Review: Dead End Drive-In
Blu-ray: Dead End Drive-In (1986)
Imagine this; you’re at a drive-in that plays a variety of exploitation movies on loop. While the movies aren’t playing you have access to a diner serving burgers/fries, etc which you don’t have to pay for, and should you wish to partake there are also drugs available to you. How’s it sounding so far? Like to live there? Well for Crabs (Ned Manning) and Carmen (Natalie McCurry) they have no choice, because drive-in’s across Australia have been made into concentration camps to keep the unemployed and undesirables locked away from society. Most are happy to live their lives in junk food heaven, but Crabs is determined to escape whatever the cost.
Directed by ‘ozploitation’ king Brian Trenchard-Smith, Dead End Drive-In takes the usual dystopian future of many previous movies and adds Brian’s own inimitable cinematic quirkiness to it. Fights, explosions and sex scenes are all here and presented in a way that keeps the viewer locked to the screen despite the odd dubious performance from some of the actors.
Set in a ‘futuristic’ 1990 the movie obviously looks quite dated now…80’s neon signs and music adorn the diner and even the clothes the characters wear make them look like they failed the audition for Motley Crue. However, this movie has it’s tongue firmly in its cheek for the majority of the running time and at no point did I find myself looking at my watch and seeing how long was left.
It’s a low budget movie and that shows at times, but by setting the entire story within the confined space of a drive-in, it allowed the filmmakers to create a more believable world. Whether you buy into that world or not depends on if you’re willing to forgive its occasional shortcomings. I did and had a great time.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
- Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
- High Definition (1080p) Presentation
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith
- The Stuntmen, Trenchard Smith’s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers
- Hospitals Don’t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith’s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion
- Behind the scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
First pressing only: fully-illustrated collector’s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchell
Dead End Drive-In will be available to buy from 20th September 2016.
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.