Elite Entertainment's second attempt at the "DVD Drive in Double Feature Craze", as I have so aptly named it, (thank you, hold the applause) is a mixed bag at best. It has its strengths, and it also has its weaknesses. Whether or not it's worth your time, is another story. I'm keeping the descriptions short. These are after all, a couple of public domain titles, readily available over and over again, on VHS and DVD, nothing new here.
The two films are, drum roll please...Wasp Woman, and The Giant Gila Monster. Two classics of modern cinema. Wasp Woman centers on the aging owner of a cosmetics company. Searching for the fountain of youth, she finds it in a wacky scientist's creation, a serum, derived from wasps, hmmm sounds mildly original. Need less to say the outcome is less than favorable.
The Giant Gila Monster is basically about, well the title says it all. A small town is under siege from a normal sized Gila monster, superimposed and made to look, er umm, giant, or at least that's what it appears they were trying to do. I actually found Wasp Woman, semi enjoyable. Gila Monster on the other hand is best left to the MST3K crowd. Or in this case, the drive-in crowd.
The drive-in features are the real stars here, and they are pretty cool. You can either watch the films on their own or with the full drive in experience (definitely the way to go). You get intermission shorts, a trailer, and 2 cartoons (Betty Boop and Popeye), very cool indeed. There is also an option, to watch the drive in experience in "distorto". The sound comes out of the left speaker only, while the other speakers give you "authentic" ambient drive in sounds.
Complete with footsteps, door slams, people chatting, and chirping bugs. I actually got a real kick out of this option; it's a real nice touch.
Both films are presented in anamorphic widescreen transfers, and they look pretty good. Whether or not the ratio's are correct, is left up to debate, but at this point, who cares, these films aren't masterpieces, like say, Terror Firmer. You enter an agreement like this for the whole drive in experience and you get it.
Sound is clear, considering the films in question, and their ages and the mono source. The 5.1 "Distorto" track is pretty cool, and such a nifty idea. I dug it; I don't care what anyone else says.
Elite's second attempt at the Drive in DVD is pretty cool, and comes highly recommended. While not as effective as the Something Weird DVD's this one definitely holds its own. Two suggestions for Elite, for future releases, one is more trailers. The cartoons are cool, but we want more trailers, they are very important to the drive in experience, the cheesier the better. Also, try to pick titles that are not as common. A couple of titles we haven't seen in a while, would be a big plus. If you have the drive in itch, this disc just might be the scratch.