JOE BOB'S SLEAZIEST: Press Article - A Treasury of Films in Bad Taste

May 17, 1990 | By Andy Wickstrom, Special to The Inquirer | Original Source

"Two thumbs up." "A perfect 10." "Five stars." One glance at these superlatives and you know you're going to see a movie that's someone's idea of good entertainment.

But there's one critic who has no patience with conventional ideas of good entertainment: Joe Bob Briggs, the syndicated humorist who has achieved notoriety as the connoisseur of drive-in movies. Now he's lending his name to a video-collection series known forthrightly as "The Sleaziest Movies in the History of the World."

Briggs seems the perfect man for the job. His critical prose reflects the good-old-boy twang of his native Texas as he savors the latest kung-fu epic or slasher saga, taking special care to point out the number of bared female breasts. He has dwelled so lovingly on this subject that his columns (now available in book form, in two volumes yet) have aroused feminist protests.

On the other hand, his supporters are so numerous that he has his own show on The Movie Channel - Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater - and he's even won an award - from the Hell's Angels. Occasionally, he has appeared with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.

As Briggs puts it in the news release heralding "Sleaziest Movies," the tapes represent "an ambitious attempt to tell the history of bad taste in one multi-volume, easy-to-collect home video series. I always tell parents, 'Don't let your children go to college without the complete set!' "

The bad taste begins June 7 with the release of the first four titles in a projected series of 20 films, most from the '60s and '70s. Briggs categorizes them into three genres: blood, breasts and beasts. The initial titles are Blood Feast, Nude on the Moon, Suburban Roulette and Let Me Die a Woman. Fans will no doubt regard the $19.95 price as a bargain.

Blood Feast (1963) and Suburban Roulette (1967) were made by Herschell Gordon Lewis, whose cultish fans identify him as the first to use the explicitly gory effects popularized by today's slasher films. Briggs describes Blood Feast as "a romantic comedy." Other Lewis films planned for the series include 2,000 Maniacs and The Gore-Gore Girls.

Nude on the Moon (1961) and Let Me Die a Woman (1978) were directed by Doris Wishman, perhaps the only female director to work in the "nudist camp" genre, which thwarted censors by presenting female nudity in the guise of nature films. Briggs, in a preview tape sent to video dealers, promises that among his future releases will be Wishman's Deadly Weapons, featuring the aptly named Chesty Morgan, a woman who has "two space aliens on her chest."

Some of these films (none of them MPAA rated) have been available on video before, but it's the first time they've had the benefit of such marketing panache. The company behind "Sleaziest Movies" is Strand VCI, the recently launched U.S. arm of a large British video company.
VCI's marketing manager, Suzanne McFarlin, says, "We're selling Joe Bob. He's featured on the cover of each cassette, and he's doing the introductions and closing segments. The emphasis is always on humor."
MORE: Joe Bob Brigg's Sleaziest Movies in the History of the World