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BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Dead-End Drive-In (1986) - Blu-ray Review

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Dead-End-Drive-In - Blu-ray Review

5 stars

Gearheads and punks rejoice! Your metal and steel obsessed world just got a hell of a lot shinier. The neon-splashed roads of an Ozploitation classic are yours to drive upon once again. Dead-End Drive-In has arrived on blu-ray. Complete with a brand new 2K restoration from original film materials, the team over at Arrow Video has done you a solid when it comes road rage with this release. To be fair though, even the use of Ozploitation (of which this film is an example) is a disservice to just how solid of a product the movie is. From beginning to end, the theater of Dead-End Drive-In will rattle your skull.

Written and directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith (The Man from Hong Kong, Stunt Rock, Turkey Shoot, and BMX Bandits), this 88-minute glimpse into the dystopian empire that is - as we once again stumble upon the edge of economic and social collapse - our collective future.  It is also one sweet ride AND a huge FUCK YOU to the establishment. It’s EXACTLY the kind of punk rock, fever dream-laced entertainment we need more of right now.  

Dead-End Drive-In is political without being a turnoff. Thunderous in its roar and in its approach to violence, yet also sensitive enough to develop a guiding conscience as a health nut with the unfortunate nickname of “Crabs” (Ned Manning) decides to abandon his brother's vintage 1956 Chevy and his content girlfriend (Natalie McCurry) in favor of a chance at the kind of life he once knew.  That's what happens when the outside world invades your personal space.

With street prowlers and arguments over salvaged cars kicking off its brand of anarchy, Dead-End Drive-In's wackiness finally settles upon a simple date night storyline as a boy and a girl go to the drive-in and wind up in a concentration camp. Every single car in the drive-in’s lot has had its tires swiped by the police, a group of bullies that take advantage of everyone within the lot. The walls of the lot are now electrified and the guests - who are quickly turning against each other - are prisoners. Like I said, it’s a weird situation that actually works.

For the two unfortunate teenage souls at the center of this punk-minded flick it is; however, a sort of end of the line because once you enter this drive-in, there’s no leaving. They are given tickets to get snack items with, but there are limits to what is offered at the refreshment stand. Want breakfast? Forget about it. You get what you get. Popcorn. Soda. You get it.

The movie looks EXACTLY like a music video from 1984. Its characters are straight-up clones of Billy Idol and Cyndi Lauper and its attitude is 100% Australian, swagger and all. Highly imaginative, this tale falls into the category of weird films that actually pull off the insanity they are smoking. It’s quality never dips and neither does it’s entertainment factor. Little wonder, then, that Quentin Tarantino proudly declared this one to be his favorite of Trenchard-Smith’s films. It’s certainly revved-up and ready to go, fueled with an always topped-off tank of gas.  

Grease those gears and hang onto your ass, Dead-End Drive-In has arrived on blu!

Dead-End-Drive-In - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R.
92 mins
: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Peter Smalley
Ned Manning, Natalie McCurry, Peter Whitford
: Action | Sci-fi
There's a party every day, a movie every night, and all the junk food you can eat. What more can a kid want... except to get out.
Memorable Movie Quote: "No cabs, no buses, no transport, so, you're here."
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 22, 1986
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 20, 2016
Synopsis: In the near future, a teenage couple is trapped in a drive-in theater which has become a concentration camp for social outcasts. The inmates are treated to drugs, exploitation films, junk food, and new wave music.

Dead-End-Drive-In - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 20, 2016
Hoem Video Distributor: Arrow Video
Screen Formats:
: English SDH
English: LPCM 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: A

Released from Arrow Video, the brand new 2K restoration from original film materials looks incredibly sleek in its newly-minted 1080p high definition presentation. With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this is b-movie cinema at its most respected. The neon absolutely floods the picture with a glowing (and growing) sense of nostalgia. There’s a grit to the nighttime scenes which makes them memorable and frightening. Flesh tones are accurate. Details are on point and the cars are absolutely flecked with a nice attention to detail. The Star Drive-In has not looked this beautifully lit in a long, long while. Complete with roaring engines and thundering gunfire, the Stereo 2.0 track – even if it is listed as Mono on the sleeve – sounds AWESOME. There are optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.



  • Director Brian Trenchard-Smith commands the film’s commentary. Fans will not want to miss this recollection of making the movie.

Special Features:

For me, it doesn’t get any better than what Arrow Video provides its fans. From the newly commisioned artwork by Chris Malbon to the reversible sleeve art from the original release to the supplemental items themselves, this release is fully loaded and ready to rock and roll. The first pressing of the release also gets a fully-illustrated collector’s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchell. The supplemental items on the disk itself are meaty and of consequence, too. There’s Trenchard Smith’s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers. There’s Hospitals Don’t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith’s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion and a behind the scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff. The theatrical trailer rounds out the collection.

  • The Stunt Men (49 min)
  • Hospitals Don’t Burn Down! (24 min)
  • Vladimir Cherepanoff Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Dead-End-Drive-In - Blu-ray Review

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