It’s great that streaming services bring us tons of cult and classic horror films. But how do we know what to see and how can we see it in the context of the genre’s history and evolution?
This is where Joe Bob Briggs comes in. Briggs is veteran film critic John Irving Bloom’s southern alter ego – and a man who thinks the only good movies are the kind of B-movies you might have seen in a drive-in theater (the rest is “Indoor Bullstuff”) .
On The last drive-in Briggs not only introduces the films; he calls for breaks at suitable points so that he and a guest – such as the filmmaker and Shudder’s in-house horror historian Eli Roth – can discuss the meaning of what has just been seen. The setup works particularly well on Briggs’ demonstration of the 1980 shocker Mother’s Day, a harrowing but groundbreaking Troma film directed by Charles Kaufman, brother of Troma founder Lloyd.
Briggs and Roth explain how, with TV comedy pioneer Beatrice Pons, who plays a murderous hillbilly matriarch, Mother’s Day was breaking unsettling territory with his sense of humor and almost as much focus on the murderers.
You can’t kill David Arquette
In 2000, actor David Arquette took a bizarre foray into professional wrestling. It earned him the undying hatred of wrestling fans, and he blames it for dragging on his Hollywood career. This disturbing, harrowing, and unexpectedly solemn documentary shows how Arquette – a middle-aged heart attack survivor with complex medical and psychological problems – came back into the ring in a brutal quest for redemption that almost killed him in a particularly gruesome way Fashion. Difficult to see, but absolutely convincing.
The art of architecture
The new season of this suitably stylish series brings us an episode about Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station – which was so big in the world of architecture that it won the Lubetkin Prize for the best new build outside the EU. Here, the experienced British architect Nicholas Grimshaw and his long-time right-hand man Andrew Whalley explain the vision and intent behind the station and its striking corrugated roof. It continues with a retrospective of even more spectacular projects, such as the breathtakingly serpentine Waterloo Station in London and the Eden Project in Cornwall.
The New Forest in south-west England is an extraordinary place where giant red deer and other wildlife have shared the forests and meadows with local farmers for centuries, who graze their cattle, pigs and ponies on approximately 36,000 acres of communal land. This beautiful four-part BBC documentary spends a full year in the forest and is full of fascinating insights – the pigs are vital because they devour the acorns that would otherwise poison the cattle and ponies. Young “citizens” show that old ways have not died out.
Queen of the South
Binge, Netflix, Foxtel
This popular drama about the rise of a woman to the head of a Mexican drug cartel doesn’t skimp on violence, but it retains some of its telenovella legacy in its glossy, melodramatic glow. The future queen is Teresa Mendoza (City of God‘s Alice Braga), a poor girl from Sinaloa who fell in love with the excitement and easy money of the international drug trade. Expect revealing details about the cartels’ extraordinary resources – some even had their own private cellular networks. Binge and Foxtel have the new season.