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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.

If you want to feel like a ghost, wander through this checklist of 16 long-dead Fort drive-ins. Here’s a smaller but more detailed roundup of top area ex-theaters with some cool pics.

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.

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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.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks, Jimmy! Folks should send this information to friends, family and freaks, alike. Then stuff them all in their cars and meet us down there……VIVA LA DRIVE-IN!!!!!!

  2. Oh man I love the drive ins!!! I once waited for a critial moment in Jaws then hit the window next to my mothers head. Ummmmm. Never did that again! That women is quick.

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