1000 years after a nuclear event, three factions fight for survival in the ruins of New York City. The Norms live a life of relative comfort underground, but are regularly raided by the Mutates, whose curse of deformity compels them to kidnap Norm women with whom to breed. Both groups are enemies of murderous raiders, the Upriver Men. It is this last group who, with the help of betrayer Jason, infiltrate a Norm wedding and murder the chief. Norms Robert (the groom to be) and his buddy Bram escape the Upriver plot but are captured by the Mutates. After a brief power struggle among the Mutates, the leader Riddon works with the escaped Norms to defeat the Upriver Men.
The first movie to show humans struggling to survive a post-nuclear wasteland, but with medieval style garb and sets, plus the pseudo classical language (“there is not a marksman in the land that can place an arrow in the wind and get such game”), it doesn’t seem like a the future. Religious themes are tossed around: the woman-kidnapping Mutates worship God and reference the bible, while the Norms worship the devil (we are told but don’t see). Apart from a short dinner table debate and the movie ending on crucifix, it’s pretty muddy.
Tropes: Prologue is a warning against possible future; women are made up and men are well groomed; kidnapped woman falls in love with captor; multiple women bathing scene; joke’s punchline is whispered in ear
As we are introduced to a family man, and, briefly, a comely young swimmer, as earthquakes, storms and floods destroy civilization worldwide. In the aftermath, the swimmer is found and ‘housed’ by a couple of creeps, one of whom murders the other while the girl swims away. She washes up on shore near the hovel of the lonely family man, who accepts his family has died. As they fight off Creep #1 and the rape gang he joined up with, they fall in love. Meanwhile, in nearby ruins, family man’s family lives in a hardscrabble community. The settlement, too, is menaced by the gang, and they organize a posse to eliminate them. After a pitched gunfight and melee between bad guys and good guys, the man is reunited with his wife and children, but can’t give up his new love. The swimmer, heartbroken, makes her own bold choice.
The first 18 minutes of this 106 minute film are the earthquakes and tsunamis that destroy civilization. It’s kind of astonishing how much has changed but also how much has stayed the same with regards to special effects in the past 90 years. You can see the ‘scoring’ lines on the miniature buildings as they topple but the whole sequence manages to sell the disaster fairly convincingly and brutally, I was reminded of Emmerich disaster porn from the early 21st Century. The ‘last stand’ against the rape gang in family man’s tunnel is quite competent (I especially appreciate the attention to ammunition), and the conflict between the two love interests isn’t as catty as you’d expect (but certainly doesn’t pass the Bechdel test). As a rare film made prior to the Hays Code, Deluge contains suggestive scenes the likes of which you wouldn’t see in Hollywood films until 1968.
Tropes: post apocalyptic women have perfect makeup and hair; sexual assault; biblical interpretation; spunky kid wants to join mob but it turned away; town leader makes inspiring speech about a fresh start
In the spirit of Buck Rogers, a pilot is propelled into the far future and learns everyone he knows is dead. This time it’s because of a cosmic radiation storm (enabled by nuclear weapon testing) which causes a plague of ‘mutation’ in humans. The last bastion of a dying civilization is run by an old man with deaf/mute daughter who can read minds. Most humans are deaf/mute – it’s the first stage of mutation – and also sterile, except the daughter. The boss’ plan is to mate his daughter with the pilot to repopulate the species (not sure that’s how biology works). There’s also three other ‘scapes’ who escaped the plague (who are not in the repopulation program for some reason) who have the ire of the security chief while they set the pilot up with their own plan to undo the apocalypse.
Despite the fact the film is a hodgepodge of established sci-fi tropes, it was moderately interesting. I can imagine the producers saying “if we make most of the characters mute, we can save on dialogue and acting costs!” Many elements (sound effects, architecture) are recognizable from Forbidden Planet, with the addition of spiffy triangular wipes. When the mutants escape their confinement the scene is surprisingly visceral (for a completely bloodless sequence). The whole affair would be shorter if they had cut out all the unnecessary walking and driving scenes.
Tropes: ladies are catty to each other; future women wear skirts and high heels; exposition with a blackboard; double & triple crossing, sexy lady goes for a swim.
The story starts ‘in media res’ as the traitorous splinter group led by the unscrupulous and power hungry Colonel Clay tries to outgun the democratic Alpha League. Sequence after sequence of explosion-laden gun fights are interrupted by a semi coherent narrative of a willful captive woman, and her husband trying to infiltrate her captors gang to free her. Meanwhile the spin-kicking mad max analogue has a montage training a peaceful mountain tribe to defend their mine of gunpowder from the bad guys.
Not much inspired content here. Overacting and video game level fight scenes that drag the film on much longer than need be. Old standby tropes are just as recycled as much of the battle footage is recycled from previous Santiago films.
Black leather vest with no shirt; spiky cars; sexual assault: sports gear armor; wasting bullets on downed victims; Thunder Dome like duel; Little people; guy laughs evilly after every line; man vs snake bar contest
A clearly older than teenage caveman is curious about what is across the river in the forbidden zone and returns with tales of dinosaurs and bountiful game. For breaking the ancient unquestioned law of the tribe is sentenced to be ignored by his tribe, but it doesn’t stick and he goes back into the forbidden zone to find the secrets of the God that kills with a touch, invoking the wrath of the law keeping authority figure
It’s weird to see a young Robert Vaughn. Reuses old footage of fighting reptiles with fins glued to them to look like dinosaurs. Only the older “wise men” have any hint of facial hair. As schlocky as the effects and dialogue is the film has heart and is blessedly short.
Toren’s rating: 4/10
TROPES: rites of manhood; perfect groomed hair in primitive jungle; twist ending: quicksand; naked woman bathing in pond; narration at end explains movie
Yes! Yes I do! And here they are. Keep in mind some of these were rated decades ago and my tastes change:
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Roman Holiday (1953) The Apartment (1960) Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Seppuku/Hara Kiri (1962) The Graduate (1967) Joi-uchi/Samurai Rebellion (1967) Harold and Maude (1971) The Four Musketeers (1974) Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) Life of Brian (1979) Castle of Cagliostro (1979) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) The Princess Bride (1987) My Neighbor Totoro (1988) Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Dead Poets Society (1989) Army of Darkness (1992) The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Leon/The Professional (1994) Pulp Fiction (1994) Casino (1995) The Usual Suspects (1995) Fargo (1996) Schizopolis (1996) The Impostors (1998) The Big Kahuna (1999) Magnolia (1999) City of Lost Children (1999) Toy Story 2 (1999) The Sixth Sense (1999) American Beauty (1999) The Cider House Rules (1999) Spirited Away (2001) Amelie (2001) Monsters Inc (2001) Metropolis/Metoroporisu (2001) Noqoyqatsi (2002) Spellbound (2002) American Splendor (2003) Lost in Translation (2003) Stranger Than Fiction (2006) No Country for Old Men (2007) There Will Be Blood (2007) Moon (2009) Locke (2013) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Annihilation (2018) Toy Story 4 (2019) Soul (2020)
Casablanca (1942) 12 Angry Men (1957) Alien (1979) Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) The Thing (1982) Ghostbusters (1984) Nausicaa (1984) Brazil (1985) Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Rushmore (1998) The Big Lebowski (1998) Miller’s Crossing (1990) the Iron Giant (1999) The Incredibles (2004) WALL-E (2008) Roma (2018)
Android butlers rise up against humankind. Nine months later a very pregnant Georgia and her screw-up boyfriend trek through the wilderness to Boston. There they hope to take themselves and their soon-to-be-born baby on a boat bound for Asia. On the way they deal with a military camp and a ‘no mans land’ filled with robots who are trying to find a way into the city to disable the EMP device that keeps them at bay, plus a mysterious stranger.
Fine performances by our heroine, and some (few and far between) genuinely compelling moments, but the plot doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. We’ve seen all this before in other films, and done better.
Tropes: bad guy monologues before delivering coup de grace; a Sophie’s choice; flesh ripped off robot metal skull; flashback prompted by photograph; robots have glowing eyes.
Virus AKA Fukkatsu no hi AKA Day of Resurrection. Both an apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic film, a genetically engineered virus is unleashed accidentally on the world. The 855 men and 8 women in Antarctica are spared the deadly human extinction thanks to the cold. An isolated nuclear submarine and crew join and they begin repopulating the species. Years later the automated nuclear response system in Washington is in danger of being triggered by an earthquake predicted by one of the scientists, so a suicide mission is begun to dismantle it.
A large and international cast, but a box office failure in the Japan homeland. The 93 minute USA TV cut removed much of the Japanese characters’ plotline, which is a shame but at the same time the Japanese segments were the most melodramatic. In this film, mobs riot, demanding an effective vaccine, rather than gathering to protest lockdowns like in the real world pandemic. The movie is quite dark from beginning to end.
Tropes: Dead pets foreshadow human fate; manly men fighting eachother to see who will sacrifice himself; insane trigger-happy military general; love interest was pregnant when she died; food and fuel scarcity is not acknowledged
Toren’s Rating: 7/10
More about the film: https://bandsaboutmovies.com/2021/04/10/virus-1980/