We now turn the skinematic spotlight on a specific film, trend or series that highlights conditions of the skin, hair and nails...

Back to features page

Spotlight page




 
 
Drive-In Movies!
 
At one point in the 1950's, there numbered hundreds if not thousands of Drive-In movie theaters. Catering to a baby booming audience, enraptured by their cars and enamored by the open road, Drive-In movie theaters were aptly named. By bringing cars directly into the viewing space, Movie-goers could partake in cinematic entertainment and still enjoy their vehicle's plush vinyl interiors. Yet the advent of video, followed by laser disc, DVD whatever-format-is-next, sounded the death knell of the Drive-In.
 
Though the uniquely American institution of the Drive-In is fading faster than Ronald Reagan's recollection of who Bonzo was anyway, the movies that were featured at the Drive-In live on. Also known as B-movies, these are flicks that never made it near the Academy awards ceremony, not even in the same state. Horror was the typical subject, and what better example than the horrible burn scars of Freddy Krueger from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. Freddy's scars are very realistic, though burns this extensive usually result in death. Come to think of it, Freddy himself was dead, haunting teenagers in their dreams.
 
Often made on a shoestring budget, usually starring nubile teens and buckets of red paint, Drive-In movies have lived on, championed by their very own Drive-In movie critic, Joe Bob Briggs. It so happens that Joe Bob was kind enough to invite Skinema web master Dr. Vail Reese on his cable television show, "MonsterVision" on the TNT cable network. In return, to insure Joe Bob and network owner Ted Turner the best ratings possible, we have decided to feature skin conditions found on the Drive-In screen.
 
 
We at Skinema reiterate that most of the films featured on this web site are mainstream releases of Oscar caliber. However, B-movies contain some of the most wacky and outrageous skin findings, such as the hideous burn scars and hair loss from the above "Phantom of the Opera" knock-off, "Phantom of the Mall." The above character is living proof that scalding Star Bucks cappuccinos should be carried carefully! Some of the following scenes have never made it out of the Drive-In--until now. Many of the spotlighted images were kindly submitted by a recent visitor to the site. She wishes to remain anonymous--but the entire Skinema crew sends you its thanks!
 
Parental advisory: Some of the following images are from flicks which would be rated "R" and therefore may not be suitable for minors. That said, let the Drive-In live again...

 
The "Evil Dead" series is known by B-movie afficionados for impressive special effects despite tiny budgets. This poor fellow is from the third and final of the series: "Army of Darkness." Having been transported to the Middle Ages to fight for his life as clearly stressed him out, resulting in a flare of acne. Acne is common and makes many adults feel like characters in a horror flick. Stress is a factor, as well as changing hormone levels and a familial predisposition. Dermatologists have many ways to control acne, depending on type, severity and frequency of flares.
 
Everyone has to start somewhere. Before gaining the admiration of his peers in the title role of "Schindler's List," this actor portrayed the badly burned lead in "Dark Man." Yes, it is none other than Liam Neeson, who is not likely to return to the Drive-In screen soon. Burn patients are usually treated in hospital burn units involving specially trained internists and plastic surgeons. Systemic infections and complications of fluid loss can be life threatening. Some actors surely wish their early B-Movie roles would die, or at least fade from memory.
 
Dermatologists treat conditions of the skin, hair, and nails. Here one of the classic horror movie characters, the "Bride of Frankenstein," shows off her white patches of hair. Known as poliosis, white hair can be seen in vitiligo, a condition where pigment of the skin and hair fade in patches. In many people, vitiligo affects only limited areas. Rarely, it can spread to extensive areas of the skin. Poliosis can also can also develop early in life, as a form of a birthmark. The most common variation of this is the white forelock seen just above the central forehead. This type is in no way related to vitiligo.
 
In the remake of the 50's thriller "The Fly," Jeff Goldblum plays a scientist whose genes get mixed with a housefly. To cop an expression from Homer Simpson: "Doh!" One of the first signs that something is dreadfully wrong is that his fingernails begin to break and fall off. Having abnormal nails is very disturbing, even if you are not turning into an insect. Fungus is the most common cause of abnormal nails and can be treated with antifungal pills. Psoriasis and reactions to medications can also affect the nails. There is not current cure for having one's genes mixed with those of a household pest, but new medical breakthroughs happen daily!
 

 

 

 Cameron Mitchell in "As the Sea Rages"

 ? portraying ?
 
It doesn't take a PhD in Drive-In-ology to see that burn scars are a favorite of B-movie producers. Our question to the World Wide Web: Does anyone know the identity of either the actress or the character shown on the right above? An official dermatology in the cinema prize and YOUR NAME listed on this spot will be yours, should you provide this information. Leave it to Skinema to put the INTERactive in INTERnet. E-mail us with the answer at your convenience.
 
We end this discussion with another notable Drive-In movie villain. Most know him only by his hockey mask. Underneath this cold facade lurks a scarred and twisted killer. Yes, it's Jason, the serial killer from the record-breaking "Friday 13" series. Word has it that production has begun on a new film, "Freddy vs. Jason," pitting Krueger against the villain above. Though the Drive-In is fading fast, Drive-In movies, like horror film sequels, never seem to die...
 
 
Spotlight page
 
 
Back to features page



© 1999 Vail Reese M.D.