Film Review: DEAD END DRIVE-IN (1986)

Film Review: DEAD END DRIVE-IN (1986)

Aug 29, 2016

As Arrow Video continues its mission to revitalize eighties gems, I find myself becoming more and more of a fan. I have always felt like their Asian and Giallo releases are hit or miss. Their price points can also make certain collectors wary. It is hard to justify the purchase of some of these films, unless of course you are purchasing them for the artwork and special features. If anything, they do a great job when it comes to putting sets together. Single films, however, can be difficult if you don’t absolutely love the genre.


With all of that being said, fans of the tongue-in-cheek eighties horror comedies are on a hot streak with the recent releases from this label. Films like Microwave Massacre and Return of the Killer Tomatoes are a mere warm-up when it comes to Brian Trenchard-Smith’s cult classic Dead End Drive-In. This is an exploitation film of sorts, coming from the apparently neon splashed days of Australian teen angst.

This is a movie that will do many things for many types of viewers. This is not just a throwback film focused on the fan of nostalgia. Instead this movie will appeal to horror, exploitation, comedy, and dystopian film fans of all ages. In my eyes, it encompasses all of the best pieces of Mad Max, The Lost Boys, and even Bad Taste. It is a film that takes a brutal premise on an adventurous ride.

If you are unfamiliar with the plot, it involves numerous citizens being lured into a drive-in theater that is basically a front for a concentration camp. While the outside world has been physically and financially destroyed, many characters find themselves coming to this drive-in as a last resort. Interestingly enough, it contains plenty of social commentary in regard to our urges for escape. It also brings into question the lengths at which people may go to feel safe and protected. Questions from dystopian literature such asĀ A Brave New World also become very apparent in this film, when the characters begin to lose their own individuality for the “good” of the group.

On top of all of that deep stuff, it maintains plenty of boobs, violence, action, and comedy to keep just about anyone entertained. In my case, I can see this becoming a film that could unite generations of fans of obscure cinema. This cult director, after all, has had Quentin Tarantino’s public stamp of approval. So despite the fact that he annoyingly put the leprechaun in space, I love what Smith did with this film. This one is definitely doing to be worth the extra Arrow cash.