The Australian film Dead End Drive-In is often lumped in with the post-apocalyptic sub-genre, but only because no one can figure out a catchier term for ‘post worldwide economic collapse.’ Apparently, the world seems to be suffering from something to do with “Inflation, shortages, unemployment, and crime wave.” The Australian government is clearing society’s undesirable elements out of the way by turning drive-in theaters into ersatz concentration camps. Don’t – just, no – why are you asking questions? Don’t ask questions.
- Sign of Post-Societal Collapse #27: Every available surface must be covered in graffiti. = +25pts.
- Sign of Post-Societal Collapse #8: As many trash fires in the background as possible! Opening scene trash fire count = +6pts. (1 point for every fire.)
- Sign of Post-Societal Collapse #2: Gangs of hoodlums constantly wooting and laughing obnoxiously while banging on metal things. = +25pts.
- Driving car through the inside of a train to escape said hoodlums. = +47pts.
- Brilliant plan to trick young punks into voluntarily entering a concentration camp by putting an electric fence around a drive-in theatre and then just hoping said punks will, um…drive in. Just go with it. = -30pts.
- 30 minute mark: Gratuitous breast count = +3pts. (1 point for each breast.)
- 30 minute: Updated trash fire count. = +27pts.
- Breakdancing. = -20pts.
- Wait, a certain lead character could have just escaped the camp by asking the manager to notify his brother to come pick him up? Worst. Concentration camp. Ever. = -100pts.
- LEAD MUST SHOUT ALL LINES TO INDICATE FRUSTRATION! = +10pts.
- LEAD MUST ALSO LEAVE MOUTH AGAPE AND SMILE CONSTANTLY, EVEN DURING THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE OF MOMENTS! WHY ARE WE STILL SHOUTING? = -34pts.
- 60 minute mark: Gratuitous breast count = +2pts.
- 60 minute mark: Trash fire count. = +67pts
- One wall of drive-in office not covered with graffiti. = -78pts.
- Endearing early digital age trope in which characters can sit down at a computer and instantly reveal information vital to the plot by slapping a paw on the keyboard. = +7pts.
- Brilliant escape plan: steal one car, drive up to cops and honk, drive haphazardly through lot, crashing into things. = -34pts.
- Actual Exchange: “What do they call you? “Crabs.” = +15pts (We are officially considering this quote for our tombstone.)
- Final trash fire count. = +153pts (This is an estimate, internet nerds. There is no way we’re counting all the trash fires.)
- Final gratuitous breast count = +6 (+1 thrown in for earlier gratuitous shot of lead in Speedo briefs.)
Total Score: = 98
Available on: Netflix, DVD, for free in a bin outside any Blockbuster that happens to still be open in Australia.
We see the movie Dead End Drive-In as quaint now because we know that, rather than luring outcasts to drive-ins with the hope of getting lucky in a parked car, we can entrap all of the members of society’s bottom strata by simply throwing up a bunch of tables and hanging a large sign that reads “SWAP MEET.” While any hopes we had of the movie being logical enough to retain relevance to our contemporary world of economic crises were dashed, it’s an enjoyably bad movie, full of quotable moments. Perfect for a night of b-grade Australian films and cheap beer.
And if we may be allowed to end on a tangent, drive-ins may finally be going kaput this year. The drive-in is the best possible venue you could hope to ever view the types of b-movies embraced by the Progressive Cinema Scorecard, for um, many important reasons. If you have the chance to go to the drive-in, take it.
Score Technician: Alex Pearlstein