Review: The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale

Imagine a jam-packed drive-in on a Saturday night. You’re kicking back in your car with the popcorn and enjoying a good old-fashioned scary monster movie when, suddenly, the drive-in itself becomes the movie, with all its attendance thrills. And dangers.

When a group of friends decided to spend a day at the world’s largest Drive-In theater horror fest, they expected to see tons of bloody murders, rampaging madmen, and mayhem—but only on the screen. As a mysterious force traps all the patrons inside the Drive-In, the worst in humanity comes out. Filled with Lansdale’s razor whit and black humor, The Drive-In is a darkly humorous masterpiece!

The Drive- In by Joe R. Lansdale. Book # 1 in the Drive- In series. This edition was published by Kinnel Publications Limited, UK, 1988. 158 pages. Autographed.

**Possible trigger warning Brief animal and child deaths.

I loved this book, but I’m not gonna lie…. this is one odd duck of a book! It goes well past strange and happily snuggles in to buzzard fiction land. Nobody can predict where this plot is going to go. Every time you think you know what is going on, a new fresh level of crazy happens!

The Drive-In has this glorious B-movie feel to it. The author really hits that vibe dead on and never looks back. The whole novel feels like a love letter to the zany early Sam Rami and Roger Corman movies. Lansdale clearly loves B-movies.

B-movies aren’t the only thing the author appears to like, as we get a little bit of a Lovecraftian vibe too. True, we don’t know for sure if it really is alien elder (B-movie ) gods, or if Jack is hallucinating and or just desperate for there to be something running the show. I’m going with the first option though- “I’m not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens.”

Joe does no pull any punches. This story gets DARK and pretty messed up. Everyone is fair game to be killed, even pets and babies. I wouldn’t say the book is overly graphic, but there are plenty of EWWWWs to go around. There is one nasty popcorn scene that was just YUCK. D: That one will stay with me for a while!

The Drive-In is super weird. It is also super fun and very clever. Lansdale is a true artist with words. This is a very quick little book that goes very fast. Highly recommended for anyone who loves B-movie weirdness or someone just looking for a bizzarro WTF book to dive into.


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