Mad Max beyond Austin
Summer of '82 blowing up with Drafthouse's Road Warrior Rolling Roadshow
Remember when Mel Gibson was an up-and-coming Hollywood action star who channeled his crazy for awesome moviemaking instead of scary racist, wife-threatening phone rants?
It was the magical summer of 1982, when the big studios were consistently hitting home runs, pumping out a string of classic summer blockbusters that actually made you think and feel and love going to the movies. It's the reason the Alamo Drafthouse dedicated their Summer of 1982 film series to this notalgic season of "palpable magic" and paired up with local film blogs that totally share the sentiment.
The biggest production of the series is the Drafthouse/Film School Rejects team-up for the Rolling Roadshow screening of The Road Warrior, (which technically came out in 1981 in Australia, but didn't hit American theater until May of '82). This post-apocalyptic "Western" snuck over from the Land Down Under and blew up U.S. box offices with its unstoppable levels of eye-popping awesomeness.
For Drafthouse film programmer Zack Carlson, Road Warrior is the undisputed best action movie of all time, and the most important film to do up right in the film series. "When we were planning it out, Road Warrior was the only show that I really wanted to do," he says. "It's the movie I have the greatest obsession with and the one I'm the most excited for."
As you may recall, the film features a sexy, sweaty, beat-to-hell "Mad Max" Rockatansky (Gibson) double-barrell shotgunning his way to grisly victory over the roving bands of mohawked marauders that terrorize the innocents of a defenseless desert settlement. With its huge explosions, hysterical villains and crazy S&M bondage costumes, it's obvious why it left such an indelible mark on the children of the 80s.
And to make the deal even effin' sweeter, Carlson and his crew are taking the show out to the Thunderhill Raceway in Kyle, TX, to actually blow things up with some local demolition drivers who are happily risking their lives to recreate some of the mind-blowing Carpocalypse stunts.
"Most racetracks wouldn't be comfortable with the life-threatening aspects of it," laughs Carlson, "but when we went to go see it, they told us about this group of eccentric millionaires who are hungry to smash into each other at 80 mph. They all have a great sense of humor about it, which is perfect."
Enhancing the full Mad Max experience, local punk band Rockatansky is playing a set before the film screening as well, with a set list comprised of songs inspired by the film. The band is comprised of musicians from other bands in Austin who share a love for the erstwhile adventurer who restores his love of humanity by flipping ATVs and offing half-dressed leather punks in the Australian desert.
While the drive out to Kyle is a commitment, this is guaranteed to be a night you won't soon forget or experience ever again. "The racetrack can hold about 3,000 people total, but we're not anticipating that there are that many Road Warrior diehards in Austin. But even if we can get 1,000 fans out to see this kind of chaos in an outdoor event, it's going to be legendary."
Perhaps, dare we say it... Humungus.
The Rolling Roadshow Summer of '82 screening of Road Warrior at Thunderhill Raceway happens May 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets available through the Drafthouse website.