We recently came across this photo on Facebook and it prompted me to take a few minutes to try and help get this point out there to a few more people, and try to help explain why this is a very important message. Regular visitors to the Krypt know my love for the Drive-In Theaters, especially when they have their all night horror movie marathons! Trust me, one does not drive hundreds and hundreds of miles to watch movies outside out of boredom. There is just something about the drive-in and the experience of the whole thing. I keep using the term “experience” because it really is. From sitting in your car (or out in front of it on lawn chairs), to the atmosphere, the food, the people, everything about it adds up to a great night, and one that takes you back to a different era. Maybe it was because I grew up going to these as a teenager that it reminds me of those times when I visit them today.
The Midway Drive-In (where the above photo was taken) located out in Sterling, IL, is one of our favorites, especially when they have their annual From Dusk Til Dawn all night horror movie marathons, usually in September. We’ve been out there quite a few times over the years and always have a great experience there. There is also the Skyline Drive-In in Shelbyville, IN, which hold their own 2-night all night horror film fest, called Super Monster Movie Fest (Aug. 25th-26th), that we’ve been going to the last few years. Of course, there is also the Riverside Drive-In in Vandergrift, PA that holds two different Drive-In Super Monsterama events a year, each with 2 nights of classic horror flicks. I know there are several other drive-in theaters that do the same thing each year as well.
But in case you weren’t aware, most of the money spent at the box office at these drive-ins goes for the film rentals, even when they are these classic films, they still need to pay the rental fee, which are not cheap, especially when you’re talking about a 4 or 5 film marathon. It is the money spent at the concessions that keeps these theaters alive and running. So when you bring in your own food, you are making it harder for that place to keep its doors open and to continue to put on events that you are enjoying at that moment! Yes, the regular multiplex theaters are the same way, but to me it seems their concession prices are much, much higher than it needs to be. Every drive-in that I’ve been to, the concession prices are always quite reasonable. Plus, you have to remember where that money is going. If you enjoy going to these theaters and these kind of events, then isn’t it worth the little bit of extra money to help keep them open for future events? I know from personal experience that introducing my own son to the drive-in experience was one that I cherish to this day and we have made some great memories over the years. Okay..maybe not the smell in the van the year we slept in it in 80 degree weather to avoid a hotel….but besides that.
Besides the money factor, the concession is an important part of the drive-in movie going experience. Heading up to the concessions in between features, grabbing a corn dog, chatting with fellow attendees, stretching your legs…it is all part of the fun.
So the next time you are planning a trip to your favorite drive-in, leave the cooler at home. Bring a little extra money and help support and keep the place alive and well. Enjoy the movie. Enjoy the food. And enjoy the experience. Every little bit helps.
And if you’re in the Pennsylvania area next weekend, the Mahoning Drive-In Theater is holding it’s own 2-night movie marathons, called Drive-In Schlock-O-Rama! They are playing some unbelievable titles this year and so wish we were closer to be able to make this. On Friday, they are showing Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965), Monster from Piedras Blancas (1959), Blood Freak (1963), and Astro Zombies (1968). Then on Saturday, they are screening The Sadist (1963), Spider Baby (1967), The Wasp Woman (1959), and then The Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters (1965). All from 35mm prints. What a glorious lineup! Perfect for the Drive-in! Plus, I think you’ll find the more you start to seek out these kind of events and different drive-in theaters, you’ll be surprised to see just how many are doing stuff like this. So keep looking and keep the drive-ins alive!
For more information about the drive-ins that I mentioned, see the links below. Of if you want to look up other drive-in theaters in your area, check out this LINK.
The Midway Drive-In – Sterling, IL
The Skyline Drive-In – Shelbyville, IN
The Riverside Drive-In – Vandergrift, PA
The Mahoning Drive-In – Lehighton, PA