DEAD END DRIVE-IN (1986)
posted 03/03/2013

Directed by:
Brian Trenchard-Smith

Starring:
Ned Manning ... Crabs
Natalie McCurry ... Carmen
Peter Whitford ... Thompson
Wilbur Wilde ... Hazza

Country: Australia
Runtime: 92 min
AKA: Dead End
     
     
       

Aussie director Brian Trenchard-Smith (LEPRECHAUN 3 & 4) brings you a rock'em-sock'em punk-styled action picture. Think THE WARRIORS and THE ROAD WARRIOR in an ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK-type situation, and you have this movie pretty well pegged.

Imagine a chrome and neon future where the world as we know it has become a graffiti and garbage-strewn gutter. A world where cars are either supped-up or junky rust bucket litter left on the side of the road for people to crash into during their many chases from the police and each other. We are introduced to Crabs (Ned Manning), who spends his days exercising and trying to bulk up, like his brother. But that subplot is quickly abandoned, so I won't even go into it. Crabs seems like a cool bloke (as they say in Australia) and he's got his hands on a lovely girl named Carmen (Natalie McCurry). He promises to take her on a date and his brother Frank (the bulky one) allows him to borrow his shiny, new car. Crabs takes the lovely Carmen to the local Star Drive-In one night and here is where the story really begins.

Carmen pops out her lovely boobies (see pic) and they get it on at the Drive-In while the police sneak around outside and steal two of his tires! They feel the car drop, and he exits to find that they are stranded. It turns out the police did it on purpose. They go to Thompson, the roly-poly fellow who runs the joint, and ask for help, but quickly learn that they are trapped within the gates of the Star Drive-In. Turns out it is illegal to walk out on the only road leading back to town and if you can't drive out, then you have just changed your address because you are now a resident of the Drive-In. And who lives there? Oh, just your usual punks, gang members, hussies, harlots, and weirdoes...the typical cast for an 80s flick. Crabs, of course, isn't having any of this shit. Carmen makes friends easily and actually begins to enjoy her stay there, but Crabs starts to make plans to escape.

He tries to climb the fence, but finds them electrified. He steals tires from some junked cars, but runs out of gas. He siphons gas from some visiting cop cars, but his engine is stolen. Then a group of Asians are dropped off at the Drive-In and racism runs rampant. Apparently, the undesirable teens aren't happy with the new members of the commune/prison/Drive-In. The girls are afraid they will get raped and the guys are afraid of...well, I don't know what, but they just don't like the rice-eating element. They call a meeting of the White Australians group, meaning all the dumbass punks in Drive-In, and while this is happening, Crabs sees his opportunity to escape. He hi-jacks a tow truck and a massive chase ensues with multiple crashes and machine gun fire raining down all over the place. This felt like a budget title, until the ending when the budget skyrocketed due to the massive explosions and stunts galore. Crabs manages to get the drop on the cops, and asks Carmen to leave with him, but for some reason the dumb girl wants to stay there(??). For what reason, to get tetanus? Anyway, Crabs says farewell and crashes spectacularly through the Star Drive-In sign and heads home.

This flick was a blast! I wasn't sure what I'd be in store for, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. While not a horror film, this post-apocalyptic sci-fi action picture delivered what I was looking for and more. Shot in gorgeous widescreen, which made every shot look epic, and cast with some likable performers in fun roles, this was a perfect b-movie slice of action heaven. It's not heavy on the blood and gore, and has a semi-soft middle where it drags a bit, but beyond those two gripes, I really dug the hell out of this badass little flick.

- Jose Prendes

 

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