Drive-In Massacre

driveAfter finding this tape at Goodwill for way less than you’d pay for it online, Drive-In Massacre left me only enjoying the cover art.  What could have been an interesting slasher just ends up a gimmick, a total goddamn gimmick.  There were a bunch of these films after the legendary Blood Feast was released in the 60s, and they’re usually shitty.  It’s like anything else, someone comes up with something that gets people’s attention, and then others want some cash.  Director Stu Seagull is one of those guys.  He survives and that’s it.  Most of you probably have never heard of him and looking at a list of his known works you probably won’t recognize any of them either.  Same thing with the majority of the “actors”; most of them have been picking at the refuse of the industry living off of blowjobs while starring in an episode of the Power Rangers (partially true story).  Drive-In Massacre was an attempt to break the fourth wall of drive-in flicks.  Honestly, it starts out pretty promising, and even up until the end is kind of fun, but it’s not something you’ll ever come back to again.

This one is pretty simple (hint here comes the plot) though got to love the decaying drive-in at the heart of the action.  Once the site of a carnival, two former carnies work there; one who was the sword swallower, and the other his understudy, of sorts, and a real dominating asshole.  They’re having a behind-the-scenes conflict over some swords that were part of the carnival’s property, but it’s just a subplot functioning as a clue.  At night someone is killing people with a sword during movie showings.  Three main suspects are evident; the two former carnival workers, and this dude who creeps around to whack off to young couples.  Two detectives figure things out, eventually thinking it’s this guy who committed some machete murders, and then you think it’s one of the carnies again.  They confront each other, you see someone dying in front of the camera as it projects onto the drive-in screen, the cops run in, and you find both carnies dead and the killer is never found.

So there’s no resolve, but that’s not the problem.  First off, this movie has plenty of hilarious acting, and the musical score is a trip.  The scene with the main suspect, the creeper, is particularly interesting with humorous touches like a bunch of porno posters in the background.  Guy does a great job playing a sex offender (you’re never told what he did).  Some of the death scenes are actually pretty well-done for what must have been a $10 budget.  The plot moves nicely, though it’s kind of stupid to assume anyone would go to a drive-in after two double-murders, but it really flops at the end.  First off, the machete killer is a bit of tangent.  When it gets back to the plot and the final showdown, you’re expecting some sort of twist.  But man, does Drive-In Massacre blow it!  After the cops go into the room where the killer is, you suspect it’s either going to be something shocking or the other carnie who was integral to most of the story.  He’s dead.  But instead of some resolve or just ending it in mystery, they put some text up on the screen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, stating that the killer is still at large and then it switches to a voiceover that’s supposed to mimic an announcer at a drive-in stating that a murderer is running around the very drive-in you’re at!  Of course on VHS at home it’s completely pointless.  It’s like a War of the Worlds radio gimmick.  It would have been interesting to see how people back then would have really reacted to this while at a drive-in, but it’s easy to assume that they likely threw up, tossed their popcorn on the ground, and pissed on the projector booth and all over the concessions.  For a slasher flick, it’s watchable, but only once.

Drive-In Massacre
Magnum Entertainment
Score: 2.5 / 5

Written by Arkus the Evil Dictator