Friday, August 8, 2008

Black + White Friday: Dead End Drive-In

At my screening of Mark Hartley's ace documentary Not Quite Hollywood it seemed the audience had quite a laugh-filled reaction to the brief segment reserved for this absolutely terrible horror comedy flick, Howling III: The Marsupials. I doubt many, if any at all, had actually seen it. I know if I hadn't already I would want to see it prono after watching it be discussed in the documentary as it appears to be a riot! Alas, it is not. It's awful. Absolutely awful. And I just so happen to own it on DVD (it came free with a magazine, you see). So, in honour of Not Quite Hollywood and all the ridiculous excessive silliness that it embraces, I decided to use it as this week's black and white specimen.

...unfortunately it's still really shit. That and, this I had forgotten, the quality is really bad. Like, below usual public domain standards. So, to keep the theme, I decided to use a much more normal movie - the excellent (you've heard me harp on and on about it lately) Dead End Drive-In, which just so happens to be Quentin Tarantino's favourite film of the "ozploitation" genre. The film is beautiful to look at in colour, so let's see if it's A-grade B thrillers still work on black and white.

One of my favourite moments in Dead End Drive-In is this quick joke that in the near future there will have been eight Rambo films. We did get to four with Rambo IV releases earlier this year, so they were close!

I like how director Brian Trenchard-Smith routinely puts the STAR DRIVE-IN sign throughout the movie, whether it be front and centre of just in the background. Constantly reminding that they're trapped inside such an un-hostile environment.

You can make anything related to a drive in black and white and it just looks so 1950s. Even if it includes panel vans!

I chose this shot because if you showed someone this picture they wouldn't have any reason to suspect it was from a 1985 Aussie flick about racist gangs trapped inside a post-apocalyptic drive-in. or would they? teehee.

One of the funniest parts of Not Quite Hollywood is when Quentin Tarantino jokes about how every Australian movie of this sort has a gang of youths in it. No matter where it's set, youth gangs will be there! It's funny 'cause it's true. Others things that will always be: the mix between old (jukeboxes) and new (graffiti) along with punk clothes and makeup. Always.

I just like this shot. Not sure why. Doesn't even look like it's from the same movie, actually.

That computer is an important plot point. It makes me giggle. My Commodore64 was more advanced.

I love any shot that has a drive-in movie screen in the background. It has some sort of calming effect on me. Even though what's happening around it is far from comforting.

The movie's most famous (which, considering the film's level of fame, means it's really not famous at all) moment is this record-breaking shot (or so Trenchard-Smith tells us in the audio commentary on the DVD) of a police car crashing through the neon sign seen in image #3. Looks better in colour.

What's kind of creepy is how this doesn't even look real. The early and final scene of Dead End Drive-In have a creepy look to them with it's deep red skies. They sort of look like painted backdrops (the specific name for them escapes me at the moment, ugh). This shot almost looks like it belongs to a computer game. Otherworldly.

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