BEFORE this strange, unpredictable year, most people would have thought of drive-in cinemas and conjured up images of 1950s America, with huge screens in dusty car parks showing films from Hollywood’s Golden Age to customers sat in convertible muscle cars.
Fast forward about 70 years, cross the Atlantic, and throw a global pandemic in for good measure, and you find an unexpected resurgence in the popularity of drive-in cinemas in the UK, showing classic, feel-good films — mainly because there are no new blockbusters to show at real cinemas.
Those behind Daisy Dukes Drive-In Cinema obviously had that romantic image of 1950s America in mind when they chose their name, but any comparison to the glory days of drive-in movie theatres stops there.
This is a grey, drizzly, autumn weekend in the car park of Sheffield Arena, where most attendees this year have been seeking a blood test (it’s also a drive-in blood testing centre) rather than an evening’s entertainment.
But despite the surroundings, and against all the odds, this is an enjoyable afternoon out – it is branded not just as a film screening, but as an experience.
That experience involves your usual, slightly over-priced cinema snacks, which can be hand-delivered to your car by placing an order on your phone.
Once settled in, and the marshals have helped you find a spot where the 100 sq m screen isn’t partially blocked by either another car, a lamppost or a tree, you tune your radio to a dedicated FM frequency so you can hear the film through your own car stereo.
And then you can relax — except, you can’t relax at the Hallowe’en experience, because scare actors from Scream Factory wander the car park, dressed as witches, werewolves and ghastly characters from the film, there to terrify your children and amuse the grown-ups (or terrify grown-ups and amuse the children).
The British weather can be disruptive — I found myself having to wipe mist from the windscreen several times, and blankets at this time of year will help to keep you warm.
But I enjoyed the film — I watched the 1980s classic Beetlejuice for the first time.
I’m not a fan of horror films — but more terrifying films such as The Exorcist, Scream and IT were available, as well as family-friendly films.
Daisy Dukes is planning to return to the FlyDSA Arena for a Christmas weekend from December 18 to 20, lockdown rules permitting.
Tickets are available here.