I was interested when I heard about a horror movie set in and around a drive-in. There have been a couple that have used that setting before but I’m always down for another one. Toss in the fact that legendary character actor Buck Flowers was the co-writer of the script and I was onboard.
Sure enough the action kicks off at a drive-in as we watch people arrived for the show while the opening credits roll. We are introduced to a couple who chat a bit and then start with the hanky panky. Off goes his head and she has her throat cut by a sword wielding maniac! Well that got my attention. We are then introduced to some incompetent cops who start questioning everyone including the manager who himself is a real jerk. Really, I wanted the killer to slice and dice him. The cops also recruit a “halfwit” that the absentee owner keeps around to clean up to keep an eye on things. He points them towards a creepy stalker named Orrville who was around during the killings.
Murder and mayhem continue as the manager refuses to close since he is doing such great business. The chance to see real blood seems to bring in the customers and business is business! Who is the mysterious killer? Is it Orrville? Perhaps the cold-hearted manager who treats everyone like garbage? Maybe they are red herrings and the killer is someone else? Does it even really matter?
That last question is a real one. Drive-In Massacre is one of those unique flicks that is entertaining despite the plot. There are two things that create the fun and make it worth watching. First are the characters. From the leisure suit wearing manager who shreds people with his caustic personality to the cops that spend most of the time as the butt of jokes it is fun to watch the actors chew on the scenery. Heck even Orrville skulking around slumped behind the wheel of his Chevy Nova has his moments. It doesn’t matter if the dialogue is good or if the story makes sense because it’s a fun time regardless.
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The other thing that makes this worth checking out is the overall sleazy low budget vibe. From the dudes bringing their ladies to the movies with an agenda that doesn’t involve watching the show, to the pervy guy spying on them the movie feels enjoyably scuzzy. We even get a cheating husband trying to convince his pregnant girlfriend that he will leave his wife and kids for her! Drive-In Massacre doubles down with low budget effects work that include heads flying, throats slashed, and a shootout. All together this makes for a flick that is more than the sum of its parts.
Since I’m an older guy but not old enough to have been a teenager and take advantage of such places there is an awesome vibe surrounding drive-ins and they capture it very well and make you feel as if you are actually there. They shot the movie in an old one that was about to be torn down and you can almost smell the stale popcorn and feel the greasy buttery film that covered everything. Part of my enjoyment of the movie is likely that nostalgic feeling and might not translate to everyone. Though if you have the same memories that I do I’d highly recommend checking out Drive-in Massacre.
© Copyright 2019 John Shatzer
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