Brian Trenchard-Smith began his career in the mid ‘70s with the low budget action films Kung Fu Killers and The Man from Hong Kong, he later went on to direct such underrated classics as Turkey Shoot, Night of the Demons 2 and of course, Dead End Drive-In.
It’s 1990, the stock market has crashed, inflation and unemployment are at an all-time high and the streets are run by violent, hotrod-driving punks known as Car Boys… basically everything’s gone to shit in Australia.
Enter Jimmy and his sexpot girlfriend Carmen. Tonight they’ve decided to escape their mind-numbing existence for a while at the drive-in. But halfway through a backseat fuck, someone steals two of their wheels, interrupting a potentially promising evening. When Jimmy goes to the manager to complain he is told to wait until the morning. Come morning, the owner takes down their details, issues them with some meal tickets and basically says have a nice life.
Jimmy soon discovers that there are many others living in the drive-in, where they are plied with liquor, dope, junk food… anything to keep their little minds occupied. Whereas the other inhabitants have seemingly accepted their fate without question, Jimmy isn’t standing for it – he plans to escape come hell or high-water.
Dead End Drive-In is an entertaining slice of nostalgia: from the bitchin’ soundtrack to the overall look of the film – this is 80s cheese at its finest. Although, despite its popcorn value there is actually a message here. Director Trenchard-Smith employs the post-apocalyptic ghetto that the youths live in as an allegory for our consumer-driven society, with its numerous resources for ‘entertainment’ and distraction.
Later on in the film the social commentary kicks into overdrive as truckloads of Asian immigrants are brought into the drive-in and the punkers & new-wavers band together like white separatists, the men screaming “Asians out” and the women fretting about being raped by the little yellow folk.
Though despite its somewhat heavy-handed moral views, Dead End Drive-In is still a fun piece o’ trash. Keep an eye out for the films playing on the drive-in’s screen too, as Turkey Shoot and The Man from Hong Kong both make an appearance.
Extras consist of a commentary with Trenchard-Smith and a trailer.
DIRECTOR(S): Brian Trenchard- Smith | COUNTRY: Australia | YEAR 1986 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Madman | RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 2.35:1 Widescreen | REGION: 4 | DISCS: 1