Oct 31, 2022

It Is Time To Keep Your Appointment With The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
This place has truly become our happy place.  Our first show at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater in May 2021.  Fast forward seventeen months and we are fortunate enough to spend the final night of the 2022 season watching our 180th movie on the big screen under the stars in Lehighton, Pennsylvania.  Beyond that, we have made friends, met dozens of special guests who have worked and appeared in some of our favorite movies, and have truly found a community where we feel accepted.  I cannot put into words how special this place is to me and how thankful I am to call it my home away from home.

The final show of the 2022 season was a Devil's Night screening of the 1973 Christopher Lee horror classic: The Wicker Man.  Neither my wife or I have ever watched this movie before last night.  I've never seen the remake before either, which I'm told is bad to the point of being an unintentional comedy.  It wouldn't be accurate to say that I came into this screening completely blind because it's ending has become common knowledge in pop culture over the years.  For this reason, watching this movie reminded me very much of the experience that I had the first time that I saw The Planet Of The Apes... I know a snapshot of the ending, but I don't know how they got there.

The Wicker Man is a phenomenal movie and absolutely deserving of its status as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.  The atmosphere reminded me very much of Midsommar, but it's presented as the setting of a very compelling detective story that casts a Joe Friday-like policeman as the outsider instead of a group of obnoxious college students.  Sergeant Neil Howie visits the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate reports of a missing young girl, but the closer he gets to her, the farther away from the truth he gets.  It's as close to a perfect film that I have ever seen; brilliant from start to finish.

I very strongly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it before, and there's no better time to check it out than on Halloween night.  From what I can tell, it's not streaming anywhere as part of a subscription package.  It can be rented to stream for as little as 99 cents, and I promise you that it will be the best value for the dollar that you will spend all year.

As the credits rolled, we all made our way toward the back of the lot to gather round The Wicker Man and watch it burn.  Rob jogged out of the projection booth with a torch and lit the wooden figure, which was stuffed with popcorn, and we all watched it burn as we said goodbye to our drive-in family for the winter and celebrated an amazing season.

There are some experiences in life that burn into your memory (no pun intended).  This was one of them.

With the exception of my grandparents house when I was a child, I can't think of any other place in this world that I've been able to relax and be myself and have as much fun as I do at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater.  Virgil, Jeff, Mark, Sandy, Beth, Dave, Rob, JT and everybody else that we've talked to on the staff have made us feel so welcome here, and I can't thank them enough for all of the hard work that they do in making every experience at the drive-in special for everybody in attendance.  These are truly good folks.  I am a pretty awkward dude who doesn't always find the right words, but I never feel judged here.  I've met so many of my fellow audience members that I can't even begin to count them, and even though I'm not nearly the movie expert that many of these folks are, there has never been a time where I felt like an outsider.  If any of you ever stumble across my blog, know that I appreciate all of you, and we'll see you in 2023.