Joe Bob Briggs and Shudder made a statement the other night, and it's time other streaming services listen
When Joe Bob Briggs, the not always politically correct but always entertaining and informative horror critic who used to host Monstervision on TNT, returned in epic fashion with a live, all night horror marathon on Shudder dubbed The Last Drive-In, he and Shudder broke the internet. Literally. So many tuned in, that Shudder's feeds were actually down for awhile. Back again this past Thanksgiving with Dinners of Death, it was time to make a statement...
...Dinners of Death, a four-movie marathon curated by Joe Bob and featuring a "nasty dinners/Thanksgiving" theme, once again blew up the internet, trending throughout the night on social media. Just like with The Last Drive-In, horror fans showed up, because like last time, this was another chance for fans to "get together" and share in one massive marathon/sleepover where we got to watch and discuss the genre.
While introducing the fourth and final film, Blood Rage, Joe Bob made the following statement regarding just that:
Have you ever watched a great movie, on your tablet, on your laptop, on your phone and as the closing credits roll, you feel a profound sense of loneliness? Has that ever happened to you? Cause there's a sense when the narrative ends somebody should've been there with you. That the experience was intended to be communal. You were supposed to be with other people, and so the joy from the experience is bittersweet...People ask me, why are there so many horror bloggers? Because many hardcore horror fans grew up as misfits, they had to sneak around so their parents wouldn't know what they were watching, and they missed the community of fellow horror devotees, and so now, they get to talk about it, cause they're grown up, they're looking for soulmates...(Netflix) believe(s) not just that drive-ins are dead, or movie theaters are dead, or live performance places are dead, they believe the idea behind Epidaurus itself is no longer needed by our inner psyches...well I don't think so, and that's why we do it this way. Even though Shudder is a streaming service, we do something that's against the religion of the other streaming services. We ask people to show up at a particular time for a marathon that can't be downloaded right away. We ask people to join with us on social media as we watch the movies together, as a group, in real-time, and we even interrupt the movies, we put the movies on pause so that we can talk about them...we focus on the other side, the audience, hungry for shared experience."
Unsurprisingly, Joe Bob was spot on. I can attest to everything he said as being one hundred percent factual. For those that are newer to the genre, you have to understand, it has become much more acceptable these days. From the introduction of horror films through the nineties which I grew up in, they were considered to be many of our dirty little secrets. If you liked them, you were weird, or an outcast, or a future serial killer, as some of my grandparents. Because of this, I couldn't even wear horror shirts to school without being ridiculed, and I couldn't talk about them without someone thinking I was strange for being so obsessed.
What Shudder and Joe Bob have done is they've given fans a chance to come out in numbers, unafraid of being judged, and allowed them to do what so many of us go through daily life being unable to do: talk horror with people that understand and love the genre just as much as us. Joe Bob doesn't just play the movies. As he says, he takes a break to discuss what we're watching, inspiring the rest of us to get involved in the conversation and discuss the genre that we love so much. It's a unique, wonderful experience, and something which I wish had been a thing when I was a kid.
Perhaps more impressive than creating a discussion between fans is what else Joe Bob mentions. Like he says, he commits the ultimate streaming service "sin" by asking everyone to show up at a designated time to watch, instead of just dropping the whole damn thing immediately onto Shudder for us to digest whenever we feel like. This is the part which other streaming services should take notice of, because fans have turned out in HUGE numbers to do exactly what these services seem to think is impossible.
Joe Bob Briggs and Shudder made a statement the other night. Get on the train, or be left behind. The Last Drive-In has proven that the horror host/hostess is not only not dead, but there is a greater hunger for them than ever! Other services would be smart to follow along and begin looking for their own horror hosts/hostess'.
I'd have to imagine Shudder is also interested in acquiring more hosts for other shows so that they can do this more often and own the market. This is why I recently began a campaign to get Felissa Rose, aka Angela from Sleepaway Camp, her own show on Shudder. Throughout the night, she participated with fans and expressed her knowledge of the genre as well as her sparkling personality, reassuring that she would make a perfect hostess for a show in which badass horror ladies watched horror and discussed the genre from a female perspective. Imagine being able to tune into The Last Drive-In AND a female oriented version with final girls like Felissa! Best of all, she is totally into the idea! You can join in on that campaign by letting Shudder know how you feel with #FelissaOnShudder, and don't forget to follow Felissa as she is an incredible person who is great to her fans.
In the meantime, we can't wait to see more of Joe Bob this Christmas, and hope that this is the only beginning of the resurgence of the horror host/hostess, and an unforgettable era for horror fans. Who knows, with some time, other streaming services may finally take advantage of what is happening here. Proud to be a part of this great horror family.
If you haven't already, you can now stream the entirety of Dinners of Death on Shudder to hear all of Joe's mind-blowing rants.
By Matt Konopka