About

Joey with Augusta Finch upright grand piano

Jo Gabriel is the girl behind Monster Girl. She started  The Last Drive In, her vintage film and television blog, in 2006. Initially driven by her love of classic horror and sci-fi, The Last Drive In evolved to incorporate film noir, suspense, cult & classic genres diverging in Monster Girl’s well known “cheeky,” “always sincere” style.

The blog’s atmosphere is one of nostalgia for those golden days when Silver Screen met tube with dials overflowing with memorable actors, writers, directors, and visionaries. The Last Drive In is filled with commentary on dramatic, cerebral, cheesy, melodramatic, gothic, cultish, thrilling, distinct, and often innovative films both well known and forgotten.

Jo Gabriel is also an internationally renowned singer/songwriter who derives much of her inspired passion as a recording artist from the stuff that dreams are made of-those very films and early TV shows that she grew up surrounded by.

29 thoughts on “About

  1. Thanks for the recommedations man,I have a cpluoe you should check out too.You probably have these flicks,but if you don’t check out these movies.Black Christmas(Personal favorite),Midnight Meat Train,Wolf Creek,Night Of The Demons 1(!989)version,and The Kindred(Very hard to find movie but good).

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  2. Hello Jo,
    So sorry to read you have been unwell.
    I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery.
    We were in contact some time ago when you purchased a few dvds from me on the ioffer website.
    I love reading your blogs!.
    If there’s anything I can do for you do let me know.
    Bye for now, Steve.x

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    1. Hey Steve- Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope it’s okay to ask, but could you remind me which dvd’s I purchased from you? I’ve lost track. But I think it’s so fantastic of you to stop by here and be so complimentary to my blog. Please stay in touch… and I’ll be needing more films soon so we’ll talk about that -cheers Joey

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  3. Hello,

    this is a question, a movie in the 50’s, (don’t remember anything about the story), but, a woman, who, at the end was thrown or fell out a window, as she hit the ground she turned into a python snake. I think there was a sailor who might have found a basket on a ship with a snake in it – It really scared me! Any info?

    Thanks

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    1. Might very well be ‘The Cult of the Cobra’ (1955) starring Marshall Thomson, Faith Domergue, David Janssen, et al. Haven’t seen it in a very long while, but the plot revolved a group of G.I.s encountering a woman who mysteriously morphs into a deadly snake. C.M.

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    1. Hey Brian! It’s my favorite film. I can watch it several times a year, and I always see some new little detail. Thanks so much for your kind words. I’d love to join your group, thanks so much for asking me… Cheers Joey

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  4. Love this stuff too, especially the Noirs & Neo Noirs, I quoted your blog in two of my reviews in Noirsville

    Aroused (1966) http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/09/sed-1966-un-cute-meet-hooker-ginny-with.html

    and for

    The Pick-Up (1968) http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-pick-up-1968-vegas-road-trip.html

    and linked you on my link list

    In the same vein you should check out the Experimental Noir The Glass Cage (1964) it’s right up your alley my review is here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-glass-cage-1964.html

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  5. Love this stuff too, got a kick out of your piece on Carnival of Souls. I was a kid watching late night movies in NYC on one of the 13 broadcast channels WOR or WPIX back in the early 60s, when I first caught it, it was creepy, and stayed with me ever since. I even remember watching an altered/ butchered version once where the station inserted a cappella singers in the segments without sound, as if they had to compensate somehow, or folks tuning in would think there was something wrong with the station, it was bizarre.

    Anyway I reviewed two Neo Noirs on my new blog and quoted “”FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…
    THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO… “and also linked to The Last Drive In

    the films are Aroused (1966): http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/09/sed-1966-un-cute-meet-hooker-ginny-with.html

    and

    The Pick-Up (1968): http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-pick-up-1968-vegas-road-trip.html

    But I must also bring your attention to The Glass Cage (1964) an Experimental Noir which is right up your alley the review for it is here:

    The Glass Cage (1964): http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-glass-cage-1964.html

    Looking forward to reading more
    Ray

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  6. Hey Jo! Just visiting, but had some time to say hello. My goodness, your site is out of sight! Please Keep Watching the Skies! Love The Last Drive In. Hope You are well.

    Cordially yours,

    Tom Luca

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    1. As always thank you Tom for being such a loyal fan of The Last Drive In. I’ve been taking a bit of a respite from writing due to health issues. But I’m starting to feel the pangs to get back to it very soon! Hope you are doing swell yourself!!! Cheers Joey

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  7. Just “discovered” your site and your music. I’m knocked out by both. Amazing talents you have as writer and musician.And read your soulful honest to the bone blog about your illness and the reality of beauty in our lives.sincerely hope you will be feeling better and be able to write and make music. May your talents see you thru. Is the fells the old Jamaica fells area? And are you familiar with roumanian sprectralism music? Sorry my train of thought often takes the scenic route.THANK YOU for all and every!

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    1. Hello — Thank you so very much for your incredibly kind words and support! It is so wonderful to know that my work is still touching people. It’s been quite a while since I’ve put myself out there because of my health, but it is and always will be an inspiration for me to hear that it is reaching thoughtful people like yourself. I appreciate you reaching out to me, and hopefully sooner than later, I will be back recording & possibly performing once again, and definitely writing for The Last Drive In. Wishing you much peace! Joey PS I have heard of Ana-Maria Avram and watched several videos about Romanian Spectralism- My friend Matt Turner who is an Avant Garde Cellist graced my album Fools & Orphans would be very familiar with this movement in music. And I do love tangents so I’m on that train with ya!!!

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      1. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Joey,you will always be touching people with your words and music. Thanks to the internet.To paraphrase L.Cohen- you will be singing your song everyday in the tower of song. And as Irani poet Forough Farrokhzad wrote, “It is only our voice that shall remain of us.” Which leads me into a tangent. Recently I’ve been exploring Irani/Persian culture.A few people you may or may not know. Two singers- the elder Delkash and a contemporary – Rana Farhan. A group- THE LIAN ENSEMBLE (they fuse mystical Persian musical heritage with Jazz). The poet Ahmad Shamlou (excellent documentary-AHMAD SHAMLOU- MASTER POET OF LIBERTY). Two film directors- Abbas Kiarostami and Bahman Ghobadi. Enjoy!

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  8. Keenan’s comment showed up my RSS for the Last Drive In blog. I forgot about the movie blog of my favorite musician! I hope that your health won’t keep you from blogging forever, because you helped me appreciate older movies ina way no one else has (I am now a huge Betty fan!

    I have never rached out to tell you how much your music and your chronic health journey has meant to me. I, too, and a musician (a opera singer), and the chronic pain I’ve had since a car accident years ago has left me unable to sustain much singing at all. I go through waves of anger and hopelessness that I am in so much pain all the time. One of the things that keeps me going is Fools and Orphans, which I bought online years ago. Firefly and How the Devil Falls in Love are my most beloved tracks. When I’m at my lowest, I listen to these gems over and over again. I hope this is not weird, feel like I know you through music and our shared connection of chronic pain. You have no idea how much those songs and your hole album lift me up, even when I am filled with anger and rage at this pain I fight against.

    I hope you have beautiful things like your music, or films, or loved ones, that lift you up when you are feeling the rage and sadness that goes along with chronic pain. Maybe it will help you to know how much your music means to others. Much love in pain solidarity! Martha

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    1. Dear Martha, I want you know how much I appreciate your reaching out to me like this with such kindness. To know that my work helps lift you out of the dark moments you experience with your pain, helps lift me out of mine. It’s been so important for me to hear that my music has reached people and effects them in a positive way. While I live in exile from the days of being a singer/songwriter it’s comforting to know that my work lives on. That’s what I wanted. The reaching out.

      My journey has been a rough one. Since I wrote “When I Was Beautiful” 8 years ago, through a debilitating struggle with the medical industry to be validated, I’ve finally found doctors who have diagnosed the source of my illness. Fibromyalgia was just one symptom of a larger profile of Auto Immune diseases that afflict me. I have a rare blood disorder, Lupus, Psoriatic Arthritis and Cushings. To be an artist who depends on being fluid in movement, inspiration and emotion, these diseases have transformed me and forced me to take on life in a way I never planned. There’s so much I’d like to say about my experience but I should probably save it for thoughtful post about the way people living with chronic pain and illness effects us, in ways people don’t even realize. There are invisible symptoms that other people can’t see, but WE experience moment to moment. Our passion for our craft and our identities have been cut off (being optimistic I’ll say not indefinitely) because of this chronic pain, and I understand what you’re saying about feeling connected to me, because it does create a bond between us, like a sisterhood…

      I am blessed to have tremendous support from my long time partner, and I am surrounded by beauty from the natural world, the smallest details, my enthusiasm for film, meditation and the simplest pleasures. And… I live with and love my cats. They make life so much better… We can learn so much from these magnificent sacred little souls.

      I wish you much peace and I’m sending you much love and transcendence my friend- Joey

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      1. You are such a sweetheart to respond to me. I can not imagine the pain and sense of loss you are feeling. I’ve been through surgeries and physical therapy, but that is nothing like having an undiagnosed disease. No wonder you haven’t been able to write in your blog or write music! I am grateful the universe blessed you with love and support. You deserve that. Your music (and even your blog) has been such an incredible gift in my own healing. I only hope that your writing, when you are able to get back into it, will help you the same way. There is magic in your veins, and the world will only benefit from more of it. Sending you love, my sister in healing *MM

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  9. Jo–
    Spent some time looking at “The Last Drive In”. I have yet to see such a detailed, comprehensive listing with pics, videos and opinion of these films and TV programs. With possible exception of the Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock, and maybe The Outer Limits, many young people have never even been exposed to these talented actors, directors and writers. I watch these episodes all the time. It makes me feel like I can almost get back there in the B&W screen with them and ignore the nightmare that is the present.
    You have done an amazing job of describing all the details of these works. I’m not implying that today’s films/TV have some talent, but these works are in a whole different class. Also they did not have the technology we have today and had censorship to deal with. Ironically this is part of what made them so great! Can you just imagine what Rod Serling, Alfred Hitchcock, or Joseph Stefano would do with 2019 digital technology, and lack of censorship!

    Also listened to your song “Love Is Love” from CBGB’s performance ’97. What a beautiful, haunting song and performance. You have such great talent as a singer, song writer and at the piano. I always say how many great artists are out there and are never discovered while some of the worst trash gets published, or heard by the masses.
    Also listened to “Broken”. This is so moving it makes me cry.

    –Alan

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  10. Hello Monster Girl – WOW OMG what a FAB site you have created! and I just picked up (embarrassingly late but hey…) on your 1954/55 Sci-Fi page for ‘The Atomic Man’ AKA ‘Timeslip’. If you’d like to see & hear my Grandpa actor Carl Jaffé as the Professor explaining the 7.5 second time delay theory (‘coz we all really wanna know eh?) let me know and I will send you the YouTube link to post if you wish. Plus heaps of private original PR archive photos from other Sci-Fi stuff he did e.g. ‘Escapement’ (’58) AKA ‘The Electronic Monster’ (he’s even in the poster) ‘First Man Into Space’ (’59) and if you want b-Movie (and TV) spy/thrillers – all with big A-Z names of the day… we can do that too… oh yes indeedy; meantime carry on the cool work. best wishes Michael.

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  11. Hello Michael! Of course I know your grandfather’s work! The time delay theory is something I’ll never get lol but his work as a great character actor I love! And Escapement is a fantastic film which I’ll cover once I get to 1958 in the series. And First Man into Space is one of my favorite off beat sci fi’s of the 1950s decade. I think I’ll do a nice little feature about your grandfather, and if you’d like to send me permission to use specific electronic images and posters to use, that would be lovely. Even if you’ve got some wonderful anecdotes about him, maybe we could chat through email and I could add that to the piece. It’s so wonderful to hear from you and I think it’s the cat’s pajamas that you stumbled onto The Last Drive In… stay in touch and email me at ephemera.jo@gmail.com, Cheers Joey

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  12. Hi Joey – well aren’t I so lucky to get that brilliant response from you! I’d be delighted to share all with you and as you may see have already shared the Jaffé archive with you so you can let me know what you’d like to cherry pick etc. I’ve included my contact details in my note so you’d be welcome to call for a chat of an evening if you wish. Plenty of anecdotes to happily share can let you know stuff when you want. Thrilled that you’d like to do a feature on him and pleased to collaborate on any material you wish to include. FYI another – ahem – ‘cult’ site (USA) with ‘Monster’ tendencies(!) has in fact run a series of 5 tribute summaries over the past year or two I will send you the links so you can see what they did; but think you may wish to expand on those details and offer other angles insight to mould to your style.
    Be in touch whenever it suits. Warm regards from ‘The Professor’ London UK

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  13. Joey … FYI some of the emails I sent over yesterday have attachments and although small in size (under 5Mb) as am probably not yet in your address book your filters may have put them in the junk/spam folder. Anyway hope the info I’ve sent is what you need; looking forward to exchanging thoughts when you’re ready. Meantime am studying your awsome resumé… glad you like Cat Stephens; pure lyrics; pure thoughts – among other things – I do believe I still have his personalised autographed picture from c. 1969 obtained for me in London by my father whose work in the 60’s often found him meeting A&Rs (I recall the London happenings of ’67 were quite er – ‘groovy’ too… well to a 7-year old) and I have an anecdote from his old business partner who recounted them talking to a certain rather successful band of the day who were just about to start their own new record label and they needed to find a nice new graphic symbol for it; the solution turned out to be suitably iconic; given the name of the label – Apple. Enjoy your week and will watch out for your feedback. Warm wishes from London. The Professor.

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  14. Thank you for your excellent research and commentary on Boris Karloff’s Thriller. Very few facts are available on this fascinating and underappreciated series. Your blog is an invaluable resource. Wonderful work!

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  15. Thank you very much for your kind words. Thriller is a rare gem and quite ahead of its time. I’m so glad you find it informative. Everything from the acting, directing, writing even the filming was beautifully done. Whether you enjoyed a good film noir, mystery thriller or an outright supernatural tale the show had it all. Plus, Boris Karloff brought such class and has inimitable style and grace to it. I appreciate your stopping by The Last Drive In. Cheers, Joey

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind reply, Joey! I appreciate your recognition of Thriller’s quality, and I enjoy your insights and commentary on other great genre films as well. I’m delighted by this excellent site!

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