BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review
- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
The carnival might be closed, but the freaks are still running around. At least that’s what the two detectives in 1976’s Drive-In Massacre have to say about all the murders that are plaguing one town’s drive-in theater.
The purveyors of cinematic filth and cheese over at Severin Films have once again done B-movie lovers a solid. Rejoice, revelers, rejoice, Drive-In Massacre might not be at the top of every Horror Hound’s list, but it remains – especially for those of use who love to gobble up guilty pleasures – essential viewing thanks to some of rock and schlock value sprinkled thoughout; especially at the tail end of the film.
With its “too gruesome for twosome” advertisement locked and loaded and its target audience built right in, the on-screen serial killer shenanigans of Drive-In Massacre seem like a no-brainer. Why few other films released during the height of the drive-in’s popularity exploited this location is beyond me. I mean, bad taste is bad taste, but when you can insert authentic thrills due to the similar viewing locations, too? Yeah, do it.
I can only imagine – now that there are but a handful still in operation and I haven’t been to a drive-in since I was 12 – what it must have done to the audience (who just had to stretch an arm out of their car window to turn the speaker up) to see someone get their arm whacked off DOING THE SAME EXACT THING. Roll ‘em up. That’d be the response.
That’s truly where Drive-In Massacre gets its effectiveness. It certainly doesn’t come from the plot as Detectives Koch (Bruce Kimball) and O'Leary (John Goff) go through a hilarious list of the usual suspects – including a pervert, a janitor, and the film projectionist – and wind up killing a child’s knife-throwing father (co-writer George ‘Buck’ Flower) in an attempt to catch the drive-in killer.
Drive-In Massacre is, in fact, an awfully cheap movie that is held together by the tiniest of stitches, but making it, I’m sure, was a certifiable blast. Produced, directed, and written by Hunter’s Stu Segall, this is another product of DIY cinema and, yes, it shows. The budget was limited and the gore – looking more like tomato sauce than anything else – are a bit over-the-top. That sort of comes with the b-movie territory, though.
There are a few worthwhile moments, though. One is an extended questioning scene with a suspect who admits to being nothing more than a pervert who likes to watch the couples fuck in the cars by the two logic-chasing detectives who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag. Truthfully, their stale scenes are always good for a laugh or two.
The other worthwhile scene – and I am deadly serious about this – involves the ending as human shapes and shadows in the projectionist’s booth splash across the film being viewed and the people in their cars see all sorts of grabbing and stabbing of sharp instruments into human flesh.
Will you still be among the living when the credits roll in Drive-In Massacre? Few will.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 74 mins
Director: Stu Segall
Writer: John F. Goff, George 'Buck' Flower
Cast: John F. Goff, Steve Vincent, Douglas Gudbye
Tagline: You'll Pay To Get In... And Pray To Get Out!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You better watch it, you might be eating your father."
Theatrical Distributor: Dimension Pictures
Release Date: January 7, 1977
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: March 14, 2017
Synopsis: It’s a hot summer night in Southern California and the local passion pit is packed with patrons. But when a sword-wielding psycho begins carving up customers, it’ll unspool a grubby cavalcade of creepy carnies, peeping perverts, graphic decapitations and an ending you have to see/hear to believe.
Home Video Distributor: Severin Films
Available on Blu-ray - March 14, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc
Region Encoding: Region A
The sleazy classic gets a fine restoration from Severin Films for its debut on blu-ray. The ripe 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode has its limitations, though, as the low budget film is obviously dated and worn through and through. The remastering adds a little more detail to some of the clothing and the backgrounds. Black levels are strong, making some of the night kill scenes an absolute triumph of shades and thick lines. The image is presented with a 1.78:1 ratio and feels authentic to its original run. Also keeping with the spirit is the clean DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack.
- The audio commentary with Director Stu Segall is worth the price tag. Dig in! <p">
Severin Films knocks it out the park with the new interviews included on this release. Along with reversible cover art and a look at the trailer, this release is good one for genre fans of drive-in terror.
- Drive-In Days: Interview with Star/Co-Writer John F. Goff
- Norm Sheridan Recalls Drive-In Massacre
- Making the Massacre: Interview with Director Stu Segall
- Theatrical Trailer
- Reverse Cover Art