna pay a lot more attention to the ’70s especially. I’ve always thought the ’70s are more interesting than the ’80s anyway. And we’re gonna pay attention to some really recent stuff.”

He teases, “We’re gonna bring back Joe Bob’s Summer School, which is something that we used to do at MonsterVision. And we may have a marathon. There’s a possibility of that. But I’ll be digging this new format of being on every other week between now and at least up to Labor Day.”

While Briggs’ hosting format hasn’t changed much across four decades, the world around him certainly has and that’s why The Last Drive-In remains relevant. He points out, “In the era of streaming, where everything is menus and there are thousands and thousands and thousands of choices, we are that thing called a curator that can direct you to the fun places on the spectrum of streaming.

“Streaming is very confusing for people, and a lot of people don’t like it for that reason. I hope what we’re doing is cutting through the weeds and bringing things into perspective. And, you know, it’s just more fun to watch a movie with us!” he concludes with a Texas-sized grin.

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