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The legend of Big Joe Grizzly

Do you ever come across a person who steals your breath away like a thief in the night? Someone so captivating, so encapsulating, so awe-inspiring, that you can’t help but be completely and totally infatuated with every second they inhabit within your waking life? Someone you swoon for, who has the keys to your heart and your happiness carefully dangling from their pocket on the same lanyard? For many of you, this may be your significant other; or a crush that you dare not tell how you actually feel; or maybe even a best friend or a family member that knows you better than anyone else. For me, this person is Big Joe Grizzly. 

Big Joe Grizzly is a character from the 2007 film “Halloween” directed by Rob Zombie. It’s the ninth installment of the classic “Halloween” franchise, and is a reimagining of the original, showing the entire life of Michael Myers from his first murder at 6-years-old all the way to the murder spree he commits as a full-grown adult. By and large, the movie sucks. Zombie is infamous for gore, and the movie lives up to exactly that—while Zombie’s film does have a clear plot, much of the blood feels pointless and without the thrill that slasher-movie-murders can often capture. But hidden within a dumpster fire of a movie is a hidden gem – a true diamond in the rough – that captured my heart three years ago to this day. That burning ember on a cold, damp night comes in the form of a unit of a semi-trailer-truck driver with killer chops, Mr. Big Joe Grizzly. 

Grizzly is in the film for exactly three minutes and 30 seconds. Now, I know what you’re thinking: How could a character with under five minutes of screen time be such a captivating presence? Well, I’ll tell you how: Grizzly, played by Ken Foree, commits one of the most potent and forceful displays of over-acting ever committed. It’s beautiful and hilarious and enthralling and subtle and in-your-face and amazing, and it had me laughing and sending the YouTube clip to everybody I knew who would appreciate it. While you could go and look up the scene on YouTube (which I strongly advise you do if you have even the slightest inkling of a soul), I’m going to break it down moment-by-moment in these next paragraphs. Doing so is what I believe to be the moment my journalistic career has been yearning for since the very first time I picked up a pencil and scrawled the alphabet. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. 

The camera shows a large blue building very directly labeled “Truck Wash” in big red letters. Rob Zombie isn’t too great at subtlety. It then follows a big blue semi pull into the truck wash, and out hops the vehicle’s driver, Big Joe Grizzly.  

“Oh, f***! Miss Molly, miss golly!” Grizzly exclaims as he steps out of his truck. “Alright boys, Grizzly’s back in town, who’s got the cracker jack?” And just like that, the movie’s entire focus is solely trained on a large truckdriver with a terrible (but actually terrific) haircut. 

Michael Myers is then shown standing outside the truck wash in the shadowy darkness (per usual), and then it flashes back to Grizzly lighting a cigarette and stepping into the bathroom. He glances at the mirror, sees himself, then double-takes. “Oh my goodness… ooh,” he smoothly exhales, smitten at his own debonair features. And how could he not be; with a beard that goes most of the way up his cheeks, sideburn chops that protrude a good couple inches off of his face and a hairdo that looks like a $9.99 Party City wig (and very well may be), Grizzly is the definition of suave. His sheer amount of confidence and brashness in less than a minute of screen time is deafening. This is a man you don’t want your girlfriend to meet—she’d be riding alongside him in his semi faster than you could blink. 

Myers makes his way to the bathroom, and Grizzly squats down on the john as he flips through an adult magazine. “Naughty, naughty,” Grizzly says, astounded at the quality of his reading material. Myers, in his corny, orange papier-mâché mask, saunters into the restroom. His disgustingly dirty feet appear below the stall door for Grizzly to see, and he knocks, showcasing the good manners he learned in the mental institution. Grizzly amiably states, “Hey buddy, just to give you a heads up: I’ve got a taco deluxe supreme talkin’ back at me, so I’ma be awhile. Do you mind waitin’ somewhere else and let me pass this beast in peace?”  

In 37 words, Grizzly unleashes a full clip of hilarity in what’s supposed to be a serious and terrifying slasher film. His facial expression in the scene is too good. He’s smirking, with eyes half-open, and looks incredibly amused by his reply. Myers knocks again, and this time Grizzly’s countenance turns sordid, like a ripe peach spoiled rotten in a matter of seconds. Suspenseful music heightens the mood.  

“If you’re lookin’ for some kind of action, then you better take it on the arches before I’m done droppin this load. Or you’re gonna be one SORRY a-hole,” Grizzly utters with a measured forcefulness. After Myers doesn’t move a muscle, Grizzly concludes, “Okay… you just hold on Daisy,” and then removes a massive foot-long blade from his pocket and pulls up his pants as he gets up from the toilet, “I got somethin’ for ya.” 

Grizzly opens the stall door and states, “Let me introduce myself. I’m Joe Grizzly, b****! I’m gonna cut that mask right off your face -” 

Myers does indeed take some kind of action on the arches, attacking Grizzly at once. He slams Grizzly’s large frame into the stall wall a whopping 14 times – FOURTEEN! – before wrestling the knife away from the beautiful semi-truck apparition. Grizzly never drops the knife, though, nor does he hit the ground. Rather, his rock body built from taco deluxe supremes and long nights gripping the truck’s steering wheel demolishes and dents the stall wall. Myers seems to have met his match. 

After getting the knife away from Grizzly, Myers – for a split-second – seems to not know what to do. He’s in Grizzly’s world now. Grizzly takes advantage, and in this split-second, cocks back his right fist and drills Myers in the chin with a punch that would drop the strongest of strongmen. Unfortunately, Michael Myers isn’t a strongman. After all, he isn’t even really a human. Thus, he doesn’t drop, but just eats the punch like a “Rocky” prizefighter. Grizzly then sneers a wild sneer, like that of a horse who’s just shoved his nose into a mound of cocaine following a tranquilizer shot. Grizzly looks so pleased to have found an opponent that can dance with him, but Myers isn’t interested in the tango. He stabs Grizzly in the stomach twice, a quick and relatively-painless death for slasher-movie standards, and steals his clothes to use as a disguise. Grizzly is left on the bathroom floor dead, a legend who met his destiny with his fists clenched and his stomach full of Mexican fast food delicacies. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the top YouTube comments on this clip: 

“R.I.P. Joe Grizzly. And he never flushed or wiped,” Bradley Cotton said.  

“I’m no hater to this version but it could’ve used more Joe Grizzly. Actually, every movie needs a Joe Grizzly cameo,” Bill Allison said.  

“He went from dropping loads to being dropped,” Brendan Daniels said.  

“Joe Grizzly hit Michael with the force of a thousand suns,” said Charles.  

“Grizzly would have won if he wasn’t turtle heading!” said *OMITTED*.  

“Damn this crazy rough fight between those 2 behemoths was crazy,” said Extreme Gamer. “#JusticeforJoeGrizzly” said Mori Productions.  

“In my mind Joe Grizzly survived,” Michael Trapson said.  

And finally, best of all, YouTube user Rollercoaster Rider 2 said, simply, “Poetry!” 

Big Joe Grizzly is a lover; a fighter; an eater of taco deluxe supremes; a reader of adult magazines while he goes number two; a ball-buster; a shooter of s***; a champion of the roads; the people’s champ; the best fighter Michael Myers has ever traded dukes with; and all of these things make him my favorite horror movie character of all time. 

Grizzly truly lived a poetic existence, commanding the screen for three minutes and 30 seconds better than your favorite actor ever has. Ken Foree deserves an Oscar for his performance as Big Joe Grizzly, but sadly, will never reap the rewards he deserves. Instead, all I can do is use my platform as arts editor of a state university’s student newspaper to immortalize his existence in this far-too-long article funded by your student activity fee, so that’s just what I’ll do.  


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    Elliott SarpyNov 20, 2020 at 8:19 pm

    I feel like there is a small group of us Grizzly fans & It’s good to know others loved this. Only thing you forgot to mention was the wild west like face to face stare down between the top of the stall door frame, showing just how huge the 2 were. I found it to represent a metaphorical imperceivable thin line between good & evil, confident cool & corny creep, & perhaps even the dying breed of real men & all the rest (of black eyed empty souls) afraid to take a stand in life, the way JG did. Happy 1 yr anniversary of the article.

  • E

    Elliott SarpyNov 20, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Elliott from Chicago here. I really enjoyed this piece. I feel like there is a small group of us Grizzly fans & It’s good to know others loved this. Only thing you forgot to mention was the wild west like face to face stare down between the top of the stall door frame, showing just how huge the 2 were. I found it to represent a metaphorical imperceivable thin line between good & evil, confident cool & corny creep, & perhaps even the dying breed of real men & all the rest (of black eyed empty souls) afraid to take a stand in life, the way JG did. Happy 1 yr anniversary.

  • AnonymousNov 3, 2019 at 8:23 pm