Dead-End Drive-In

DEAD_END_2D_BD.jpgReview by David Paul Hellings

@HellingsOnFilm

“THE PRICE OF ADMISSION IS THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

One of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite directors, Brian Trenchard-Smith was a key figure in the Ozploitation movement, responsible for The Man from Hong Kong, Stunt Rock, Turkey Shoot, BMX Bandits… and dystopian cult classic Dead-End Drive-In!

Set in a near-future where the economy has crumbled and violent gangs play havoc in the streets, the powers-that-be have decided to lure the delinquent youth into drive-in cinemas and keep them there. No longer just a place to watch trashy movies and make out, these outdoor picture shows have become concentration camps for the unruly and unwanted.

With its day-glo colour scheme, new wave soundtrack and extraordinary stunt work, Dead-End Drive-In is in the tradition of Ozploitation milestones Mad Max and The Cars That Ate Paris, only very, very eighties”.

Review:

“Dead-End Drive-In”, in a perfect world, would be best watched in a drive-in, double feature with “Buckaroo Banzai”, because the Ozploitation post-apocalyptic tale has that same 80s madness running through it and is almost as much fun. In the decade that fully discovered the sunset filter and couldn’t stop using it, welcome to “Dead-End Drive-In”. With its hair lacquer styling and fashion styles that look like the best of New Romantic music videos, it would be easy to see this as just an amusing take on the future; but, beneath the bright and shiny 80s look is a very interesting premise: what if the incarcerated state you found yourself in was better than the life you previously had? How much would you tolerate? If freedom gave you less than you now have, how much you mind no longer being free?

 

DEAD_END-0005.jpg

Director Brian Trenchard-Smith takes the worlds of classic Australian post-apocalyptic Sci-Fis and presents them in the oversaturated style to create a world that is an amusing take on what Australian society would be like, resulting in a drive-in turned prison world in which the government give the inmates everything they need: by way of free meal tickets, free beer for those who help the system, a social network, even somewhere to get your hair done. The speed with which the minds of those whose lives outside of the drive-in were empty come to accept the new order are reflected in their disbelief that anybody might actually want to try and escape.

“Dead-End Drive-In” is a joyous release and it looks great; the classic 80s lush bright colours that dominated Hollywood are copied here with relish, creating a nostalgia piece visually for sure, but also a film rich with content, which also rings many social commentary bells today. A Drive-In designed to house those without jobs, without education and whose only seeming contribution to the broken down society is criminal offence. The system of Big Brother in Orwell’s “1984” is here repositioned as a helpful hand rather than a brutal fist, but the results are still a society imprisoned and told that there is no escape.

This is an excellent release with a first class 2K restoration and engaging performances across the board, including the always excellent Peter Whitford as Thompson, the drive-in owner, and the late Natalie McCurry as Carmen. A gem waiting to be rediscovered by a new audience.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
High Definition (1080p) Presentation on Blu-Ray edition
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
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
First Blu-Ray pressing only: fully-illustrated collector’s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchell

BLU-RAY DETAILS

Region: B
Rating: 15
Duration: 88 minutes
Language: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: TBC
Colour / Colour
Discs: 1

DVD DETAILS

Region: B
Rating: 15
Duration: 88 minutes
Language: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: TBC
Colour / Colour
Discs: 1
On Blu-Ray and DVD from 19 September 2016.

This review appeared on SFFWorld at:

http://www.sffworld.com/2016/08/film-review-dead-end-drive-in/

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