Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Drive-In - by Joe R. Lansdale - As much fun as sneaking into the drive-in in your buddy's trunk

5 of 5 Stars    Review copy

Those were the days.  Heading to the drive in on a Friday night.  If you were lucky, it was with the girl with whom you were hoping to get past second base.  But then, it could be just as much fun with your friends.  Maybe with one or two of you in the trunk to save the admission fee.

The Orbit Drive-In off I-45 is the largest Drive-In in Texas with space for four-thousand cars.  With two or more occupants per car, that makes The Orbit bigger than many small Texas towns.

The Orbit shows "B-string and basement-budget pictures.  A lot of them made with little more than a Kodak, some spit and a prayer.  And if you've watched enough of this stuff, you develop a taste for it, sort of like learning to like sauerkraut."

Lansdale is a skilled writer who creates real people and then places them in real bad situations.  Even when those situations are themselves like a B-string movie.  And therein lies the charm of The Drive-In.

The Drive-In uses a familiar plot device where you take a diverse group of people and place them in a locked environment where there's no way out.  Think Stephen King's Under the Dome.  Although Landale's work pre-dates King's novel by some 20 years  they both deal with the lengths people will go just to survive.

Populated with some truly bizarre characters like The Popcorn King and a group of religious cannibals, The Drive-In is all the fun of those tacky B-movies from the golden age of the drive-in.  Roger Corman would be proud.

First published in 1988, The Drive-In is now available as an ebook, in a variety of formats, from the folks at Crossroad Press.  Also available are two sequels in the series.

If you've never read The Drive-In, I can recommend this one for a fast, fun read.

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