Vanity Fear

A Pretentious A**hole's Guide to B-Movie Bullsh*t


is for Drive-In

During the height of their popularity drive-ins become synonymous with B-Movies in the minds of many filmgoers. This was not originally the case, as many drive-ins did show first run prestige studio pictures when they first started, but stopped when they discovered they could sell just as many tickets for the much cheaper to rent films made available by smalltime regional distributors.

The fact was that for most people the film itself was secondary to the whole drive-in experience. With often-inferior sound and projection, the film mattered less than the combination of communal ritual and the privacy afforded by your vehicle. An excuse to get out of the house, hang-out and perhaps get lucky with your date, it really didn’t matter what was playing, so long as it offered some action, sex and an occasional laugh or scare.

As a result “drive-in” and “B-Movie” grew to mean the same thing. If you wanted to see the latest major studio blockbuster, you went to a “hard top” theater. If you wanted to see the latest Roger Corman movie you went to the drive-in.

Eventually, though, the drive-in habit began to wane. The privacy that made the ritual so appealing was made unnecessary with the popularity of the VCR and people found other places to hang out. Many drive-ins tried to fight their own obsolescence by once again showing major studio films (the first memory I can put a date on occurred at the Twin Drive-in. There I watched Star Wars in the back of the Dombrosky's wood panelled station wagon during the film's 1978 summer re-release. I was 2 and ½ years old), but by then it was too late.

Today the association between drive-ins and B-Movies remains, largely due to the efforts of enthusiasts such as John Bloom (aka Joe-Bob Briggs) who have worked hard to keep the memory of the drive-in experience alive.


is for Drive-Ins