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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Road Trip to Dead End Cinema – Automotive Carnage Night!

Taking a short break from my Slasher movie review marathon to talk about an event that I attended this past Saturday night. If you read my Blog you know that I love not just the movies, but the experience of watching them. For me there is nothing better than making it an event and that is what Dead End Cinema is. This is my second trip this summer, you can read about the first here, and I was just excited as this time around. As the title implies this double feature focused on cars, trucks, and murder!

Bug Spray is a must have!
I was flying solo as I headed to Eric’s place. I wanted to bring some friends with me, but life intervenes in unfortunate ways. I arrived fashionably early to shoot the breeze with Eric. I love talking movies, especially horror and drive-in, and that doesn’t happen very often. I mean most “normal” people don’t watch thirty and forty-year-old low budget movies. It’s sad but not everyone can be as cool as us. Oh, and I also learned my lesson from the last Dead End Cinema, as this time I grabbed the bug spray right away! During June in Ohio the mosquitos are killer. If Eric ever does a vampire themed double feature they will fit right in.

First movie up was the Roger Corman produced, Paul Bartel directed Death Race 2000. In the distant future of the year 2000 (hey it was 1975!) after a great financial crash the world is obsessed with the Death Race sports program. Groups of drivers compete in a cross-country race where they can score points by killing anyone that they can get in front of their car. One of the drivers, Frankenstein, is targeted by the resistance. The country is run by Mr. President, whom they want to do away with. Frankenstein is Mr. President’s hand-picked favorite so a plan is hatched for some regime change.

Yo Adrian... Um... Yo Frankenstein!
If you are familiar with director Paul Bartel’s work as a director (Lust in the Dust, Eating Raoul) you’ll know that his films all have a tongue in cheek quality to them. Death Race 2000 makes some political points, but mostly is trying to be funny. The characters are over the top caricatures like a bloodthirsty blonde female Nazi, and a woman hitting Italian gangster (played by a pre Rocky Sylvester Stallone). Everything here, including the body count, is played for laughs. It makes for an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.

The second half of the double feature was the Road Warrior. When you think post-apocalyptic road trip isn’t this the first one that comes to mind? This time Max is wandering the wasteland and stumbles on an outpost besieged by all sorts of crazy characters. The bad guys want in to take the gas that has been pumped and refined. Since gas is the most important thing to anyone driving around the desert in lethal hot rods and those trying to drive out of the nightmare it becomes a big deal. Max volunteers to help for a tank of gas and the mayhem ensues from there.

Cars + Desert = Mayhem
Do I really need to tell anyone to watch the Road Warrior? Unlike Death Race 2000 which could easily have slipped past someone this movie is a legitimate classic. Plus, with the recent bad ass sequel the franchise has been in the news. If you haven’t seen the movie you need to watch it. That is all I need to say about the Road Warrior.

I mentioned this at the end of the last write up for Dead End Cinema and I’ll continue to beat this dead horse. The world is changing and how we experience entertainment like movies is as well. But if we old school fans want to keep alive the tradition of seeing double features with friends in a drive-in like setting then it is up to us. If you live in the Canton Ohio area check out the Facebook page for Dead End Cinema located below. If not gather up some friends and get creative with some of your own double features. If you do email me and let me know that there are others out there following Eric’s example.

The link to the Dead End Cinema https://www.facebook.com/groups/1653008301605789/

© Copyright 2017 John Shatzer


  1. Very nice write up thanks John!

    1. Thanks for putting up with a bunch of movie nerds invading your backyard every couple of weeks!