Drive In Massacre (1977)

Article 2937 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-23-2009
Posting Date: 8-29-2009
Directed by Stu Segall
Featuring Bruce Kimball, Steve Vincent, Douglas Gudbye
Country: USA

A sword-wielding homicidal maniac is terrorizing a local drive-in. Is it the abusive manager who used to be a knife thrower? The dim-witted janitor (affectionately known as Germy) who used to be a sword swallower and geek? Or the voyeuristic regular customer?

Obviously designed to be played at drive-in theaters around the country, this gimmick horror film is neither scary enough on its own terms to be effective, nor inventive enough in terms of its gimmick to be much fun. Still, I’ve seen worse, and it has the advantage of being short (only 74 minutes) and of coming up with at least a couple of fun moments; the cops flip coins to decide who gets to be the good cop and the bad cop, and one murder is witnessed as a shadow on the projection screen. Still, it’s a washout; the special effects are weak, the acting is the same, and much of the cinematography is too dark to be effective, as you’ll often be staring at the screen without a clue as to what’s going on. The gimmick ending is obvious, and is more likely to produce snorts of laughter than shudders of terror. Director Stu Segall came up with the story under the pseudonym of Godfrey Daniels, which may be a W.C. Fields reference.

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