Tag Archives: drive-in

Drive-In Double Feature: RIVER’S EDGE & PARENTHOOD!

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Jimmy is a man of many talents: musician, comedian, and he can toss pizza like a goldurn pro! And now he can add “movie reviewer” or “blogger”, or whatever he wants to call it, to the list. The irony of his picks is that he embodies them both perfectly: a punk rock exterior with a heart of gold and great sense of humor. Jimmy’s inclusion of Parenthood may be a controversial one for a horror site, but his love of Keanu Reeves, well, that’s a universal love, and love conquers all. Enough of my rambling: take it away, Jimmy!

I feel like a fun Double Feature would be the film River’s Edge followed by Parenthood. One is a totally twisted bummer fest; the other a sarcastic, coming-of-age comedy. A little sour. A little sweet. Both great movies. And both also happen to star/feature the timeless Keanu Reeves. Yep, you read that correctly. KEANU. REEVES. Two totally different movies. What, you did not realize that he was such a diverse act-OR? Welcome to reality. Wipe your feet. Enjoy your stay.

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Keanu’s role in River’s Edge is one of his greatest performances. In this film we see a confused, cynical and slightly nihilistic Keanu. And rightfully so because just after the opening credits, his buddy “wastes” (murders) his own girlfriend. Yikes! Should Keanu help Crispin Glover(!!) cover up the gruesome death? Should he snitch? Should he smoke weed and listen to Slayer while pondering these questions? Yes, lotta Slayer. This movie is filled with grey skies and a dark, brooding score; but also it contains nuggets of some of the most hilarious dialogue in cinema history. Oh! And the part where Keanu orgasms in a sleeping bag with Ione Skye is pretty, pretty funny. (Spoiler!)
Parenthood is kind of the opposite of River’s Edge. Gloom and graininess is replaced with a bright, crisp picture and setting. Sunny-time suburbia. Diane Wiest. The struggles of balancing work and family. And instead of Slayer for the soundtrack, we have Randy Newman. Now, Keanu Reeves (while not really the star of the movie) is peppered nicely throughout and breaks up some of the more tense moments with some classic Reeves comic relief. His character is still confused (not unlike River’s Edge), but this time in more of a “love struck, naive, stupid, stupid dumbass” kind of way. Naysayers might claim that this movie is kind of cheesy, but I really like it. And Parenthood would certainly be a nice palate cleanser to the bitterness of River’s Edge. So fuck you, naysayers.
Jimmy is a human being from planet Earth, but he resides in New Jersey specifically. You can find him on Twitter and you can listen to his amazing band (just one of the many he’s in) on Bandcamp.
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Drive-In Double Feature: THE FACULTY & 28 DAYS LATER!

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The whole point of this goofy little “Drive-In Double Feature” thing  brilliant, original, captivating, thought-provoking “Drive-In Double Feature” thing was a simple one: get people talking about horror movies. Possibly introduce others to films they’d never heard of. Get people excited. This includes people who don’t normally consider themselves “horror fans”, as in the case of Megan. While she admitted to me she “didn’t know a lot about horror” movies, she was still a good sport and submitted a piece anyway. And that makes this silly compelling Double-Feature thing all the more impressive: it’s bringing people together, uniting the hardcore gorehounds and the weekend-watchers as one. If there’s one thing I want to be remembered for long after I’m dead, it’s this month-long piece. Anyway, for not being a huge follower of horror, Megan was still somehow able to get to the root of why we watch horror movies in the first place: the Hotties. Take it away, Megan!

When I was a teen girl, my film criticism hinged on one important question: Where the Hotties at? My best friends each had their favorite Hollywood dudes, which meant that I had to see every movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Orlando Bloom, Paul Walker (RIP!), Elijah Wood (my baby!) etc. (Turns out having a Regulation Hottie in your movie does not guarantee it will be any good. The heart wants what it wants.)

You can see these at the Camera Viscera drive-in, but my recommendation for watching these movies is to go to my friend Althea’s parent’s house in Aurora and watch them on her dad’s projection wall. That is the way these films are meant to be viewed. It should also be past 3 a.m., and you should be eating Little Casear’s pizza, and you should be surrounded by 3-5 teenage girls. When discussing the film’s Hotties, feel free to reference the emo boys of West Aurora High School. It should be 2006. You, yourself, should be a teenage girl.

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In Robert Rodriguez’s high school spoof on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a ragtag group of teens discover that their teachers have all been taken over by malevolent aliens. It’s a pretty standard Breakfast Club ensemble—the popular girl, the outcast, the druggy. Most importantly, ELIJAH WOOD is the nerdy school newspaper photographer, which is ideal because I also worked on The Red and Blue, West Aurora High’s premier student publication, which we assembled on Microsoft Publisher every month.

An important thing to know about me at this time is that my AIM screenname was “crazee4elijah.” I had many, many pictures of him taped to my locker. Every weekend, I forced my friends to watch an Elijah Wood movie. The Faculty is pretty much his only non-Frodo role we still hold in any regard.

This movie has a lot of Hotties. It has Usher, pop star Hottie, and Jon Stewart, dad-aged Hottie. It has Josh Hartnett as a burn-out drug dealer, who I grudgingly accepted as a Hottie because the teen mags told me to.

The Faculty is really hokey and self-aware. It has a lot of one-liners that are fun to scream at each other in the cafeteria. In a pivotal scene (spoilers?) Josh Hartnett stabs an alien with a ballpoint pen full of ILLICIT DRUGS. Right before he plows that sucker in, he gets smarmy and says “Guaranteed to jack you up,” which is what he always smarms when he sells his ILLICIT DRUGS. Anyway, it turns out “Guaranteed to jack you up” is a fun thing to yell when you are a teenage girl shotgunning pixie sticks or diet cokes or Bosco Sticks or just for no reason at all.

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When I first laid eyes on Cillian Murphy’s weird face, I thought, “Hmmm, yes, here is a man whose picture I could haphazardly glue to my chemistry binder.” Cillian is a scruffy, snake-faced Hottie with piercing, sociopathic blue eyes. (My teenage M.O.)

He plays Jim, who wakes up in a hospital to find London abandoned. In the 28 days since he went into a coma, a rage virus has spread through the city and beyond; infected humans are angry, violent and most importantly, fast. When Jim wakes up in the hospital bed, there is a moment where the camera pans over his naked body from above and you can see his penis. This split-second shot of a far-off, flaccid dick SCANDALIZED 16 year old me.

The infected are zombies, sure, but they aren’t the archetypal stumbling, rotting flesh version. In a way, they’re more human, stripped down to their most predatory form. Jim finds a group of survivors who are looking for a military outpost, a promised safe haven where society will be reborn. It’s not just a movie about survival; it’s a movie about humanity’s ultimate insignificance. It’s a movie about what it means to keep living when everything around you dies.

“Do you know I was thinking?” Jim asks in one scene.

“You were thinking that you’ll never hear another piece of original music ever again. You’ll never read a book that hasn’t already been written or see a film that hasn’t already been shot,” bad-ass co-survivor Selena responds.

This dystopia really stuck with teen me. The repercussions, I knew, were dire. You’ll never read another Teen Beat. You’ll never hear another Fall Out Boy album. You’ll never get to casually run into Elijah Wood after his DJ set and tell him about the dream you had in 2005 that he got hit by a car in front of your parents’ house and you had to nurse him back to health. What a grim future, indeed.

Megan Kirby lives and writes in Chicago. You can find her on twitter at @megankirb, tweeting to @woodelijah in vain.

Drive-In Double Feature: The Fog & Sleepaway Camp!

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Jason and I have known each other since 2008. We’ve been co-workers at two different jobs, bummed around New York Comic Con one frozen weekend in February, and somehow have never so much as once shared a single common word about horror flicks between ourselves. How we avoided the topic so long, I don’t know. But when I saw him write this review of It Follows recently, I knew he’d be a perfect contributor for the Drive-In Double Feature. Without further ado… 

SPOILERS ABOUND!

The drive-in was already outdated by the time I was old enough to go to the movies without parental supervision but they came with the air of nostalgia that seems to complement each new generation as they come to age. The first thought that came to mind when I was trying to come up with a good drive-in double feature was horror movies. Horror encompassed a large part of the viewing habits in my youth and still does today.

The challenge of what to watch didn’t come as easily. After wracking my brain trying to come up with two flicks, I came up with four requirements I wanted to follow:

  1. The film wasn’t a super obvious choice.
  2. The film wasn’t ‘so bad it’s good’.
  3. The film wasn’t something I had seen multiple times in the past five years.

There isn’t anything wrong with picking any films that might fall into the above criteria, it’s just what I wanted to follow (my fourth requirement will come into play a little later).

After many moons (or maybe a few hours), I finally settled on the 1980 version of The Fog and the 1983 classic Sleepaway Camp. ‘Now, wait a minute!’ horror aficionados around the globe scream in agony. Yes, The Fog was directed by John Carpenter, one of the most famous horror directors around and Sleepaway Camp is infamous in its own right.

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The reason I picked The Fog as an opener was mainly because while the director and cast are famous in horror, not a lot of people I know have actually seen it. I thought it might ring familiar with folks who knew Carpenter and his work but never got around the watching this one. It’s not as iconic as They Live, Halloween, Escape From New York, and a bevy of others but I think it still holds up as pretty damn creepy, especially by today’s standards. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne Barbeau (along with horror favorites Tom Atkins and Janet Leigh), it sets up with the classic horror trope of a large anniversary celebration in a quaint town. The pacing, music (a classic Carpenter score intercut with the usually wonderful plot device of a radio DJ broadcasting songs), and even the ghost sailors that show up at the end effectively make this 35-year old tribute to the ungraspable horror a solid choice that everyone should see.

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For similar reasons, I thought Sleepaway Camp was pretty well-known but not many have watched it. Sleepaway Camp begins as a normal summer camp horror with kids slowly getting picked off but there are strange flashbacks and an undertone that tells you something weird is coming. It’s the best of both worlds in terms of horror movie plots. Simple, classic set-up with a ‘twist’ of an ending. I won’t spoil it here but I hesitate to call it a twist as it bears no weight on the previous actions of the film after it is revealed. Shock value was a common theme in a lot of 80’s horror and this one might be the most famous. The film also leaves you with more questions than any kind of resolution and doesn’t exactly scream for a sequel (though there are several).

I believe the masterful Carpenter execution of his lesser known work in The Fog and the ‘camp’ of the summer shocker Sleepaway Camp easily make for a fun double feature. Both films complement each other in interesting ways with lots left to talk about after viewing.

My last and fourth requirement for choosing the right double feature was that you should be able to have fun while watching it. Going to the drive-in or watching movies on a friend’s roof with a projector usually means a lot of people. People that you want to hang out with, have drinks with, and not have to worry about missing any crucial plot points. The Fog and Sleepaway Camp accomplish this by not being very complicated yet still entertaining. Drive-ins are a great place to catch a classic movie and double features make it more fun. Even if it’s mostly people getting murdered.

Jason Fabeck is a writer living in Chicago. He enjoys camping, cooking, and never putting away his laundry. He sometimes writes about movies and TV for The Addison Recorder

Drive-In Double Feature: Scream 4 & Evil Dead (2013)!

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Anthony is a friend from Chicago whom I have had many talks about horror with; the ones that immediately come to mind seem to circle around Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects if memory serves correctly — but there’s a very good chance it doesn’t.

Now Anthony claims he had never written anything for a site before, but he did such a stellar job with this write up that I think he may have just been pulling my leg. He knocked this one out of the park! And I’m not afraid to pay him the compliment, even if he is a fan of modern horror remakes. But enough of my yammerin’: take it away, Anthony!

I have a confession to make, and it’s something which will probably take away any sort of credit I may ever hope to have as a horror fan: I absolutely love remakes of classic horror movies.  Whether it’s 2004’s Dawn of the Dead, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, or the modern takes on Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a remake done with input by the original creators, hoping to realize their vision more clearly after a few decades of technology improvements or if it’s a remake by an entirely new crew, attempting to put a new spin on a beloved movie.  I just really like seeing brand new takes on a movie that I already know and love, for better or for worse!

With this in mind, there’s a very specific sub-section of remakes that holds a special place in my heart, and one that I think would make a really fun focus for a drive-in double feature.  That is, of course, the remakequel.  A movie which manages to both retell key elements of the original film, but also takes place in a universe where the original story did, in fact, happen!  It’s an interesting slice of movie-making which can serve to magnify the themes of the original film, while also paying due respects by not wiping the old story out of continuity to make room for the new story.

My two favorite remakequels in recent memory are Scream 4, from 2011, and Evil Dead from 2013.  Both of these films simultaneously serve as the fourth movie in their respective series, while also acting as a remake/reboot of the original film.  It’s hard to talk about these two movies without first going a bit into the original versions!  Both of these film franchises are widely known and loved, and for similar reasons.  Throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy managed to combine over-the-top campy gore with slapstick comedy, to create a unique blend of horror and dark comedy.  This combination resonated throughout the horror film industry, and the influences can be seen in countless movies released afterwards.  Similarly, the Wes Craven created Scream films took a more light-hearted approach that managed to bring campy slasher flicks back from the dead in the mid-to- late ‘90s.  While I think many people going to see this double feature would be familiar with the original franchises, I don’t think that quite as many people went and saw the fourth movies in these series, and that is why I would love to attend a double-feature playing both films!

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The first movie played would have to be Scream 4, as that movie not only came out first, but thematically sets up the idea of a remakequel in the classic self-aware style which made the first movie so entertaining!  Taking place 15 years to the day after the original Scream film, this movie sees the town of Woodsboro dealing with what appears to be a copycat killer, mirroring the acts of the infamous Ghostface.  The two main characters that this film looks at are Neve Campbell, reprising her role as Sidney from the first three films, and newcomer Emma Roberts playing Sidney’s younger cousin, Jill.  In examining the relationship between the “final girl” from the original film, and her family member who is set up to fill that archetype in this one, Scream 4 provides a really fun and twist-filled analysis of the slasher film sub-genre, and of the craze of remaking classic horror films in general.  The movie plays with our expectations by giving the audience a mix of exactly what they expect in some instances and exactly the opposite of what they expect in others, keeping this tension high and never letting the viewer have a moment to feel comfortable!  Scream 4 serves as both a great example of a remakequel done right, and also as a fourth-wall breaking explanation of exactly what it means to have a reboot take place in the same universe as the original films.  Opening with Scream 4 will surely delight the crowd attending this double feature, and will also help set the scene for the second movie.

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Next up, we have Evil Dead!  This movie is a bit vaguer in its relationship to the original trilogy than Scream was, but if you pay attention it definitely can be viewed as “Evil Dead 4.”  I think this is awesome, because Evil Dead 2 was actually one of the earliest examples of a remakequel!  Taking place some 20 years after the original, this Evil Dead introduces us to a brand new set of 20-somethings who end up spending the week in the exact same cabin in the woods featured in the original trilogy.  Our two main characters are Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez as Mia and David Allen.  The brother-and-sister duo breaks the audience’s perception on how this remake is going to run, both immediately and in unexpected ways throughout the film!  At first, it appears that David might be this movie’s “Ash.”  They wear practically the same outfit, and both are accompanied by a sister, a girlfriend, and a few other friends.  But as the film goes on, we start to see elements of Ash appear in nearly every main character, but mostly Mia.  This switch-up serves to remind us that, despite the events being very similar to the first movie, this is more than just a remake.  Furthering this idea, it’s worth noting that the theme of cycles being both broken and re-entered runs throughout the entire film.  From the main purpose of the trip being Mia trying to break her drug habit, to the climactic reveal that (despite what we were shown previously in the series) the Necronomicon won’t go away just because it’s been set on fire.  This movie manages to pay homage to the best parts of the original Evil Dead trilogy, without ever feeling like a rehash!  Also, by going a bit lighter on the comedy and a bit heavier on the atmosphere, at times it manages to do something that the originals themselves never really did: scare the audience.  The use of practical effects and having a full cast of really believable actors, this film accomplishes everything that an Evil Dead movie should accomplish, and is a must-see for any fans of the series.

With that, the double feature will end, hopefully giving anyone who sat through the whole thing a lot to think about, and a couple of modern remakes that aren’t so bad after all.  Scream 4 and Evil Dead are two of my favorite modern horror films, and movies that I fear many people skipped due to the concern of them being creatively bankrupt unoriginal rehashes of old movies.  Were these two movies to ever actually get shown together, my biggest hope would be to show the world of horror fans that you can do a reboot right!  Some stories are so good that they’re worth telling again.

Anthony is void of any major forms of social media or public blogs, but any praise and/or criticisms can be left here and I’ll be glad to pass it along to him!