Wednesday 30 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Features · Back in action

Back in action

Rebuilding after last May’s tornadoes, Winchester Drive In Theatre is once again open for business.

Louis Fowler April 30th, 2014

When many local cinephiles heard word that the legendary Winchester Drive In Theatre was hit hard by last year’s epic spate of tornadic activity, an aura of sadness spread throughout the community. After all, the drive-in was a celebratory gathering place for movie fans looking for nostalgia and families looking for inexpensive entertainment, as well as an integral part of the Oklahoma City landscape, a piece of the past that, sadly, is pretty much dead in America.

After a mean season of storms ravaged the classic drive-in last year, Winchester Drive In Theatre reopens Friday night.
Photo: Mark Hancock

“I have been out here since 1968,” Winchester owner Lindy Shanbour said. “This place is my home. I love going out here, I love people coming out here and I love watching the kids grow up. There’s a lot of feelings in the Winchester, a lot of memories. I could have sold it after the tornado, but that wasn’t the way I wanted to go.”

Instead of closing the curtain on the business, Shanbour decided to rebuild, which included repairing the destroyed screen, installing new projectors and fixing a large amount of holes in the roofs. Film fans can see his dream realized once again when the Winchester opens its doors Friday, just in time for the upcoming summer movie season.

Besides the unpredictable weather, Shanbour added that some of the other killers of drive-ins include daylight savings time, the cost of keeping up with technology and the winter season. But if the response on social media (and real life, of course) is any indication, it’s a cost that Shanbour is willing bear for many more years.

“Have you seen our Facebook? Over 14,000 comments! People are excited about the new season,” Shanbour said. “But I also get letters and phone calls from people all the time telling me thank you for keeping this drive-in open. I have also seen a lot of kids grow up, and they always remember and they bring their kids. It’s why I can’t think of doing anything else.”

While, at press time, a list of the first pair of features wasn’t available for the one-screen drive-in, Shanbour promises a summer full of blockbusters with an emphasis on family films, which have always been a hot ticket for the Winchester. He cited films from Disney and recent hits like Madagascar as being the “best for business.”

Though film culture has changed since the grand opening of the Winchester — its first lineup included the decidedly adult World War II comedy The Secret War of Harry Frigg starring Paul Newman as part of a triple bill — Shanbour reiterates that his love of movies and the Winchester itself will be a part of him for the rest of his life. As long as he’s around, it will stay open, tornadoes be damned.

“I could go on and on and talk about the Winchester for hours,” Shanbour said. “I love talking to anyone about it, even the people who come from out of town to take pictures of the cowboy and the concessions. Half the people who come through those gates out there thank me for keeping it open. It’s a part of Oklahoma, and that feels good.”

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5