“Driving-In” To The Past
I know every generation likes to think it invented the…whatever. Fashion, types of fiction, movies, etc. And every generation is mostly wrong. Scary movies are no exception. Gruesomely violent and excessively nasty scary movies, certainly not. I point to the middle of the phenomena rather than its beginning, the 70s.
There have been scary movies since movies began, of course. The urge to frighten ourselves is as old as cave-writing. The fifties had some remarkable ones, certainly the sixties, but it was the seventies where things got…interesting.
Are there still drive-in movies? I’m sure there are, certainly in rural areas. Not ours. Not anymore. And it’s a darned shame. There is nothing quite like a low-rate horror movie seen through the windshield of a car—or the bed of a pickup truck piled high with blankets and pillows—even better. It’s also easier to hide your eyes or even turn off the sound altogether in the really gross parts. The best part of the drive-in movie was that it was much easier to sneak in when you happened to be too young to be going to such movies in the first place.
The mid-seventies began my introduction to such lovelies as, The Toolbox Murders, The Hills Have Eyes (the original and best) The Texas Chainsaw Murders, Axe, The Second House On The Left, and on and on. My older brothers were often my vehicle—so to speak—to such fare. Friday and Saturday nights were movie nights and when you’re talking about drive-ins you have to wait for darkness to fall before the films can begin. And since drive-ins are also much more enjoyable in the summer months, darkness comes later and later. Thus, being around thirteen, fourteen, seeing a purloined scare-fest, late at night, eating drive-in popcorn and hotdogs and nachos, well, it just doesn’t get much better than that.