Jim’s recent post including the drive-in intermission clip made me think about the last time I watched a movie in a drive-in. It was 1980, and my family packed into the Olds Custom Cruiser station wagon to head out to the Corral Drive-In. My sister and I got to stretch out in the back of the car to watch the movie in comfort. We’d do that pretty regularly. I remember back when the sound came from a box that fit onto the window of the car – before they got all fancy with their own mini radio stations for the audio.
The movie was Alligator. Not great cinema, but it was memorable. It scared the crap out of me. I remember being scared to sit on the toilet for a long time after watching this – and having to flush a few times beforehand just in case an alligator was stuck in the pipe. I still think about this movie. Giant man-eating alligator, terrorizing a city. Because some schlub kid flushed his pet down the toilet.
B Movie Monster Sci Fi at its best, and worst. I remember the acting being terrible, but somehow compelling. I remember not seeing the alligator for much of the movie – being more afraid of not seeing it than when it was attacking. Not as powerful as Jaws, but more terrifying because it was lurking beneath the city. It could be lurking beneath my city (if I forget for a moment that my city is well below freezing for much of the year, and there’s little hope that an alligator would survive there, never mind thriving to 2000 pounds of man-eating terror).
Yet another of the films that affected me while growing up, with a strong zoological (or at least cryptozoological) angle. This does explain the whole BSc Zoology thing (although – was the fascination with these movies correlative or causative?)