"We're all handicapped, honey, every last one of us." -- Joe Bob Briggs, drive-in movie critic, in response to a reader complaint.
DALLAS, Oct. 28 -- Okay french fry heads, put away your breakfasts because this is some gruesome true-to-life news brought to you by Joe Bob Briggs, Stephen King and the makers of great flicks like "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Blood Feast."
While the rest of you pinkos were roller-skating your merry ways through the weekend, movies were playing in the demonic D that would burn your eyes out, straighten your curly locks and permanently relieve you of the need to sleep regular hours.
We're talking fear and lust: The Third Annual World Drive-In Movie Festival, 30-plus slish-slashes of celluloid brought together Friday night through today at a shopping center theater deep in the quiche-eater district of Dallas.
So maybe this was actually only the second festival (they forgot to have one last year) and maybe Joe Bob can be scratched as a fictional character created only to hurt people's feelings, but hey Jose, when you see sweet Hundra knock off a dozen goons, it stops hurting or mattering.
Joe Bob knows that. Since January 1982, his reviews and social commentary have spread from the Dallas Times Herald to 35 daily newspapers each week and because he tells it like it is, his fans say, he's real popular in Cleveland and real unliked around San Francisco.
On top of offering cinematic body, breast and blood counts, Joe Bob often mentions his lady friend, Ugly on a Stick, who joins all women in being called a "bimbo." He measures macho-ness on his wimp meter; Joe Bob joins Dirty Harry on one end of the scale and places Wayne Newton at the other end.
He lives in a trailer home in Seagoville, Tex., outside Dallas, and scrawls his prose on a Big Chief tablet (only wimps type). John Bloom, a Times Herald columnist who recruited Joe Bob as a critic, says you might catch Joe Bob at his favorite diner in Rockwall, where most nights he downs a seven-course supper of a chili dog and a six-pack of Budweiser.
Only his spirit passed among the couple of thousand paying festival customers, truth be told, but that was augmented by Joe Bob commemorative caps, posters, bumper stickers and a score of genuine movie stars, including Marilyn Burns and Ed Neal, screamer and maniacal hitchhiker, respectively, from the low-budget classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
And the stars were blessed with the supernatural appearance of hulking Stephen King, author of 11 fright novels like "The Shining" and "Carrie," who announced to standing ovations in between cinematic adaptations of his books that he came to the festival mainly because Joe Bob pulled up in front of his Maine mansion with his 1973 Olds Toronado crammed full of low-calorie beer.
Clutching a Lite beer, King accepted the 1984 Joe Bob Briggs Lifetime Achievement Award after earlier administering the drive-in oath to the loyal throngs: "We are drive-in mutants. We are not like other people. We are sick. We are disgusting. We believe in blood, in breasts and in beasts. We believe in Kung Fu City. If life had a Vomit Meter, we'd be off the scale. As long as one single drive-in remains on the planet Earth, we will party like jungle animals. We will boogie till we puke. Heads will roll. The drive-in will never die."
From World Premiere Night through Too Grisly for Cable Day, blood and breasts appeared to prevail over beasts. "Future-Kill," starring Neal and Burns in a new-wave neck-cruncher between fraternity brothers and "anti-nuke mutants," climaxed with a green, smoky one-room meltdown. Originally titled "Splatter" for its gratuitous violence, this movie prompted 15-year-old Ralph Schnell to suggest, "It might be better without any dialogue."
Wrapped around eight adaptations of King's works were the world premieres of four movies: "Future-Kill," "Bloodsuckers From Outer Space," "Funny Farm" starring Miles Chapin and Peter Aykroyd, and "Not for Publication," a semi-political musical from Paul Bartel, director and star of "Eating Raoul."
Yet the Briggs' brigadoons who showed up for popcorn and gore before noon Saturday and stayed until past midnight Saturday and Sunday seemed more excited about "Humanoids From the Deep," "Zombie" and "Basket Case," winner of 10 drive-in Academy Awards in 1982 for its sensitive depiction of the siamese twin with jaws and claws.
"There is as little thought put into these movies as possible," said Mark Veale, owner of a graphics firm. "I can't help but admire somebody who would release something so awful."
"The people who cast these kinds of films look for actresses willing to risk their lives. I am one," said Laurene Landon, who as a sword-wielding amazon attempts to revive her civilization by journeying to the Land of the Bull in "Hundra." She recalled having bit through her tongue once, having broken bones and bent limbs, all in doing her own stunts.
"This could occur anywhere where mass murderers go berserk, but I wouldn't expect it to catch on in Cambridge," said David Lawrence, a Yale University graduate who emceed the festival.
Bloom, who expected the festival would raise $10,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Texas, said, "These people have an active fantasy life many times because they feel left out of everything else. There's a feeling that this movie is as weird as I am. Everybody is messed up in one way or another."
"Sleazy or not, we're here," said Charles Bowling, a former Yippie. Just before the 3 a.m. Sunday screening of "Blood Feast," a 1963 bloody brouhaha, Bowling called Joe Bob "an institution guarded by those who love him. He's Texas' answer to Hunter S. Thompson."
"Blood Feast," labeled the first gore film by "The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film," kept more than 100 Joe Bob Briggs' "Iron Men" in the theater as dawn approached. The movie features a bug-eyed Egyptian caterer who goes wacko over knives and female body parts until police nab him just before he performs his art on Connie Mason, Playboy's Playmate of June 1963.
In the movie's first moments, after seven women have said "so long" in two weeks, a police officer speculates aloud: "This looks like one of those long, hard ones." It was that kind of weekend, if you know what I mean and I think you do.