Every Halloween season, this boy’s fancy turns to… the memory of drive-in movie theaters around North Texas. I spent quite a few 1970s childhood hours with my family there. Most of those lost hours were dedicated to watching horror flicks — mediocre, bad, terrible, or blindingly awful. That was the only time in my life when you might catch me with a girl in the backseat of a car. Nothing to see here — she was my sister.
The Apollo in Garland was my family’s favored haunt, though we hit other drive-ins. A very early memory — I refused to put my feet on the floormat during ”Son of Blob,” directed by an LSD-impaired Larry Hagman (his confession, not my guess). I’m not sure if it was the blob or Shelley Berman’s mustache that scared me the most.
Over the years, we snoozed through a giant Dino De Laurentiis dropping called ”White Buffalo” (all that you see of the monster in the trailer is all that you see in the film); guffawed during ”Race with the Devil,” in which Loretta Swit’s screams on a speeding RV chipped away at a grindhouse generation’s hearing; and were genuinely creeped out by both ”Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” and ”The Brotherhood of Satan.” I have both of them on DVD — “Jessica” still burns impressively on the fumes of gorgeous twilit atmosphere (and pays off with a nice genre twist), while “Brotherhood” contains some uniquely bizarre sequences with malicious toys, spellbound child actors, and a society of elderly devil worshippers all too eager to babysit the neighborhood kids.
Of course, if you want to support a modern-day, family-owned, surviving by-the-skin-of-their-teeth Texas drive-in, take a short road trip to The Galaxy, a four-screener in Ennis. Halloween (this Saturday) night’s fare includes the critically acclaimed flix “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Zombieland,” as well as “The Stepfather” and “Cirque de Freak.”