Drive Thru | Shlock Footage

“It was really quite good actually enjoyable to read.” – Jessica’s dad

TehBen.com welcomes Jessica Nicole to the writing family! Check out her Twitter for more movies, games, and all things generally awesome!

Hi everyone! You don’t know me yet, but I hope you will soon enough. I’m someone who has a particular taste for a movie genre I don’t feel is talked about properly enough: cheesy movies.

I’m not talking about those times when you go to a theater to see a promising Hollywood movie and leave disappointed. What I mean is – you’re scrolling through a streaming site and can’t find anything of interest….until you see a movie about a homicidal clown that haunts a fast food restaurant, or maybe a movie about a man with radioactive spaghetti powers that fights crime for a price, or the heartwarming tale about a woman who adopts a dog that turns into a man and sometimes and they fall in love. 

Sometimes it’s like a car crash you can’t bear to look away from. Other times, you just have to wonder how someone can make something so ridiculous and also genius. That’s the kind of fever dream energy I want.

If your curiosity has gotten the better of you, then get cozy because I want to tell you about Drive Thru (2007): a film written and directed by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn. These two have directed many other projects together, which gave me an idea of this being a unique adventure.

Note: Please don’t count how many times I say “horny” during this. If you, do then I cannot be held liable for your reaction and decisions following that information.

I jumped into this movie not knowing anything else about it. I had no idea who was in it – or any context besides the synopsis which reads,

“Horror gets Super Sized when Horny the Clown, demonic mascot of ‘Hella-burger,’ starts slashing Orange County teenagers with his meat cleaver”

Immediately, it starts with a vehicle full of white people smoking blunts, listening to rap, as the driver says, “Motha’ fuckin Hella Burger, yo! Make sure we get a double chili cheese all up in here *redacted*”

And honestly, I was sold already with this opening line. We can’t have a good bad horror movie without a woman in the back seat getting horny from the slightest possibility of getting double chili cheese. 

Unfortunately, our first few characters will not be joining us for the rest of the movie because after swaggering into the Hella-Burger with a handgun and the best improv rapping of your entire life, Horny the Clown gets their order filled. But not before asking if they wanted fries with that, as he should. We love puns and references here in this house and there’s plenty to come.

We then meet our main character, Mackenzie Carpenter, who I thought looked familiar. After looking up the cast list, I realized Mackenzie is played by Leighton Meester, whom I’m most familiar with from her role as an antagonist, Rebecca, in a thriller titled The Roommate (2011). It’s interesting to see such an interesting horror thriller from her past, but she also had roles in Gossip Girl (as Blair Waldorf), Semper Fi (2019), and plenty of more recent roles. Leighton seems to have had an active career since appearing in this movie, with most of them belonging to the horror/thriller genre.

The character of Mackenzie opens up our scene with a very horny pool party where her band is playing. This is where we meet Mackenzie’s boyfriend, Fisher, played by Nicholas A’Gasto. You may have seen him in projects including Fired Up (2009), Gotham, Grace and Frankie, and Grey’s Anatomy.

I’m not going to dive deep into every single actor here, but when I tell you this cast is STACKED, I truly mean it. Some other well known and/or recognizable talents utilized as minor characters include Melora Hardin and Sean Whalen. You’ll also recognize Lola Guadini partnered with Larry Joe Campbell as a set of detectives. One actor I didn’t catch on to until after the fact was Morgan Spurlock playing the Hella Burger manager. Ironically (and almost seemingly typecast), Spurlock is responsible for the iconic and memorable documentary, Super Size Me (2004).

(There’s also one star I don’t want to mention just yet, but when I do…listen, just don’t be eating or drinking anything while you read)

Within two minutes of our pool party introduction, Mackenzie sees some popular folks in a hot tub and one of the best lines in the entire movie comes out of her mouth – “I don’t remember inviting any banana republicans to my party” as she pours beer on their heads.

The DRAMA! I thrive! 

The cops soon show up and according to the random actor wearing a shirt that dons “advisory – pimps and hoes- explicit content” about the state of the party, that “shit as dead as Nixon.” Then we just never see him again. Or at least not that I noticed. Give me a spin-off movie starring this guy only, thanks.

So here it is – when I thought it couldn’t get better…PENN BADGLEY. You heard it here folks, if you’re a fan of You (which just released its third season), Joe is in this wonderful movie as Van. If you’ve been a fan much longer, you may even recognize him as the better brother, Scott, in John Tucker Must Die. You may even remember him as Leighton Meester’s co-star in Gossip Girl.

As Van, Penn wears his long curly hair, but he also sports a snake bite lip ring. I absolutely screamed when I first saw him. This isn’t a one-off scene either – he’s a pretty common character throughout the movie!

Penn, if you see this please don’t be mad at me. I’m truly amazed. But when y’all started messing with a Ouija board spooking everyone with the “I think I can hear the spirits” act only to rip a nice fart, I could not contain myself. Your himbo character is an important part of human history and I love him. Thank you.

Also, this came out right after John Tucker Must Die, which was a really big movie at the time of its release. I must’ve seen it myself about 50 times the first year it came out. The way I’m understanding this is Penn hit movie theaters already, yet still was like, “yeah I’ll take this stoner himbo character job in a movie most people wouldn’t probably see.” I want to know so badly how he got this role, but I haven’t found anything. Penn, again if you see this… please, I need answers.

At this time, I felt like Drive Thru didn’t have a plan or anything resembling pacing for a little while. At least with the next death, witnessed by Mackenzie, it seemed that there was a more organized path coming along. It’s clear there’s a specific connection between Horny the Clown and Mackenzie’s character – but you won’t find out why until the near end of story.

In between the horny jokes and naked lesbian fast food commercials, Horny gives Mackenzie clues as to who the next victim is going to be. Some are a bit more obvious than others, but my favorite was during the “first time” scene. A sweet, passionate moment is shared between Mackenzie and Fisher, but we’re turned away to see an Etch a Sketch being written on to show “ I ❤️ bush.” At first I thought it was typical perverted clown behavior, but I was completely fooled into it being another victim’s clue.

The truth is revealed about who Horny the Clown is, how, and why he chooses his victims. It copies a very classic horror movie that I was hoping and theorizing about for a while before it was revealed.

TLDR: I was impressed with the overall video quality and also joyously blessed by the sub par CGI. At first, I was underwhelmed with the pacing and unsure where it was going. After the first 30 minutes, I finally became engrossed when it left me guessing, laughing, and interested in seeing where we would end up. I even found myself coming up with theories about why certain things were happening in between all the horny references and jokes that provided cheap and easy laughs. Drive Thru is a must for a group movie night with your friends.

Follow Jess on Twitter!

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