Archive for the ‘Drive In’ Category

img_0348The last couple of trips to the virtual drive-in have been pretty rough. The movies weren’t good; they weren’t drive-in good; hell, they weren’t even so bad, they’re good. They were just bad. The kind of bad that makes you wonder if you’re spending too much time watching movies and not enough time exercising or reading or talking to your family or engaging in some other bizarre behavior. Thank goodness then for Initiation, a little exploitation diamond in a rough patch of mediocrity.

This flick is just damn good drive-in. And what do we mean by that? The finest pieces of exploitation film make you feel just a little bit bad for even wanting to watch them. They tap into the primal, the urges we were meant to have put behind us, but still lurk just below the surface veneer of civility. Lurid is the perfect adjective to describe a good drive-in movie: gruesome, sensational, and unrestrained. (more…)

ThirstFirst things first – Thirst is a lousy name for this movie. It’s a pretty bad one for almost any movie at this point, considering how many times it’s been used in the last 40 years as a film title. On almost every occasion, the movie in question has been about vampires. That’s not the case here. This Thirst is about an alien that arrives on earth hungry. Yeah, apparently Hunger as a title might have given too much away.

And that beautifully illustrates the core problem for this movie – it’s lazy, sloppy work. The inspiration likely came from the mind of a nine-year-old boy who spent his school days drawing fantastical creatures in his spiral notebook and his nights watching Alien, Predator, and Terminator movies. The monster in Thirst is a B movie classic – with a lizard body, an alien mandible, predator dental work, a terminator metal skeleton, and an anus in the middle of its chest. Nice work, kid.

Unfortunately, that same nine-year-old apparently wrote the screenplay. How else to explain that the character among the group of eight wandering the Utah backcountry who is given the most backstory is among the first killed? Or that no proper motivation can be given for the group going further away from civilization after a dead body is found? Or that the most annoying among the many annoying characters sticks around until almost the end? (more…)

MV5BMjA4MDA4NzAzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTQ3MTA1OTE@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,740_AL_Horror is a forgiving genre. Fans do not expect perfection; they generally do not nitpick to excess. They are adept at overlooking minor flaws such as bad acting, lack of logic, and narratives that take a sudden 90-degree turn at the end out of sheer desperation. All they ask is is to keep the pace up, keep the scares coming, and when in doubt, at least keep it weird. The one filmmaking error that cannot be forgiven in horror is when the movie is just flat-out boring. (more…)

10 Cloverfield LaneThe only risk audiences rushing to see 10 Cloverfield Lane face are overinflated expectations from a brilliant guerrilla marketing campaign and sterling initial reviews (Rotten Tomatoes currently has a tally of 90% favorable). And, yes, there is the matter of the title which may lead some to believe this is a sequel to the 2008 monster movie, Cloverfield, which was a Godzilla found footage flick produced by JJ. Abrams. It’s not a sequel per se, although Abrams has said that this film, which he also produced, belongs in “the same universe.”

Forget about that for now. You don’t need to have seen the other film to fully enjoy this one, and, besides, the latest one is just a helluva lot better. In fact, 10 Cloverfield Lane is just about the best genre movie you’re likely to see this year. Right down to the batshit crazy third act, 10 Cloverfield Lane is pure drive-in fun.  (more…)

If Hellions is the third feature on the drive-in line-up this weekend, take the speaker off the window after the second flick, and call it a night. Even with a crisp 80-minute runtime, this would-be scare fare about the Halloween night from Hell is not worth the time or heartburn from snack bar French fries.

The most unsettling aspect of Hellions is its treatment of teen pregnancy. At its worst moments (worst as in truly bad rather than frightening), this otherwise conventional horror story comes off as right-wing, pro-abstinence, anti-abortion political propaganda. If you’re a seventeen-year old girl who screws around with her boyfriend even once, be prepared to get knocked up and then visited by evil children intent on taking possession of the unborn, all in short order and, quite naturally, all on Halloween night. (more…)

Gun WomanToo much of what passes for drive-in movies these days are arch ironic from the get go, overly self conscious attempts to cook up the heady cinematic concoctions of the late 60’s and early 70’s with modern ingredients reheated in a 21st-century Hollywood microwave. This trend started with Grindhouse, but traces of modern taint can be found even in otherwise stalwart efforts of late including Hobo with a Shotgun and Bring Me The Head of the Machine Gun Woman. The genuine stuff is out there, but it’s rare and easily missed.

That’s what makes Gun Woman special. This 86-minute extreme import from Japan is the real deal, an organic exercise in hardcore drive in. Leave the kids at home with the sitter for this one, or, at the least, make sure they’re asleep in the back seat with a blanket over their heads. Accidental exposure will result in more than a nightmare – we’re talking years of lockdown therapy. Gun Woman is the finest exploitation film since Raze (2013), the absolutely bonkers flick that showed captured women fighting to the death. (more…)

blonde-smokeYou’ve had this one circled and underlined in your appointment book for weeks. As soon as the trailer flashed up on the big white screen in the field a few weeks back during the Coming Attractions break between movies, you swore by all that is unholy that you would be back at the drive-in for the opening weekend of 7 in the Torture Chamber. For aspiring exploitation directors and screenwriters everywhere, always bear in mind that the single most important marketing aspect for your film is a title that grabs the would-be viewer by the goodies and squeezes. You need a title that will have 11-year old boys conspiring to somehow, someway get in to see the film without knowing a single additional thing about it.

7 in the Torture Chamber fits the bill nicely. (more…)

548790_036It’s decision time at the virtual drive-in. You’ve made it through the first two features of the night, and there’s a third one coming up. It’s a coin flip whether you stick it out and settle back in the vinyl upholstery of the front seat or whether you reholster the heavy metal speaker that’s been resting on your driver side window and join the growing line of cars heading for the exit.

Next up is Assassin’s Game, and all you know is that Tom Sizemore, Bai Ling, and Vivica A. Fox are the above-the-credits talent, and the premise is something about a hitman coming out of retirement to save his son. What the hey? It might turn out as poorly as ordering the deep fried shrimp from the snack bar, but any lingering aftertaste from bad movies and bad shellfish will be forgotten by next weekend. (more…)

imageIs cannibalism the flavor of the month?

In 2013, we had a delicious Maori dish served with a side of kiwi in the New Zealand comedy cannibal caper, Fresh Meat. Eli Roth reheated ingredients from classic recipes like Cannibal Apocalypse and Cannibal Holocaust in his 2014 film, The Green Inferno. Even The Walking Dead whipped up a little something at the beginning of season 5 when it turned out that the good folks of Terminus were a match for any zombie when it came to chowing down on their fellow man.

Long pig – it’s not just for hillbillies any more.


MV5BMTM1MDI5NDIzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE2Nzk1OA@@._V1__SX1202_SY828_Is there such a thing as rational nostalgia?

Can a romantic longing for missing elements of the past be justified analytically?

In the rush to a streamlined, sensible, efficient 6G, fully digital world, have we left behind essential naugahyde elements of the old, analog neighborhoods?

Damn it, wouldn’t life be better if we still had drive-in movie theaters? (more…)