Metropol: Triple Feature of Drive In Goodness!!

Over here in the US,  it’s Independence Day or as we like to call it,  The Fourth of July.  This is the part of the year where we celebrate the birth of the nation by gathering to watch copious amounts of gunpowder explode in the  air, going “ooohhh” and “aaahhhh”  in the process.  Some people go off camping and bring their own fireworks to have their own shows. Others hold big barbecues with friends, family and neighbors just to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Me! I show drive in features.

The Drive In,  in my opinion, is the most American thing I can think of culturally. For those who haven’t seen one, it’s just like the picture above.  A really large parking lot with a huge ass screen in front.  You paid admission at the drive-through entrance, pulled up to the closest and most comfortable lot and hang the speakers that were available off the car’s windowframe. The drive-in was the merging of two great love affairs at the time.  Cars and movies. The car culture in the 50’s was booming among the young as the car  became a symbol of freedom.  The drive in facilitated that idea with the help of Hollywood and in a way, Hammer Film would not have gained exposure in the US nor would American International Pictures (AIP) be able to inadvertently create grindhouse cinema nor even cease to be thanks to the youth who always went to the drive in.

My first memories as a human was that of the drive in. I must have been two or three at the time and my parents I believe were watching a double feature of a women in prison (WiP) film staring the beautiful Barbara Steele and what seemed to be a satanism flick. Back during that time, drive ins were losing out on clientele due to the advent of the multiplex theater. High property value was killing them off, so many of them became rural grindhouses in order to just pay the morgage.  The very last drive in double feature I seen was in the  80’s. It was Clash of the Titans and Russ Mulcahy’s Highlander.  Such great memories.  The smell of popcorn and barbecue. The sounds of revved engines and crickets during the silence……. good stuff.

Enough jibber jabber! Let’s get going!!  Admission is free after the break!

Welcome! Try our yummy snacks at the concession stand!

Welcome! Try our yummy snacks at the concession stand!

All pictures are public domain.

EEGAH! is pretty much the pinnacle of the Arch Hall empire. Arch Hall Sr.  was a former stuntman and actor who formed his own small production company to try and reap the profits of the budding drive in market. He would usually use his very own son, Arch Hall Jr. as leading man and tried to push him off as the next Elvis or James Dean. This mix of pajama party and caveman movie was Richard Kiel’s first big role in movies as the title character. He would play other roles in TV and film including the role of Jaws in the James Bond film Moonraker.  This movie also was the acting debut of Ray Dennis Steckler, who would later start directing starting of with Arch Hall Sr ‘s next film, Wild Guitar and then his magnum opus,  The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies!!? among many other gems of his.

Not only was popcorn, candy and soda pop offered at the concession stand, but also chili, ribs, pizza, ice cream and my personal favorite, pulled pork sandwiches.

The Terror is an interesting little film. Finding out that there was a little time left on Boris Karloff’s contract, Roger Corman, AIP’s chief director, used set and costumes from the previous film he was working on and let stagehands and assistants Monte Hellman, Jack HillFrancis Ford Coppola and Jack Nicholson take turns directing scenes with Karloff giving pointers from the actor’s point of view. With second unit work by Corman edited in, what you see is the finished product. The four men later make their own movies for AIP and find success in Hollywood.

Intermission Time!

Night of the Living Dead, to me,  represents The Dream. The high risk attitude to go out and try to make it. Just three guys bored out of their skulls making advertising for TV and instructional films and using a meager budget to buy tons of chocolate syrup and baked ham for effects. Filming on 16mm film on nights and week-ends with friends and family. When the movie was released, not only did it do gangbusters in the box office, but also was the first film to receive a MPAA rating and considered by film historians as the major influence of the Modern Horror Era of the 70’s and 80’s.

Well folks, seem the show is over. Thanks for stopping by.  Hoped you enjoyed yourselves!

(big thanks to ampopfilms and drelbcom.  Check them out for more public domain movies)

Hey! If you have any comment or you’d like to ask a question or two feel free to either leave it in the comment box or email me at [email protected] Love to read from you.

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