MonsterVision Explained in a Nutshell
MonsterVision (1993-2000): A television variety show on TNT that would for the most part show monster movies.
The MonsterVision Breakdown
End: September 2000
Hosts: Bob Denver (??-??), Penn & Teller (93-94), Joe Bob Briggs (95-00)
Where: TNT Television Network
What is MonsterVision Known for: Joe Bob’s Drive-in Totals, Trivia, and special guests.
MonsterVision Out of the Nutshell
In 1993 a late night show on TNT hit the airwaves. It was a variety show that would show a couple of horror movies a night and occasionally a themed marathon. The films it would show were typically older in nature and would not need to rely on censorship. MonsterVision at that time was hosted by Penn & Teller, a comedy magician duo (of which I am a HUGE fan). P&T hosted the show here and there until 1995 when John Bloom took center stage and really put the show on the map. Many people know Mr. Bloom by stage name Joe Bob Briggs.
Before a time of internet sites like IMDB and having access to nearly any movie ever made, MonsterVision was a portal into horror movies that many haven’t heard of. Many of the films that the show would air were ‘Drive-In’ movies also referred to as ‘B movies’. Showing B movies and old horror movies worked out very well for the show, and it amassed a very large audience. As the show progressed and the station began airing more recent movies that were heavily censored, Joe Bob began to be the reason to watch the show. Many people believe that the network’s change in the movie line up is what caused the show to decline and go off the air completely in 2000.
Why was this show so great?
My personal love for MonsterVision and Joe Bob came from the time in which the show was on the air. In 1995 I was an 11 year old kid that was unable to even watch PG-13 movies. This show let me see cool movies that I would have had to have waited YEARS to see in many cases. That notion of being able to watch rated R movies for the simple reason they were on television was a glimpse into being an adult. That feeling of being able to see scary movies I couldn’t normally watch really made me excited every time a new show would air. Actually I discovered my favorite movie while watching this show. The 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead aired on MonsterVision and my love for zombies began. I don’t want to get on the subject of zombies because I never shut up.
If content of the show was half of the equation the other half would have to be the host, Joe Bob Briggs. This guy is the reason I write about movies, to me he is a legend. The show would come on and I would be so pumped to see whatever was on! Joe Bob would be gabbing about god knows what, and eventually would get on the subject of the movies he was hosting. If a movie’s plot was ridiculous, he would tell you about it. Lets just say that I may have gently lifted Joe Bob’s style of blurting out just how odd the plot may be in a movie. After a short dialog he would give us what Joe Bob would call ‘The Drive In Totals’ and these things would be hilarious!
The Drive In Totals would be little comical bullet points or movie mile stones you would pass as the movie would go on. In a way, The Totals was HIS was of telling you the complete synopsis of a movie without spoilers, and that to me was brilliant! He would start off with how many Dead Bodies there were if there were any. Next he would tell how many breasts where in the original film (that were censored out), and then something would roll like heads or cars. After that something would be ‘gratuitous’ like nudity or violence. My personal favorite were the ‘Fu’ totals like ‘Zombie Fu’ or Car Fu. Here is an example: These are the actual Drive In Totals for ‘The Serpent and the Rainbow‘.
“We’ve got two breasts. (Of course, we will NOT be seeing those on TNT), Six dead bodies, Four undead bodies, Voodoo funeral, Exploding coffin, Fire-eating, Glass-eating, Graveyard voodoo Catholic candle zombie face-eating, One dead wall-pig, Aardvarking, Orgasm Cam, Heads roll, Heads thrown, Gratuitous face needles, Jaguar Fu, Zombie Fu, Scorpion Fu, Tarantula Fu, Snake Fu, Scrotum Fu, Buried-alive Fu, Froth-face debutante Fu. Four Stars”
Aside from the great totals Joe Bob would always have a bunch of trivia about whatever movie they were showing. Great little tidbits that at the time, we wouldn’t have otherwise known. Occasionally he would have special guests from the films too. Roddy Piper came on the show when they showed his movie ‘They Live‘ and Clint Howard came on when they showed ‘Ice Cream Man‘. Although the show has long since ended in 2000, I still read up on whatever Mr. Bloom is doing. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and on his website. The TV show may be over, but the legend is far from it.
Find out more
If you have the taped MonsterVision episode with Night of the Living Dead send me an email through the ‘request box’ at the bottom of this page!