The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs
This week’s double feature is probably the most thematically-linked one we’ve had so far. Demons and devils? They go hand-in-hand!
Quality-wise … not so much. It’s a real roller coaster to go from Demon Wind to The House of the Devil, but luckily, they’re both easy and fun watches. I’ve seen The House of the Devil a couple of times. It’s a “mumblegore” film, written and directed by Ti West, and it’s a new classic. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch it with Joe Bob’s commentary due to stupid-ass rights-restrictions in certain countries.
Luckily, we have the lovely Insha to cover our ass for that one.
Now … Demon Wind was a first-time watch for me, and it was a damn doozy. So let’s get started.
Demon Wind (1990)
Demon Wind is a piece of shit. I feel like it’s a disservice to call it anything else.
That doesn’t mean it’s worthless, though. The storyline has to do with Cory trying to figure out what happened to his relatives. Luckily, he had a million friends and was able to convince them to die while he tried to fuck up some zombies. The beginning is funny as hell, because we get introduced to our main characters as more and more of his friends show up to go to the haunted house with him. It’s actually an impressive bit of comedy. The first group shows up, then the second group shows up, and they’re magicians for some reason, then — thanks to the rule of threes — another couple of friends pop up once we’ve forgotten about the possibility of friends showing up.
At this point, we can run down the list of insane and awful shit that the movie does: a character is killed/turned into a doll in front of everyone, and they barely bat an eye; they adjust to the fact that they’re living in some sort of time bubble pretty quickly; two characters leave to kill zombies — or “demons” or whatever — without warning the others; the lead character turns into some kind of … angel or alien or good demon?
And yet, it’s worth a watch. At least with Joe Bob’s intermittent commentary. It’s fun to have him occasionally cutting in to commiserate with us about how silly the film is, while also providing some interesting tidbits. Lou Diamond Phillips plays one of the zombie demons!
Demon Wind doesn’t come anywhere close to my favorite film they’ve shown on The Last Drive-In, but it’s hard to imagine there being a movie that Joe Bob can’t make a little bit better.
Moving on to movies that don’t need any assistance from a horror movie host …
The House of the Devil (2009)
The House of the Devil is an undeniably retrospective of ’70s horror.
Ti West is one of those rare breeds of filmmakers. He has that keen eye that can capture an era of filmmaking and keep up that momentum. The House of the Devil feels like you’re watching films like The Sentinel, Alice Sweet Alice, or Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. Not to say it has any of these storylines. If you placed The House of the Devil along the lines of these movies, I bet you won’t be able to tell the difference. If you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for ’70s horror and even more for that filmmaking aesthetic.
As Michael, the lying liars of lies who loved Demon Wind, said in the intro, this one is a “mumblegore” film. What does that mean? It means nothing happens in the first 30 to 40 minutes, and then shit goes haywire.
Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) is hard up on cash and desperate to move into a new place. She needs to make the down payment for the first month. So she takes a babysitting job that seems too good to be true. However, this isn’t your typical babysitting job. The owner of the house, Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan), tells her that there is no child, she will be watching his sick mother instead. She takes the job but finds that she’s going to have to fight for survival if she wants to get out alive.
While Demon Wind isn’t impressive at all, this movie is ALL kinds of impressive. West nails the feeling of the ’70s (even though it’s an ’80s throwback) but also gives us an impressive story. The best part about this movie, though, was Joe Bob’s commentary as he goes off about The Devil. For what feels like a good half hour, he goes into biblical nonsense, the lake of fire, “spirit prison,” hell, and so much more.
As a lass who grew up in Catholic school, I was screaming “YES SIS GO OFF” at my television set. It’s one of the best rants from Joe Bob ever, but I think I just love hearing him go off on religion ever since he made Charlie Brown Christmas and Linus’s role in it make sense.
The House of the Devil is a great movie, not only for the nostalgia feature but because it just SCREAMS untapped new classic potential. It feels like a movie that you’ll want to watch over and over again. It’s a slow build up, but once that first shot hits, it’s all downhill from there.