|Directed by||Greg V. Feta|
|Presented by||Joe Bob Briggs|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original release||March 1, 1993– September 2000|
MonsterVision was an American variety series that aired on TNT from early 1991 to September 2000. (There is no clear air date for the first MonsterVision but the oldest known video footage of the marathon is from 1991.) The series was hosted by Joe Bob Briggs from 1995 to 2000, and featured mainly classic horror and schlock films from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
Before the arrival of Joe Bob Briggs as a permanent host, a claymation style moon character narrated the bumper segments and served as the de facto host. Later, Penn and Teller guest-hosted MonsterVision marathons featuring mainly old B-Movies from the 1950s and 1960s. Late in its run, the show changed formats, discarded "Last Call," and became Joe Bob's Hollywood Saturday Night and Monstervision.
When MonsterVision first began in the early-1990s, it was just a marathon of horror, science fiction or fantasy films starting at 8 p.m. EST and ending well into the early morning. A Claymation style moon character would narrate the bumpers and serve as the de facto host. Usually the films were unrelated, but sometimes it would be a marathon of like movies, such as a Harryhausen night, a Godzilla night, or monsters in general night. MonsterVision would sometimes have special events, such as their Hammer "Dracula weekend" with a mini-interview with Christopher Lee in honor of the release of Bram Stoker's Dracula in November, 1992.
When Joe Bob Briggs came on board in 1995, MonsterVision would typically only show two films per night, with the more well-known movie usually getting top billing. The second movie was billed as Joe Bob's Last Call. After commercial breaks, Briggs would talk about the films and other subjects. Briggs would host the segments from inside and outside a trailer and was visited by his mail girl, Rusty (played by Renner St. John). Occasionally, the program featured guests, such as rapper, actor and blaxploitation film buff Ice-T (Surviving the Game), cult director John Waters (Hairspray) and Mel Stuart, director of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and the documentary Four Days in November (both shown on MonsterVision).
Before each film, Briggs would usually give the "drive-in totals," a list of what he considers the high points of the movie. For example, in his introduction to Phantasm II, Briggs said:
"Twelve dead bodies. Exploding house. One four-barreled sawed-off shotgun. Dwarf tossing. Ten breasts. Embalming needles plunged through various parts of various bodies. One motor-vehicle chase, with crash-and-burn. Ear-lopping. Forehead-drilling. Wrist-hacking. Bimbo-flinging. Grandma-bashing. Devil sex. Crematorium Fu. Flamethrower Fu ... Four stars. Check it out."
MonsterVision would occasionally stray from horror and science fiction in showing western, blaxploitation, kung-fu, dramas, comedies and other film genres. Trivia given by the host during commercial breaks might include controversy associated with a film, such as when John Carpenter was accused of racism by Asian activists for Big Trouble in Little China, a Kurt Russell film almost exclusively co-starring Asian actors and well-known martial artists imported from Hong Kong. Or how the 1979 movie The Warriors supposedly promoted gang violence. After both movies were shown, TNT would air a third film presented as 100% Weird, which Briggs did not host.
The show often featured Briggs giving a monologue about certain things in life, including his four ex-wives (usually "Wanda Bodeine"). He often made fun of the "scissoring" (editing) of the films, saying "Has Ted (Turner) been crackin' down on us again?" This led to a famous running gag during a Halloween marathon of Friday the 13th movies in which strange occurrences kept happening throughout the night, leading up to Joe Bob realizing that it was Ted Turner trying to kill him, the final scene of the event led to Joe Bob giving an impassioned apology to Turner, claiming he was an amazing person, before the video feed cut off eerily. A similar stunt was staged in Blair Witch-themed host segments for a marathon showing of Carrie, Child's Play, Phantasm, and Phantasm II one night, with the host mysteriously missing. For Super Bowl Sunday in 1997, he hosted a 16-hour marathon of monster movies from New Orleans starting with The Omen.
Late in its run, the program changed formats to show mainly Hollywood films. Briggs has said he believes TNT showing fewer horror and drive-in movies may have led to the program's fall. On July 8, 2000, Briggs unknowingly hosted MonsterVision for the last time (showing Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice). Days later, Briggs received a letter from TNT management, stating that "his services were no longer needed." Afterwards, the show returned to its original non-host format. MonsterVision was removed from TNT's lineup in early September 2000.
Before joining TNT, Briggs hosted a similar program on The Movie Channel called Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater. Briggs went on to host MonsterVision for four years, before TNT executives decided to change the station's format.
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