Friday, November 6, 2009
Day #28 We live and DIE at the Drive-in!!!
DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1977)
D. Stu Segall
Chilling Classics 50 Pack
The IMDB lists this movie as coming out in 1977 but man it feels like it was made way earlier as this has a real H.G. Lewis vibe. People at a drive-in theater are being killed by a sword wielding madman. Usually lovers (who oddly enough almost never are getting naked and the women seem to always have just announced they are pregnant!) who make the mistake of sticking their head out of the care a little too far, and WHAM they lose their heads. Two bumbling, kinda overweight cops are put on the case (well actually they appear to be the ONLY cops that actually work in all of L.A.) and start investigating the Drive-in. They meet the quirky, perpetually pissed off manager Austin (Newten Naushaus, something tells me that is not this guy's real name!) who wont let them get a word in edgewise between his rage fueled rants. With his loud polyester suits, shiny chrome dome and neatly trimmed beard he is a crazy looking motherfucker anyway, but when he starts ranting and raving about how he never leavers the theater, how he can get out of the projection booth and has to do all the work himself, he has a gleam in his eye of a man truly bonkers. When the retarded grounds keeper named, appropriately enough, Germy (Douglas Gudbye) Austin really looses his shit.
Here he is folks. The BIGGEST ASSHOLE in all of exploitation film history!
He HATES Germy like the Nazis hate the Jews! Seems they both used to work at the owner's Carnival until he closed it down and turned it into the Drive-in. Germy is so simple he is just glad to have a job, though he misses his geek and sword swallowing days. Austin is still pissed off cause he never quite mastered the sword swallowing gags (But ya kinda wonder if he was doing some other sword swallowing behind closed doors if ya catch my meaning, and I think you do! Oh wait he don't have TIME for stuff like that! He has to do freakin EVERYTHING at this place!). Germy helps the cops peg a peeping tom in the lot who might be the killer so they dress up as a husband and wife to try to spot if he is killing folks, which leads to crazy jokes and some hapless head rolling gore.
Eventually Germy has enough of Austin and his nasty spiteful shit and corners him in the projection booth. At the same moment the rather dull cops realize that Austin "Doesn't have to stay in the projection booth all the time, he can leave during the reels!" in one of the most insightful detective moments of these bumblers lives. They rush there to see a silhouette of Austin being gored on the big screen. The ONLY time we actually see the screen I might add! This takes place at the drive-in but we never see the screen or what is playing! But when the doofus cops enter the room they discover both of those crazy cats dead and an on screen legend tells us the killer got away and is in the theater RIGHT NOW! Bwah ha ha ha!!! You gotta love those seventies open ended finales.
This movie was obviously made for about twelve bucks with an eye to capitalize on the success of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE which was heating up drive-in screens all over the US. The gore is plentiful, the dialogue pitiful, and the production design non existent. Most of the direction consists of sitting the camera down and letting it roll, ala the H.G. Lewis approach.
The movie was co-written by George "Buck" Flower who was an exploitation stalwart in the 70's and he gives himself a juice role midway through as the cops think they have found their man in a warehouse. This psycho has a teenage girl hostage and is planning to cut her up with a machete.
The movie turns into a whole different film for about ten minutes, but the scene pays off with an incredible revelation and bit of dialogue that is worth waiting for.
This is seriously fun trash for the seventies lover in all of us.Not on any legit DVD as of right now, but tons of those multi-packs have it sourced from the long out of print Magnum VHS.
Reviews © Andy Copp