If you want to become as real as the lights on the screens, you have to give yourself to them, do as they do, live as they live They are the scripture and I am their voice A mega drive in, able to fit four thousand cars Six screens It s the Friday All Night Horror Show at the Orbit, and four friends have come with beer and snacks, ready to enjoy the splatter pictures.
That is, until a comet passes overhead, obliterating the universe and trapping all the innocents in the drive in, doomed to survive on concession stand food and live at the mercy of bored alien life.
This book is downright weird, okay Even for Joe Lansdale, who isn t afraid to go there If you have a stomach for orgies and murder and mutilated bodies and rape, this book is for you But most of all, this is plain FUN, dark subject matter and all It s the sort of horror novel that quickly descends into chaos, and it s unclear how things can get worse oh, but it does Lansdale wields a blood stained knife on his unsuspecting characters.
And his reader is the entertained audience, munching on buttered popcorn and sipping Coke.
With a new Hap Leonard book out and the TV series based on their adventures coming soon it seems like Lansdale Fever is sweeping Goodreads these days I blame Dan for infecting me with this particular strain of the virus I d read the first two parts of The Drive In saga way back in the 90s when I first discovered the Champion Mojo Storyteller, but I d forgotten most of the story and never even gotten around to checking out the third installment Then Dan spread his contagion all over the place, and I found myself rediscovering the gruesomeness of the Popcorn King all over again Thanks a lot, Dan During the late 80s in Texas four young men head out to the local drive in where they plan to spend the night watching a horror movie marathon In the middle of their films a comet with a smile roars by, and the entire drive in is suddenly surrounded by an inky darkness that dissolves anyone who tries to leave With no other options the trapped patrons watch the movies over and over in an endless night as the food starts to run out That s when things get even weirder and horrible.
This is a very short book, and that s a good thing because I don t think spinning the concept out much longer than 150 pages would actually work Although I m sure Stephen King would have taken a 700 or 800 page swing at it if he would have thought of this idea first What really sells it is that Lansdale quickly provides the details that ground things in reality among the most mundane circumstances of people going to the movies before unleashing the batshit craziness Then he uses the most terrible of creatures, human beings, to set the stage for the real horror show which becomes a gory supernatural B movie spectacle.
Lansdale mainly uses two characters to represent different points of view Our narrator Jack holds the desperately hopeful belief that there is some inherent goodness and meaning in humanity s existence, but the counterpoint is his buddy Bob who operates under the basic assumptions that people are just bastard covered bastards with bastard filling and that believing in anything other than yourself is a waste of time This is pretty much the same dynamic that defines the soft hearted Hap and the pragmatic Leonard so you can almost see Jack and Bob as an early trial run at those two characters.
The part that really got to me this time was that period before things really go sideways when everyone is just stuck watching the movies over and over again while living off concession stand hotdogs and popcorn While drive ins were pretty much dead in my area by the time I was a teenager I ve attended some movie marathons, and I think Lansdale really nailed that weird dreamy limbo state that sets in if you spend hour after hour staring at a screen in a theater as you shove popcorn or candy into your mouth Like most things Lansdale it s got some funny stuff mixed in with some sharp edges that unsuspecting readers might cut themselves on Overall, it s weird and gory in ways that are different than most horror stories you d read, but it s also got an ugliness to it that definitely cuts into the fun factor you might expect from something this bizarre.
A generation or two ago, Texas was known for its sprawling drive in cinemas and zany monster flicks playing out over the cool summer air In his 1988 cult classic, Joe Lansdale taps into this nostalgia, turning a lightsome night out at the theater into a grungy galleria of claustrophobic terror What begins with frights and screams beaming from the sparkling screens ends with panic stricken mobs dancing to the tune of the B movie gods Jack and his three friends dash off to the movies, only to become part of one themselves an insidious twist ensued by barrels of laughs, irreverence and a vomitorium of blood encrusted popcorn.
A two shot pulse of comedy and horror, The Drive In is a goretastic romp through B movie stardom Four teenage friends and the moviegoing locals are ejected into the front row of their very own apocalypse Basic camaraderie is among the first to go as normalcy takes a back seat to survival Engulfed on all sides by an ink like substance that promises sure death, the crowd is barred from leaving the drive in They have for food and drink whatever remains of the concession supply, and only the looping movies and each other for company The forces interacting from the outside manifest themselves in mysterious ways, slowly but surely driving the trapped masses to bedlam The face of humanity slips away as if being sucked into the murk beyond, unmasking an anarchic depravity unseen this side of hell.
Lansdale paints a vivid world wrapped in a narrative economy that allows for just the right mix of action and character progression In Stephen King s hands, this might have ballooned to 350 pages, but Lansdale s tight writing forbids any eyes from glazing over Keeping the chaos front and center puts the reader permanently on edge, while the author s extraterrestrial imagination makes for an unpredictable tale Around every corner lies a gruesome conflagration or another fantastic one liner, oftentimes both.
The characters are witty, but not as witty as Lansdale, who reserves the maximal comedic payout for himself His deadpan descriptions always hit home and blend seamlessly into the unfolding horror An early scene places the characters in a bar, and a dustup with a patron is foreshadowed thusly His name was Bear and you didn t ponder why he was called that He was six five, ugly as disease, had red brown hair and a beard that mercifully consumed most of his face All that was clearly visible were some nasty blue eyes and a snout that was garage to some troublesome nose hairs thick enough to use for piano wireWhat could be seen of his lips reminded me of those rubber worms fishermen use, and I wouldn t have been surprised to see shiny silver hooks poking out of them, or to discover that the whole of Bear had been made from decaying meat, wire and the contents of a tackle box and a Crisco can.
pp 10 11 The vibrant interplay between humor and horror is mostly successful, even if many of the sequences are about as over the top as it gets Cannibalism Check Crucifixions Check Sacrilege Check One scene features a group of Christian evangelists using their faith as a cover for their cannibalistic jonesing, a swivel rightly qualifying as the nadir of religious experiences The squeamish and easily offended might look for their fiction fix elsewhere, though the violence is never handled too seriously There also seems to be a whole social satire subtext in which the main character spends ample time existentializing amid the bouts of receding humanity arrayed before him The rollicking lunacy of it all only adds to the absurdity of deep cogitation on things philosophical Nevertheless, what the narrative seems to be getting at is that for all our pretensions to civility and higher consciousness, the only thing keeping us from reverting to the behaviors of the wild is the distance from our last meal The collapse of society is only a hunger pang away.
But don t waste your time trying to find morals or life lessons embedded here The Drive In A B Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas is raunchy rowdy fun and a perfect alternative to a night at the movies It s graphic and gritty in all the right ways and serves as a dark warning to humans everywhere Grow too peaceable, and the gods get bored.
Note This review is republished from my official website.
Brian Keene is one of my favorite horror authors he is one of many peoples favorite horror authors So when Brian Keene says that THE DRIVE IN by Joe Lansdale is one of the best horror stories ever written, you go and read it Which is exactly what I did And I must say, Brian Keene was right.
THE DRIVE IN is pure 80 s horror Written in the golden era, this story is an homage to classic cult horror movies I m not even sure how this one escaped my notice when it was first published I guess I was too much of a Kingphile to notice much else going on in literary fiction at the time I think this represents a changing of the guard at the time People were looking for writers beyond King and Koontz and McCammon The new wave of nineties horror writers were about to make a statement I think both THE DRIVE IN and Ketchum s THE GIRL NEXT DOOR sort of represent that metamorphosis.
I missed all these guys in the nineties Keene, Ketchum, Lansdale and Laymon But I m doing the homework, seeing who I missed and I m back tracking to get in these modern day classics THE DRIVE IN is just that, a modern day classic horror novel It has all the elements It hits all the right notes The writing is beautiful in its simplicity The execution, flawless.
I m still not sure I am sold on the ending I know this is a series and it goes on but I dunno I have ambiguous feelings about it But like many great stories, all too often they do have endings that leaving you feeling like something was just not quite right about that Keene s THE RISING comes to mind So I can either forgive it as a cheesy way to set up a second story in the series or I can tip my hat to it for its brilliance in evoking strong emotional reaction and duplicity Let s just call it a win.
Per lettori ortodossi lettura molto strana, difficilmente classificabile Definirlo semplicemente splatter mi sembra riduttivo, estrapolarne chiss quale significato nascosto mi sembra pretenzioso Strappa parecchie macabre risate e qualche riflessione sempre amara Per non un libro che si dimentica Il mio voto 3,5 stelle.
Per lettori eterodossi non ci sono spoiler, ma preferisco proteggere i lettori sensibili view spoiler Prendi un sacchetto di pop corn, grande Mettici dentro una quantit a piacere di snack al cioccolato, noccioline con burro di arachidi, una bella spruzzata di sangue corn no, niente di truculento, basta un po di marmellata di fragole , interiora fresche di pollo vanno bene Se hai un farmaco emetico, inghiottilo senz altro Ora col tuo sacchetto di pop corn in una mano e una sedia pieghevole nell altra corri, nudo come mamma ti ha fatto, in mezzo a una banda di motociclisti Fermati davanti al capo della banda, un bel sorriso a trentadue denti, allarga le braccia col sacchetto in mano se il farmaco ha fatto effetto aggiungi l ingrediente al sacchetto , batti le mani con forza facendo scoppiare il sacchetto di pop corn con un sonoro booom Ora mettiti comodo sulla tua seggiolina pieghevole e goditi lo spettacolo Se sei fortunato vedrai anche il Re del popcorn.
Come Pensi che reynard sia sotto acidi Ti ringrazio, allora questa recensione d una certa vaga idea della Notte del drive in E nella seconda parte si parla anche di religione da non credere, no hide spoiler A sick twisted darkly humorous look at human nature in the face of disaster This is a nasty piece of work that only works because of Lansdale s brilliantly descriptive, punchy, no holds barred, laugh out loud, in your face style of writing I loved it Long live The Popcorn King Extremely weird, dear popcornking I still can t get over this D