Fist of the North Star (1986)

It was a manga, it was an anime television series, then it was this movie. The Earth was devastated by nuclear war but also there’s a magic martial arts force called “Big Dipper Divine Fist” (hokotu shinken) and multiple characters want to prove themselves to be the most powerful because…well, I guess we’re just supposed to understand that’s important. And you can only prove you are powerful by killing a bunch of people. Oh and also by controlling women. So, that’s the premise.

A couple of kids show up to lighten the tone a bit, and that’s refreshing. There’s kind of a subplot about seeds being able to make the Earth green again but that’s kind of glossed over in favour of buildings falling on people and fingers being pushed deep into manly chests and heads exploding from ‘qi’ or some such thing. Also, some bad guys are literally as tall as a multi-story building, for reasons not explained. I watched the dubbed version so I’m sure there were some nuances that I missed. Plus, I’m not that well versed on Japanese culture. Still…melodramatic and nonsensical.

Tropes: lone wanderer too cool to talk; thrown into a chasm; women as property; psionic powers?

Toren’s rating: 3/10

Now go back to Toren’s Post Apocalyptic Movie Guide

Quintet (1979)

From the director of MASH and Gosford Park comes this confusing look at a frozen five-sectored city where the starving and freezing residents spend their time drinking booza and playing the titular board game. Paul Newman doesn’t like games but he finds himself involved in a whole other game where a group of gamers play a deadly live action version of Quintet using knives and bombs. Also packs of scavenging dogs are all rottweilers for some reason.

Tropes: dogs eating dead humans; random earthquakes

It’s a 4.75/10 from me

Now go back to Toren’s Post Apocalyptic Movie Guide

Le Temps du Loup/Time of the Wolf (2009)

What caused the apocalypse? Who is the protagonist in this film? What’s going on with Ben’s mind? Has he always had these emotional problems or did the first scene cause them? Why does he have nose bleeds? Why does nobody ever answer a question? Is it because they’re French or are they actual aliens who don’t understand human interaction? Is this the point of the movie? Why is it called Time of the Wolf? These are all unanswered questions that make this film unsatisfying.

Tropes: Light burning out in darkness;

5/10 from me despite decent acting and cinematography


Hell (2011)

The German word “Hell” translates to “Bright” in English. No spikey cars or cyborgs or radiation here. A solar storm has ravaged the earth and water is a precious commodity. Two sisters and a guy are joined by another guy as they try to find a source of water in the mountains. They come across another group and things go real bad. Great acting and characters, and well shot. Definitely not for the squeamish. A German-Swiss production.

Tropes: Abandoned gas station; Injured foot

8/10 from me


Steel Dawn (1987)

A fairly dull affair with passable acting, with the exception of the child who was pretty dreadful. Swayze’s “Nomad” seeks revenge after his master is killed by an assassin, employed by a warlord who wants the love interest’s water farm. My rating: 4/10

Tropes: wind-powered vehicle, honorable assassin; hidden water source; sand-burrowing mutants; helpful dog; horses; loner hero leaves at the end

Here’s the IMDB listing.


The New Barbarians AKA Warriors of the Wasteland (1983)

It’s Italian! I watched the English dub which I rented from Black Dog Video. A rather bland wanderer named Scorpion defends settlements against the death cult of which he is a former member. Along the way he is joined by a ski-goggle wearing love interest and his unforgettable rival played by Fred Williamson, with a bow and explosive arrow tip. Awesomely terrible hairdos abound!

Toren’s rating: 4.5/10

Tropes: spiky cars; punishment by sodomy; fanatic religious death cult; naked breasts; child prodigy mechanic/inventor

More info at cult celebrities.

Now check out my Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide.

Clash of the Warlords AKA Mad Warriors

Another Road Warrior ripoff with terrible acting, dubbing, and cheap…everything. This time from the Philippines. It’s a 3/10 from me, but if you want to watch some ridiculous post-apoc martial arts and gunplay (and very short light saber duel) start at the 53 minute mark.

Tropes: gladiatorial arena, tragic death of family, light sabers, radiation burns, masked villain with disfigurement

More info on cult celebrities. Here’s the imdb listing

Now check out my Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide.

Mortal Engines – Studio Ghibli Miyazaki Movie Parallels

I noticed a lot of parallels between the Mortal Engines movie and a few Hayao Miyazaki films, which I will illustrate with stills from the movies.

The first is pretty straightforward. Yes I know Howl’s Moving Castle film was based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones.

Howl’s Moving Castle
Mortal Engines


Read Toren’s Post-Apocalyptic Movie Guide

Nausicaa’s WMD


Anna Fang and the Jenny Hanover in Mortal Engines

Ya Got Stabbed! A Ruin Nation Interactive Fiction Game


I created this game in early 2020 as part of a community project organized by The Papercut Arcade, using Twine, a free and open-source tool for making interactive fiction in the form of web pages. Originally I was going to create a Spaceship Zero game but decided to go with one based on my post-apoc Mutilator tabletop roleplaying game. This had the added benefit of spurring me to create more artwork to use in both Mutilator and the interactive fiction game Ya Got Stabbed!

Stranger from “Ya Got Stabbed!” Interactive Fiction Game by Toren Atkinson

My methodology for creating the game was just to start doing it. This diving in method would help me learn the Twine tool in a trial-by-fire kind of way. It was a fun-tastic learning experience and what I would change if I had to do it all over was to plan it out better. I would also go to the next step of making a custom interface rather than just the blue text on black background that is the twine default.

I came to know the stranger in the game well enough that I decided to make a 3D print on Heroforge.

Click the link above to play the game.

Writing by me, artwork by me, voiceover by me. Thanks to Kay Slater, Carl Upsdell, Thomas Falk and all the other playtesters

Below are some of the new drawings I made for the game. SPOILER ALERT!