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The Complete Drive-In [Paperback]

Joe R. Lansdale , Don Coscarelli


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Book Description

April 27 2010
Friday night at the Orbit Drive-in: a circus of noise, sex, teenage hormones, B-movie blood, and popcorn. On a cool, crisp summer night, with the Texas stars shining down like rattlesnake eyes, movie-goers for the All-Night Horror Show are trapped in the drive-in by a demonic-looking comet. Then the fun begins. If the movie-goers try to leave, their bodies dissolve into goo. Cowboys are reduced to tears. Lovers quarrel. Bikini-clad women let their stomachs' sag, having lost the ambition to hold them in. The world outside the six monstrous screens fades to black while the movie-goers spiral into base humanity, resorting to fighting, murdering, crucifying, and cannibalizing to survive. Part dark comedy part horror show, Lansdale's cult 'Drive-In' books are as shocking and entertaining today as they were 20 years ago.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Underland Press; 1 edition (April 27 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098022604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980226041
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #460,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannibalism, gore, and the Popcorn King - another night at the picture show Aug. 15 2010
By Josh Mauthe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A collection of three cult novels that form one larger story arc, The Complete Drive-In is an absolute must read for horror fans, particularly those with tastes that lean towards the grindhouse. A night at the local drive-in movie theater (on horror marathon night) is interrupted by a most unusual comet, and afterwards the night never seems to end. Tensions start to rise, people start to die, bodies start getting eaten, and then the Popcorn King comes along...and we're not even through the first of the three books. Lansdale has made a spectacularly wonderful little work that's equal parts pitch-black comedy, gruesome horror tale, fascinating adventure, and incredible display of imagination, all while juggling some seriously low-class roots and a taste for the gross-out. It's an absolute blast, and while the end is a little bit of a letdown, it's definitely not enough to ruin the book; it just doesn't quite live up to what's come before. But I really can't recommend this enough if you've got the taste for it (heh) - it's manages to both embrace the genre and have some fun with it, and it's a joy to read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating journey through a bizarre world May 17 2012
By G. N. Sarver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I can't remember the first place I discovered Joe R. Lansdale. I may have read a short story or two before, and had certainly heard his name around, but the first place I really made note of him was... well, it was either the first The Drive-In: A 'B' Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas or Dead in the West.

I know that I followed him through the years since, from The Magic Wagon to The Nightrunners to Big Blow to Sunset and Sawdust, not to mention the multitude of short stories and excellent short story collections.

For what it's worth, I actually first read "Bubba Ho-tep" when I picked up The King is Dead by happenstance one day.

He's one of my favorite writers. In fact, I'd have to say that at this point he'd be the writer my writing would sound way too much like if I were good enough at writing. As such, it's one of those small favors of mediocrity that I don't expect to sound like his voice any day soon.

At one point I upgraded to The Drive-In: A Double-Feature Omnibus and held onto it for years. Despite the first book being a seminal book in my mind, or perhaps in some way because of it, I never got around to reading The Drive-In 2: Not Just One of Them Sequels.

Now, it's years later, I've moved across the country and I pick up a copy of the less intriguingly titled, but further upgraded The Complete Drive-In, which includes The Drive In: The Bus Tour, a much more recent third book.

This time I read the whole way through.

You can find reviews anywhere that will tell you the failings of these, especially the sequels, and yet from where I am today I saw something else.

For one thing, in spite of the separate introductions that describe very different writing experiences, this book works oddly well as one novel. I suspect the "double feature" formula served the second book particularly poorly, its unexpected ending could be a problem for many at the end of the literary equivalent of long night.

On the other hand, here in the middle of a longer novel, it seems only a natural transition to the next stage.

For those still reading this and not knowing what I'm talking about, the "Drive-In" books are about the survivors of a mysterious event at a giant Texas drive-in movie theater. Whether that event was the end of the world or an alien attack or what is a major source of concern, especially through the early parts of the first book.

Concerns of "why?" are quickly lost as the movie-goers struggle to merely survive. Of course Lansdale can't leave them with mere survival. He throws increasingly insane forms of oppression against them as they go on.

At the start, Lansdale seems to nearly despise the characters and goes out of his way to pile harrowing trials upon them, however by the end he seems to have come to admire or at least grudgingly respect them, if for no other reason than their continued determination to survive.

I think there's an insane, cynical out-of-genre perfection to the first book, and there's perhaps an argument to be made that it should have stayed at that.

And yet for me as an older reader who perhaps needs a little larger dose of hope and admiration of survival, there's something I feel good about in this as an extended saga. I'm satisfied.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling pure pulp bonkers April 26 2012
By Drake Vaughn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This volume includes all three of Lansdale's Drive-In novels. The first one is five-stars, hands-down, but the later two drag the rating down a notch. Exciting and pure pulp crazy, the series follows a crew of young men who become trapped within a drive-in movie theater by supernatural forces. It is a totally unrealistic premise, but if you can give that up, it is a fun and wild ride into darkness.

Beware: These are male-centered books, so the female characters are drawn stick-thin and as sexual objects. Not that the male characters are deep by any means--they are focused on bodily functions and crass sexual desires. And as the series progresses, the vulgarities are turned up a notch, including tons of scatological references. So if this turns you off as a reader, I suggest skipping the later two books. It reminded me of the stuff I enjoyed as a teenager and that's about the level of sophistication one can expect. It reminded me of watching a gory horror film whose only goal is to revolt the viewer. And sometimes I just enjoy reverting back to a mindless teen for pure pulp fun.
5.0 out of 5 stars All 3 Stories Together in One Volume May 14 2014
By D R Boyko - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A tour de force by Joe Lansdale; all three Drive-In stories in one volume. Blood, guts, horror, sarcasm and dark humor in Joe's unbeatable laconic Texas drawl.
5.0 out of 5 stars Trippy fun March 10 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book, but wow..this book was amazing..I wish that a movie version of this would get made just so I could see just how in the heck they would bring the Popcorn King to life.

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