Drive-in offers classic movie experience
With the heat wave finally over and the weekend soon upon us, how does watching Wes Andersonâs Rushmore atop a Downtown parking garage sound? A little unusual, probably, but thatâs the charm of Devilâs Night Drive In, one of Los Angelesâ more unique film venues.
To find a classic drive-in near Los Angeles, you need to commute 17 miles east to the City of Industryâs Vineland Drive-In Movie Theater â a long trek for a little nostalgia. But once per month (twice during summer), Devilâs Night offers the fond memories and fun, car hops included, just 10 minutes from campus.
Founder Morgan Higby Night began Devilâs Night in 2007 as the event Angel City Drive-In.
âIâm a big fan of the [Hollywood Forever] Cemetery screenings and drive-in movies â kind of âretroâ culture in general â as well as Downtown,â Night said. âThose three things combined made me think of doing it.â
He held the first three screenings in a parking lot next to The Alexandria hotel on Sixth and Main streets, and quickly decided to find a new location.
âIt was in a transition between being a crack house and a nice apartment building and weâd have people throwing their trash out the window on our patrons,â Night said. âThey just didnât want us there.â
Finding an ideal location for the Devilâs Night Drive In proved difficult. Night needed an open space large enough to fit the 24-foot inflatable screen and the audience as well as easy access to electricity. Those features also attract Â competitors from a different branch of the film industry â production teams ÂÂâ ones that often book lots at the last minute and can pay more for them.
On the corners of West Fourth Street and South Broadway, Night discovered a two-story parking garage with a clearance poorly suited for production trucks â the perfect spot for a Downtown drive-in.
âMy favorite thing about the lot that weâre at now is just the fact that weâre on a roof, so thereâs no distractions from the street downstairs,â Night said. âYou donât get people watching it from on the street. Itâs really private. Â I canât imagine doing it anywhere else.â
Devilâs Night Drive In mostly caters to cult films, like Evil Dead or The Big Lebowski, though that doesnât limit the selection. Past films include romances (Say Anything), so-bad-they-are-good laughers (Showgirls), classics both old (Rear Window) and new (Pulp Fiction), as well as family-friendly films (Big).
Night even occasionally takes suggestions from the audience, one of which, The Dark Side of Oz â a version of The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floydâs Dark Side of The Moon played over it â became a personal favorite.
âI never thought people would go for that, but they chose it and it was really cool to see it like that,â Night said.
Each screening costs $10, while designated family-friendly films cost $5. As a bonus, buying a presold ticket to one of the screenings guarantees a parking spot on the rooftop, where an FM transmitter broadcasts the movieâs soundtrack into your car.
Drive-in fans who miss the presale deadline or decide to go at the last minute can purchase a walk-in ticket at the gate. The entire downstairs of the garage doubles as parking for walk-ins, who can then picnic in the Astroturf section and listen to the movie through speakers.
Unlike most movie theatres, the food options at the drive-in are easier on moviegoersâ wallets. For just $6, Devilâs Night Drive Inâs âChef Boyardoucheâ grills specialty burgers for each screening, like Showgirlâs âSaved by the Bell Burgerâ and Up in Smokeâs âCheech and Chong Burger.â Nachos, hot dogs, candy and soda run cheaper than concessions at other theaters and so moviegoers donât miss anything, car hops come by on roller skates when you flash your lights to help with refills.
But the best bit comes post-picture. At the end of the show, after enjoying a unique, retro, affordable movie night, attendees do not have to wander a vast parking lot trying to remember where they left their car.
Devilâs Night Drive-In is located at 240 West Fourth Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Doors open Saturday at 8 p.m. for a screening of Rushmore. Visit www.devilsnight.com/drivein.htm for more information and a schedule of screenings.