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The Car That Ate Paris (1974): Known as The Cars That Ate People, in the Unites States, it's a horror comedy from Peter Weir. The people of a small out-back Australian town of Paris, make there living by causing car accidents for anyone passing through. Then looting the cars, getting rid of the dead, and sending the survivors to the local hospital to be experimented on. The young people of the town use the parts of the cars to make modified monster vehicles, designed for destruction. Tensions between the older townsfolk and the young rebels, boils over into a climatic scene of car carnage.
The movie was Weir's first low-budget feature film, and wasn't successful on its initial release, but quickly gained a cult following. It's influences can be seen in later movies, such as the Roger Corman productions Death Race 2000 (1975), the original Mad Max and the second movie on our double-bill Dead End Drive-In (1986). Weir would go on the next year to direct the classic of Australian cinema Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), and eventually moving to Hollywood to make a number of highly acclaimed movies, including 1998's The Truman Show.
Dead End Drive-In (1986): Dystopian horror, set in a world where roaming gangs of disillusioned young people steal car parts, as cars are seen as a vital commodity in the future society in chaos. In an attempt to curb the crime-wave, authorities force young people into drive-in cinemas, where they are fed a steady diet of junk food, drugs, exploitation films and 80s "new wave" music. Many are happy with this, and come voluntarily. Some are forced into staying, against their will. Though there are obvious parallels with The Car That Ate Paris, a key difference with Dead End Drive-In is the how the youth are depicted. Here the majority are happy to be fed a consumerist junk diet. The anti-authoritarian rebellion of the 70s, turns into an conformist nihilism by the 80s.
Dead End Drive-In is a full-on piece of Ozpolitation cinema, featuring sex, drugs, violence, car chases and bad 80s music. But underlying its bad- b-movie credentials, is the social commentary on racism, violence and nihilistic attitudes of segments of Australian youth at that time. Something that was examined in the 1992 Australian drama starring Russell Crowe, Romper Stomper.