I was born during 1973 in North Miami, FL and grew up there until my parents relocated to Jacksonville, FL in 1988. Miami is where my movie related psychosis reared it's ugly head. One of my earliest memories is being about 4 years old and cutting out movie ads from the paper and taping them to my bedroom door. THE WILD GEESE one was my favorite; that shit looked badass. Mom wasn't having any of it.
Any movie memory is more important than most family memories to me. I can tell you who I was with, where we saw it and what time of day. Everything else in life it seems I'm a complete failure at but retarded shit like described above, I'm genius.
Miami was like most big cities in that it catered to different people from different walks of life. This was never more prevalent than the time I spent there. Growing up, I was in direct contact everyday with Cubans, Colombians, Blacks, Whites, Haitians, Koreans, Rednecks, Gang Members, Skaters, Druggies....shit, the list is endless. But that was Miami at the time. I loved it. And we all seemed to love cheap-jack action and horror for some reason. I made more diverse friends throughout elementary and junior high for being the horror movie kid than I could've probably made otherwise.
After we moved to Jacksonville, it was culture shock and I missed Miami very much. I missed being able to hop on a bus to go down to the Omni to see an Andy Sidaris film if I needed to. I missed watching a movie at the 163rd Street Triple then walking eight blocks to the 167th Street Twin to catch another movie before it got too late. I really missed the Southland Theater (aka the NORTH MIAMI THEATER) at 6th Ave and West Dixie Highway, where I spent a lot of my pre-teens watching R-rated double features for 75 cents. Granted it had closed by then, bought out by MIAMI VICE'S Phillip Michael Thomas who showed his earlier movies after the purchase, but I figured I'd throw it out there anyway. That place was an important part of my childhood. I caught a bout of impetigo in the winter of '84 watching a double feature of C.H.U.D. and HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP at the Southland. It was the second time I'd seen that double feature in about 4 days.
Miami had a lot of drive-ins back in the day but the older me and my sister got, the less my mom and dad took us. I remember going to the Golden Glades Twin Drive In back in the mid to late 70's pretty regularly and then it seemed we just quit going. I couldn't tell you why. I do remember swinging on the swings watching THE BAD NEWS BEARS. And I do remember my mom scolding me for turning around to watch KILLER FISH.
I think the last Miami drive-in to die was the Tropicaire in 1987. Miami was growing so fast that there was more twinning and tripling and multi-plexing than drive-in building. And that land they sat on was more profitable than showing fuck flicks and gorefests. However, Miami held on to these relics for a long time and none was better than the 27th Avenue Drive In, which technically wasn't in the greatest area of town but would always show the best (and worst) in horror, action and kung-fu. I never went there, but my folks would drive by it around 1984 on the way to this bowling alley they bowled at with some of my mom's work mates. The marquee was huge, trumpeting that the 27th Ave Drive In owned the particular intersection it sat at. It was like the sun to me. I knew I could get all the natural nutrients I needed if I could just get out there and stand under it and bask in its glow. Unfortunately, we never stopped but I'll be damned if not every time we drove by, I tried using my Sears brand walkman to tune in the radio station frequency the drive-in broadcasted the film's soundtrack on.
Ah, but I ramble. What I'm trying to say is, Florida could hold it's own against a champion like New York's 42nd Street in the serious exploitation film department. Plus we had the likes of William Grefe, Brad Grinter and Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer and all them other Italians shooting the shit out of genres all over the state. Some of these films never made it past a showing or two at some of the drive-ins and theaters in Miami.
And I guess that's the whole point here;to hoist Miami up on the figurative shoulders of old school exploitation filmmaking and say you are remembered.
I remember. Probably too much.