Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Review: Dead End Drive-In (1986)

This is another Arrow Blu-Ray/DVD release and another film I'd never heard of before ... and probably with good reason.  It seems to be Australian-made, with no known actors in, and is a sort of Mad-Max-esque low budget tale of low-lifes.

It takes an age to get going ... we are introduced to our unlikable cast of characters, and two of them, Crabs (Ned Manning) and Carmen (Natalie McCurry) decide to go to the Drive-In to make out. Except that the Drive-In has no Drive-Out, and after they identify themselves as Unemployed, the Police come and take the wheels from their car, thus trapping them inside the Drive-In along with all the other unemployed scum from the city. The fences and gates around the place are electrified - it's a sort of unofficial prison for these people, though they do get vouchers they can exchange for food and drink ... there's a whole community here!

And so the action unfolds with car chases and explosions, '80s punked up outfits and cars and graffiti ... as Crabs tries to get some wheels for his car, but then runs out of petrol ... so he has to get some more petrol before he can try and make a break for freedom.

Somewhere in all this there's a good idea struggling to escape - the concept of luring undesirables to a place with a cheap offer for the unemployed, and then trapping them there. But the film is slow to get going, and then when it does get going, it's not sure where it wants to go.  It's not clear how the Police get away with what they're doing ... does no-one realise that you never leave the Drive-In - there seems to be no 'word on the street' that people who go there never come back ...

It's nicely made though, and the action sequences are pretty good. It's not a film I'll rush to watch again though, and while it's set in a nominal future, there's nothing particularly 'horror' or 'science fiction' about it ... it could be happening now, or 20 years ago ...

  • 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

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