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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 09.20.16] apocalyptic scifi cult thriller dystopic

The good folks at Arrow Video are releasing a new Blu-ray of Brian Trenchard-Smith's Ozploitation flick, Dead End Drive-in, this week so I gave the new disc a spin. While I wasn't surprise to find I was bowled over by the film's gorgeous new 2K remaster, I was shocked at how culturally savvy the film is and how prescient it feels in the current political climate.

While there's no question that Dead End Drive-In is designed to exploit the popularity of Mad Max, as well as capitalize on New Wave youth panic, it takes a sharp turn in the last act, embracing political satire that takes aim at political isolationism in the face of hard economic times. The saddest par of it is, it hit home how little the climate has changed since the time of its release.

Set in a near-future where the economy has crumbled and violent gangs play havoc in the streets, the powers-that-be have decided to lure the delinquent youth into drive-in cinemas and keep them there. No longer just a place to watch trashy movies and make out, these outdoor picture shows have become concentration camps for the unruly and unwanted.

Dead End Drive-In is hardly the most gonzo Ozploitation film, but it might be Trenchard-Smith's most thoughtful. And as a blast of neon soaked 80's nostalgia it's certainly a blast to revisit in high-def.

- Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
High Definition (1080p) Presentation.

- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

- Audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith

- The Stuntmen, Trenchard Smith’s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers

- Hospitals Don’t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith’s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion

- Behind the scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff

- Theatrical trailer

- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon

First pressing only: fully-illustrated collector’s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchell

Recommended Release: Dead End Drive-In

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