Guerilla Drive-Ins Keep the Spirit of Outdoor Movie Watching Alive


As some of you may know, we’re big fans of the drive-in here at Film Junk. In this age of high-tech multiplexes and gigantic IMAX screens, there’s still something about the experience of sitting outside in the dark and watching a movie among friends that makes it a little bit more exciting. The sad thing is, drive-ins are something of a dying breed, and I’m willing to bet that a lot of our younger readers have never even been to a drive-in before. That’s why I’m pretty stoked to hear that a number of people across North America are taking matters into their own hands, by starting up what they are calling “guerilla drive-ins” or “MobMovs”.

Yahoo! has an interesting article from The Associated Press this week about the growing phenomenon, where fans bring a 16mm or LCD projector out to different secret locations to screen some of their favourite movies. John Young, founder of the West Chester Guerilla Drive-In, describes the appeal thusly:

“Nowadays, you push a button and a movie appears… There’s fun in the inconvenience of having to get off the couch and go somewhere you might not be familiar with, maybe getting rained on, maybe being cold. It makes it an adventure.”

Agreed. While these events can fall into a legal grey area due to the required approval from film distributors, most guerilla drive-ins seem to operate on donations only. If you want to find one in your area, you can check out the listings on the website (FYI: Our friend Katie has started up one in the Niagara Region called Incredibly Strange Movie Night.) Come on people, let’s keep the drive-in experience alive! (Thanks to Jordan C. for the heads up.)

Around the Web:

  • Slushie Man

    Hey, there’s one here in St. John’s, Newfoundland! Talk about unexpected! Signing up now…

  • I’m absolutley in love with the idea of Drive-Ins, but unfortunatley there is only a couple here in Texas and there hundreds of miles from where I live. I actually have been to one once when I was visiting San Diego and it was amazing. I saw a Double Feature of National Treasure and The Incredibles. I dream of one day opening a legitimate Drive In here in Houston Texas. :D

  • Thanks Sean! I just joined the Waterloo chapter.

    Outdoor movie watching in the summer is the best! We’re having ‘The Wizard’ in a backyard this Saturday in St. Catharines.

    I plan to take them out of backyards and into public places, guerilla drive-in style, very soon.

    I really want to show ‘Mac and Me’ on the wall of the shoe store beside McDonald’s on Welland Ave in St. Catharines. Or the white fence in the McDonald’s parking lot in Niagara on the Lake.

    If anyone is interested in joining the mailing list to be informed of Incredibly Strange Movie Night screenings, send an email to: ismnniagara at gmail dot com

  • I love this shit.

    In college my roommates and I would check out expensive video projectors, that were not suppose to leave the architecture building, and throw outdoor and indoor screenings.

    Chicago has an active summer outdoor movie program.

    and of course the best outdoor movie experience ever depicted is the Row-In Theatre in Cinema Paradiso. I would die a happy man if I could watch that film in that little Italian harbor! Plus this great scene:

  • Over here in England we really don’t get the privilege of drive-ins, the country is too cold and you never know when it is going to rain. But I did get to go to one when I was young; I saw Jurassic Park 3 (I know it sucks) but a massive experience. I got totally freaked out as I was in the middle of a massive forest all around. Really did bring the whole thing alive.

    I am returning to the US this summer and hope I get to go again.