Friday, October 20, 2006

DRIVE-IN TRAILER PARK: BEWARE THE UNFLESHED!


Time is tight, so this week’s Drive-in Trailer Park is gonna be a quick one, sticking with the seasonal theme of science fiction and horror, of course.

Today’s double feature of classic drive-in newspaper ads comes from the Raleigh, North Carolina area-- the Tower Drive-in Theater and “Raleigh’s newest,” the Center Drive-in Theater. According to The Newspaper Movie Ad Archive (from which these images were obtained), the engagements described date to March and April 1968.

(Image courtesy of The Newspaper Movie Ad Archive. Click on image to enlarge.)

The first, showcasing a can’t-miss bill of “4 HORROR HITS!” is a great example of the slapdash collage approach to putting together drive-in ads on the movie pages of papers in the early ‘70s. Better than just the simple listing of film titles in simple typeface, which was most certainly the cheaper, more efficient option for drive-in owners trying to keep costs down, the slapdash collage at least employs the actual advertising logos of the films, often hastily snipped out of pressbooks provided by the studios and pasted upon a generic design, the nature of which depended on the movies themselves of course. (Horror films were easy, because the iconographic imagery was pretty abundant in newspaper layout formats—a good skull was never hard to find.)

In this case, the movie titles jet out of the eye sockets of the skull on harsh beams of light presumably originating from the devilish brain still contained within. The bill is a good one, too, well worth the time and effort to promote it in such a flashy way—two bottom-tier Hammer films-- The Reptile, The Mummy’s Shroud-- and Warner’s low-rent (but fairly entertaining) William Castle-esque knockoff Chamber of Horrors. (“The movie with the Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn!”)

But whoever put the ad together got a little excited—perhaps it was the end of the day and he/she had to beat bad traffic—and ended up forgetting to post the fourth feature! Oh, well, surprise and shock being the exploitable elements that they were in the day as far as drive-in combos went, perhaps it was more fun going to see this bill not knowing what feature number four was going to be—all the better to keep you awake until the wee hours when it would finally find its way to the big drive-in screen.

(Image courtesy of The Newspaper Movie Ad Archive. Click on image to enlarge.)

The second ad, for a double feature of almost completely forgotten horror films, is notable for a couple of reasons. I know that during this period, when I was watching the movie pages very closely, Fridays were typical release days, though it wasn’t unusual to see a new program beginning on Wednesday, to give enough time to build up interest for the weekend. And my local drive-in usually ran a Tuesday through Sunday schedule, six days with a change of program on the following Tuesday. But I don’t recall too many programs actually starting on a Sunday, the last day of the weekend, especially movies of this nature. (Maybe that’s just how they did it in Raleigh. Anybody know?)

The other thing that’s kind of amusing about this particular ad and its layout is its side-by-side design, and the fact that the art for Cave of the Living Dead seems either a lame knockoff of the already lame art for Tomb of Torture, or maybe even a total rip-off of it drawn up by a bored artist sitting around the newspaper office. And then there’s that ad copy: “Prey to the creatures from the grave…” Does this mean that, should these creatures’ potential victims hope to save themselves, they should hightail it to the nearest chapel and “prey” for deliverance, even as they were being sized up by the monsters as potential “pray”? And I’ve never, in my many dark, dank days of scrutinizing ads like these, ever heard of zombies described as “the unfleshed”! Boy, in comparison to this, the movie pages just aren’t any fun anymore, are they?

Okay, on to this week’s trailers. First out of the box is a movie that most of us have only seen on TV or DVD, but which I was lucky enough to see in a theater, at a canned-food matinee, as I recall, back in the early ‘70s. The WWF should bow before this film and acknowledge it as their primary source of inspiration…



And finally, to carry us into our weekend, what red-blooded young man in 1966 (and you really get an up-close look at the red blood in this movie) wouldn’t want Raquel Welch checking him out from the inside?



That’s it from the Drive-in Trailer Park for this week! Thanks once again to everyone who made the Robert Aldrich Blog-a-Thon so much fun to read and coordinate! Next week, in anticipation of Halloween, another visit with Saw III star Shawnee Smith and my look at some underrated, underseen and flat-out ignored horror films. All the best to you and yours for a great, relaxing weekend!

4 comments:

Flickhead said...

Two fascinating moments in the otherwise tepid Fantastic Voyage:

1) Stephen Boyd staring directly at Raquel's boobs as the ship spins around (see trailer).

2) The implied gang-rape of Raquel when all the men furiously rip the immune system boogers from her wetsuit.

Raquel connoisseurs like myself find her better served by One Million Years BC and especially that paragon of guilty pleasure, Fathom, in which she plays Clive Revill's bikini-clad "Love Chick."

Dennis Cozzalio said...

I love Fathom, too, Flickhead. But it's been years since I've seen Fantastic Voyage, and I must say, Raquel in a innerspace suit doesn't do as much for me as Raquel in a bikini or whatever prehistoric fashion she was barely wearing in One Million Years B.C.

Benaiah said...

sorry it has been awhile since I posted anything Dennis, I still lurk, but I have the old soul crushing 9-5 these days so I don't have as much time to post.

I just wanted to note that I watched Flags of our Fathers over the weekend and I thought it was throughly mediocre. Going in I didn't realize that Paul Haggis had anything to do with it (though I should have) but I could see his grubby fingerprints all over it by the time his name rolled up with the credits. The story is so awkwardly framed I literally didn't care at all about any of the deaths in the movie. I realize that it is an adaptation of a book by a man whose dad was at Iowa Jima, but, as Charlie Kaufman has firmly established, adaptations need not stick so tightly to the source material. The frame story of an old man who connects with his son went beyond trite to the firmly cliche. Plus the larger message of the movie was so ambiguous that I was left with the sneaking suspicion that the main point was only that war is hard on the people who survive. Hardly groundbreaking stuff. Clint Eastwood does a nice job filming the story, but really, compared to an instant classic like The Departed, just a bad movie.

At any rate, I wanted to post my thoughts on the movie and this is still the main movie blog I read. Keep up the good work.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Benaiah: Great to hear from you. Are you still in school, or does the 9-to-5 indicate moving on into the Wild Blue Yonder? Anyway, I'm really glad to know that you're out there lurking and still keeping up with the old blog-- I say old, because SLIFR will be celebrating its 2nd birthday on Nov. 15, and it's nice to know one of the originals is still here with me! My own ability to keep up with what's going on lately is being sorely taxed-- work is stressful, I'm in the early stages of a career change (I want to become a schoolteacher), keeping up with my daughters is getting increasingly exhausting (but in a good way!) and I'm really trying to continue doing writing on this blog that means something to me, as well as keep up with all the people who take the time to leave comments. It's not as easy as it used to be, but it's still worthwhile, and I love maintaining the connections I've made with readers and other writers since I started this thing. It's certainly led me to places and people I wouldn't otherwise have known.

My wife and I are visiting lovely (rich, white, stuffy) Laguna Beach, CA for our 13th wedding anniversary this weekend, as I write this, and we're enjoying a rare evening in a nice hotel (our girls are staying with friends), and we just finished watching Clerks 2 on the amazingly diverse (for a hotel) on-demand movie system. Some really good laughs, more than the usual dead spots for Kevin Smith, and a nice emotional payoff, but clearly, the Clerks/Jay/Silent Bob universe needs to be left behind at this point. We're hping to see Borat tomorrow.

I like Flags of Our Fathers far more than you did-- I found its rather misshapen structure strangely effective, almost like the movie was searching in the same sort of way the characters were, but I also thought it had some new and interesting things to say about a culture that demands of its men that they kill. The filmmaking isn't as assured as, say, Saving Private Ryan, but it's not asking you to groove on the violence and intensity while you're condemning it like that movie occasionally did either.

As for The Departed, I saw it last night and I must say, what an amazing cast. I was less impressed with Damon, but DiCaprio was suitably intense. And I was so glad to see Ray Winstone's name come up in the credits-- I always enjoy seeing him (did you see either Sexy Beast or The Proposition?) Wahlberg was flat-out fantastic, and I think dumping this leading-man fantasy has been the best thing that ever happened to Alec Baldwin-- he was riveting. (Also, I couldn't take my eyes off of David Patrick O'Hara as Fitzy-- he's been around a while, but other than a small part in Bill Forsyth's Comfort and Joy, I've never really seen him, and you can bet I'll be keeping my eyes peeled from here on out.)

That said, I was far less impressed with the movie as a whole than you were, and some others I know. The line on it is that it's supposedly a return to form for Scorsese, his best since GoodFellas, I believe it goes. Well, I'm one who doesn't really think much of GoodFellas and even though I think Casino is seriously flawed, I think it's a much more interesting movie than The Departed. The new movie seems a little flabby, especially around the two-thirds mark-- I wanted it to snap to, but instead we kept getting all the padding with Vera Farmiga's character-- I really think it could have been a half-hour shorter (and that's not the kind of comment I usually make). As for Nicholson, I thought he was consistently entertaining, but only about half effective as Costello-- he kept doing those Jack bits (like with the dildo in the porn theater, or those funny Shining faces he kept pulling during his sit-downs with DiCaprio, and I just wondered if this guy is beyond just settling down and giving a performance anymore (A useful question the occasion of the release of Reds on DVD.) I thought The Departed was involving, as far as it goes, and often funny, but it can't hold up being mentioned in the same breath as Mean Strets, Taxi Driver, Kundun or The Last Temptation of Christ, I don't think.

Well, it's getting late, so I'd better shut down myself. Don't be a stranger, although I do know how it goes. I've got another Professor quiz I'm getting ready to unvil this month, so I hope you can take some time to lend us your always thoughtful and interesting answers. Talk to you soon, Benaiah, I hope!