Post Apocalyptic Movie Review – Land of Doom (1986)

Raiders are terrorizing the wasteland, mainly on motorcycles with spikey bits. A hardened and independent Harmony (Deborah Rennard) flees a victimized town and meets Anderson, a reformed raider recovering from a wound. He convinces her they should travel together to find a hidden paradise, but all they find are cannibals, plague victims, and a man with a puppy who speaks like a Ren Fair employee (Orland). The two are captured by the raiders but before the lisping mask-wearing maniac leader can dispatch them, Orland and his flamethrower sew chaos allowing them all to escape. The raiders are defeated but paradise is neither found nor mentioned.

This movie makes me angry. It’s not the acting or the production value, or even the rote direction. This is the kind of movie where the characters act in direct conflict to their interests and statements, and nothing makes sense. Harmony states she doesn’t want a crippled companion slowing her down, then she continues to travel with Anderson despite him slowing her down and his constant leading them into life-threatening situations. She reacts with extreme violence to the slightest innocent touch from a history of assault and rape, then moments later doesn’t blink at being touched. Harmony is cold and bloodthirsty, while Anderson touts empathy and altruism, but when they see a settlers being massacred Anderson stops Harmony from helping. Not to mention they both have range weapons but do all their fighting with knives and fisticuffs.

Tropes: bad guys have spikes; man shoots a snake to save a lady; cannibals, things explode for no reason; bickering during a car (bike) chase; little people in robes (jawas)

Toren’s Rating: 1.75/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Deathsport (1978)

1000 years after the Neutron Wars, nomadic ranger guide manly Kas Oshay and sexy blonde Deneer hang out in the wasteland riding horses, until captured by riders on their Death Machines (AKA dirt bikes with spacey-looking consoles) and brought back to the walled city of Helix. Tortured by the mad and dying Lord Zirpolo, and forced to partake in Deathsport (AKA a dirt bike track), they somehow break free and escape back into the wasteland, with former ranger guide and Zirpola lieutenant Ankar Moor in hot pursuit. After a brief encounter with cannibalistic cave mutants Kas and Ankar have a duel with clear plastic swords.

Apparently a sort-of sequel to Death Race 2000, this movie is a lot of riding around on bikes with obnoxious sound effects while explosions happen close by, punctuated with some T&A courtesy of playmate Claudia Jennings. The only cast member with any charisma is Richard Lynch. Oh yeah there’s a kid that is thankfully relegated to the beginning and end of the film.

TROPES: vehicles explode for no reason; futuristic jargon; lights flash when torture is happening; exposition about what’s happening on screen; blowing on a gun; mutants only grunt

Toren’s Rating: 3/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Slipstream (1989)

“By the end of the century” climate change has destroyed most of civilization and created a “river of wind” call the slipstream. A small time, fast-talking, womanizing crook (Bill Paxton) absconds with the quarry (the well dressed “Byron”) of two bounty hunters (Mark Hamill and Kitty Aldridge). An airplane chase takes the characters to a sect of wind-worshippers who crucify Byron on a kite in a windstorm, until the enemies call a truce to rescue him. We learn Byron is more than he appears. A lady appears and leads the fugitives to her home – a hidden museum – which has the residents worried for their security. Rightly so, because the bounty hunters show up and all hell breaks loose.

Sloppy, confusing outing by Star Wars producer and Tron director. The audience is just as lost as the characters, although they….might…be looking for balloons? The actors do what they can with trite lines that they shoot at eachother. Ben Kingsley and F Murray Abraham are astonishingly confined to very small roles in dark corners where the camera struggles to make them out. The aircraft are barely kept aloft by Elmer “Ghostbusters” Bernstein score as they languidly glide after each other. All in all a waste of talent and resources that could have made something good.

Tropes: opening narration explains apocalypse; asshole who is shitty to woman gets the woman; bounty hunters; poisoned hero requires antidote before critical time passes; hidden enclave of rich aristocrats; robot discovers love; plane crashes don’t hurt anyone.

Toren’s rating: 4/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Rats: Night of Terror (1984)

225 A.B. (after the bomb) a gang of dimwits in leather garb, headbands and spiked gloves roams into a ghost town and investigate a… hotel? bar? where they find a greenhouse, a source of clean water and food, as well as an inscrutable computer. Each howling dumdum is killed in turn by hordes of insatiable “mutant” rats despite being able to walk away at any time.

Rats were absolutely harmed in the making of this film, including set on fire. Beyond that, the motivations and statements of the characters are mercurial and conflicting, and the acting is generally gawdawful. Is it so bad it’s good? I wouldn’t go that far, but one saving grace is the corpse that explodes with rats.

Watch out for the twist ending!

Tropes: opening narration and text crawl; sudden but inevitable betrayal; recording explains everything; woman screams and screams; mystic

Toren’s rating: 3/10

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As of publication you can watch Rats: Night of Terror on Tubi.

Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: In the Year 2889 (1969)

Nuclear war has broken out and an old survivalist and his daughter are safe in a valley protected by a warm lake and lead mountains. Various visitors show up and are rebuffed by the man and welcomed by the girl. Unsteady relationships break down quickly while a mutant from outside the valley stalks the home.

Not set in the year 2889. This is a bad TV movie remake of the bad black & white Roger Corman movie The Day the World Ended. The actors did okay but weren’t helped by the terrible editing and blocking, where the camera is on a character’s backside while they give exposition.

Tropes: pretty girls are rivals; water is the monster’s vulnerability; victim of radiation becomes monstrous and craves raw flesh; wino has secret stash of hooch; a man dictates that women should have babies to repopulate species

Toren’s Rating: 2.33/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Idaho Transfer (1973)

A research facility discovers time travel but can only safely send young people. It is discovered in the future an ecological catastrophe has cast civilization into ruin so a group of teens are sent to start it anew. When it is revealed the transference procedure renders them sterile, Karen, having already suffered the traumatic loss of her sister in an accident, abandons the group and eventually manages to return to the present, inexpertly adjust the machine, and transfer back to an even scarier future.

A story and concept not without it’s merits, but the casting of street kids with no acting chops limits the potential here. I admired some of the scenes, however clumsily shot, and the fact that the heroine’s cosmetic upkeep degraded as she travelled the wastes. I waited for a shot of bagged corpses that never came, but was described.

Tropes: future humans have devolved; military goons spoil a science project; humans are biofuel; dead child’s toy; time travel can also move you through space;

Toren’s rating: 5/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Solarbabies (1986)

In the parched desert of the post-apocalypse, with water highly controlled, children are indoctrinated into ‘the system’ by the authoritarian Eco-Protectorate. A young child, the mascot of the ‘skate ball’ team Solarbabies, uncovers an magical alien sphere which cures his deafness, and does vague magical things like showing the kids visions of a water-filled future. The evil E.P. eventually acquires the orb through their goons the E-Police, but the Solarbabies rescue it and release the water back into the world.

They should have called this Waterlessworld! It’s a messy, pointless mash-up of E.T., Maze Runner and Rollerball, but I was impressed with the production value and set pieces, especially Tiretown. Also kind of fun to see a youngish Charles Durning (Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother Where Art Thou) and the wicked Sarah Douglas (Ursa from Superman II) being wicked in oversize shoulderpads.

Tropes: secret green sanctuary, future slang lingo, stoic dude has a pet bird, smashing control panel causes facility to self destruct, robot goes crazy, dobermans, futuristic sport is hybrid of current sports.

Toren’s Rating: 5/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: 2020 Texas Gladiators (1984)

In post-apocalyptic Texas, green-faced baddies (possibly mutants?) ravage a group of churchies, killing and raping. A group of Rangers (*not* gladiators) take their sweet time in killing the baddies, and only manage to save one survivor, the beautiful platinum-blonde-haird Maida. The Ranger named Catch Dog sexually assaults her, but the other Rangers find and exile him for breaking their zero tolerance policy. Years later, Maida and the bearded Ranger hook up and have a daughter, living and working in a refinery of some kind. Catch Dog has joined a group of fascistic Nazi-men in brown uniforms and they assault the refinery, killing and violating both women and boys. Bearded dad is forced to watch Maida violated, and then Maida is widowed and sold as a slave. The other rangers win her back in a biker/Western bar in a game of Russian roulette, and eventually conscript a group of white guys in redface, going up against the nazis superior technology with bows and arrows.

After the gratuitous sexual assault and racism, the worst offender is the editing. I regret watching this.

Tropes: Cocking weapons for no reason; bikers drive around enemies rather than fight them; shooting people who are already dead; indigenous people help white folk against their own interests; bringing out effective weapon only after sending waves of soldiers die; battle garb prominently displays breasts

Toren’s Rating: 2/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Appleseed Alpha (2014)

After WWIII in the ruins of New York, our two heroes Deunan and cyborg Briareos are forced to work for a cyborg gangster in order to pay off a debt. They try to abandon the gangster and find the legendary city of Olympus. They rescue a cyborg Olson and a young girl who are from Olympus and being hunted by two *more* bad cyborgs, who believe the girl is the key to activating a doomsday weapon.

I’m not sure much of the plot or setting makes sense (do people need food?) but the action pieces are well done and the voice acting is fun in places if not exemplary. It’s got the usual shallow and cliché characterizations you find in most anime. I haven’t seen the original anime film, but apparently this one is less a sequel and more a re-envisioning.

Tropes: Everywhere is armored except boobs; Gearhead/scientist is ‘a bit off’; character must sacrifice self to save the group; enemies unite against common foe;

Toren’s Rating: 5/10

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Post-Apocalyptic Movie Review: Captive Women AKA 1000 Years In The Future

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

Toren’s Rating: 5/10

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