Friday, July 10, 2009

Dead End Drive In


I've had this film hanging around for ages now and just hadn't quite got round to watching it. In that time, I'd forgotten what little I knew about it and, in my head, it had become just some run of the mill slasher set in a drive-in cinema. I was wrong.

This is an Australian film from the 80s (and it really is very 80s...) that play on/cashes in on the popularity of Mad Max. Taking a similar kind of post-apocalyptic society as it's base, this plays as a kind of Mad Max flavoured meeting of Escape from NY and The Cars That Ate Paris (If you haven't seen either of those, go and do so. Now).

The premise is fairly simple. America's collapsed, the world's in trouble, there're no jobs in Australia, thugs ('cowboys') in modified cars terrorise the streets by night, the police deal brutally with anyone they catch. So far, so good.

Playing cricket in the Cinema-prison

A news report, right at the start, makes a big deal of the government's success in reducing unemployment. We think nothing of it, until shortly later when we discover how this is being achieved; the police are locking all the unemployed into out-of-town drive-in cinemas. And keeping them there.

The odd thing is that most of the unemployed really don't mind. Once imprisoned, they are fed, they needn't work, they can watch films. In many ways they live a very free life... inside the electrified fences of their cinema-prison. Not so for 'Crabs' however; besides sporting one of the worst nicknames in cinema history, Crabs is keen to escape and this film is his story. And it's a fun story; there's sex, there's fighting, there's car chases, there's even a pretty good 80s soundtrack. Whilst you could never claim this to be an intellectual heavyweight of a film (although there are some not-so-subtle observations of racism in Australian society), it's certainly a lot of fun.

Decidedly implausible, really quite silly, heaps of fun. Strongly recommended.

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