DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) – Category: Gimmick movie worth watching once, but never again.
This movie has that certain charm to it that most low-budget 70s horror films possess. When watching Drive-In Massacre you can’t help but reflect on the fact that the talent of John Carpenter is the only thing separating his milestone film Halloween from the many other 1970s slice and dice films like this one.
The plot of Drive-In Massacre involves a serial killer who strikes only at drive-ins and, in the tried and true custom that countless subsequent slasher films would follow, he thrives on killing couples who are making out. At least at first. The killer’s motive varies throughout the movie, but the murder weapon remains a sword.
So, let’s tick off our slasher film checklist – Laughably fake-looking blood and gore effects, including an especially fake-looking head during a beheading scene … check! Creepy red-herring janitor who is there to NOT turn out to be the killer … check! Homicide detectives who are just a little less creepy than said janitor … check! Acting that even porn stars could look down their noses at … check! Clothing that makes you wonder just how much marijuana was smoked during the 70s … check!
As bad movies go, Drive-In Massacre is such a routine laugher that it normally would never deserve to be mentioned alongside other movies I’ve reviewed, like Psychopath, with its killer kiddie-show host, or The Confessional, with its mass murdering priest (Mass murdering priest? Get it?). The only things that really make this flick (and how appropriate is it that its acronym would be DIM?) stand out are the cultural kitsch value of the drive-in setting and the hilariously cheesy gimmick ending.
SPOILER! – The movie ends with our detectives capturing a figure who seems like they’re definitely the killer, but they realize the person can’t be. Then the film switches to an announcement supposedly coming from the management at the drive-in showing this flick as they warn the audience that the killer is really running loose in this drive-in, right this very moment!
I repeat, that fun stunt at the end is the only thing that really gives this baby its niche in Trivia Heaven, but any bad movie geek will enjoy this film … once.
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