|image courtesy of Moviepostershop.com|
Directed by: Brian Trenchard-Smith
This Australian import has been following me around since pretty much the mid 80's, when it first came out. I mean it in the sense that I just saw it everywhere; video stores, rental stores, and most notably, my good bud's personal collection. Every time I'd browse his VHS collection, Dead End Drive-In was always front and center because for whatever reason, he considers this one of his favorite all-time movies. And I'll admit, that's a pretty sweet cover. Only that cover doesn't explain shit, so I never really knew what this movie was ever about and so I never sat down to actually watch it until recently. Let's see how it went.
This Ozploitation flick was subpar on so many levels. After my friend finally gave me the rundown on what the story was actually about; a post apocalyptic tale about Drive-In's that have been converted into prison camps, I expected something far more entertaining. And just with that premise alone, your mind can just go crazy with that concept. But unfortunately the filmmakers decided to go another route, and basically make this film boring as shit. No action, no fights, no thrills whatsoever. Yea they might drop one in from time to time, but 95% of the movie is so dull you don't even notice.
Ultimately, for me anyway, there were only 2 things that worked in this film, and that is that this thing looks cool, and has a pretty rad 80's soundtrack. Other than that, it's a complete waste of time. You look at the budget, the setting, the location, and you can't help but wonder what kind of film this "could" have been. What drives you nuts though is that since the film looks good, you keep waiting and waiting for something to happen, but it never does. And the whole "Drive-In/Prison Camp" scenario is just completely wasted. So much so that it drives you nuts. Here's why:
So this guy borrows his brother's rad '57 Chevy and takes his girl out to the local drive-in. Once he's there his tires are stolen right off his vehicle by the local police while he's having sex with his girl. Then he finds out that once you go in, you're basically stuck there until the government decides when or how to extract you. No real reason is given as to why. Or maybe there was, but I was so bored out of my skull, my mind might have wandered off. Oh, and if you try to leave, you'll be shot down. So he's stuck there for an undetermined amount of time, biding his time and trying to figure out how the hell he's going to escape. Meanwhile, the crowded drive-in has basically turned into a way of life for hundreds of people. They're settled, comfortable, and have no real desire to ever leave. But with only one guy who basically runs the joint. You'd think an overthrow type situation would be easy. Another factor that's never fully realized.
So right there you've got this cool set up where all kinds of crazy shit can happen inside this place. I mean, you could literally go in any genre with that set up; horror, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, whatever. What do we get instead? A ho-hum tale that plays out more like a "day in the life of" style story. You see how they get their food, how they get their hair done, how they basically just hang around all day doing nothing but waiting. Zero violence, tension, or even any kind of entertainment value in my book. You know what? The best and most entertaining part of this was a scene where a film was playing at the drive-in. They were showing some schlocky exploitation looking jungle picture and those few scenes that you got to see were far more entertaining than this whole film. In fact, I need to track that one down because it looked hokey as hell, but in the best possible way. That film playing just so happened to be another one by this film's director Brian Trenchard-Smith, titled Escape 2000 (which I MUST see!!), who believe it or not also did BMX Bandits. I shit you not.
Overall a dull uninspiring missed opportunity. I mean, come on; that dude on the cover's not even in the damn movie! But hey, at least I can say I finally saw this.