The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Jack and his friends live for one thing: the Friday all night horror show at the Orbit Drive-In. When a comet with an eye visits, the drive-in is cut off from the rest of the world and things quickly degenerate to a no-man's land of cannibals...
Confession time: I read this way back in the Stone Age, pre-Goodreads and early in my Lansdale love affair. When I saw how cheap the trilogy was on the Kindle, I figured it was time for a reread.
The Drive-In is Bizarro fiction from back before such fiction had a name. Jack, Bob, Willard, and Randy are horror nuts who have the misfortune of being trapped at the Orbit when the shit goes down. Imagine being in eternal darkness with the only light coming from the drive-in screens and the only food coming from the concession stand. It's not hard to see how things degenerated, is it?
The Drive-In is a really fun book, full of gore, weirdness, and laughs. While it's an early Lansdale and not as slick as his later work, the beer and tailgate style is still there. Since it had been over a decade since I read it, it was pretty much a new book. Ah, the magic of getting older.
It's a pretty short tale, but like a good punk rock song, it's as long as it needs to be. When you have cannibals, motorcycle gangs, and crazy religious nuts, all trapped in the confines of a Drive-In parking lot, how long can you expect people to survive anyway? The Popcorn King was pretty damn creepy and I liked how Lansdale explained his origin, making it make logical sense, to a degree.
The Drive-In was a lot of gorey good fun packed into a pretty slim book. Four out of five stars.
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