Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Drive-In Massacre"(1977) d/ Stu Segall

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Forget any visions of  half-dressed, Flowbee-coiffed Farrah lookalikes getting claret-splashed in the back of  customized vans or terrified drive-in patrons screaming against an outdoor screen playing fifties sci-fi classics as a backdrop that the deceptive one sheet for tonight's review may have invoked in you during your first glance. You won't get any of that here. If you're in the market for nerve-wracking synthesizer scores, line-flubbing detectives, stuttering sideshow geeks turned janitors-in-Pinocchio hats,  anti-social drive-in managers decked out in polyester leisure suits, or murky lighting, muffled sound, and establishing shots that go on and on like Uschi Digart's buh-hubbas and make seventy or so minutes feel a lot more like two and a half hours, then you'll probably dig this one for the sheer ineptitude of the thing.

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It's what's playing tonight, and also, what's happening. You see what they did there?
Couples are getting whacked by a sword-wielding fiend after burping dialog unconvincingly at each other in a darkened drive-in theater that's run by a miserable, mouthy bald prick in his polyester pimpiest, if we're to believe the cut n' pasted one-sided newspaper headline pointed at the camera by one of the two mostly sedentary detectives on the case. Who the fuck could it be?There's quite a few one dimensional suspects to choose from: The unseen drive-in/carnival owner with a suitcase full o' swords? Austin, the aforementioned abrasive chrome dome manager who swallowed swords previously?  Germy, the stuttery one-time bite-offer of snake and bird heads und sword swallower in the carnival that formerly employed him? Orville, the local pervo who just wants to beat his meat? One of these squarish cops is gonna have to embarrassingly pose as a woman at the drive-in to draw the killer out, I know that much about cinematic crime investigation techniques.

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Do you remember where you were when you first saw the fake headlines?
Just when you're sure you've pieced together the plot, you're treated to twenty minutes of a police standoff with a babbling machete-gripping stranger('Buck' Flower, no less) in a warehouse that ends up having fuck all to do with the ongoing nightly 'massacre' at the drive-in as he ends up having only escaped the nuthouse that same day. So who was the killer? None of the above! The cat is on the loose at your drive-in, as a hasty voice over tells us after a sloppy freeze of the harmless janitor fellow's corpse, looking to add you to his admittedly unimpressive body count thus far! Like anybody'd still be paying attention to this crap in a car with a hot broad at the drive-in...

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Funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky bald-ass boss (Newton Naushaus).
Segall's early slasher has the feel of a latter day J.G. 'Pat' Patterson or H.G. Lewis clunker minus all the red stuff, and with classic lines like "I just wanted to beat my meat!" and "She's in pretty bad shape... she's been murdered with a sword.",  it's easy to confuse it as such at first glance. I much prefer his later porn fare, like 'Up n' Coming"(1983)( starring the late Marilyn Chambers, Loni Sanders, and Johnny Wadd himself!). You'll instantly recognize 'Buck' Flower from his numerous cameos in John Carpenter's films throughout the era; George also co-wrote the movie with Segall, before moving on to better things like 'Devil's Ecstasy'(1977) and 'Capture of Bigfoot'(1979).A lot less fun than it coulda/shoulda been, and therefore, one wop on the scale.

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Gettin' a little head at the drive-in was never like this!
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