Joe R. Lansdale's The Drive-In Paperback – Jan 31 2006
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About the Author
Don Coscarelli: Don Coscarelli, Jr. (b. 1954) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for horror films. His credits include the Phantasm series, The Beastmaster, and Bubba Ho-Tep.
Joe R. Lansdale: Joe R. Lansdale is a highly successful writer of horror and crime fiction. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Without any means of calling for help, and dwindling food supplies from the concession stand, it is the reactions of the captives that provide the true horror. Some rage forth to try and takeover the concession stand for themselves, others decide that end of the world sex is the way to go, while a fundamentalist Christian movement starts up preaching the way of God. Jack retreats into a shell and has to be pulled out of his self-imposed isolation by Bob who has a hidden stash of food in his car. Meanwhile Willard and Randy's relationship soon turns grossly symbiotic. The pair takes over the concession stand and are struck by a bolt of lightening which should have killed them both. Instead, the pair's bodies have become virtually fused together in a twisted, corroded form that now calls itself the Popcorn King. This demonic dark lord soon has most of the residents worshipping him as a God, even as he feasts upon their bodies. Bob & Jack soon realize that they may be the only hope of salvation for the survivors as they hatch a plot to destroy the Popcorn King.
Lansdale's original story is adapted by Christopher Golden who is probably best known for his Buffy the Vampire Slayer novels as well as writer of the Buffy comic for Dark Horse. He is aided greatly by the beautifully chaotic artwork of Andres Guinaldo who captures the drive-in in all its animalistic glory. The true horror isn't the demonic Popcorn King but seeing how humanity quickly degrades in the face of adversity. Typical, and outstanding Lansdale and a fine job by Golden and Guinaldo. The graphic novel also includes an interview with Landsdale.
Reviewed by Tim Janson
I believe Lansdale is one of the great American voices, and easily my favorite writer. Anything you read by him is well worth the time, so click your mouse and give it a try. Now days, It's that simple.
The distillation of a vivid recurring dream (a dream apparently fueled by a steady diet of B-movies and lard-cooked popcorn), this is the tale of a few young friends, an all-night horror-show at the world's largest drive-in motion picture theater, and an inexplicable transdimensional event that might be the work of third-rate outer gods trying to throw something together under budget and might be the result of a completely undirected and uncaring universe devoid of purpose or reason. Either way, the whole thing naturally devolves into tribalistic savagery, cannibalism, and the incarnation of the Popcorn King, probably the most grotesque and bizarre deity ever to preside over a drive-in theater cut off from the outside world in an alien dimension.
If you've ever watched all the Evil Dead movies back to back throughout the night, this book's for you. If you've got a subscription to Fangoria, a collection of Joe Bob Briggs bootleg tapes, or a framed Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster in your living room, this is for you. If you've ever wished you could relieve the feverish nightmares you get after dozing off in front of a late-night creature feature with a belly full of junk food, this is for you.
If none of the above describes you, well then, maybe don't read it. Buy it anyway, though, and give it to the weirdest friend or relation you can find. They'll thank you.
For any fans of "survival horror," THE DRIVE-IN is a must read. The book hearkens back to the days when Mr. Lansdale burst onto the scene as a horror writer to be reckoned with, the tale infused with the author's trademark black humor. More recently, he has penned a long list of excellent books more closely associated with the "thriller" genre -- a label that does little to convey their consistent quality and uniqueness, however. It all began with a number of horror gems, though, none of them more enduring or widely recognized than THE DRIVE-IN. And with good reason. This book kicks ass, plain and simple.
Joe Landsale is a genre-hopping self-branded mojo storyteller so Texan his books positively drawl, but in a good way. His fantasy is never purely fantasy, as he writes books and stories (and comics!) in a number of genres, often at the same time. Westerns, of course - although he is from east Texas - but often of the Weird West. Horror - or so-called splatterpunk. Mystery, suspense and thrillers.
A good introduction to Lonsdale is perhaps his short stories, which are particularly difficult to pin down in genre. I mean, how do you classify Bubba Ho-Tep (subsequently adapted into film starring none other than the Chin himself, Bruce Campbell) - in which an aged Elvis Presley and a black JFK battle a soul-sucking mummy in a nursing home? (No, seriously - Elvis Presley, having swapped with a double to opt out of fame. Not sure about JFK though - he claims the Conspiracy swapped his mind into his present body. Even Elvis is skeptical). Or his post-zombie apocalyptic On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks? "Frequent features of Lansdale's writing are usually deeply ironic, strange or absurd situations or characters". Indeed.
And perhaps none more so bizarre than my introduction to Lansdale and still my favorite, although it is a little intense (if by intense you mean insane) - The Drive-In, or for its full title, The Drive-In: A 'B' Movie with Blood and Popcorn, Made in Texas. It starts as a normal summer Friday night horror movie marathon at the Orbit Drive-In in Texas. And then it becomes the horror-movie marathon, as they are trapped by a demonic grinning comet in the drive-in, beyond time in an eternal night - seemingly at the whim of the dark gods of B-grade movie horror:
"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…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"
And the dark B-grade movie horror gods lend a hand to all the base humanity with a little (or a lot of) monstrosity of their own, with the Popcorn King. O God - the Popcorn King.
Don't eat the popcorn…
RATING: IT'S A RAVE - 4 STARS****