Blogger Stacie Ponder’s horror columns appear every Wednesday.
As I was fighting the snarled traffic on my way down to San Diego Comic-Con last week, a sign for the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In caught my attention; see, in this day and age, drive-in movie theaters are like unicorns. When I spotted the marquee — noting the location for a return trip — I was psyched. Then I read the fateful words: “Tuesday: swap meet / Wednesday: a tribute to Aerosmith.” Now, I’m not going to deny that the absurdity of that particular double-bill filled me with glee. But it also bummed me out because it was then obvious that the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In is dead — flea markets and classic rock tributes aside.
Going to the drive-in helped me on the road to becoming the horror movie nut I am today. My parents loved the fright flicks and would take me along with them when they’d go. I could bore you all day long with the memories I’ve got from several screens in my hometown area — of making my mom take me to the bathroom because I thought I was going to barf (that face-peeling sequence in Poltergeist really did a number on me), of seeing Friday the 13th Part 2 and being scared out of my mind, of seeing E.T. and, as much as I loved it, being a little disappointed that it wasn’t scary. There was just something magical about going to a drive-in double feature, about movies being an event, and about discovering that it was way cooler to sit on the car instead of in the car.
To make my sadness over the lack of drive-ins even more poignant, I decided to dream up some double features I’d like to see. A dream, after all, is a wish your heart makes, and my heart wishes for watching horror movies outside and listening to them through crappy speakers hooked onto my car door.
Sleepaway Camp and The Burning :
These two summer-camp themed films are different in tone but they
feature lots of blood and complement each other like peanut butter and
jelly.. .and unlike most other summer-camp themed films, they actually
feature, you know, campers.
Hell Night and Terror Train
I’ve got a soft spot for Hell Night and I’ve recently acquired one for Terror Train
as well. Each features obnoxious college kids getting offed by weirdos
as well as final girls in flouncy shirts (Linda Blair and Jamie Lee
Men of My Dreams
A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Slayer: Freddy Krueger may be a household name who has appeared in eight films, but guess what? The Slayer
did that whole “there’s a maniac in my dreams” thing first. Compare and
contrast the juggernaut and the rarely-seen horror gem whilst you pound
The Terrible Threes
A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors and Halloween III: Season of the Witch :
I love both of these movies despite all the cheese and the ’80s
oddities. Freddy hadn’t quite become horror’s answer to Henny Youngman
and he still managed some scares as he faced off against some
mentally-disturbed youngsters. Yes, it’s bad (not to mention there’s no
Michael Myers to be found), but it’s good bad. There are lasers that shoot people in the face, there’s a kid who experiences death by sudden bug, worm, and snake onset, and there’s horror icon Tom Atkins.
The Tortoise and the Hare
Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Dawn of the Dead
(2004): George Romero’s zombies in a mall flick is a classic and I have
to admit, heading into the theater I wanted to hate Zack Snyder’s
amped-up remake, but… I couldn’t. In fact, I kind of loved it. Watch
this double feature and then dive headlong into that whole “fast
zombies versus slow zombies” argument (I’m on Team Romero Shufflers,
Adrienne Barbeau Rules
Creepshow and The Convent:
Both of these films are an absolute blast. They’re prime drive-in
fodder, and Barbeau kicks ass as she sneers and swears her way through
Oh Relax, They’re Just Plain Fun
House on Haunted Hill and Final Destination 2 :
Sometimes you just want to take off your shoes, shut off your brain,
cram some nachos in your face, and watch some bombastic, nonsensical
horror junk. Though I may suffer slings and arrows, I’m just gonna say
it: I adore these movies. They’re the cinematic equivalent of Pixie
Stix: You know they’re not good for you and you can’t have them all the
time, but the colors are pretty, they taste good, and they give you a
jolt. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
You: It’s What’s For Dinner
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Wrong Turn:
What could be better than sitting under the stars and watching two
movies about families of cuckoo nutsos (some in flesh masks, some
simply inbred and deformed) who want to eat you for dinner? I can’t
think of a single thing!
Battle of the Sexes
The Descent and The Thing :
One film features a cast that’s virtually all female, the other a cast
that’s all male. Each movie proves that it doesn’t matter whether
you’re an innie or an outie when it comes to battling monsters —
whatever your gender, chances are you’re toast.
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon and Food of the Gods:
Okay, I thought of one thing that’s better than sitting under the stars
and watching two movies about families of cuckoo nutsos who want to eat
you for dinner, and that is watching a movie wherein Ida Lupino must do
battle with giant maggots. That’s cinematic gold, plain and simple. As
for Shark Attack 3, well, it’s the kind of movie that was born to play at the drive-in.
In Other Words, Just Sit There and Do Absolutely Nothing
Don’t Look in the Basement, Don’t Look in the Attic, Don’t Answer the Phone , Don’t Look Now , Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark , Don’t Go in the House, Don’t Go in the Woods, Don’t Go Near the Park, Don’t Go to Sleep and Don’t Open the Door:
By the time this one is over (and you regain feeling in your backside
after sitting through this mega-marathon) you obviously won’t have any
idea what you are and aren’t allowed to do.
Obviously, any of
these dreamy double features can be seen in the comforts of your living
room, but it’s just not the same as the good old days of the drive-in.
Even if it could ever come to be, it wouldn’t be the same seeing them
in a regular theater. I guess I can still daydream and try to think up
awesome pairings, though… what else am I supposed to do when I’m
stuck in traffic?
A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.Read More