Dead End Drive-In (1986) Arrow Release Review

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Dead End Drive-InDead End Drive-In (1986)

 

I’m a big fan of 80’s-90’s break-down of society, present day dystopian (for when the film was made) films like Class of 1999 so here is an Australian take on things.

I’m also a big fan of 80’s-90’s Australian films so this should be good and weird.

Starting of almost like an urban Mad Max our protagonist Crabs is having a lift with his brother who works as a tow truck driver when they are called to the scene of an accident.
The pair have to quickly claim all the vehicles before a rival tow truck does and fight off scavengers.
Told you this was weird. Think this Ozploitation film can’t become any weirder then wait til you find out what this one is really about.

Crabs takes his girlfriend to a drive-in but has some tyres stolen. He goes to the front desk to try and do something about this but finds out that they are now guest at the drive-in for the foreseeable future.

At least the Sex in the City films hadn’t been made back then so the residents can’t be tortured yet.

While trying to find a way out and dealing with the locals as well his girlfriend, all of whom make a compelling argument not to leave that fit for the society they live in, Crabs then has to content with racism within the new community.

I loved it. It does seem to be mimicking similar American films of the time but with its own Australian flair.
It looks great, not just the excellent transfer but the overall look. Everyone lives in cars and everywhere is spray painted.
Everywhere. Characters are distinguishable plus they do appear like they are living in a functioning if run down grimy community adding to the overall feel.

It seems even Aussies predicted the downfall of Detroit.

For fans of this genre I cannot praise it enough and the Arrow release comes with a public safety film by Dead End Drive-Ins director called Hospitals Don’t Burn Down (1977).
A 24 minute short about the hazards of fires in Hospitals that reminds me of the old TV show London’s Burning which is much better than quite a few full length horror films.

Audio on the Blu-ray is good but the picture is excellent as always on Arrow releases.
Trailer below

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

 

  • 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