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directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith
Australia 1986

 

Brian Trenchard-Smith's DEAD END DRIVE-IN is simultaneously an Ozploitation classic (the Australian film industry did not take off until the seventies and their "grindhouse" era encompassed the late seventies through the mid-eighties) and an eighties cult classic stateside where it was appropriately released by New World Pictures (finding company amidst films like VAMP, BLACK MOON RISING, and HOUSE from the same company that year). In the aftermath of a string of environmental and economic catastrophes (including the "white massacre" of Capetown, South Africa that effectively ended gold and diamond exports as well as a yet another Wall Street stock market crash), the divide between the haves and have-nots of Australian society have become so vast that the rich remain safely insulated in gated communities while the outside world is an industrial wasteland. The goals of ever-optimistic delivery driver Jeff (playwright Ned Manning, PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H) - nicknamed "Crabs" because he once thought he had them (but he didn't) - are sidetracked, however, when he takes is big brother Frank's (Ollie Hall, MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME) Chevy on a trip to the local Star Drive-in with his girlfriend Carmen (1989 Miss Australia Natalie McCurry, STONES OF DEATH). When the front wheels to the car are stolen (by the police, Jeff discovers), they are forced to stay the night only to discover in the morning that they cannot leave. They learn that the drive-ins have been transformed into a concentration camp for the country's undesirables who are pacified with exploitation films (among them Trenchard-Smith's own TURKEY SHOOT (aka BLOOD CAMP THATCHER) and THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, Simon Wincer's SNAPSHOT, and David Hemming's THE RACE FOR THE YANKEE ZEPHYR), MTV, drugs, junk food, birth control, and a general lack of governance. Carmen settles into the existence which offers some certainty and a kind of normality, but Jeff wants his freedom with all it entails (including food shortages and likely possibility of being beaten to death by "carboys" who scavenge parts from the grisly accident scenes that serve as entertainment on the nightly news).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: August 1986 (USA)

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Comparison:

Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC vs. ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

  

Also available in the UK on Blu-ray from Arrow:

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

ArrowDrome/Arrow Video
Region 2 - PAL
Arrow- Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:26:54 1:23:18 (4% PAL speedup) 1:26:59.005
Video

2.34:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.83 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.38:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.14 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,187,001,151 bytes

Feature: 25,574,428,800 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Bitrate:

 

ArrowDrome /Arrow Video

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow Blu-ray

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles none none English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.34:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Brian Trenchard-Smith
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:36)
• Poster and Still Gallery

DVD Release Date: 21 October 2003
Amaray

Chapters 20

Release Information:
Studio: ArrowDrome/Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.38:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:34)
• Liner Notes Booklet
• Reversible Cover

 

DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2013
Amaray

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow
 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,187,001,151 bytes

Feature: 25,574,428,800 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.88 Mbps

 

Edition Details:

 Audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith
 The Stuntmen, Trenchard Smith s classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers (48:47)
 Hospitals Don t Burn Down, Trenchard-Smith s 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion (24:11)
 Behind-the-scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff
 Theatrical trailer (1:36)
 Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon
 First pressing only: fully-illustrated collector s booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchelln

Blu-ray Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 12

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - September 16': In short, Arrow's 1080P looks like night and day over the DVDs. Brighter, crisper, better color representation - via Arrow's max'ed out bitrate. No competition at all.

Arrow utilize an equally authentic linear PCM 2.0 audio track transferred at 2304 kbps (24-bit.) The effects and Frank Strangio's score export depth and a wonderfully fun, Ozploitation, apocalyptic atmosphere. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles on the region FREE Blu-ray disc.

Arrow add many supplements. I am unsure whether the audio commentary by director Brian Trenchard-Smith is the same one as on the 2003 Anchor Bay DVD, talking about his "What If?" films but there is much more; The Stuntmen, is a 50-minute Trenchard-Smith directed classic television documentary on Grant Page (Mad Max, Road Games) and other Australian stunt performers. It's a good addition. Hospitals Don t Burn Down is Trenchard-Smith's 1978 public information film told in pure Ozploitation fashion. It runs shy of 25-minutes. There is a behind-the-scenes gallery by graffiti artist Vladimir Cherepanoff and a theatrical trailer. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon and the first pressing receives a fully-illustrated collector's booklet containing writing on the films by Cullen Gallagher and Neil Mitchelln.

For the genre, it's an amusing effort and has some replay value with Trenchard-Smith adding some subtle touches of humor. Arrow continue to impress and this is another desirable Blu-ray for fans of thee B-films and all their charisma. Recommended!

***

ArrowDrome's new PAL release features a slightly brighter transfer than Anchor Bay's ten-year-old NTSC release (out-of-print and since replaced on the domestic market by a barebones disc from Image Entertainment). I find the older transfer preferable for the more saturated colors, but most may find the difference marginal. The 2.0 renderings of the Dolby Stereo soundtrack (flagged for automatic Pro Logic playback on the US release for those with the appropriate equipment) are of similar quality and very active for a low budget eighties production.

The Anchor Bay release featured a commentary track with director Brian Trenchard-Smith that has not been carried over for the UK release. On the track, he describes the film as "part MAD MAX, part EXTERMINATING ANGEL" and makes certain plot aspects more clear than in the film itself at times (for instance, what qualifies visitors to the drive-in for detainment). While the UK release lacks the track (presumably the track was produced by Anchor Bay and not rights holder Lakeshore), it does include a well-researched essay booklet by Cullen Gallagher featuring interesting background on the film's initial concept and how star Ned Manning helped shape the final product. The ArrowDrome disc also features the usual reversible Arrow cover (the original artwork is actually an alternate New World Video piece rather than the more familiar New World "slasher film"-looking poster).

 - Eric Cotenas

 


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(
Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

 

 

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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Subtitle Sample Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


 

1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) ArrowDrome/Arrow Video - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


 

Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

  

Also available in the UK on Blu-ray from Arrow:

Distribution

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

ArrowDrome/Arrow Video
Region 2 - PAL
Arrow- Region FREE - Blu-ray

 




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