The global pandemic we have faced over the last few years was incredibly difficult for myself and my family, as it was for many other folks who took it seriously. Let me set the stage for you based on my experience.
In March of 2020, I believe the 13th, I came home from my job in an office for the last time. I assumed it was going to be a couple of weeks of lockdown and then we would start going back to normal. During this time, my wife was pregnant with our child which was due at the end of April. All good. We should be through this by the time my kiddo arrives.
On April 6th, my wife went into labor and our daughter was born on April 7th, 2020. So, if you take timing into account, we became parents a couple of weeks into a global pandemic. Guidance was all over the place and we had no idea how this thing was spreading.
If you have been a parent before, you will know that the first few months tend to be a whirlwind and you end up with a sort of tunnel vision. For us, that was very much the case. We stayed home focusing on our little girl and staying safe. Groceries were delivered and washed. Packages were quarantined on our dining room table for 14 day. Folks wanting to visit us had to mask up and stay distant.
It was an odd time but we made it work. Now, considering that tunnel vision, we did not keep up with guideline updates like the rest of the world did. We kind of just kept going the same way we did at the beginning. Pair that with a new mom going through severe postpartum issues that exacerbated an already underlying case of OCD, anxiety, and PTSD, and you’ve got a recipe for intense fear.
So, the stage for the next three years of our life is set. Some things did ease up for us as time went on but it was a challenge. Lots of tears. Luckily, after the three of us became fully vaccinated we were able to put kiddo into school comfortably and have lived normally ever since. So there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Before this light was discovered, though, we had to find ways to bring some level or normalcy into our lives. One of those things ended up being The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Brigg on Shudder.
We Are Drive-In Mutants!
Pretty early on in the pandemic I decided to subscribe to Shudder, a streaming service dedicated to all things horror. I had heard about it for a few years and decided to finally pull the trigger on subscribing. Not sure what the catalyst was but I’m glad I did.
After exploring the app for a few weeks and watching some really great films (and some stinkers) I felt like I was kind of hitting the end of my interest in the platform. Then, during a search, I noticed a bunch of content by a guy named Joe Bob so I decided to check it out.
I stumbled upon one of his previous halloween specials where he showed Halloween (1978), Halloween 4, and Halloween 5. Halloween being one of my favorite horror film series, I was interested to see what this was. As soon as the intro started something felt very familiar. Almost like I had watched this before.
As Joe Bob continued chatting about the movie, he eventually mentioned his previous show on TNT, Monstervision. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks! I used to watch Monservision all the time as a kid since I wasn’t allowed to watch rated-R movies until I was much older. This was a way to watch horror in a way that wouldn’t get me in trouble.
It was like finding something incredibly nostalgic even though it was new. I watched the entirety of the special and then started diving into the rest of The Last Drive-In episodes that Shudder had to offer. I prioritized things that I knew of or wanted to see.
When watching the Thanksgiving special, Dinners of Death, I found Joe Bob’s intro monologue hilarious and showed it to my wife. She also found it super amusing and asked what it was. I explained the premise and saw her being really interested which in itself was exciting. She’s never been one to sit and watch movies and does what she calls “co-watching” where she’s present and absorbs elements of a movie/show but doesn’t dedicate time to watching.
I told her about an upcoming special centered around Elvira’s 40th anniversary and, to my surprise, she was super interested in checking out. We watched the first half of the special together before it got too late since we had to get up and take care of the baby. The entire time we watched we participated in several Twitter chats with the group that was also watching live. We had an absolute blast!
At that moment, we decided that we would try to catch the next Joe Bob live special, which at the time I believe was the Halloween Hoedown in October 2021. We put our projector outside on the back porch, cracked open a few drinks and some snacks and enjoyed the new friends we made while watching the two films. We became Drive-In Mutants that night and proudly joined the #MutantFam.
The Drive-In Will Never Die
Watching Joe Bob, Darcy the Mail Girl, John, Yuki, and the rest of the gang became an event for us. Every time there was a new season or special, the McDonalds were there to attend. This became something for us that took the weight of the world off our shoulders for a few hours.
Not only that, but it gave us a chance to interact with other people on Twitter outside of the SEO industry which was interesting. We were both so used to being so focused on digital marketing within the platform that it was nice to “let our hair down” and chat more on things that just generally interested us outside of work.
Since the Halloween Hoedown, we’ve caught pretty much every single episode of The Last Drive-In that has aired on Shudder, minus a couple. Even almost 4 years later, at the time of writing this, every time I hear The Last Drive-In theme song I can’t help but have a huge smile on my face. I told someone not too long ago that every time I hear it I know that everything is going to be okay. The world may be a little grim but it will all work out in the end.
The Future of the Drive-In
Because The Last Drive-In has become such an important part of my life since the beginning of the pandemic, I was worried about what would happen to the show as Shudder was going through layoffs and AMC seemed to not be prioritizing new content for the platform.
I’m happy to see that the show has been renewed for several new specials and a new season going into 2024. Even more so, I’m stoked they are slightly changing the format to being single movie episodes that will take the show deeper into the year. As someone who wakes up early to hang out with a hyper kiddo, I appreciate the change.
I’m very excited to see the show continue and spend some time with Joe Bob and the gang! Like I’ve always said, as long as The Last Drive-In exists I will remain a loyal Shudder subscriber!
If you are a horror fan and would like something fun to check out, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to check out some movies you might have passed up, especially some stinkers that are fun in the context of the show. And if you still happen to be a part of the abyss known as Twitter (or X, barf!) then definitely check out #thelastdrivein and #mutantfam for live tweets from great folks.