Terror has come to the local Drive-In, as a psychopath is on the loose. Detectives Leary and Koch (John F. Goff & Bruce Kimball) are on the case, but they’d better solve this one fast before the killer lops off another head!
I hope many will agree that these two deserved their own spin-off TV show. But as fantastic a duo as our lead detectives make, I can’t help but surmise that we’re dealing with a simplified rehash of Charles B. Pierce’s brilliant piece of slasher cinema, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, released a year earlier. It certainly borrows both from its horror – stalking lovers in parked cars at night, and from its humour – cross-dressing policeman, a gag that never fails. But who can blame them? After all, the burlap sack mask was Jason’s first disguise in Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981). And doesn’t that unnerving heavy breathing sound effect come eerily close to Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)?
Where the under the blouse action is concerned, some may be left disappointed as the only scene that dares to come close is thwarted by a combination of heavy shadow, poor resolution and a flesh-toned bra. So anyone looking to get happy might have trouble making out what they’re looking at.
The kill strikes are fast and brutal, but ultimately bloodless. That part always comes a little too late. And it looks a lot like that paint-like sludge you might be familiar with from Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone! (1981) that appears orange when not mixed right. One unfortunate victim is even brave enough to let it fill up her nostrils as she plays dead for us.
Drive-In’s ending has often been criticized for its abruptness and lack of resolution. You could blame it on the fact that they kill off just about everyone that could have been a suspect. Maybe it was the dissatisfaction of an unseen killer remaining unseen, but that was the landscape of the early classic slasher movies. Be it Black Christmas (1974) or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), before your Scream 1, 2, 3 and bloody 4, the killer got away with it.
Okay, it’s not perfect. But for everything that Drive-In lacks, it gives you what so many movies are missing, and that’s character. REAL character.