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The Drive-In (The Drive-In #1)

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,103 ratings  ·  64 reviews
When a group of friends decided to spend a day at the world's largest Drive-In theater horror fest, they expected to see tons of bloody murders, rampaging madmen, and mayhem - but only on the screen. As a mysterious force traps all the patrons inside the Drive-In, the worst in humanity comes out. Filled with Lansdale's razor whit and black humor, The Drive-In is a darkly h ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Avatar Press (first published July 1st 1988)
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The Great Horror Novels
50th out of 170 books — 45 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,934)
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Gregor Xane
I especially like Lansdale's wackier stuff like Zeppelins West and Flaming London. The Drive-In is almost as wacky as those books. However, it's not an absurd pastiche. Instead, it's an homage to B-movie horror flicks (obviously). I found this to be a highly entertaining read, once I got past the dreadful John Hughes-style breakfast scene with the protagonist's wise-cracking and flirty parents, that is.

The Drive-In's way over-the-top in its depiction of humanity crumbling in a nightmare world of
...more
Hudson
Three words best describe this book by the inimitable Joe Lansdale, FUN, FUN FUN! This is classic B grade movie horror schlock but with the added bonus of typical JR writing thrown in for good measure.

The story takes place at a massive drive in movie complex. All of a sudden a (long) black veil descends on the area and everyone there is trapped. Naturally things decline pretty quickly, enter starvation, roving biker gangs, religious cannibals and oh yes...the Popcorn King.

Great read for any hor
...more
Stephen
3.0 stars. This book was a lot of fun. It is the literary equivalent of a cheesy, midnight horror flick but with much better dialogue and humor. The narrator's "voice" had just the right tone and automatic acceptance of whatever bizarro event were occurring around him to carry this book through.

Nominee: Locus Award for Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel
Nominee: Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel
Nominee: World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
Veeral
Cheap fun, like a B-horror movie. Lots of gore and cussing with an insensible plot with some funny observations thrown in by the narrator in a detached way. In one word - Bizarro.

Good for killing-off an hour or so if you are in the mood to read something with an over-the-top plot like this.
Frank Errington
Review copy

Those were the days. Heading to the drive in on a Friday night. If you were lucky, it was with the girl with whom you were hoping to get past second base. But then, it could be just as much fun with your friends. Maybe with one or two of you in the trunk to save the admission fee.

The Orbit Drive-In off I-45 is the largest Drive-In in Texas with space for four-thousand cars. With two or more occupants per car, that makes The Orbit bigger than many small Texas towns.

The Orbit shows "B-
...more
Daniel Bastian
A generation or two ago, Texas was known for its sprawling drive-in cinemas and zany monster flicks playing out over the cool summer air. In his 1988 cult classic, Joe Lansdale turns a nostalgic night out at the theater into a grungy galleria of claustrophobic terror. What begins with frights and screams beaming from the sparkling screens ends with panic-stricken mobs dancing to the tune of the B-movie gods. Jack and his three friends dash off to the movies, only to become part of one themselves ...more
Benoit Lelievre
Reading Joe Lansdale is something that goes far beyond a simple money-for-entertainment transaction. It's an experience, something deeply satisfying in the form as well as in the content. THE DRIVE-IN is like a demented celebration of everything Joe Lansdale stands for. It's so out there, it could've well been fan fiction, but we're lucky enough to have it written by the master. Think Ghostbuster meets Goonies meets Stephen King and the B-movie Gods. Ferociously fun.
Kendra
Mar 08, 2008 Kendra rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like gore
ok this is one of those trainwrecks where you can't look away but everything inside of you wishes you could. i actually read this story at the beginning of a lansdale reader (electric gumbo) which included several short stories by the author as well. let's just say his stuff is fucked up no matter how you slice it.
Charles
This book is very hard to categorize. There's a fair amount of fantasy and horror, though. This is truly a fun book. Weird as the day is long, but compelling.
Ruth Turner

Loved the beginning. Great writing, great characters and quite a few laugh out loud moments.

But, lost me at the King of Popcorn!
Kevin
This short, brutal novel ranks with the best of Lansdale's short fiction. The premise sounds like something off "The Twilight Zone", in which moviegoers at all-night horror-movie marathon at a Texas drive-in theater find themselves trapped there by forces beyond their comprehension, but Lansdale eschews the heavy-handedness most authors would resort to with such material. This is an author equal parts folksy storyteller and hard-bitten misanthrope, and he depicts the banality of day-to-day life ...more
Marvin
Jul 22, 2010 Marvin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: freaked-out redneck hippies
Shelves: horror, autographed
Just discovered I still have this inscribed novel in my collection. Totally frigging bizarre. Bizarro before Bizarro fiction existed. A different side of Lansdale. I'm giving it four stars based on my original read in 1988 but I think it is ready for a re-read.

So I read it again and am upping my rating to four and a half, maybe ever four and three quarters. Just don't get that five star feeling but it is awfully close. This was written when Lansdale was the shining star of Splatter-Punk, a sub-g
...more
Craig DiLouie
In THE DRIVE-IN by Joe Lansdale, a group of teenagers excitedly pulls into the Orbit, a giant multi-screen drive-in with multiple horror features on six giant screens. Soon after the movies start, however, a comet descends, shrouding the drive-in in a lethal darkness and trapping thousands of people. While the movies keep rolling night and day to provide light, and the concession stand starts to run out of soda and candy and popcorn, the inhabitants begin to starve, slowly devolving into savager ...more
Ben Rowe
I did not think this was my kind of book but it was short and I am always keen to step outside my normal comfort zone. This was the first time I think I have read any Lansdale and I can certainly see me reading more of him.

The book takes a kind of light hearted and humourous approach to stuff like death and canibalism and whilst I am ok with dark humor it was perhaps not quite to my taste in that regard. It was also more plot driven/ world building than what I normally go for...Also the satire
...more
Angel Gelique
This was definitely an interesting read, to say the least! It was well-written and full of wonderfully descriptive similes. The author has quite an imagination, and I truly enjoyed the fact that as I read the story, it came alive in my mind as if I were watching a movie. I will definitely read more of Lansdale's works, starting with the sequel, "Drive-In 2."
Shawn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve
If you remember drive-ins, and like horror movies, then you must read this book. Very funny, but with a fair share of horror -- and sci-fi, and probably a bunch of other stuff as well. There's a second part to this I just couldn't get into. But this is, to date, the best book I've read by Lansdale.
R.John
May 24, 2008 R.John rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: splatter fans
Shelves: fiction
This comic book gave me a strange feeling, in part because the artwork is horrible to look at, and in part because all the text gets muddled about in those busy drawings. Interesting for two reasons, Popcorn King & what becomes of the Christians. Silly.
Shane
Yeah... Very 'not what I expected', but not bad for all that. I got a little tired of the same old, day to day grind about two thirds of the way through or so, but the black humour saw me through. I had expected this to be a kind of 'trick 'r treat(the movie)' kind of anthology type story, but as it turns out it was very much a normal, full length novel that hides a lot of gruesome and depressing bits in amongst that black humour I mentioned. The humour excuses a lot in my view, since my expecta ...more
Frank Errington
Review copy

Those were the days. Heading to the drive in on a Friday night. If you were lucky, it was with the girl with whom you were hoping to get past second base. But then, it could be just as much fun with your friends. Maybe with one or two of you in the trunk to save the admission fee.

The Orbit Drive-In off I-45 is the largest Drive-In in Texas with space for four-thousand cars. With two or more occupants per car, that makes The Orbit bigger than many small Texas towns.

The Orbit shows "B-s
...more
Crossett  Library
Really sick and disturbing graphic novel, about a drive-in that experiences an apocalyptic event. Very disturbing!
Corky
Best horror story I've ever read. Even if horror is not your thing (its not mine) it is still worth reading.
Chriskolak
Quite possibly the most bizarre Lansdale book out there, and that's saying ALOT.
Val O. Morris
This was my first entry into the world of Lansdale and what a wild one to start with! Many of us monster kids have fond memories of growing up with the local drive-in and this story definitely has that feeling at its heart... Along with some wacky B-movie staples, violence, humor, and otherwise twisted debauchary. I really enjoyed the first portion of the book - learning about the characters' friendships and their excitement about the drive-in. However, I wasn't that stoked about the ending, but ...more
Cat Rambo
This is an amazing, gonzo, crazy book.
Frank
Brian Keene is one of my favorite horror authors (he is one of many peoples favorite horror authors). So when Brian Keene says that THE DRIVE-IN by Joe Lansdale is one of the best horror stories ever written, you go and read it. Which is exactly what I did. And I must say, Brian Keene was right.

THE DRIVE-IN is pure 80's horror. Written in the golden era, this story is an homage to classic cult horror movies. I'm not even sure how this one escaped my notice when it was first published. I guess I
...more
Alessandro Balestra
Jack, Bob e Randy sono tre ragazzi che decidono di andare all'Orbit, il più grande drive-in del Texas che proietta per tutta la notte alcuni classici dell'orrore come "Non aprite quella porta", "La casa" e "La notte dei morti viventi". Tutto fila liscio fino a quando uno strano fenomeno atmosferico isola il drive-in dal resto del mondo... chi tenta di uscire si scioglie come cera al sole. Ed è qui che comincia l'incubo: gli ospiti-prigionieri del drive-in, costretti a nutrirsi di hamburger e Coc ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Premessa: l'edizione del romanzo che ho letto e che mi appresto a recensire è l'Urania numero 1214 datato 19-9-1993, da quel che so diversa dalla versione Einaudi Stile Libero, che mi sembra abbia accorpato a questo il secondo episodio della trilogia de "La notte del Drive-in".
Detto ciò, passo a riconoscere a Lansdale una fantasia degna di Stephen King, al netto di quell'autocompiacimento che a me personalmente fa mal digerire il "Re". Per questo "La notte del Drive-in", nonostante vari difetti,
...more
Alex Budris
My first taste of Lansdale was a wild experience: I was taken totally by surprise. "The Drive-In" was absurd, quirky, scary, and very funny. I don't think I've laughed-out-loud at a book since I was in high-school reading Vonnegut and Thompson. Very few authors could make a scene depicting the cannibalization of a baby as funny as something from "Catch-22." The book is a pastiche of "B-Movies", an absurd, deadpan comedy, and a horror novel. Mix in just a little bit of social-satire. What a uniqu ...more
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paced reading hor...: The Drive-In by Joe Lansdale 42 10 May 26, 2015 12:15AM  
Horror Aficionados : August 2013 Group Read: The Drive-In 40 164 Sep 26, 2013 02:10PM  
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Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of the British Fantasy Award, the American Horror Award, the Edgar Award, and six Bram Stoker Awards. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas.
More about Joe R. Lansdale...

Other Books in the Series

The Drive-In (3 books)
  • The Drive-in 2
  • The Drive-In 3: The Bus Tour
The Bottoms Mucho Mojo (Hap and Leonard, #2) Savage Season (Hap and Leonard, #1) The Two-Bear Mambo (Hap and Leonard, #3) Edge of Dark Water

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“the Texas stars shining down like rattlesnake eyes showing in a deep, dark wood.” 0 likes
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