Thanks to the home video boom in the 80s, horror, sci-fi and fantasy films took off in a big way. We got all kinds of movies from big budget epics to no budget cult classics. And every time there was a big hit, there were a hundred copycats popping up on the local video store shelves. After the success of Mad Max, apocalyptic flicks were everywhere. One in particular, that also happens to come out of Australia, is Dead End Drive-In, making it’s Blu-ray debut this month.
In the undetermined future, the dregs of society are kept in concentration camps located in abandoned drive-in theatres. But no one seems to mind as they party all day, watch a movie every night and are kept fed and sheltered. But when Crabs (Ned Manning) and his girlfriend Carmen (Natalie McCurry) find themselves in the camp, they want nothing to do with it and Crabs is determined to find a way out to regain his freedom.
Dead End Drive-In is a hell of a fun movie. The original art that used to be on the VHS cover back in the day is a cover any renter from the time will recognize yet I doubt many people actually saw it. With a distinctly Australian feel, a great sense of humor, a wonderfully punk 80s aesthetic and some great action, Dead End Drive-In is a fun flick you may well have missed first time around. The acting is actually better than average for the time period and budget, especially by Ned Manning in the lead role. The whole production design is unique, perfectly 80s, day glo, new wave and punk all rolled into one.
The new Blu-ray from Arrow Video includes a brand new 2K restoration that looks phenomenal, a commentary with cult director Brian Trenchard-Smith, Trenchard-Smith’s original television documentary The Stuntmen, which is worth the price of this Blu-ray alone, and a 1978 public information film Trenchard-Smith made called Hospitals Don’t Burn Down. This is a killer Blu-ray packed with unique and entertaining special features, another home run from Arrow Video. Highly recommended.