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JOE BOB BRIGGS: The Profoundly Disturbing interview
by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

Joe Bob Briggs—TV-show host, syndicated columnist, trash-culture avatar, sometimes actor (CASINO, FACE/OFF), and the only movie critic on the planet who liked THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION. The world would be a duller, more respectable place without Joe Bob Briggs, A.K.A. John Bloom. For us grindhouse freaks, he has been the perfect antidote to Spielbergian schmaltz for two decades running. Long before I’d even heard of Pauline Kael, I was rifling through Joe Bob’s hilariously offbeat film reviews, which were helpfully collected in JOE BOB GOES TO THE DRIVE-IN and its sequel, JOE BOB GOES BACK TO THE DRIVE-IN—both, sadly, long out of print.

Joe Bob is now back in bookshops with an informative and hugely entertaining volume, Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies That Changed History! (Universe Books). It covers fifteen films that basically shook things up, beginning with The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and concluding with Crash (1996). Anyone with a yen for exploitation films—you know who you are—should find something to enjoy in these pages; for me, the chapter on the once-notorious “childbirth” movie Mom and Dad is by itself worth the price of admission.

I recently had a chance to speak with Mr. Bloom himself:

Q: It's been ten years since your last book (IRON JOE BOB). Why the delay?

Joe Bob: Too much TV! I was writing and performing 52 shows a year for most of that time.

Q: Was it hard settling on the list of "profoundly disturbing" movies? Was there anything you didn't have room for?

Joe Bob: Oh, sure, there were a hundred other movies I could have included. Partly I narrowed it down by eliminating movies that had been written about too much, like the original "Frankenstein." I just didn't have anything new to say about that. And partly it was choosing movies I had a particular interest in, or that I thought were misunderstood.

Q: In the chapter on BLOOD FEAST, you say that writing about bad movies can be more fun than watching them. Be honest, JB: Do you really like all these b-movies or are they just sociological phenomena you've elected to investigate?

Joe Bob: I genuinely like the experience of watching them. Hell for me would be watching "Maid in Manhattan."

Q: We've had a lot of drive-in-type horror films this year, with HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, 28 DAYS LATER, and the upcoming CABIN FEVER. Is this a good trend?

Joe Bob: We've had a lot of derivative copycat horror films this year. No, it's not a good trend.

Q: We have a lot of horror fans on eFilmCritic. Can you recommend an obscure flick that they probably haven't already seen?

Joe Bob: Try to find a copy of "Nightmare," the 1981 version, which may be the most disgusting movie ever made. About a serial ax killer, told sympathetically from the killer's point of view.

Q: What's the worst movie you ever saw?

Joe Bob: "A Chorus Line." Although I named it best horror film of 1985.

Q: You've been recording DVD commentary tracks for Elite Entertainment. How did that come about?

Joe Bob: They were about to release "I Spit On Your Grave," and I was the only film critic who enthusiastically supported it over the years. So they thought it would be interesting to have me do a commentary track, since I could talk about things that Meir Zarchi couldn't. So we did that one, and they liked it, and we made a deal to release a lot more of them. The second one is "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter."

Q: Will you be back on TV in any capacity in the near future?

Joe Bob: I'm talking to a cable network about a new show right now.

Q: Not to get to existential about it, but how much of Joe Bob Briggs is in John Bloom? Are they one and the same? Or is more of a Jekyll and Hyde thing?

Joe Bob: Go ahead and get existential about it, because I'm going to get mystical about it. Joe Bob has his own voice and attitudes but contains everything John Bloom knows. John Bloom has another, less interesting voice and attitude and contains . . . everything John Bloom knows. Therefore, Joe Bob is twice as smart.

Profoundly Disturbing is available in bookstores now.

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originally posted: 07/29/03 20:26:16
last updated: 12/31/03 07:47:28
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