Tunnel Vision Tuesdays: Mahoning Drive-In’s alternative film series

The Mahoning Drive-In, with the assistance of Exhumed Films, is hosting “Tunnel Vision Tuesdays,” a weekly series of classic genre fare presented on glorious 35mm!

This past Tuesday, I made my first-ever trip to the Mahoning Drive-In in Lehighton, PA. A huge sign for the establishment is visible from a half-mile away on a straight stretch of road, and the entrance is set back, a bit mysteriously, another half-mile from the initial turn-in. Bottom line: if you keep in the direction of the big screen rising from the green fields and thick trees, you’ll find it.

As is the case with many other drive-ins across the country, the desire to see movies on the big screen (in this case, the biggest screen possible at the moment) is alive and well, perhaps more so in the face of the pandemic.

But why were people converging on the Mahoning Drive-In this past Tuesday, you might be asking? Well, the good folks at Exhumed Films have begun a little experiment designed to scratch that genre itch during these socially distant times: since July, they’ve been showing a classic horror/sci-fi movie once a week, on 35mm, with a brief pre-show of vintage trailers and ads.

While many drive-ins across the country are showing newer films via digital projection that makes for a nice, clean audiovisual presentation, the Mahoning is giving patrons something akin to a time-machine experience. Tuesday’s movie was John Carpenter‘s 1976 siege classic, Assault on Precinct 13.

Complete with cracks and pops on the soundtrack, and a brief hiccup where the screen went black (likely due to a reel change), the film looked remarkably good considering its age, and the experience of watching it with a bunch of like-minded genre fans (who applauded at the end) was just what I needed.

Reasonably-priced snacks and hot food were available at the concession stand, and those who like physical media could check out a couple tables of boutique-label Blu-rays courtesy of the good folks at DiabolikDVD.

While this ongoing event, titled “Tunnel Vision Tuesdays,” was initially set to run through the end of August, its success over the past few weeks has resulted in offerings for September, as well. So, if you’re in the area – or feel like taking a road trip during these flight-restrictive times – here’s the lineup as of this writing:

  • Scanners – August 18
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – August 25
  • Death Wish (1974) – September 1
  • Phantasm – September 8
  • Project A – September 15
  • The Warriors – September 22
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) – September 29

A listing of upcoming events at the Mahoning Drive-In can be found here. For more information on Exhumed Films, check out their Facebook page.

Next: JOHN CARPENTER

Have you been to a Drive-In lately? Let us know in the comments.