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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Drive-In Massacre

Well, if you're watching today's movie while reading along(which is how this blog is designed), then I just want to apologize for the torture and mental cruelty you've endured. It's kind of a glass half/half empty situation: On one hand, you'll have to endure something that can never be unseen again. On the other, there's always the dim hope that it can only get better from here...

Yeah, I don't quite believe that one, either. Okay, SPOILERS blah blah blah, and let's get this one over with. Oh, and the sound quality of the copy that was mailed to me sucks more ass than the tail end of a human centipede, so I might have to do what I did when I watched The Forest, and just guess what's happening in the story. What fun!

Okay, so the basic gist of the film is summed up nicely in a little blurb on the screen. It informs us that, on the 10th of August, the infamous massacre began in a California drive-in. In a semi-clever touch, the film's title appears on a theatre marquee. As I mentioned before, the DVD sound quality is pretty horrible, but at least it spares us from getting the full effect of the lame 1970's theme song. This song is a great example of why disco died.

Anyway, we see a  guy with a flashlight, directing customers to parking spots, and also collecting the admission price. The manager, dressed in a cheap suit and wearing a permanent scowl on his face, says something to the guy with the flashlight, but it's pretty hard to make out any actual words. He gets pissed off at pretty much every customer, over little things like paying with a 20 dollar bill.

We see a white car find a spot, and the couple in the car say something that ends with the word "bed". Seriously, I'm not even kidding about how poor the audio is. It's easier to understand the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon than it is to hear the crap these folks are saying. "Wonk wonk wonk wonk wonk" would actually be an improvement to this thing.

Anyway, we see the guy with the flashlight wandering around in a playground near the refreshment stand, then we see the manager quietly entering another building. And we meet the couple in the white car, Alan and "Alan's Date", which is how she's credited. Nice. Alan and AD want to make out, but Alan also wants to see the opening of the film they're at, which he's seen multiple times already. AD protests, but Alan ignores her needs, because she doesn't even merit enough importance to be given an actual name.

Alan leans out of his window to reach the clunky speaker for the film, but he's parked too far way. Not deterred in the least, Alan leans the entire upper half of his body through the car window to grab the speaker. A samurai blade flashes, and Alan is now The Headless Car Man.

AD screams when she sees the bloody neck-stump, and then we see that the samurai sword of the killer has the magical ability to pass through glass with breaking it. See, AD's window is closed, and Alan's window is blocked by his large corpse, but she somehow gets the sword right through her throat...ergo, the sword must be imbued with some kind of magic. Movie logic is fun!

After AD's body falls out of the car, someone finds her and the cops are called. 2 beefy detectives, Ham and Cheese, answer the call. Just kidding, their names are Leary and Koch, but they look like a pair of Weebles that somehow were granted souls, then became homicide detectives. In all honesty, I'd love to see a gritty detective show about a pair of gruff Weebles.

They huff and puff their way to the drive-in, then question Austin Johnson, the guy who was getting pissed off at the customers earlier. One of the Weebles describes Austin as "the perfect asshole", which sounds kind of weirdly intimate, when you think about how exactly he might know how perfect it is. Then we see Austin angrily stacking buckets of popcorn, while Germy, his sidekick with the flashlight, is cleaning the parking area and taking out trash.

The pair of portly cops waddle in, and ask Austin for details about the crime scene, and the business itself. We learn that, although Austin manages the place, the actual owner lives in Hawaii, and rarely even makes an appearance. The drive-in was actually the second business venture that the owner tried out, as he had once started out an unsuccessful carnival on the same plot of land.

Then the detectives see Germy, and Austin calls him inside to answer their questions. Germy's not his real name, but even he insists that they call him by that moniker. his prior job was a being a carnival geek, where he would bite the heads off of snakes and chickens. Then he does a strange dance, and proclaims himself the greatest sword-swallower in the world. Uhhh...yeah, maybe we should all just quietly back out of the room now...

After Austin leaves, the cops ask Germy for more information. He says that he only found the bodies because their car was still sitting there long after everyone else had gone home. When asked if he had ever seen the couple before, he replies that he probably had, but that they were just a couple of the many young people who made the drive-in a regular spot for dates.

Then Germy gives them a tip. It seems that one customer in particular always came to the movies and took up 2 parking spaces in his car. The detectives ask Germy to write down his license plate if he comes back, and he promises to do so. Oh, and he also blurts out that the owner of the business, Mr. Van Houten, also has an impressive collection of knives and swords from around the world. Hmmm...

When asked about the weapon collection, Germy can only guess that it goes wherever the mysterious business owner goes. Then he gets sidetracked again, offering to tell them about another suspicious customer, a guy who never parks in the same space twice, and disguises himself to look younger than he really is. Boy, that Germy sure is helpful!

Austin orders Germy back to work, and he walks the cops out to the parking lot. They drive away, then Germy picks up some trash. That night, there's a smaller crowd at the movie, including a couple who are discussing an unplanned pregnancy. As they debate whether or not to keep the baby, or even if they should stay together, they kiss and make up.

A dirty old man in the next car starts to notice their intimacy, and he chooses to stop watching the movie. That's an unfortunate decision, because he leaves his car to get right up to their window. Why is that unfortunate? Because he gets a front row seat to their murder, as the swordsman impales the couple, leaving the sword at the crime scene.

The cops bring in Germy for another interview. They show him the sword, but he doesn't recognize it at all. Then he claims that Austin took over his sword-swallowing act after Germy retired. The detectives point out the unlikely odds that 2 sword-swallowers would just happen to work at a business where multiple victims would be eliminated by a sword-wielding maniac, but Germy sticks to his story. Then he "remembers" that one of the customers he snitched on earlier was parked next to the latest victims. Boy, can you believe the balls on this guy? I can't decide if he's an idiot or a genius, to keep going with these stories.

Germy then gives them his license plate number, so they decide to check it out. They track it to a guy name Orville, and find him at home. They follow him into his living room, where he has one wall devoted to porn. Guys, I think you caught your killer.

They get him to admit that he's been going to the drive-in quite a bit, and he stammers that he just really likes a particular movie that's been playing there. He admits that he's heard about the killings, yet denies that he even saw anything. When the cops tell him that he was seen sneaking around near the murder site, they also show him a rap sheet, revealing that our friend Orville has had a history of arrests. Then, while Detective Tweedle Dee sits with him, Detective Tweedle Dum searches for evidence.

Orville is asked about his porn collection, and he starts to get antsy. The search of the house turns up nothing, so they escort him outside to look at his car. He pretends that they're old friends paying him a visit(in case any of his neighbors are watching), then he loudly offers to let them open up the trunk. Ignoring his act, the cops look in the back seat, where they discover a pile of blood-soaked rags.

Orville runs down the sidewalk, and they chase him, with one of them going back for their car. They catch him, and he insists that the bloody rags were from a dog that he ran into the other night. The crime lab confirms that it is actually dog blood, and they reluctantly let Orville go back home. Dang, I was hoping it was going to end early!

Later that evening, a sting is set up at the theatre. The detectives see Orville there, despite his assurance earlier that he would stay away. Hilariously, one of the fat cops is in drag, to make them look like a couple. A guy named Jim is frustrated when his date wants to watch the movie instead of making out, so he eventually leaves her alone in the car.

Our meathead heroes watch Orville like a hawk, then the one in drag worries that they were spotted. He grabs his partner to pretend that they're making out, and the partner tells him to stay on his side of the car. Then we see Jim's girlfriend buttoning up her shirt. Further complicating the situation, Germy sees the cops and stops to chat, then Austin comes over to yell at him to get back to work. This is turning into a bad episode of Three's Company!

While all of these distracting bits of nonsense are happening, the killer strikes again. He takes advantage of the various distractions, then beheads Jim's date before he returns to the car. The cops immediately suspect that Orville did it, but then find him dead as well, with a bloody gash in his throat.

More interrogations, this time with both Germy and Austin brought into the precinct. Austin's only concern is for his profits, and he tries to intimidate the cops into letting him get back to the drive-in. When the cops threaten to get a court order to close it down, Austin tells them that he could care less how many victims the killer claims, as long as the drive-in keeps getting customers. The detectives eventually just tell him to leave, and Austin fires Germy on the way out the door.

Germy is also allowed to leave, and he finds a carnival that's open. As he wanders through the crowd, he flashes back to everything that's been said about him throughout the film, and he stares at the colorful rides with a sad expression. Could Germy be the killer, motivated by years of mental illness and abuse? Or could it  be Austin, angry that the drive-in is slowly going bankrupt? Or maybe the anonymous owner of the drive-in, gone mad after so many failed businesses? Really, does anyone really give a crap at this point?

Someone calls the cops to report that there was a man with a machete caught in a warehouse, and our investigators drag themselves over there to check it out. There is a madman in the warehouse, and he's holding a young girl hostage, gibbering nonsense at her and laughing. As he drags the captive through the warehouse, she manages to fight back, and then she runs away through the maze of tall shelves.

The maniac stalks her, trying to get the woman to reveal her location, and she continues to attempt to sneak toward an exit. He eventually sits on the floor and begins to stroke his weapon like a baby, finally shouting and screaming at his intended victim to come back. Her silence pisses him off, and he decides to resume the chase.

As they both sneak around the warehouse, the maniac finds himself in the aisle next to hers. He reaches out to grab her, but the arrival of police cars frighten him into letting her go. The detectives come into the warehouse with weapons drawn, and try to locate the guy using his ranting and raving to guide them. It ends in a brief shootout, and they kill him.

In the aftermath of the shootout, the young woman angrily demands to know why the cops shot him to death. When they tell her that they suspect that he was the Drive-In Killer, she scoffs at the idea, and they discover that she was the man's daughter. He was an escaped mental patient, but his escape took place earlier that day, meaning that he couldn't be their killer. D'oh!

While the cops commiserate over killing an innocent man, they both suddenly realize that either Germy or Austin could have easily killed any of the victims, during the reel change of the movies at the projection booth. Great, but how does that help them? It still means that they haven't narrowed out either man, and it doesn't help them if the killer is a perfect stranger. Wait, am I overthinking this, or are they underthinking it? This movie hurts my brain.

Anyway, now we see Germy at the theatre, probably to hug his boss and promise to keep in touch for years to come. Uh huh, that would make the most sense. Well, a young woman runs after Germy, trying to intercept him. She blocks his path, doing her best to convince Germy not to enter Austin's office. Germy keeps walking, and he reveals that Austin has actually been in possession of the oft-mentioned sword collection the entire time, but that now Germy wants it for himself.

Germy's desire to be paid and to take the blades home overrides his common sense. He enters nthe main building, and the woman just stands by and looks sad. Then she sees the cops come screeching into the parking lot. They pull their clunker into a space, just in time to see someone get murdered in silhouette form on the big screen, in front of the projector.

They ask the young woman, who is now crying who is in the office, then they hurry in to try to stop any more mayhem from happening. The projection room appears to contain Austin's dead body, so they start the search for Germy. They nearly stumble across the body of Germy as well in their search, the cause of death appearing to be a long fall down some kind of stairwell or shaft.

The movie then ends with a written blurb, explaining that the killer was never found, and that more drive-ins have been attacked by an assailant with a knife or sword. This is followed by a voice announcing that the killer has been seen entering this theatre, and to please try not to panic. THE END

Okay, first, a quick medical update: My uncle is slowly recovering after being given a blood transfusion, and it appears to be helping him regain  much of his strength again. He's still quite tired, but he sounds much better than he did.

All right, so back to the movie. It was pretty....ehhhh....1 or 2 good murders, surrounded by thick walls of bland, lifeless crapola. And the poor audio and video quality  made it seem much more terrible than it had to be. 1.5 out of 5 killer trees this week.

What did I learn from the Drive-In Massacre?

-Never hire a guy named Germy.
-When you investigate murders, you should rule out suspects, not let them pile up.
-Beware of carnival folk...they miss their swords.

And what did Santa bring me to watch next week? Well, it'll either be Dead Above Ground, or perhaps Asylum of the Damned. We'll see what happens. If I don't get that in by then, let me wish all of you a very happy new year. And if I get my hands on a Playstation 4, you may never see me again, as I plan to play the shit out of that thing!! Part-ayyyyy!!!!