DEAD-END DRIVE-IN – Movie Review



  • RELEASE DATE: Available on Blu-ray September 20th (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
  • WRITTEN BY: Peter Carey, Peter Smalley
  • DIRECTED BY: Brian Trenchard-Smith
  • STARRING: Ned Manning, Natalie McCurry, Peter Whitford

 In DEAD-END DRIVE-IN, the post-apocalyptic actioner by legendary Australian cult director Brian Trenchard-Smith, teenage gangs rule the streets in their graffiti streaked hot rods after the collapse of the world’s economy (with the corrupt police powerless to keep these hooligans at bay). Those in charge take notice of the fact that the kids all congregate at the local drive-in theater so naturally they turn it into a sort of penal colony trapping the gangs within (facilitated by disabling the miscreants vehicles while they get it on during a screening of Trenchard-Smith’s cult classic flick TURKEY SHOOT…meta!!!). Placated by junk food, drugs, booze, and trash cinema (just another Tuesday in the Crypt o’ XIII); the rabble become damn near complacent (and develop their own makeshift community); except for our hero, Crabs (he thought he had them once, but he didn’t) who struggles not only against his fellow inmates, but also against his incarceration in the false utopia. Along the way Fosters are drank, cars are crashed (all with spectacular practical stunt work), and boobs are seen…pretty damn close to perfection my creeps.

Dealing with the universal theme of teenage rebellion against conformity; DEAD-END DRIVE-IN is a nice call back to 50’s era juvenile delinquent flicks with a healthy dose of MAD MAX set dressing (and a sprinkle of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK for seasoning). These disparate elements give the whole thing an entirely unique, surreal feel; all while making it hard to place it in any specific time period visually…well at least as far as locations and vehicles are concerned. Not quite as timeless is the film’s abundance of neon, graffiti (hell, even the damn dogs are covered in it), and synth heavy new wave style score which makes the flick exactly what you picture when someone mentions the ‘80’s…but admittedly now that we’re 30 years out, it all gives it another layer of surrealistic aesthetics.

As cool as the film is; the extras those sexy sumbitches at Arrow Video have included on this release are pretty damn spiffy as well. Along with an informative and lively (and at times even inspirational) commentary by Director Brian Trenchard-Smith, we also get a vintage documentary on stunt work (also filmed by Trenchard-Smith), a trailer for the film, and most spectacularly; the astoundingly brutal public service announcement Hospitals Don’t Burn Down which is ostensibly about the dangers of smoking in hospitals, but in actuality is a showcase for people burning to death in painstaking detail…seriously; burning bodies fall from the upper floors of a flame ensconced hospital, janitors are roasted alive (screaming as they go) in elevators, nurses are ignited and tear-ass through the halls…it’s like a nightmare made real, and is outrageously graphic for what is meant as a film to educate the public…it’s also grade-A fucking awesome and is worth the price of admission alone!

DEAD-END DRIVE-IN is highly recommended by your’s cruelly. Trenchard-Smith always delivers the goods when it comes to exploitation thrills and spills; and this flick is no exception, plus it fits in extremely well for those that are B.D. into the whole MAD MAX bag (which is de rigueur thanks to FURY ROAD) or fans of flicks like Ed Wood’s THE VIOLENT YEARS or George LucasAMERICAN GRAFFITI as well (yup; this is the only place where you will see Wood and Lucas considered as revered equals)!



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