John Brennan, Producer & Music Director Behind Shudder’s “The Last Drive-In,” Talks Upcoming Season Premiere & More

“The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs” will debut season four tonight on the streaming service, Shudder.

“Hey everyone, did you hear the news, Joe Bob is back in town! The words, penned by filmmaker, producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Brennan, denote a whimsical introduction to “The Last Drive in with Joe Bob Briggs,” which brought a cavalcade of fun, schlocky horror movies, of commentary and guest specials at the AMC-owned streaming service Shudder since its 2018 debut. The show airs everything from unknown B-movies to horror classics, with commentary from the series’ titular host, Joe Bob. Briggs, and is set to begin its fourth season this weekend.

“Throughout high school I made movies on a Hi8 camera with my friends,” Brennan said. The free press of the new school on Zoom. “They all continued to do normal jobs like banking or teaching. I went to film school on Long Island.

Brennan is an artist who has taken on a myriad of roles since stepping into the realm of horror. He began his foray into the film industry making films on his own before moving to Los Angeles in search of writing work.

“If there are any film students or budding filmmakers taking my advice, don’t be narrow-minded, this isn’t the place to do it,” Brennan explained. “I made a huge mistake, for about 8 to 10 years of my career, wanting to do only one thing. And even though I wrote about 12 screenplays, I never sold anything. I I feel like I should have done an internship and met people instead of working one day and sitting in my room writing.

After feeling like she had exhausted her time in Los Angeles, Brennan returned to New York, becoming involved with public access television and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater before taking an open call for editors. volunteers at Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma Entertainment, an independent film studio. based in Long Island City that has specialized in the production and distribution of a host of cartoonish, violent, and often grotesque horror films for nearly five decades.

Since taking the gig, Brennan has produced and directed a number of films and segments for the studio, most recently producing “#Shakespeare’s Shitstorm,” a contemporary reimagining of “The Tempest,” which currently hosts screenings in theaters across the country. .

Brennan’s musical training is less formal than her film training.

“I’ve always made music as a sort of hobby, recording at home since the late 90s,” Brennan said.

The filmmaker’s musical background came in handy during the production of the 2017 film, “Return to…Return to Nuke ‘Em High AKA Part 2,” when budget constraints prevented the studio from securing the rights to “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus, for a scene parodying an oft-imitated sequence from “The Silence of the Lambs”, in which Buffalo Bill performs a penis tuck.

“They couldn’t afford the Q Lazzarus track. I did the counterfeit, everyone loved it and now it’s in the movie,” Brennan told the Free press. “The producer, Matt Manjourides, always remembered that I made music, and when it came time to do the theme for ‘The Last Drive-In’, he asked me to do a demo, she was liked by everyone and approved within 24 hours. It was crazy.”

And just like that, Brennan was thrust into the role of musical director for “The Last Drive-In,” a role he’s played since the series debuted in 2018, writing the intro theme song and soundtrack. original which were released in limited quantities on vinyl and online via Ship to Shore PhoneCo in August of last year. With the exception of a few special guests, Brennan performed much of the instrumental and vocal tracks himself.

The soundtrack delves into a number of contrasting stylistic territories, including punk rock, doo-wop and country.

“I have six or seven influences that always come to mind when I make music,” Brennan said. “Ween, Frank Zappa, Wu-Tang Clan, Iron Maiden, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Liz Phair, Phish – I saw about 88 shows – and the Beatles of course.”

The show’s season premiere, which airs tonight at 9 p.m. on Shudder, will mark the 100th film in the series.

“When we started it, we shot it in a shoebox in New Jersey for very little money, we all believed in Joe Bob Briggs,” Brennan said.

Briggs has brought horror to the forefront of television since 1986, hosting the programs “Drive In Theater” and “MonsterVision.” The host, who boasts a comedic redneck schtick, presents drive-thru films with informative snippets of commentary and information between film segments, often employing special guests who include actors, directors, producers and fans of the films it presents. “MonsterVision” aired its final episode in September 2000. 18 years later, Briggs hosted a 13-hour movie marathon that generated so much traffic it crashed Shudder’s servers.

“We were all very surprised, we thought this was going to be his goodbye,” Brennan said. “It was meant as his farewell he never got on ‘MonsterVision.’ Fortunately, we are here, for our fourth season.

The show is fueled by a passionate love for the drive-in and the team’s fearless leader.

“Everyone backstage is a Joe Bob fan,” Brennan said. “That’s why the show is as good as it is. We all think Joe Bob is a really funny genius and a wonder.

The show, as Brennan explains, is shot live with minimal rewinds or retakes.

“The hard part is setting it up,” Brennan said. “The easy part is watching Joe Bob and [co-host] Darcy works her magic. They have great chemistry, and I think it shows. Every time we show an episode, we follow trends on Twitter, so something is going right! »

The series showed a myriad of different movies, from contemporary horror masterpieces like “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” to cult classics like “Re-Animator,” to downright disgusting films like “Pieces.” and controversial excerpts like “Cannibal Holocaust”.

“I think the conservation has been pretty relevant, we’ve gone from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows,” laughed Brennan. “My ultimate wishlist would be a double feature of ‘Phantom of the Paradise’ with Paul Williams as guest star, and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. So it would be a musical evening!

As a multidisciplinary artist, John Brennan has a lot to do and a lot of production to come in the near future. He wrote 2 screenplays, including “Grossferatu”, which Brennan described as “the most disgusting Dracula movie ever made”.

Brennan is also planning a new album called “The Last Drive Thru”, which will feature a cavalcade of songs about fast food.

Brennan’s story is one that paints a portrait of an artist whose open-mindedness has taken him to incredible places with equally incredible opportunities.

“Sometimes it’s good to give yourself away for free when you’re just starting out,” Brennan said. “Give yourself free because it gets you the attention of higher people who will use you. utilize you at first, but then they’ll see you’re a hard worker, bring you into the fold, and start paying you. That’s what happened to me with Troma. If you are exploited, do not do it, but if you get something like contacts, networking and experience out of it, then sometimes it’s definitely worth giving away for free. The only reason I got on Joe Bob Briggs’ show was because I offered myself for free to edit “Make Your Own Damn Movie” lessons for Lloyd Kaufman. Without it, I never would have met Justin Martell and Matt Manjourides, and I wouldn’t have this great thing I’m doing.