on 7 January 2014
Dead End Drive In (1986) is about a drive in set in the then near future in Australia that locks its customers up- the drive in stands in as a sort of concentration camp. Only the customers mostly new wave punks are more than happy to stay there. They get their drugs, drink, music watch bad B movies- what the hell, is life really that much better outside the drive in?
One kid wants out, played well enough by Ned Manning. He's a likable character and certainly keeps the movie alive. But the problem with the film is the lack of characters. Cult movies have always had one or two real stand out characters, and Dead End Drive In fails here. They are here, you can see them in the background- indeed there are a lot of punk kid extras here and maybe they should have been given some more lines, it would have helped. Instead we are stuck for the majority of the film with Manning, the drive in owner and Mannings beautiful girlfriend played by Natalie McCurry- it just isn't enough to add spark to the film. Though McCurry may well be one of the most attractive women to be shot on celluloid- no surprise that she would go on to win Miss Australia.
I liked the film, I loved the 80s references and the new wave punk fashion- I love Australian cinema especially from this time, so for the most part enjoyed it.
With a little more characters, action and humour, there was a real lack of that in here- I would have called it a classic, instead its just a good movie.
on 17 February 2011
Plot. Set in the future a young man on a date ends up at a drive-in but someone steals two of his car tyres. He soon learns that the place is really a prison for young people and there's no way he'll get out.
I think this is a brilliant 80s Aussie film with its "End of the world" scenario and one man's fight against the system. Lots of violence, lots of weird characters, lots of humour and a little bit of sex plus an amazing car chase. Truly a fun film that even has time for some social commentary regarding racism which wasn't really necessary and maybe out of place here, not that it affected the story at all.
Extras include a com, stills and trailer. USA Release Region 1.
on 14 August 2016
1995 AD. Following years of economic turmoil and social decline, the world is tearing itself apart. Punks roam the streets in packs, mugging at will, and stripping the cars of the dead. Jimmy (Ned Manning) is a young man who's looking to make his honest way among the madness.
One night Jimmy takes his girlfriend Carmen (Natalie McCurry) to the Star Drive-In, but while they're making out, his car’s wheels are nicked. It rapidly becomes apparent that this is just the start of an elaborate setup. The drive-in is in fact a huge concentration camp for controlling feral teens, who are systematically trapped there and fed on a diet of bad food and bad movies. Can Jimmy persuade Carmen to escape the system and break out with him?
Arriving at the fag-end of the Australian New Wave, Brian “BMX Bandits” Trenchard-Smith's 1986 post-apocalypse teen flick strongly echoes the Mad Max series as well as cult classics like Night of the Comet and Repo Man, using the 80s consumerist boom as the basis for its social commentary. That commentary is broad and direct, but it’s also laudable and eerily relevant at times. When a group of Asians are bussed into the compound, threatening to upset the white males’ dominance, it's hard not to see parallels with the situation in the West today.
While the film is heavy on allegory it’s light on plot. The focus instead is on the apocalyptic atmosphere, gaudy production design, shambolic action, and crazy characters – and on these counts the movie delivers.
This isn’t a film about mass revolution, it’s saying that freedom begins with the individual. The individual is Jimmy and he’s unusual in teen cinema: conscientious and defiant from the start. All he lacks is the physical strength to survive in this post-apocalyptic madhouse. But then we see him use his ingenuity in a series of well-crafted action sequences, and we’re rooting for him. Carmen is given less to do, ultimately serving a cautionary function: she represents the path of least resistance.
If you can get beyond the ridiculous premise and you run with the barebones plot, there's much fun to be had with Dead-End Drive-In. It doesn’t quite have the discipline and craft to bring it to the standard of the aforementioned cult favourites, but it’s no shame to be one notch down.