At the Georgetown Drive-In, it’s all about the movies.

Posted on 01 September 2009 by Quaid

There’s a drive-in about twenty-five minutes from my house.  It’s only in the past few years that I’ve realized how lucky that really makes me.

Drivein1Now, I’m not talking lucky in a “retro getting a piece of the past” kind of way.  Every time I tell someone I’m going to the drive-in, they say something along the lines of “That sounds so quaint,” or “it’s a dying piece of Americana.”

My response?  Screw that.  I go to the drive-in for one reason.  The movies.

The first time I went, of course, it was all about the novelty.  But once I pulled the lawn chairs out of the trunk, filled my paper cup with a little smuggled-in whiskey and settled in with my radio tuned to the soundtrack, I immediately got giddy.  I was about to enjoy three movies…a triple feature of the greatest kind.  Under the stars, with friends.  

That first time at the drive-in we were celebrating the release of Rob Zombie’s Halloween.  If you read the site, though, you know that I’m not a huge Rob Zombie fan.  Instead, I was there for the first feature–John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Not only were they showing an original print of the movie (faded and with scratches and all-around amazing), but Tony Moran was in attendance.  You know…the guy that played Michael Myers for that one shot where his mask gets pulled off?  

IMG_0428And in Georgetown, Indiana–home of the Georgetown Drive-In–Tony Moran is kind of a big deal.  The line for autographs was a mile long, with everyone FREAKING OUT about the possibility of meeting Michael Myers in the flesh.

These are my kind of people: horror fans without a hint of doubt or cynicism.  This man was Michael Myers…that’s all there was to it.

Anyway, back to the movies.  I bought a delicious five-dollar steak sandwich and settled in for the films.

As an unabashed Halloween fan, watching the original print of the film on the biggest screen imaginable was nearly a religious experience.  It was also the first time I ever saw a film print burn and waited fifteen minutes for the movie to get up-and-running–which made me cringe knowing that a few seconds of the film was gone forever…but was also kinda cool.

Since that night I’ve been back to the Georgetown Drive-In multiple times to enjoy the cheap food, the cheesy announcements, and the great weather.  But, in the end, it’s always been about the movies.

I’ve seen Friday the 13th Part Seven and The Exorcist and District 9, and I’ve shaken hands with special guests Linda Blair, Tommy Lee Wallace, and Michael Madsen.  On fright-fest horror nights, I’ve even been chased through a maze-like concession stand line by both Leatherface and Michael Myers…AT THE SAME TIME.

Drivein2Most recently, though, I returned to Georgetown for a back-to-back screening of Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween 2, followed by Inglourious Basterds.  By this time, I had it down to a science, tracking down an ancient MP3 player that also happens to have an FM tuner, putting in ear-buds and enjoying the films in full stereo.  Sitting under the stars, I realized fully for the first time that I wasn’t there for the atmosphere or food or celebrities.  This is the only way I could experience this triple feature.  It was cheap and comfortable, and it was the only theater in town intelligent enough to actually put some thought into its programming.

I wasn’t a big fan of Halloween 2, and I loved Inglourious Basterds.  Regardless of the quality of the films, I really don’t know that there is a better way to watch them from a purely cinematic perspective.  The biggest screen around.  A real 35mm print.  Ear-buds blasting the soundtrack as loud as I want.  And a cup full of whiskey at the ready.

I’ll make it back to the Georgetown Drive-In as much as I can before it closes for the season.  But the reason I make the trek isn’t for the nostalgia or the atmosphere or the “change of pace.”  It’s because they’ve got damn good movies that I love to watch.  In the end, that’s all that really matters.                           

Categorized | Commentary, Featured

10 Comments For This Post

  1. matt Says:

    I love this article. I used to live close enough to this theatre growing up that i would listen to movies on the radio before actually seeing them. It was what i did on friday nights between the ages of 9-12. Movies like Hudson Hawk, Dances With Wolves, Batman, The Little Mermaid. It was great and I have forgotten how great it truly is to go there and enjoy a movie. And that was before they had the second screen. I can’t wait to load up and go there now… Looks like i may indulge there hopefully in october they can play a double feature with “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Zombieland” because they go together perfect. Wishful thinking, but we shall see. Great article Quaid, really enjoyed it.

  2. ParryOtter Says:

    I second that– great article. There’s nothing more surreal than watching a movie outside on a HUGE screen, pausing every half hour to go “oop, there’s a shooting star!”

  3. Chris Says:

    I found the referenced on Digg.

    I just went to the Georgetown Drive-In a month ago. I love it except they need some different screens. You make some great points. It would be nice though if you would post some actual photos of the Georgetown Drive-In. I do like the thought of Georgetown having majestic mountains though. My wife would love that also since she grew up there. I think I have a picture on my facebook of it.

    Anyway, I have always loved Drive-Ins and this one is one of the greats.

  4. Gonzobot Says:

    Neverminding teh part about bringing whiskey to a drivein (THINK OF THE CHILDREN FOR THE LOVE OF PANTS) this is a damn good article. Gives me good reason to want to go to my local-ish drive-in, where you’re forced to pop your trunk and sign a ‘no-shenanigans’ waiver (credit to my southpark friend for naming that particular bit of bureaucracy) to make sure you’re not diluting the profits in the slightest. Nevermind that you can watch from the road, with a decent FM receiver and willingness to sit in a ditch, there are movies to be had! My local does 3movies on holidays, but they ALWAYS package the flicks to best money – Harry Potter, License to Wed, and then some 18+ flick I can’t recall. Probably wasn’t even billed HP5+License to Wed, because those at the time would have been high-rated flicks, and that particular drivein had the bad habit of pairing shit movies first, decent movies second, then on holiday 3-weekends, putting family-romancomed-horror in one theater, no screen switching allowed. Fuck those guys, they’re just in it for the money! Now that you mention proper driveins still existing, I think I will write my local! Shape up or get firebombed! BOOSH!

  5. Timmie Thompson Says:

    I love this article. I was born in Louisville, KY and as a kid we would go to this drive-in on a regular basis. I now live in Michigan and there are drive-ins around but none of them have the atmosphere of the Georgetown. Great post.

  6. Rob Says:

    I live about ten minutes away from this drive in and was amazed to see it on the front page of Digg! I think that the owners of the drive in are some of the best people ever because it’s so expensive to keep something like this alive. I always prefer to watch a movie at the drive in because of it’s atmosphere, and not having to feel like I’m packed in a can at a normal theater. Thanks for writing this article.

  7. Jeff Says:

    Great Article! I have the same feelings about the local drive-in near my home in Lancaster, OH. (http://www.skyviewdrivein.com) I love the fact that I can take my entire family to see 2 first run movies for under $30. The prices are great at the concession stand and the owner keeps it in top notch condition. I would urge every person to go to a local drive-in if there is one close by.

    Thanks for a great article!!

  8. Sean Says:

    Wellfleet Drive-in on Cape Cod is always on my to-do list when I’m on the cape. Great experience. Wish there were some close to Austin, but at least we have the Alamo Drafthouse.

  9. Ashley A. Says:

    Very interesting post, am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

  10. Ezra Closer Says:

    I too, once, lived only blocks from the Drive-in in Georgetown. It’s great to see a town, that for years, had nothing more than a drive-in, a softball field, and a creek that regularly flooded-getting some attention. The owners have done great things to promote their business as of late and I believe, the last I checked, their Facebook fan page was up to 10,000 likes. Not too bad at all.

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