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5

FRIDAY

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The second time I was in driver rehab, the instructor told the class that he didn’t want to show the gory, gruesome safety film. To my eternal horror, the class voted him down; these bad drivers eagerly wanted to watch scenes of actual death by automobile. In Hell’s Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films, director Bret Wood tracks down the surviving men and women who made such vintage stomach-turners as Wheels of Tragedy, Last Date, and Mechanized Death. The filmmakers tell their odd stories with a dull matter-of-factness that makes their work seem even creepier. “This is not a pretty motion picture,” deadpans one narrator; neither is Hell’s Highway, but it is fascinating stuff. Kids just don’t get this kind of education anymore. Now they watch World’s Wildest Police Videos on Fox. Progress? Walk, don’t drive, when the film screens at midnight (see Showtimes for other dates) at Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge, 1927 Florida Avenue NW. $5. (202) 667-0090. (Dave Nuttycombe)