6.29.2008

Drive-Ins

I found a great article on American drive-in movie theaters "Drive-In Movies: A Primer" by Dennis Cozzalio on the website Green Cine.

I've always had an interest in drive-ins as something that combines the two major, classic, and All-American industries that make this country great: cars and movies. As americans like to say, there's nothing more American than apple pie... well I'd rather say cars or drive-ins!

I'm still hunting for the perfect opportunity to visit one of my local drive-ins, as there are a few still open in Illinois. But I better act quick, before they shut down! One of the great wonderful things one can do in the US on a hot summer night is go to a drive-in and settle in for an experience. But more importantly this article was a wonderful review of American movie history, delineating the timeline of movie-watcher taste as it grew and developed beyond simple romps to complex effect extravaganzas, such as those we take for granted today.

The article was a bit long at 9 pages, but proved to be a very pleasant and informative primer. I even finally got to the bottom of those famous conundrums, of what does a "B-movie" and "grindhouse" mean! I loved the movie history timeline casually summarized on page 3, where the author explains the different categories of movies that suited the audiences in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s. Then extensive discussion of original movies that led to remakes (even more so recently) that inspired generations of movie makers and movie watchers...such as Death Race 2000, which inspired the recent remake with hottie action hero, Jason Statham. Or the original Gone in 60 Seconds, now on my must-see list.

I particularly enjoyed the descriptions and history of the old horror B-movies, favorites of mine up to this day. They never scared me enough to have nightmares when I was little, and they're great fun to revisit around halloween every year.

I also learned that my favorite series of Edgar Allan Poe-based movies that I remember fondly from my childhood from Sunday evening Permanencia Voluntaria marathons on the local tv networks in Mexico, and later, AMC weekend marathons during my high school and college years, were actually the work of film great Roger Corman (!). Here was a new layer of interest that I peeled, and that I can revisit by checking out his movies anew. There's also discussion on the origins of other creature-feature-of-a-sort film classics from the 70s such as Food of the Gods and Empire of the Ants...two favorites during my early childhood and that stumped and scared me as I sneaked peeks when my parents were watching them on tv.

It was a trip down memory lane as well as a new education on film history all wrapped into a very good article. Very enjoyable and very well written.

- J