March 19, 2014

Critical Capsule: Drive In Massacre

Here is a movie that if I were in a more forgiving mood I would have turned off well before the final credits rolled. Somehow, I found it to stick with it and watch it all the way to the bitter end. That actually says something as the movie is only about 73-minutes long. It is called Drive In Massacre and was unleashed upon an unsuspecting audience way back in 1976. I actually find it surprising that such a nothing movie as this still finds its way to peoples eyes. This may sound a bit more harsh than it really is, but the movie is seriously dull and feels like something someone made in his spare time as a joke.



As the movie begins, we are at a drive in, it is day time and the lot is empty. The camera slowly begins to turn and as it turns the sky gets darker until we are back on the screen and the movie begins. We then witness a brutal murder in the lot. As it turns out, there is a sword wielding maniac murdering patrons of the theater! A pair of heavyset detectives are assigned the case to discover the identity of the killer.

One would think that a murder would slow down attendance or even close the drive in, but that is not the case. People are still going and more people are getting murdered. The detectives continue their investigation, looking at the theater manager, a pervert who likes peeking in cars, and a guy who used to swallow swords at a carnival. Who could the killer be? The detectives even go undercover, with one of them dressing in drag to go to the drive in.


This is not a good movie. It sort of plods along, suffers from a poor script and even worse acting. It is pretty interesting in that for as comically bad as it is, it plays everything straight, none of it is done for laughs. It is one of those movies that came out before Halloween and before the slasher explosion, whose influence may have changed the approach taken. As it is, the movie seems to be much more influenced by the giallo style of Italian serial killer flicks. This is nowhere near that in terms of quality, but it is interesting to see the whodunit element played it in what could be looked at as an early American slasher.

Drive In Massacre is not a movie I would rush out to see or really encourage you to seek out, but should you see it, and should you make it through, take a look at what looks like an Italian influence. Yes, it could have been a much better film, but it is what it is, right? If you stumble upon it, maybe you will like it more than me.

Not Recommended.


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