By Jason Delgado
Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mailgirl’s third annual World Drive-In Jamboree took place in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Westwind Drive-In on October 6th through the 8th. Fantastic B-movies were shown every night at dusk, and all of the way through into the dawn, with hilarious and insightful commentary made by the two hosts during scheduled breaks in the movies. Many of the films featured what Joe Bob has deemed as “The Three B’s”: “Blood, Breasts and Beasts.” Legends such as filmmakers Roger and Julie Corman, and special surprise guest actor Bruce Dern, graced the stage with even more humor and stories for days.
Most important is that the Mutant family came together, and bonded over things like Joe Bob’s passionate speech that he gave prior to the Sleepaway Camp screening on Sunday night He stated that the speech he had made on Shudder for that same movie (Sleepaway Camp Spoiler Alert: He did it for that movie because there’s a surprise twist where a character is shown graphically to be a different gender than everyone thought) has been twisted into all kinds of different meanings, but he wanted to make it quite clear that he stands for transgender rights. He said, “Whenever mainstream culture is picking on a minority, I’m on the side of the minority! Every single person who comes to the Jamboree is part of the minority, because we’re not part of the mainstream, the Mutants are not part of the mainstream. You know, that’s why you’re here. Transgender people are so far out of the mainstream, that members of them are so small that when massive government organizations start messing with them, there’s only one right side to that issue and that’s the side I’m on. I will always be on that side until they leave them alone. Let them live their lifestyle and restore their civil rights!” Thunderous applause and chants of “Joe Bob” ensued. He continued, “I will follow it up with this, if the states of Tennessee, Florida, and Oklahoma start really enforcing those laws against drag performances in those states, I will be performing in drag in Tennessee, Florida and Oklahoma. I hope that clears it up.” More loud applause from the Mutants. It was a special moment to be a part of. I talked to the Mutant with the handle of Pujemin on Twitter about the video of this speech that he captured, and he said that “it is a hugely profound and beautiful message.” Whether it be Mutants of the Joe Bob or X-Men variety, the LGBTQ community, or any minority, they should absolutely not be punished or made to feel less than. We’re all in this life together. Thank you to Joe Bob for standing up to the bullies, we’re right there with him.
The entire weekend was filled with fun. I was one of the lucky one hundred people who bought a ticket to Joe Bob’s walking tour of Las Vegas before it sold out in fifteen minutes. The tour was split into two groups of fifty, and mine convened at the El Cortez hotel and casino on Fremont Street on Saturday morning. This experience was another highlight of the Jamboree for me, because Briggs is such a skilled orator that I knew that I was in for a treat to hear the history of Las Vegas from him. I was not disappointed. He said that Vegas is the newest large city, with its origins starting in 1905. There were auctions held for ownership of different blocks, with the one permitting gambling, alcohol, and prostitution being the most highly coveted. Joe Bob went through the origins of the casinos, and which ones are still standing there, as well as some gangster stories, behind the scenes of the movie Casino (which he was in), and what deceased Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson did for the city. As usual, Joe Bob injected humor whenever he saw fit, such as how patrons of the Atomic Liquors bar would astonishingly sit on top of the roof to watch the atomic mushroom clouds go off during the 928 different nuclear tests from 1951 till 1992 in nearby Mercury, Nevada. It’s such a surreal mental image, but the reality of the radiation left over is no laughing matter, which I chronicled in my review of the highly important documentary Downwind. This walking tour was a one-of-a-kind experience to spend listening to fascinating history stories from a man who I have admired for his storytelling ability since the 1990’s on TNT’s Monstervision, so that alone was worth going to the Jamboree for.
As an avid filmgoer, seeing rare movies at the Drive-In with the Mutant Fam was yet another unique experience. Friday Night kicked off with a film festival called the Hubbie Awards, with the first hubcap winner being David Liban’s independent movie titled Publish or Perish. It was an absolute delight of a dark comedy/horror film about a professor who is trying to get a coveted tenure position at a university, but strange accidents end up complicating matters greatly. It has almost a Breaking Bad type of tone, except for funnier. I definitely recommend it.
Next up was the highly anticipated debut of a follow-up to a classic slasher flick from the 80’s, The Mutilator 2. This film is a meta-version of a slasher, following the behind the scenes making of the movie, while murders are happening on set. Joe Bob gave it three stars simply because it’s not the first Mutilator, but it’s still fun for what it is.
The final feature film for Friday night, before they showed a collection of shorts, was Cannibal Comedian. It was a very off-beat movie that mixed stand-up comedy with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre type of killer. The main character’s appetite for twisted jokes was rivaled only by his appetite for blood, which made me think of it as being kind of like a more twisted version of Deadpool.
Saturday night kicked off with the tribute to Roger and Julie Corman for his “first seventy years of filmmaking,” followed by his movies A Bucket of Blood and Deathstalker (and two more but I was admittedly too tired to stay for the others). Joe Bob said that he has interviewed over two thousand people, including two Presidents, over the course of his illustrious career, but that Roger Corman is at the top of his list of most fascinating people. Joe Bob half-jokingly stated that he and Roger are the only ones to have seen all of Corman’s over seven hundred films. Roger Corman reminds me of a B-movie version of the beloved Marvel creator Stan Lee, both hugely influential men who mentored many people and who went on to become legends themselves, while being great storytellers with whip sharp memories. Roger is ninety-seven years old but still remembers the multiple times that production companies stiffed him on successful movies he created, which is a big factor in why he would use his own money to make so many films that were both frugal and financially successful, despite being low budget. Esteemed actor Bruce Dern was then brought out as a surprise for Roger, and they reminisced together about movie making. There was so much history of film and knowledge between everyone on stage that I was in awe. I’m so glad that it was all captured to later air as the first episode this season on Shudder’s The Last Drive-In, because this entire session was a treat whether you had seen Roger’s films or not.
I had some small interactions with Mutants throughout the weekend, and all of them were a delight. One fan was passing out beers during the Sleepaway Camp marathon on Sunday night to anyone who wanted one. Celebrities such as wrestling star Chris Jericho and Sleepaway Camp actress Felicia Rose, along with other cast members, added to it all with their appearances. Jericho’s podcasts live on stage, his band Fozzy, and riffing commentary with others during Sleepaway Camp 2 all rocked, just like his band. Rose also told nuggets such as the fact that she actually auditioned to star in Sleepaway Camp 2, but she couldn’t nail the campy humor tone of it, so the producers went with a different actress. Honesty, courage, humor, unity, and fun were themes that lived throughout the Jamboree. I cannot wait until I see the Mutants, Joe Bob, and Darcy again at the next Jamboree next year, wherever that may be.
Be on the lookout on Joe Bob and Darcy’s social media and the Jamboree site for more info about the next event! Also be sure to watch out for their The Last Drive-In shows on Shudder and AMC! Like Joe Bob says, “four stars, check it out!”
By Jason Delgado