Howdy there, Scream Freaks! If ya haven’t been keepin’ up with our social media lately, then ya probably had no clue we hit the highways and dieways this past weekend to see one of the biggest names in horror hostin’ next to Elvira and the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang, Joe Bob Briggs. The legendary drive-in critic made a rare trip to the Queen city of North Carolina as part of his How the Rednecks Saved Hollywood tour, and we were all too excited to see the master at work.

We didn’t know what to expect upon our arrival, but the settin’ was surprisingly casual compared to other celebrity centered shindigs we’ve attended. Set up in an event space on the fringes of Charlotte, NC, there were no masses of people throwin’ elbows to bottle neck into a gymnasium or squads of tenacious bouncers barkin’ how long you could stand anywhere. Quite the opposite. Parkin’ was a breeze, there weren’t any lines to get into the buildin’, and we happily strolled into a space that felt like a barn crossed with a basement with its doors wide open to the warm Spring evenin’ outside.

Inside, ratty posters of yesteryear’s redneck flicks were sparsely hung on the painted concrete walls above decorative spotlights, one of which beamed on a marquee proudly remindin’ us the drive-in would never die. The stage was ready as it’d ever be with a podium adorned with a movie reel. Clips of hootin’ truckers played ‘cross a projection screen with songs like “Convoy” and a redneck rendition of “Thunderstruck” playin’ over the sound system while an enthusiastic audience member failed to get a chorus goin’. A modest head count of maybe 200 fans chatted happily among themselves in anticipation despite sittin’ in the world’s most uncomfortable foldin’ chairs that have to have been donated by a local chiropractor needin’ work. Some of these fans had other reasons to jump out of their seats, however, ’cause immediately to our right, Joe Bob was already greetin’ his fans and takin’ pictures.

First steps in the door, and our minds are already blown! We’ve become so used to the talent bein’ on lockdown ’til an event was over and only accessible under the most controlled circumstances at a designated time and place (usually behind a velvet rope in beach tent), but here’s Joe Bob livin’ it up with folks without a single wrangler in sight! It was all so laid back with everyone bein’ on their best behavior and simply approachin’ him for a handshake or picture. An even bigger bonus was his latest mail girl Darcy (Diana Prince) bein’ there, who we didn’t even know was part of this tour. Seems she has roots in this neck of the woods and even has connections to the Carolina Panthers which warranted a visit from their mascot, Sir Purr, who came dressed as the werepanther from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. Needless to say, the atmosphere got much livelier when he popped in on the scene and showered Joe Bob with some NFL themed gifts.

‘nother shockin’ bonus was Joe Bob’s surprise guest from Alaska, MonsterVision’s most popular mail girl, Rusty! Jumpin’ jack-o-lanterns! That was quite the photo opportunity for fans, ’cause Joe Bob said this was the first time two of his mail girls had ever been in the same place at the same time. It was even funnier when our favorite ghost girlfriend Mandy told us later Rusty was darin’ her to peek in the little boos room for fun.

Anyway, it came time for the show to start, Darcy and Sir Purr said “Here’s Joe Bob!” and we kicked our boots up to an impressive 2.5 hour speech on how rednecks saved Hollywood’s ass with uncensored Joe Bob commentary supported by tons of pictures, trailers, and clips. Now, we feel like it’s a losin’ battle when we want to share a single thought with folks sometimes, so it’s damn impressive to watch anyone hold a crowd’s attention for nearly three hours and still have ‘nough gas in the tank for ‘nother meet and greet afterward. Wow!

But before we tell ya ’bout meetin’ the man himself, we’ll give you Scream Freaks some of the highlights from his speech without costin’ Joe Bob any future ticket sales. In a nutshell, he starts off with a lot of historical facts regardin’ where rednecks come from, who gave them their label, and how their culture came to be mirrored in Hollywood. From there, he took us through the many phases of redneck cinema from its comedic sing-song glory days to its two-fisted, car crashin’ heyday. He shared its darker side from underage marriage themes to rapin’ killbillies, and gave insightful commentary on why they make for the perfect politically correct villain of all time. By the end, the most important things we took away it all was Li’l Abner is the first comic character to ever made into a movie, Slingblade trumps Forrest Gump, Burt Reynolds was the redneck king, and we all need to show more pride in bein’ Ernest P. Worrell fans.

After Joe Bob wrapped everythin’ up with what he considers to be the greatest redneck movie of all time, we were quick to haul ass over to his table by the door where he immediatley plopped down for ‘nother round of meet and greets. The first person we met with high-fives was Darcy the mail girl who is incredibly nice and sociable. We had been tweetin’ back and forth with her, so she knew we were comin’ out and recognized us by our Screaming Soup! logo we were proudly wearin’. ‘course we had to back up our own excitement and reintroduce ourselves as people versus the animated characters she’s become familiar with which felt strange and funny to do. We gave Darcy some Screaming Soup! magnets and tradin’ cards as a gift, and just as that conversation was warmin’ up, we suddenly found ourselves up next to speak with one of our show’s biggest inspirations.

Thinkin’ ’bout this moment for months, we really wanted to make a memorable impression on Joe Bob with a gift no one else had thought of. Earlier this year, he wrote an article for Taki’s Magazine called Gillette Can Kiss My Smooth Cheeks where he proclaimed an exaggerated love for the Gillette Fushion5 ProShield razor. Who’d think to give a horror aficionado a razor, right? Well, we shake his hand, say howdy, show off our show’s logo for validation with Darcy runnin’ over tellin’ him, “You’re gonna know who they are!” and hand him the razor with some Screaming Soup! magnets and stickers attached. “Can’t have too many of these,” he said. After havin’ him sign a Last Drive-In poster tellin’ us to keep up the great work (which is now hangin’ in the Howl-Inn Grub & Spirits), we asked for a photo, and when he stood up -tarnations! Joe Bob is HUGE! We ain’t kiddin’, Scream Freaks. We think of ourselves as average sized folks, but Joe Bob towered a whole head over us with these long Slender Man limbs. It felt so weird when he put ’em ’round our shoulders for the photo, we had to re-position for a manlier lookin’ handshake ’cause we suddenly felt like children havin’ a picture taken with a big friendly giant. Wild stuff!

With a final thank you, we happily made our exit and hit the road back to the Howl Inn Grub & Spirits, where we hope to blazen as bright of a trail in horror hostin’ as Joe Bob and keep the tradition alive and well for future generations to pick up after us.

Other than that, be sure to catch up on all past Screaming Soup! Seasons, check out this week’s Howl’n Hottie, read recent reviews for the newer horror films and comics we’re checkin’ out in our blogs, R-Rated Reviews and Sequential Slime, and help us get the word out about the web’s #1 animated horror host show! Please use our social buttons in the upper right corner of the site and follow our tweets, subscribe to our video channels, like our Facebook, watch and share all our vids, and keep that fan mail comin’. You can also warm up some Screaming Soup! leftovers with reruns currently playin’ on Beta Max TV and Sluggo’s The Vortexx!

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