Dead End Drive-In:A Date at the Drive-In Isn’t All Bad
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this little flick. 1986 was a great year for the industry, putting out such movies as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Top Gun, Platoon, and the unstoppable movie that I have whored over and updated in my collection every time the industry standard changes: Aliens.
This movie falls into a different category than those, looking into the more apocalyptic future setting that is ruled by the current generation of Punks. Punks are unique and very outspoken people, and often are over the top in every aspect of everything. Likewise with this move.
Though the ending kinda killed it. Just sayin’.
Crabs is a health nut who spends his days exercising and eating healthy in hopes to become large and athletic like his boss. His real name is Jimmy, but everyone calls him Crabs because he thought he had it once.
The movie opens with Crabs jogging and stopping off to say hello to Carmen, his main squeeze who moonlights as a prostitute (Hey, she’s standing on the street corner in leather and ‘ho make-up. I calls it like I sees it). Before long there is a wreck and Crabs is sent with his boss to assist. They are set upon by “Car Boys,” local criminals who harvest cars and are feral.
The next night Crabs takes Carmen to the Star Drive-In against his boss’s warnings. Crabs claims unemployment in order to get a discounted rate. After finding a spot to park and watch the movie, Crabs and Carmen strip while having casual conversation and begin to have sex.
Okay, here’s my thing: It’s a ’57 Chevy Convertible. Yet, the seats fold down into a queen-sized bed, and there is enough head-room for Carmen to be on top in full Cowgirl style. (Takes out tape measure and crunches the numbers).
Yeah, that’s not physically possible. Damn Circus Midgets.
While Carmen is possibly giving Crabs something that won’t wash off, the car suddenly drops. Crabs rushes out and sees that his rear wheels have been taken. He discovers that the police have stolen them, and goes to the Star office to file a report. The man who let them in, Thompson, insists that it has to wait until morning.
The next morning Crabs and Carmen awaken to find many of the cars from the previous night still there. Some of them have even been turned into hovels. They go back to the office where Thompson pretends to take a report on the stolen wheels, then hands them meal tickets for the diner and informs them that they will be at the Star for a while.
The diner serves greasier food than Waffle House, and Crabs refuses to eat while Carmen orders a burger. The place is filled with Punks and Car Boys, and Crabs begins to realize that they may be trapped. Soon, after sneaking into the office, Crabs discovers that the Star is one of nine concentration camps formed by the government and meant to corral the criminal element and the unemployed.
The movie drags on like this for a while, with Carmen falling in with the locals while Crabs makes futile(sometimes humorous) attempts to escape. He gets wheels, but he’s out of gas. He gets gas, but someone took his engine.
The final night the locals have a racist meeting to discuss how their plight is entirely the fault of the Asians. During the meeting, which Carmen attends, Crabs hijacks a tow truck and is spotted by Thompson and the police. The result is an explosive car chase through the cinema ending with a police truck exploding and taking out a large portion of the cars.
Crabs infiltrates the office and holds Thompson at gunpoint, forcing him to delete his name from the records. A cop enters the office, and Crabs shoots him after the cop shoots Thompson by accident. Crabs escapes and finds Carmen, who says that she cannot leave. He finds a tow truck with the ramp down, mans a police vehicle, and escapes the Star. Credits.
Just like that. Credits.
Not bad, not great, this movie is a decent one-timer if you’re into that kind of genre. I saw many people compare it to Mad Max, and I don’t see it beyond the Neo-Punk thing. Mad Max was WAY more violent. Like I said earlier: It wasn’t terrible, but it does have problems.
Such as the car that defies physics.
And the main character nicknamed after Saber-Toothed Crotch Crickets.
The movie dragged for a while with flippant dialogue and a few scenes that felt more like “A Day of Life at the Star” rather than the horrorfest insinuated by the title. In fact, nothing really major in the way of action happened until the end when Crabs makes his big escape.
I wonder if he has a cousin named ‘Roids?
Anywho, give it a look if you want to take a trip down 1980’s Garage Punk glam. Otherwise, like a live performance by Dido, it may very well just put you to sleep.